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Saturday, February 10, 2018

All in One Blender Matcaps Material

Everyone knows that in Blender 2.79 you can use only single Matcap shader per view. That is sometimes limiting and not so pretty. Especially if you have model with multiple parts.

And because matcap is based on an old Normal mapping technique I decided to make a material that can use specific matcap depending on the object's random number or by assigning specific index.
For this I made a screenshot of the matcaps preview panel and edited it slightly in Gimp. Then using the power of material nodes and some math it turned out like this.



From here you can amaze your unsuspecting friends by making multi-matcap candy ball.



Do you think this texture tiling deserves a tutorial?

Let me know!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Basic usage of Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier

Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier is a powerful modifier that can control vertex weights in given vertex group and vertex groups are widely used in other modifiers to control the amount of the modifications.

In this short tutorial I will show you how to set up a Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier in order to explore its properties. The tutorial is accompanied with short demo video that summarize some of the most important controls of the modifier.

You will need basic knowledge of mesh editing and modifiers to complete this tutorial.

Let's begin!

1. Create a Plane. Subdivide it in Edit Mode couple of times.

2. Select all vertices and add new Vertex Group. Leave it with the default name Group.

3. Create new object that will be the Target for the modifier. In this case I choose Cylinder without caps and very small height. Align it to the Plane.

4. Rename the Cylinder as Target.

5. Now add Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier to the Plane and set the Cylinder object as Target.

6. In the modifier's field Vertex Group select Group.

7. As Distance criteria choose Object. In this case the weights of the Group vertex group will be influenced by the distance to the center of the Target.

8. For Lowest value set 1, for Highest - 0. Those values are very important and explained at the end of this tutorial.

9. In order to see how Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier affects the selected vertex group let's add another modifier which will be controlled by the same vertex group.

10. Add Solidify modifier to the Plane add some Thickness (0.5) and select Group in vertex group field.

11. Move the Plane to the left and rename it to Plane_L. Then duplicate it and move the duplicate to the right. Leave the Target object in the middle. Rename the duplicate to Plane_R.

12. Select Plane_R and in its modifier stack change Distance option of the Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier to Geometry and then select Vertex as geometry element. In this case the weights of the vertex group will be influenced by the distance to the vertices of the Target.

If you set everything correctly you should end up with something similar to the image below. Don't be afraid to be creative and deviate from this look.



The final result: Two subdivided planes with modifiers and Cylinder object as influencer (Target)

Now, try moving the Target towards the center of the Plane_L. You will observe the Solidify modifier changing from no effect to full effect when both centers of the Plane_L and Target coincide.

Now move the Target towards the Plane_R you will notice that the Solidify modifier is in full effect where the vertices of the plane are closest to the vertices of the Target. You can now switch to other Geometry element of influence Edge or Face. All vertices closest to the edge or face will have their weight set to higher vertex wight and thus more influenced by the Solidify modifier.

The Vertex Weight Proximity Modifier has more controls as Falloff Type, Vertex Group Mask and Texture Mask, which give additional control over the modification of the vertex group.

You can see a demo of most of the options in this video:



So, now you can control the weights of the vertices depending on the distances to different parts of given object. Changing vertex weights gives control over the final result from other modifiers in the stack. In this way you can create various effects.

As final note the parameters Lowest and Highest have the following meaning:
Lowest (value) - maximal distance at which the vertices of the vertex group receive weight of 0.
Highest (value) - minimal distance at which the vertices of the vertex group receive weight of 1.

This is a bit confusing. So here are the settings used above explained:
Highest value of 0 means that vertices that are at distance of 0 to the target element will receive the highest vertex weight of 1 and Lowest value of 1, means that vertices that are at distance of 1 and above will receive lowest vertex weight of 0. So you can type any values in those fields and see how the vertex weight values of the Group change.

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Enjoy your day!