Blender Sketchbook

Abstract Exploding Geometry


A friend of mine wanted a background for his new phone, and after way too much time spent thinking about what I wanted to make for him, I had a revelation while working on a similar project for an Xbox One theme. This image was created in blender using a basic cube and a bunch of modifiers to add geometry, displace it, and make it explode. I did some final touches in Photoshop do adjust the contrast of the image.

The texture I used for the detail was something I pulled from

Rooks Render

Rooks 1

After seeing some renders by Oscar Leif via BlenderNation, I decided I’d try my hand at some of the techniques on display there: environment lighting, some simple node materials, and using texture nodes to create a checkerboard effect. After playing around a bit, this is what I came up with – a lineup of rooks using different materials and then rendered with environment lighting from an HDR map.

The two rooks on the right are materials of my own make, and the three on the left were created from the post Oscar made about his own chess scene materials. The glass rook, as it turns out, just uses the default glass shader.

This was an interesting study in material nodes, and I enjoy practicing with them. Improvements I would consider making are adjusting the color of my dark rook material to be more black, like Oscar’s, and adjusting the lighter wood texture on the board a bit. I’d also like to spend some time making the rook model better, and maybe eventually modeling an entire chess set.

Like my updated Parks render I posted recently, this HDR map comes from the HDRLabs HDRI archive, this one being the Bryant Park map.

Parks Environment Lighting Update


I’ve made quite a few geometric changes to my “Parks” Blender scene since the last update, but unfortunately, most of those are not visible in the render camera that I’ve been using to post project updates. I’ve made other changes that are very noticeable however, as you can see here.

In this version of the scene, I’ve replaced the old single-source sun lamp with an HDR environment lighting setup. The result is a much softer look to the light, but also a more realistic color. I’ve greatly reduced the saturation of the background color here as well.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to say this is how the lighting will look from this point forward, as I kind of liked the garish look of the bright blue, and the hard sunlight from before. Still, I think this was an interesting experiment, and may lead to a better lighting setup for this project in the future.

The image data I used to create the HDR lighting can be found at the HDRLabs HDRI archive. I used the one called “Bryant Park”. They’ve got a wonderful collection of HDRI images there, all graciously provided for free. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend it.



Parks render test


This is a quick render of a Blend file I’ve been playing around with in my spare time recently. I was feeling inspired after seeing a simple landscape painting at one of my wife’s relative’s houses.

The idea I’m pursuing with this project is to organically add things to the scene as I see fit. I’m keeping everything to a relative scale, but not worrying much about keeping things on the grid or being precise about placement.

I’ll post more later as I continue!