This was an exercise in visualisation in Blender and its Cycles renderer. I took an old project that was done in Cinema 4D and brought it into Blender. Spending some time on the materials and lighting was the next order of business. Node based materials and the Cycles lighting model is quite different to what I am used to in Cinema 4D, but this exercise really got me familiar with the process. With my new graphics card, GPU rendering is starting to become my new friend.
This was a quick test in Blender and Cycles. I am getting used to the Cycles way of doing things and GPU rendering is starting to feel like a friend. The new denoising features of 2.79 is looking good. Even though it is not optimised for animation, it is working well. I had to add in the shadow of the sphere in After Effects, as the ball did not produce enough of a shadow itself. It is features like selecting specific objects to recieve a lights effect, that I miss. I did find I had an issue trying to get the lighting to be the same at the beginning of the animation and the end. The physical nature of the lighting model might make looping a problem. More tests will be needed to find out for sure.
Coming from Cinema 4D, I am quite used to Mograph and what tools it gives to us motion graphics designers. I love it, we all do. So I was amazed to find there was similar system for Blender in the form of a plugin called Animation Nodes.
Authored by Jacques Lucke, this is a node based tool, much like expresso, another tool I love from Cinema 4D. I just had to give this a go. This is my first fumbling steps into this new world. It is a very complex system, that initially takes some getting used to, but it offers a huge amount of power to the user.
So step one was to make a grid of cloned boxes. This is the layout I eventually ended up with:
I added some random rotation and movement to the boxes with a couple of keyframes. Really elegant and powerful. It is going to take me a bit of time to get really comfortable with Animation Nodes, but it is going to be a fun ride.