3ds max Island / Seashore opacity underwater tip

Software:
3ds max 2016

When creating a surface submerged in sea water,
Theoretically, it’s the Volume Absorption or ‘Fog‘ of the water shader that should do cause the surface to disappear under water.
But in many cases that doesn’t work well because we don’t actually model enough extended surface under the water for it to completely disappear without seeing the surfaces geometric edges that spoil the result.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to use a Gradient Ramp map in the surface’s Opacity channel to make it gradually disappear before the geometry ends.

This can be done in most  3d software and render engines, I’m demonstrating it here using 3ds max and V-Ray:

Island

 

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Blender Skeleton (Armature) Mirroring

Software:
Blender 2.8

To mirror a skeleton (Armature) in Blender:

  1. Create bones for one side of the rig and name them with “.L” for Left or “.R” for right.
  2. Select all the bones on that side.
  3. In Armature Edit Mode choose:
    Armature > Symmetrize

Blender will create mirrored copies of all the bones with respect to the Armature origin and flip their names to names ending with the opposite side.

  • When editing properly symmetrized bones,
    The X-Axis Mirror tool option will simultaneously update both sides of the Armature to maintain symmetry.

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PyCharm – Enabling Scroll Zoom

Software:
PyCharm Community 2019.1

Unlike many popular text/programming editors and IDE’s, PyCharm doesn’t by default let you change the font size by pressing Ctrl + Scrolling the mouse wheel.

To enable scroll-zoom in PyCharm:

  1. Go to File > Settings to open the Settings dialog
  2. In the Settings dialog, navigate to Editor > General
  3. Check the Change font size (Zoom) with Ctrl + Mouse Wheel option.

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Cycles render – Using the Normal Blue channel for top side effects

Software:
Blender 2.8 | Cycles Render

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The shading normal‘s Z component can be easily used as a ready-to-use procedural mask for ‘covering effects’ like dust, snow, and if baked, also as a base for particle effects like debris and vegetation.

This simple shading flow example the shading normal‘s Z component, that represents how much the surface is facing upwards is separated , mixed (multiplied) with a noise textured and than fed into a ColorRamp Converter node for fine tuning the resulting mask:

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This is the full shading flow of the snow effect in the image above:

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Customizable Photo-realistic Car-paint shader for Cycles

Software:
Blender 2.8 | Cycles Render

CGL Car Paint Presets Pack 1.0 is a highly customizable photo-realistic car-paint shader I developed for Blender & the Cycles render engine.
The shader has built-in realistic effects like color blending, metallic flakes, clear-coat etc.
And ships with 32 ready-to-use real world car paint material presets.

CGL Car Paint Presets Pack 1.0 is available on Blender Market:
https://www.blendermarket.com/products/cg-lion-car-paint-presets-pack-1

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CGL_Cycles_Car_Paint_Presets_Pack_1.0_No_Numbers

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Related posts:
Realistic Spotlights for Blender & Cycles
Complex Fresnel texture for Cycles

UE4 – Package a Project for Windows

Software:
Unreal Engine 4.21

Basic steps for packaging a simple UE4 project for Windows:

Package settings:
Open the Project Settings window:
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  1. In: Project > Description
    Set the project’s details and thumbnail:
    > The Project thumbnail will apear in the UE4 Editor browser.
    > Thumbnail image must be a 192 x 192 resolution PNG
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  2. In: Project > Maps & Modes
    Set default level (Map) for the project:
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  3. In: Project > Packaging
    Choose build configuration
    > For final distribution choose ‘Shipping‘:
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  4. In: Project > Supported Platforms:
    Make sure Windows is selected:
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Note:
If the project folder is located within a deep folder structure, there might be packaging errors because of long file paths.
Adding a Quit command:
Select the FirstPersonCharacter Actor and enter editing mode.
In the Event Graph blueprint, add an Escape key press event node,
And connect it to a Quit command node.

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Creating the game package:
Choose:
File > Package Project > Windows > Windows (64-bit)
And select an output folder.

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A folder named “WindowsNoEditor” will be created,
And inside it will be the game executable along with code and assets folders.
This package can be renamed and copied to other locations.

 

UE4 – Connect a Directional Light to an Atmospheric Fog effect

Software:
Unreal Engine 4.21

UE4‘s Directional Light mimics sun lighting and shadow fairly realistically,
And the Atmospheric Fog visual effect produces a realistic clear sky background that includes the sun’s disk image in the sky.
> The Atmospheric Fog produces a result similar to an implementation of a Preetham physical sky model in common rendering software.

Combined together, these two elements can produce an effective day-light system,
But inorder for this to work the sun’s direction should be controlling the time of day simulated by the Atmospheric Fog.

For the Directional light to control the Atmospheric fog:
In the Directional Light’s details, under light, expend the settings and enable:
Atmosphere / Fog Sun Light

Note:
There is a limitation to this setup’s realism because the sunlight’s color shouldn’t be pure white, but rather yellowish, to orange, depending on the time of day (you can find tables of the sunlight’s color temperature for various time of day on the web)
There is no problem setting the sun’s color, but the problem is that it causes additional coloring of the Atmospheric Fog which isn’t needed since it already is simulating the sky’s color correctly.
The result of this limitation is that we can see a sunset sky with a white sunlight which is wrong.
I didn’t find a workaround for this yet, can’t find a way to set the Atmospheric Fog‘s sun vector without connecting it to a Directional light and can’t find a way to make the Directional Light‘s color not affect the Atmospheric Fog‘s color.

Update:
It seems this limitation can be overcome by disconnecting the Atmospheric Fog from the Directional Light and using the Atmospheric Fog Object’s rotation to control it.

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