December 23 2013

Xmas presents – Glowing Snowflakes Tutorial

As a Christmas present, we want to share with you the steps needed to create our Xmas2013 image in blender. This tutorial has it that you have a basic understanding of blender, how to create new objects and materials. We are going to explore how to use Particles to ramdomly populate a volume, create a shiny flake material, use DOF and compositing.

1. Create the object that you want to use as snow flakes. I imported some curves from Inkscape, converted them to Mesh, cleaned it a bit, extruded and polar arrayed [according to this tutorial (notice that I named the Empty so that it would later be used as a Focus)].


2. Create a Cube so that is represents the space which will be populated with our particles (snow flakes). I made it the shape of a truncatd pyramid so that would folow the camera perspective.


3. Create the particle system. I highlighted all the necessary steps, but I would like ot explain some of them. This system was created for animation, so it is normal to consider particles being created and moving around: that is way we have controls for Start frame and End frame. As we are creating a still image, we set these both to 1 and be sure to set your blender frame to 1 as well. [Emit From: Volume] makes it possible for the particles to be created inside the cube; otherwise, these would only be created on its surface.


4. Render and watch the effect. This is clearly a daylight, and we want to change that.

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.22.59

5. Change the World material to suit a more nightly effect. Notice that our flakes are lost in the night darkness. We will make them emit light.

Screenshot 2013-12-23 18.11.03

6. Create the Emission material following the node setup in the image. These now glow in the night.

Screenshot 2013-12-23 18.11.46

7. Create some DOF (Depth of Field) following the settings in the Camera tab.


8. Now its time for some compositing. This is the image before compositing. I will be moving the Viewer node to the right for you to grasp the effect of each node.

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.02

9. Color Correction: I made the Highlights and Midtones a bit more yellowish

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.13

10. Lens Distortion: This makes it possible to add Chromatic Aberration

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.20

11. Blur: We use this to creat the glowing effect

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.29

12. Color Mix, Add: We are now adding the glowing blur to the original image

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.35

13. Glare: This node creates some nive lens flare effects

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.47

14. Color Mix, Mix: We are now missing the Glare with our previous image

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.53.55

15. Ellipse Mask: This will be the gene of our vignette

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.54.05

16. Blur: By blurring the ellipse, we get a nice mask to Multiply our image and create the vignetting effect

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.54.10

17. Color Mix, Mulitply: Final image! Don't forget to add a Composite node. Then, head over to a UV/Image Editor, change to Viewer Node and hit F3.

Screenshot 2013-12-23 17.54.19

Merry Christmas!!!