Tag: blender

Checking a sundial’s accuracy in Blender

Lately I’ve been involved in updating and maintaining some official add-ons in Blender. One of them is Sun Position, by Michael Martin. This add-on is extremely useful for architects, and more generally anyone interested in getting fairly accurate Sun lighting for a specific time and place on Earth. In this article I’ll show how I could use it to simulate a sundial in Blender and check that it gave the correct time.

From OSM to Blender

In our article on the making of Antarctica, we used Open Street Map (OSM) to obtain the coordinates of points with which we can create a closed line, representing the coast boundaries of the Antarctic continent. In this article, we will explain how we send a request to the Overpass turbo server to get filtered data, then we show how we have manipulated the data in Blender to get a Antarctic Polar Stereographic projection (in the WGS84 coordinate system).

Trace and Inverse Trace Stratigraphic Book

This article is part of a series on the making of the museum of Lodève.
For Lodève’s museum, we worked on many different aspects, short animation movies, cartographic video projections and 3D scans of fossils such as spoors or bones. For the latter, one topic of particular interest was the recreation of a 3D book of stratigraphic layers, such that you can turn and see the trace on the front, and the inverse trace on the back of each page.

In this article, we will explain how we have reproduced the double page for the fossil rain. The book is only meant to be educational, so we were allowed to recreate a surface with rain drop craters which were too small to be scanned with our equipment.

Recent dried traces of rain drops. Photo: S. Fouché ©Musée de Lodeve

Cartoon fire effect

This article is part of a series on the making of the museum of Lodève. In the movies, there were scenes taking place in caves or at dusk. So we had to create a fire effect, with a cartoon render to suit the art direction, and that could have a torch-like movement.

We have tested many techniques in Blender or Fusion:
– mesh displacement,
– 2D texture with UV distorsions,
– particules with metaballs
– mask particules
– alpha additive particules

This exploration allowed us to find the most efficient ways of making fire according to the case, knowing that Blender was our main tool from layout to lighting, except for the compositing where Fusion was used.

2D Camera Rig

As you may have heard, we at Les Fées Spéciales have been using cutout animation techniques extensively on our previous projects. Some aspects are explored in other articles, but the film layout is one of particular interest to us. A problem commonly encountered during layout of a 2D film is that of getting nice and smooth camera movements when your camera is zooming and panning, that is, rotating about its center.
This article demonstrates a camera setup we created to solve this problem.

Image background transform

If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you had to correctly place a background reference image in Blender, as we have, you may have felt frustrated by the limited controls offered by the Background Images panel. We couldn’t find an add-on to facilitate the process of correctly placing images, so we wrote one. It uses controls close to Blender’s own…

How to Choose a Software License for my Blender Scripts

One of the stated missions of Les Fées Spéciales is to publish as much of the code we use in production as possible. Publishing these scripts and programs falls under the copyrights laws—or author’s rights laws in our case, since we operate in France, a country under a civil law system.
In order for the community to use these scripts, the scripts need to carry a software license. Writing an overview of the history and inner workings of software license, and free software in particular, is way beyond the scope of this article, however it seems useful to remind scripters what they may do with their scripts, should they choose to publish them, particularly in the context of Blender scripts.

2018, An Exciting Year for Free Software

Dear Visitor, the Technical Department wish you a happy new year!

And this incoming year is a very exciting for a lot of reasons!
Let’s start in terms of projects for us. Next October will be released the feature film Dilili in Paris for which we worked hard for the past two years. Hopefully you will see it in festivals before then. And you’ll have more articles about that production soon.
This summer will be seen the opening of a very nice archeology and geology museum. The museum is located in Lodève, next to Montpellier in France. We are currently creating more than 45 minutes of animation, interactive programs, and multiple 3D reconstructions for the museum. It’s improving a lot our tools, methods and pipeline and we will share more on that too, later this year.
And we have other nice projects. So we are very busy, but we have a lot of things to share along those works, so stay tuned.

But it’s not only about us, it’s about huge releases in free software too!

Mesh To Bone Shape

When rigging, you usually want to add custom shapes to your bone controllers. It helps to simplify the selection of these bones and moreover it gives information to help the animator to understand quickly what a bone can do. In Blender, the default procedure can be really tedious so we have created a script to help handle adding and editing custom shapes to bones.

How to install python libs in Blender (part 1)

EDIT 2020: This series is now obsolete since Blender 2.80. Please see this answer on StackExchange. Here is a possible function to install modules inside Blender, provided you can modify the Blender directory:

import subprocess

def install_pip_dep(module_name):
    python_path = bpy.app.binary_path_python
    subp = subprocess.run([python_path, "-m", "ensurepip"])
    if subp.returncode != 0:
        return False
    subp = subprocess.run([python_path, "-m", "pip", "install", module_name])
    if subp.returncode != 0:
        return False
    return True

if __name__ == '__main__':

In this article, we share some tips to install third-party python libraries for your scripts and add-ons. This is the easy way, when the library exists on repositories accessible to package managers such as pip.