10 Free Freshly Squeezed (Photoscanned) Fruit Models

So it's been no secret that I've been focusing on photogrammetry for a while now. After a long delayed camera upgrade, I've finally finished a new set of photoscanned models for you to download.

The difference with the previous models is that all of these have been retopologised, making a lot more suitable to just drop them in a scene. Also, the file size of the download has decreased significantly, even with the 2K textures included.

Below is a short promo made with the models, to give you an idea of the quality. And feel free to check out each individual one through the embedded Sketchfab links.

Download them now from the resources page!

Open Source Artwork: Mushroom Tree

Personal projects are awesome, and it always feels nice to finish one. This time though, rather than just share the end result, I wanted to share a bit more.

Under the name of "Open Source Artwork" I'm sharing the full scene, with all of the textures and models included, even the HDR used to light the scene. Even though I bought the original HDR at HDRI Hub, I worked with them to be able to release a free scaled down sample of it. You can use this included 2K HDR any way you'd like. Be sure to check out HDRI Hub's full selection of products on the website.

The tree bark and leaf textures were downloaded from Episcura, who were also kind enough to agree to supply scaled down versions of the textures to include. The original hi res versions can be downloaded for free once you create an account on their website. They have a very good, ever growing selection of textures, so be sure to check them out as well!


Assets included in this archive:

- Blender scene file with textures
- 3ds Max GrowFx scene
- GrowFX Preset
- Tree FBX model


References:

Environment HDR:
 - Free 2K sample generously provided by HDRI Hub
 - Original: HDR #141 - 14336px x 7168px

Tree Textures
 - Provided by Episcura
 - Tree Bark: Original Size: 1896px x 4764px
 - Twig Bark: Original Size: 3648px x 5472px
 - Leaf: Original Size: 1082px x 1758px

Blender 101: Learning Blender as a 3ds Max user

The next tutorial in the 101 series is all about Blender. This is mainly aimed at 3ds Max users, as it discusses how to set up Blender to make learning it easier with the knowledge you already have. There's plenty of other websites out there that can get you started with the basics of learning Blender, so I decided I wanted to start off with something else.

It's always good to add new software to your personal toolkit and I've been experimenting a lot with Blender lately. Why Blender? Well, it's got a lot of great features for a free application. Dynamic topology sculpting, fluid and smoke sim capabilites, and a built in modern path tracer, to only name a few things. It's really evolved to become a software package that can rival some of the "bigger" packages out there. Oh yeah, don't forget it's free. (Download it here)

EDIT: Check out the Cosmos Laundromat Pilot to see Blender in action.

I'll always love working with 3ds Max, but challenging yourself with new or different software teaches you to adapt your workflow and improves it in both packages. One is not better or worse that the other, it's just different. (And that's all I'll say on that subject)

The Blender community are also a great group of people, so I wanted to include some of the resources and websites I've been learning from in the last few months.

11 Free Freshly Scanned Bread Models

It's time for some more free models! This time it's 11 scanned models of bread. As I'm getting better at photogrammetry I decided I'd share some of the objects I've been scanning.

You'll find a range of different buns in the pack, each with its own set of textures containing a 4K diffuse, normal and specular map. All models are in OBJ format ready for import. Why OBJ? This ensures everyone can use these models, regardless of the software they're using. The image above was created with the models in Blender, and rendered with Cycles. I've been having a lot of fun exploring what Blender has to offer. Same for the short promo clip.

You can use the models in any type of work, whether it be personal or commercial. If you do share the models with people, please give them the direct download link. As usual, I'd love to see some of the work done with these, so feel free to share your results.

Download the models on the resources page.

Natron 101: A Practical Guide To Node-Based Compositing

Hi there,

This tutorial is all about the basics of node-based compositing. Rather than doing a ramble on the interface and explaining every button, I decided to work with a practical example. This way, you'll get a real-world project with the software to get you started quickly.

This tutorial is mainly meant for people who already have a little bit of experience with applications such as After Effects of Photoshop, and working with render passes.

The software used for this tutorial is Natron. Why Natron, you might ask? Well, the interface and shortcuts are very similar to Nuke, but Natron is open source and thus free. So it's a great way to get acquainted with a node-based workflow without spending money. You can also use it on commercial environment, so you're not limited to a student or personal learning edition.
Don't get me wrong, Nuke is a wonderful application to work with and even has a free learning edition with a few limitations. One of those limitations is that it's not meant for commercial work.

EDIT: The workfiles have been updates to work with Natron 2.0.

As always, enjoy the video and don't hesitate to ask me questions!

Corona 101: Hit the ground rendering

Hi there!

With the release of Corona 1.0 recently, I wanted to make some videos for new users to get acquainted with it. There's 3 videos which talk about material creation, basic lighting and render settings respectively.

I've been using Corona since one of the first alpha builds and it's been my main renderer for over a year now, with most of the work on my blog being created with it. As I mention in the videos, this is just my opinion on why I like using it. There's no need to start a discussion about which renderer is better, because it all comes down to the workflow you like to use.

That's why these videos are intended for people who are new to Corona to have a look at, outlining basic usage.

If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, you've got two options:

- A free fully functional 45-day trial: No watermarks, no resolution limit and you can even use it for commercial work.

- Corona Alpha 6: This version works up to 3ds Max 2014 and will remain free forever. Even though it's an alpha version, it's very capable.

Check out the Corona website for more info.

If you're looking for more, the Corona documentation also has some great resources. Because it's a very community driven project, posting in the forum is also a great way to ask questions.

Enjoy the videos!

EDIT 12/03: Now in stereo! Audio has been fixed. :)

Free HDR Rig Maxscript

Hi there!

I've put together another small script, this time to quickly add HDR environments to your scenes. It's got a simple and intuitive interface, but I'll quickly go over some of the functionality. (There's also a video if you prefer, see below.) 

Download HDR Rig from the tools page

Select HDR Map:
Here you can specify which map to load in to your scene's environment.

Create Skylight:
HDR Rig can automatically create a Skylight which has it's multiplier linked to the Output parameter of the HDR. This way your scene's lighting and reflections increase or decrease accordingly when changing the values in the scene. 

Intensity:
Set the intensity of the Skylight / HDR map.

Sun Position / Create Rotation Helper:
This represents a top view of the scene, where you can select the position of the sun before adding it to the scene. If "Create Rotation Helper" is also selected the script will also generate an on-screen control for you to change it later.

Flip Horizontal / Flip Vertical / Tile U / Tile V:
More controls for how the HDR is positioned, these controls affect the standard Coordinate options of the 3ds Max bitmap.

Enable Viewport Background Preview:
This will change your active viewport's settings to show the HDR environment map as a background for your scene.

As usual, this script is released "as is", with a fair amount of testing on my end. Confirmed working in 3ds Max 2014 & 2015, but I'm pretty sure it should work in most of the recent versions. If you find a bug or have a suggestion to improve the script, be sure to let me know in the comments!

The HDR map used in the demo video was a free sample downloaded from CG Source. Be sure to check their HDR Skies section for a great selection of images.

Christmas came early: Modeling a wreath in 3ds max

After all the trees, it's time for something different. I created a tutorial covering how to model and shade a Christmas wreath in 3ds Max. No plugins are used for the modeling and even though I'm using Corona to render it all, the techniques can be applied to different render engines easily.

The tutorial is split in 5 parts: Modeling the wreath, modeling the decorations, modeling the lights, adding materials to everything and a basic light setup for rendering.
Post-production is not included, but there's a lot of resources you can find on that subject.

All five parts are available below or from the tutorials page. If I don't end up posting something before the end of the year, I'd like to wish you Happy Holidays in advance. It's been a lot of fun seeing people dropping by in the last year!