icon-lightingMake an Abstract Background

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Tags - Particles, VFX
Software:
  • Blender 2.7
Discover How To:
  • How to use a gradient effect across an object
  • Why reference photos are essential for every project
  • How to use Depth of Field (DOF) effectively

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

simulations12.54materials icon2.55modelling icon31.39compositing25.24modelling icon323.00icon-texturing16.56
Software:
  • Blender 2.7
Discover How To:
  • How to use a gradient effect across an object
  • Why reference photos are essential for every project
  • How to use Depth of Field (DOF) effectively

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

simulations12.54materials icon2.55modelling icon31.39compositing25.24modelling icon323.00icon-texturing16.56

Finished Result

 

Download the finished .blend

I originally said on Twitter that I wasn’t going to do a tutorial on this coz I thought it looked too simple, but loads of people wanted it anyway. So here ya go!

It’s a relatively simple idea. We’re trying recreate one of the many awesome photo ops that fiber optics¬†present¬†using Blender.

It’s mostly heavy material tweaking, particle settings and Depth of Field.

Hope you enjoyed this somewhat simple tutorial. If you make something cool, post it in the comments below :)

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Summary

Creating the Fiber

1. Delete everything and add a Cylinder with the following dimensions (switch to Metric units in the Scene Panel).
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2. Apply a new material with an emission shader. Choose a color and set the strength to 2.
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3. Add a Glass Shader and combine it with the emission shader using a mix shader as shown.

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4. In order to create the gradient effect, Project UV unwrap the cylinder and rotate it 90 degrees in the image editor (the direction of the gradient).

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5. Add a Gradient Texture and Texture Coordinate node. Connect it to as shown.

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6. Drop a ColorRamp node between the Gradient texture and Mix shader, and create the gradient shown. Flip the inputs on the Mix Shader. If done correct you should see the gradient on your rendered cylinder.

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7. If you take a close look at Fiber Optics, the light only touches the outer edges of the tube. To create this effect, add a Fresnel and Mix Shader node as shown. This will fake the appearance of refracting light.

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8. Real fiber optics have little bubbles and irregularities inside. In order to create this, add a Noise texture, Brightness and Contrast and Mix shader, and connect as shown:

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Your final node setup should look like this:

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10. To make the tip of the fiber glow, create a new material and assign it to the top face. Use an Emission with 200 strength and a light blue color.

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The Particle System

1. Add a Plane and scale it down to roughly 30cm in width/length (see in the properties panel: N)

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2. Add a Particle System to the plane and set the Render Object to the Cylinder.

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3. For whatever reason, the cylinder object needs to be rotated 90 degrees in side view mode to work as particles. Once rotated, apply the rotation (Ctrl+A).

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4. Back in the particle settings, make these changes for some randomness:

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Rendering

1. Add a camera and position it at the front of the fibers. Set the clipping start to 2cm.

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Render it now and you should have this:

render1

 

2. Add an empty and place it where you want the camera’s focus to be.

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3. In the camera settings, set the Focus to Empty, and set the Aperture to F/Stop 5.6 (you can change this number to suit).

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Render now and you should have something like this:

render2

 

Cleaning up the scene

Currently there’s fibers everywhere and no sense of clarity. To fix this we’ll do some weight painting to better position the particles.

1. Before we can weight paint, add some geometry to the plane by subdividing (W), and setting the number of cuts to 100 in the toolbar.

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2. In weight paint mode (Ctrl+Tab), start by painting only what’s in the camera’s field of view (this will concentrate the fibers to only what’s visible).

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3. Using a lower weight, paint areas where you don’t want any fibers. Leave it dense around the area of focus and the foreground. You can make it fairly sparse in the background.

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4. Back in the particle settings, set the Vertex Group Density to the newly painted Group.

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Crank up the samples to something crazy like 2000 and do a final render:

render3

 

For some finishing touches, open the image in Photoshop/Gimp and paint some bright pink, purple and aqua light leaks on a new layer.

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Lower the opacity of that layer to around 40% and you’re finished!

 

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