Blender 101: Learning Blender as a 3ds Max user

The next tutorial in the 101 series is all about Blender. This is mainly aimed at 3ds Max users, as it discusses how to set up Blender to make learning it easier with the knowledge you already have. There's plenty of other websites out there that can get you started with the basics of learning Blender, so I decided I wanted to start off with something else.

It's always good to add new software to your personal toolkit and I've been experimenting a lot with Blender lately. Why Blender? Well, it's got a lot of great features for a free application. Dynamic topology sculpting, fluid and smoke sim capabilites, and a built in modern path tracer, to only name a few things. It's really evolved to become a software package that can rival some of the "bigger" packages out there. Oh yeah, don't forget it's free. (Download it here)

EDIT: Check out the Cosmos Laundromat Pilot to see Blender in action.

I'll always love working with 3ds Max, but challenging yourself with new or different software teaches you to adapt your workflow and improves it in both packages. One is not better or worse that the other, it's just different. (And that's all I'll say on that subject)

The Blender community are also a great group of people, so I wanted to include some of the resources and websites I've been learning from in the last few months.

Corona 101: Hit the ground rendering

Hi there!

With the release of Corona 1.0 recently, I wanted to make some videos for new users to get acquainted with it. There's 3 videos which talk about material creation, basic lighting and render settings respectively.

I've been using Corona since one of the first alpha builds and it's been my main renderer for over a year now, with most of the work on my blog being created with it. As I mention in the videos, this is just my opinion on why I like using it. There's no need to start a discussion about which renderer is better, because it all comes down to the workflow you like to use.

That's why these videos are intended for people who are new to Corona to have a look at, outlining basic usage.

If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, you've got two options:

- A free fully functional 45-day trial: No watermarks, no resolution limit and you can even use it for commercial work.

- Corona Alpha 6: This version works up to 3ds Max 2014 and will remain free forever. Even though it's an alpha version, it's very capable.

Check out the Corona website for more info.

If you're looking for more, the Corona documentation also has some great resources. Because it's a very community driven project, posting in the forum is also a great way to ask questions.

Enjoy the videos!

EDIT 12/03: Now in stereo! Audio has been fixed. :)

Christmas came early: Modeling a wreath in 3ds max

After all the trees, it's time for something different. I created a tutorial covering how to model and shade a Christmas wreath in 3ds Max. No plugins are used for the modeling and even though I'm using Corona to render it all, the techniques can be applied to different render engines easily.

The tutorial is split in 5 parts: Modeling the wreath, modeling the decorations, modeling the lights, adding materials to everything and a basic light setup for rendering.
Post-production is not included, but there's a lot of resources you can find on that subject.

All five parts are available below or on YouTube. If I don't end up posting something before the end of the year, I'd like to wish you Happy Holidays in advance. It's been a lot of fun seeing people dropping by in the last year!