Blender Tutorial: Wobble GIF



You see these on Tumblr a lot, sometimes as photos and sometimes as 3D generated. Fortunately, the 3D kind are easier to work with since you get perfect camera control.

Essentially, you’re hijacking the brain’s sense of parallax to create depth. The background is moving left and right, the foreground is a little bit. Whatever the camera pivot point is stays “fixed” as the depth when the brain puts it together.

So. Super simple setup, and you can use basically any model for this, though some will look cooler / work out better. Ideally, you have three planes: foreground, focus point, background.

Acrylo Wobble Camera Setup

So you have your model – whatever it is – and your first camera positioned where you’d normally put it. I just UV mapped a spiral image to this wavy line I rotated; whatever. The important thing here is that my focal point is the cursor and that I’ve rotated two extra cameras around that point (+/- 5 degrees, but that’s arbitrary. Too much angle will lose focus because you only have three frames to work with – jumping around too much is just confusing strobe. Try less, maybe, for a more subtle wobble). The only thing that matters is your cameras make an arc (so they’re the same distance away. You can use constraints against an Empty if you want, but rotating in one axis works too) and the angles converge on the focal point.

Render the three frames. I’m labeling them here that the left camera is 1, middle is 2 and right is 3. Protip: you can activate another camera as being the camera to be rendered from by using CTRL-0 on the numpad with that camera selected. It’s exactly like the normal 0 going into the camera view, but the CTRL bit also makes that camera the active one.

Spiral 1

Spiral 2

Spiral 3

You can use GIMP / Photoshop or any number of .gif assembler programs for this part. I Googled this and it seems to work well, but my five minute using it isn’t exactly a full review. Take your frames and assemble them 1, 2, 3, 2 which creates that loop back to the beginning frame. Mine is a 50 ms delay, but play with that too, probably working in conjunction with how far apart the cameras physically are. If it’s a more subtle wobble you don’t need it to go as slowly, simulating your one physical head moving around the object and the time it takes.

That’s basically it. It’s super easy, you just need to take a little care with how the cameras are positioned.

Morning Doodles: Scaffold Skeleton

Skeleton 1

Skeleton 2

Skeleton 3

Skeleton 4

Skeleton 5

I wish I could pull off the pretentious “These are a metaphor into my soul; of the increasingly mechanistic society that turns our organic bones into rigid metal ones…” but let’s face it: I’m not that kind of artist.

Just playing this morning with some stacking modifiers in Blender and came across the new Wireframe module. It’s pretty sweet, actually. Add a bit of colour and a lot of DoF and you get these.

80’s Halloween

I know I’m a week early on the Hallow’s Eve thing, but I was playing around with some old skull models for a different reason and had the idea.

My favorite part is the glossy shine running down the orange sunglasses:

Not sure if I’ve posted this before, but I did do some quick Freestyle tests with the same model (which comes to us from the repository) a few months back when that was first revealed:

Isometric Blender Tutorial + Download

I made this years ago and am just now sharing it. Sorry for the wait you never knew you were waiting for.

There’s two different ways to do isometric projection when using a computer screen:

True, exactly like isometric grid paper and the angles are 30° from horizontal as shown on the Wiki

Super easy to do in blender, just use the provided angles.

which gives you this:

…and digital, which for the benefit of smooth lines and consistent video game sprites uses a slightly off angle.

Habbo Hotel:

When zoomed in we see a pattern with lines using two pixels over and one pixel row up. You can do the trig yourself, but this is not perfectly 30°. It is, however, much easier to make by hand (as old games often were) and easier to calculate grid position (and thus, the imaginary 3D space the sprites occupy in “depth”).

A bit harder to do in Blender. I wish I could say I slaved over a hot calculator and furious pumped through calculations but honestly? I just played until it worked.

Some things to note:

Orthographic camera. As opposed to a perspective camera, orthographic means all of your lines are parallel. Since our isometric grid is an orthographic grid, we’ll be needing this. It’s in the camera settings of Blender.

Now, since we want that fixed viewpoint angle, we can’t rotate the camera or move it to look at things. We can, however, use the Shift X and Y to look around our scene and scale to zoom in and out. The physical camera should never change once we’ve set it’s proper location.

Setting up the 3D space. We’ll need two things, one or both you probably already have: a camera and a cube (or empty).

The cube can sit at 0,0,0 (X,Y,Z) and the camera should be moved to (pressing N and inputting the numbers at the top right) 12.05713, -12.05713, 9.84465 (X,Y,Z). Go ahead and lock those numbers if you’d like, to avoid accidentally moving something in the future. Now, the important part. Add a Track To constraint to the camera and target the cube. Play with those axis until it’s back to right side up (for me, -Z and world up is Y).

Pressing 0 on the numpad to see the camera’s view, you should be seeing your cube in isometric. F12 to render. Good? Good. If you want that old school Habbo / Roller Coaster Tycoon look, turn off AA in the render panel and make your resolution 640 x 480. You should notice your render is following that 2×1 line pattern we described above.

Of course, this works just as well with an empty, if you don’t want to see the cube in the render (for building scenes around it, etc.)

Fun fact, this is how to make a geometrically perfect Acrylo logo: Make cube. Join all four top verts into central point, making a pyramid. Move point up two units, so whole thing is four tall and the base 2×2. Smile and clap in delight.

If the instructions aren’t working out for you, or you’re a lazy bum you can download the .blend file here


Normal Mapping in Blender Cycles

It’s probably old hat to a lot of you out there, but I just discovered this and there wasn’t any high ranking Google help directly pointing to it, so:

Which takes normal maps (the rainbow coloured kind) and turns them into something useful in Blender’s Cycles renderer.


In case that ultra difficult node setup is getting you down, here’s the .blend file to play with. You’ll have to link up your own normal texture(s) and my “UV map” is literally just the default U press. Whatever. I just found this in Google images quickly, but you likely have your own.

Merry Minimalist: Coffee

I’ve been receiving lots of love for the first one, which is always cool to see. Here’s another! It seems the ratio of hardcore minimalists (without the text) to the wimps (that’s me!) is overwhelmingly on the text side, so this is released in just one style.

Blender Tutorial: Super Basic UI

You open Blender for the first time. You panic; there’s buttons everywhere. You close it again: “I’ll figure it out some other day.”

Today is that some other day.

Okay. First things first: Blender is of the mentality that everything should adapt to how you want it. You can edit, move and change basically everything you see to your liking. You’ll notice that mine, below, is slightly different from the factory default.

You’ll also notice that I’ve outlined some buttons in the corners of some boxes. Two things: you can have as many boxes as you’d like and each one has that button in the corner which denotes what that box does. You can click and drag the boundaries of the boxes with the line that separates them (when you hover over the line your cursor should change to the double edged arrows). You can split and join them by right clicking when you’re in that hovering arrow area and selecting the appropriate option.

If you select “join” you’ll be given an arrow pointing towards one or the other of the boxes on either side of the crease you selected (note, you can’t join one of those three right boxes into the bigger one left box, it must be a crease where there’s only two sides. For example: joining on of those three boxes vertically into another = good) and if you move your mouse into either of the boxes that’s the one that will “fill” with the other, joining into one big box.

If you want to split, it’ll allow you to place the new crease. Obviously, you can always move it after it’s placed.

That was a mouthful. Basically, if you right click a crease and want to join things, it’ll give you the option of which kind of box you want to keep. Remember those little buttons in the first photo? Let’s go there next:

Those are the kind of box it is. The large one on the left is a 3D view box, showing you the 3D view. So is the middle one in that group of three; it’s a 3D view that I keep set to my camera’s view (we’ll get there later). There’s also a timeline in the middle bottom and a node box in the middle top – two more things we’ll cover much later – and on the far right the “properties” menu, which is to say the main panel of doing things. In the factory default there’ll also be a box above this menu that is a tree of all the objects in your scene; I’ve found this mostly useless. Preferences vary, obviously, but if you’re low on screen real estate that’d be on my list of things to not need. Right click on the crease, join upwards (so the arrow is into the outliner box) and click to confirm.


So, when you’ve played around and set things up how you like them you can save them so that every time you open Blender (and every time you click “new”) it’ll go back to that state. Your UI will be saved with each file, so if you have an animation and a bunch of animation boxes, it’ll load exactly like that next time. If you don’t need them and have gotten rid of them, it’ll save and load exactly how you leave it. To save the UI you’ve made as that startup default, it’s in the top menu like so:

And there’s the factory default setting just below that if you screw it up and want to reset.

Protip: in the load menu, there’s a toggle on the left for “load UI” which is what it sounds like: you can choose to load the file’s UI as it was or load the file with the UI you currently have.

Gallery WIP

It’s a rainy saturday morning so I made this and decorated a cake I made yesterday.

Things to do:

  • Populate the shelves with neat things.
  • Render with more samples
  • Fix the bump map on that wooden box
  • Maybe add some pendant lights or something; continue adding interest.

But, it’s a start.

Ideas in different mediums

Cutting down speed paints to being properly speedy seems to be the way to go – used as they should be, not finished works but concept generation and quick ideation.

The 3D model version took about as long as it would have to flesh out the paintings to a respectable level (with my current skills).

Every villain’s lair needs to have an unassuming topside front to conceal the sprawling underground complexes. Mine, of course, happens to be the innocent Snapstag Cider Flyers Brewery, complete with plywood cows that would pop up and play a pre-recorded “Mooo!” any time an investigator ventured too close.

Works In Progress

Some things that I’ve been playing around with. May or may not ever finish them, but the ideas are there and people keep telling me to share the intermediate things.

I feel like the loft is off to a good start, but that back wall needs some love. Not sure yet. The external scene is, well, I’m terrible at them. I mean, that’s the point of practice, but still. I started a speed paint of almost that exact idea but realized half way through that doing the shading for each of those chimney stones is an ugly process.

The MK2 Stealth Chairs are the design we were originally going to make after we did the cardboard versions, but we got distracted and it never fully materialized. Someday, perhaps.

Funnily enough, not counting the render times themselves, making these takes about the same amount of time as my “speed” painting does. I’m both a pretty fast modeler and a pretty slow drawer, it seems. It is getting faster though. I was painting this morning and went to take a break only to realize it wasn’t as late as I thought it should have been. So that’s good. Improvement!

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