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Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook [Paperback]

Colin Litster
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2011

Over 80 great recipes to create life-like Blender objects

  • Master techniques to create believable natural surface materials
  • Take your models to the next level of realism or artistic development by using the material and texture settings within Blender 2.5.
  • Take the hassle out of material simulation by applying faster and more efficient material and texture strategies
  • Part of Packt's Cookbook series: Each recipe is a logically organized according to the surface types with clear instructions and explanations on how these recipes can be applied across a range of materials including complex materials such as oceans, smoke, fire and explosions.

In Detail

Blender 2.5 is one of the most usable 3D suites available. Its material and texture functions offer spectacular surface creation possibilities. It can take you hours just to create basic textures and materials in Blender and when you think of creating complex materials and textures you are petrified. Imagine how you will feel when you overcome these obstacles.

This book wastes no time on boring theory and bombards you with examples of ready-created materials and textures from the start, with clear instructions on how they were created, and what you can learn from them for making your own. It covers all core Blender functions you will ever need to easily create perfect simulation of objects from the simplest to the most complex ones.

The book begins with recipes that show you how to create natural surface materials, including a variety of pebbles, rocks, wood, and water, as well as man-made metals, complete with rust. By utilizing some of the easiest-to-use animation tools available, you will be able to produce accurate movement in mesh objects. Familiarize yourself with a plethora of tools that will help you to effectively organize your textures and materials.

You will learn how to emulate the reflective properties of natural materials and how to simulate materials such as rusted iron, which is difficult to make believable. Transparency and reflection are both tricky natural surface properties to simulate but these recipes will make it easy. Explore ways to speed up animations by using special painting techniques to significantly lower render times. By the end of the book, you will be able to simulate some of the most difficult effects to recreate in any 3D suite, such as smoke, fire, and explosions.

A practical book packed with powerful techniques and solutions for adding materials and textures to your Blender projects

What you will learn from this book

  • Understand the new Blender 2.5 user interface that simplifies creation of materials and textures
  • Explore the complex task of UV mapping of a human face
  • Use the Sub Surface Scattering commands in Blender to create objects the way you want
  • Confidently simulate materials such as smoke, flames, and explosions using the Blender 2.5 Smoke Physics module
  • Create an entire ocean that animates and reacts with objects in the water by using the new Blender 2.5 features
  • Employ simple repeating textures that can be applied with infinite variety without appearing to repeat
  • Synthesize complex materials without complex mesh objects by using alpha transparency
  • Create incredible moving textures and materials by using Blender 2.5 animation curves
  • Create flexible materials that can curve around corners or apply themselves to complex winding meshes without unwanted texture distortion
  • Manage Blender 2.5 materials and textures and effectively apply them to your Blender projects


Each chapter in the book follows a themed approach to creating materials using the new Blender 2.5 features. As you read through each chapter you will learn approaches to create materials and textures. These materials and textures will help you to create a flawless simulation of real-world objects. You need not read the chapters in any particular order to learn to use the Blender 3D suite for materials simulation appropriately. Every recipe in this book will enable you to create a usable material or texture effect as well as teaching you techniques that save your time.

Who this book is written for

If you are a Graphics Designer looking to master the features for materials and textures to create realistic looking models in Blender, then this book is for you. It can be read by both beginners and experienced Blender users; however, prior understanding of object creation and manipulation in Blender would be an advantage.

This is a must-read for Blender users who want to learn the concepts and at the same time experiment with the different Blender Material and texture functions.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars usefull, but not very good March 21 2012
By gakusya
I just wanted to give a heads up to ppl who want to use blender to make assets for applications outside of just animation, like importing into Unreal. I think that might be the sorta the target demo of this book. This book is in black and white, the pdf version too, but I wont subtract stars bcuz of this. If you download the blend files, then you wont even be looking at his pics, so this isnt such a big detriment as it may seem. However -2 stars because you will have to do alot of tinkering on your own to figure things out. Thats what this book is, a nonspecific guide for a starting point to tinkering yourself. Although, he will give you very specific values ie 0.658 for the octave property on the Musgrave texture, this is not what you should be plugging in yourself unless you are working with his blend file with his lighting rig. You should instead set the octave to .5 and tweak it for the desired effect. And you will get an idea of what the desired effect is (ie why you are using this texture and influence) becuase he does sort of tell you what the texture layer is being used for. If your using your own lighting rig and your own meshes, his ultra-specific values won't work at all. Its too specific in way that won't really help you to generalize, and he doesn't explain enough of the theory.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Black and White??? Aug. 21 2011
The book and the info in it are good. But to cheap out and not provide colour is a scam and is a rip off. The argument can be made that yes there are colour files available online etc. But the fact is this book is expensive, more so than other full colour and long blender books. So basically greed has trumped functionality and I would suggest not buying the book. And to say the book was done in B&W in order to keep cost down for artist is complete BS; its to maximize profit at the expense of a decent product. And don't even get me started on the PACT publishing Lighting and Rendering book. Lighting and rendering in B&W...what a joke! Its unfortunate because these books would both be great in colour, but at least in their current state if I ever run out of toilet paper, I'll have a backup.
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First off, I will admit, when I saw 'cookbook' I completely expected to get a book with straight up steps telling you exactly how to do an assortment of different materials and textures on a sphere and that be that. I had used Colin's tutorials at his website previously and knew there would be really good results, but I figured I'd probably have to figure out what each step specifically does on my own. However, I was very pleased to discover I was wrong. You see, each chapter in the book is divided into sections, called recipes, and each recipe has a quick intro after which it goes right into the steps for making the material. There is no theory - which I love. You jump right into real usable material creation almost right away. I also really liked that at the end of each section there is a review of sorts, with explanations of key steps from the section and what certain settings that were used do. On top of how well the book it set up, it isn't just basic static materials on a mesh. There are also recipes for animated textures, UV mapping, and I was especially surprised to see a chapter on generating smoke and fire. Seeing materials and textures being used in such a wide array of applications all in one book was pleasantly surprising.

Another great thing about this book is all of the extras that come along with it. Throughout the book you are reminded (and a few times required) to use downloaded files from the PacktPub website. While it is a pretty big zip file, it was incredibly helpful in itself. The blend files match right up with when you are prompted to save in the book so that if you mess up (or try to go too fast, like me) you can open of the corresponding blend file and compare your blend to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for texture and materials creation March 17 2011
In my ongoing efforts to "sharpen my axe" I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my Blender skills. This book fits the bill very well. While it's aimed at professional Graphics Designers with at least a rudimentary working knowledge of Blender 2.5, I have also found it to be very useful for me being a jack-of-all-trades game developer and spotty Blender 2.5 knowledge.

This review is written from the perspective of using Blender to create graphics for real-time applications such as games. The author has aimed his material mainly at Graphic Artists who create very high quality still images or animations using the built-in Blender rendering engine rather than an external game engine such as Unity, UDK or the Blender game engine. Nevertheless, it's easy enough to just bake the textures created in Blender for use by external engines.

This book presents 80 recipes for creating a wide variety of textures and materials ranging mainly organized into natural and man-made materials. Blender has some extremely advanced features for procedural texture generation. This texture cookbook presents a multitude of techniques for creating, manipulating and combining textures to achieve some truly spectacular effects.

Colin Lister promises to teach everything from an increased understanding of the new Blender 2.5 user interface to creating an entire animating ocean and UV mapping a human face. He also teaches how to synthesize complex materials without complex mesh objects by using alpha transparency.

The basic approach of the book is to present each of its 80 recipes in a way that allows them to be followed independently of each other. Many of the recipes depend on previous recipes, but this isn't a problem if you download the .
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