Blender again

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Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:56 pm

I've started to look into Blender again as a way of creating 3D scenes. I still want to make a Two Trees rendition that does somewhat justice to how I feel they look. Blender has now more ways of creating things like volumetric fog, halo's etcetera and there is also a very nice Tree generation script called 'Sapling' :)

This is a very preliminary attempt:

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Re: Blender again

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:36 pm

Good first rendition! :)

I'm not sure if the script has sub-models by species, but just in case it does, Telperion is affine to he Cherry tree (Prunus avium) and Laurelin is affine to the Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides).

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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:37 pm

hi, thanks!
Yes, I know that Laurelin is somewhat Laburnum-shaped. We have a lot of those here; and I always thought that they look a bit like Weeping Willows, in any case because of the "hanging clusters of golden flowers / leaves". I made this particular Laurelin tree from the "Weeping Willow" preset: the script has four: Black Tupelo, Black Oak, Quaking Aspen and Weeping Willow. But they are only presets, you can tweak all the parameters as you like. I just have to figure out the right setting to create something Cherry-tree like.
The only thing that I don't think will work yet is to have leaves with two differently coloured sides. It says in the Silmarillion that Laurelin's leaves are dark green at one side, but silvery on the other (if I remember correctly). That's not yet possible, I'm afraid.
But for the rest Blender is evolving very nicely; it is now quite as good as many expensive commercial 3D packages. There are now three or four movies made with it by the Blender Foundation, and some more by others. That's also cool because those projects usually work as a boost for further developing the software.

Here's some pictures from the Blender Gallery on http://www.blender.org/features-gallery ... t-gallery/ that show what's possible:


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Re: Blender again

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:14 pm

Lúthien wrote:[...] The only thing that I don't think will work yet is to have leaves with two differently coloured sides. It says in the Silmarillion that Laurelin's leaves are dark green at one side, but silvery on the other (if I remember correctly). That's not yet possible, I'm afraid.
The details are a little different between the Silmarillion and Lost Tales versions. I always tend towards the Lost Tales for details: not only are there often more of them, but they also represent the records of his first shamanic/gnostic Visions/concepts. If you accept my premise as valid, then you can see that later, redacted and 'polished' material is less representative of that mode of consciousness (more technically, the difference between the theta wave state and the waking consciousness state (beta waves).

Below, I present both versions for your quick reference:
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:In that time the Valar were gathered together to hear the song of Yavanna, and they sat silent upon their thrones of council in the Máhanaxar, the Ring of Doom near to the golden gates of Valmar, and Yavanna Kementári sang before them and they watched.

And as they watched, upon the mound there came forth two slender shoots; and silence was over all the world in that hour, nor was there any other sound save the chanting of Yavanna. Under her song the saplings grew and became fair and tail, and came to flower; and thus there awoke in the world the Two Trees of Valinor. Of all things which Yavanna made they have most renown, and about their fate all the tales of the Elder Days are woven.

The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadow of his fluttering leaves. The other bore leaves of a young green like the new-opened beech; their edges were of glittering gold. Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground; and from the blossom of that tree there came forth warmth and a great light. Telperion the one was called in Valinor, and Silpion, and Ninquelótë, and many other names; but Laurelin the other was, and Malinalda, and Culúrien, and many names in song beside.
--- "Of the Beginning of Days", The Silmarillion
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:[...] There having sung she {Yavanna} brooded for a great while, and the Valar sat in a circle about, and the plain of Valinor was dark. Then after a time there came at last a bright gleam of gold amid the gloom, and a cry of joy and praise was sent up by the Valar and all their companies. Behold from that place that had been watered from Kulullin rose a slender shoot, and from its bark pale gold effulgence poured; yet did that plant grow apace so that in seven hours there was a tree of mighty stature, and all the Valar and their folk might sit beneath its branches.

Of a great shapeliness and goodly growth was that stock, and nought was there to break its smooth rind, which glowed faintly with a yellow light, for a vast height above the earth. Then did fair boughs thrust overhead in all directions, and golden buds swelled from all the twigs and lesser branches, and from these burst leaves of a rich green whose edges shone. Already was the light that that tree gave wide and fair, but as the Valar gazed it put forth blossom in exceeding great profusion, so that all its boughs were hidden by long swaying clusters of gold flowers like a myriad hanging lamps of flame, and light spilled from the tips of these and splashed upon the ground with a sweet noise.

Then did the Gods praise Vana and Palurien and rejoice in the light, saying to them: "Lo, this is a very fair tree indeed, and must have a name unto itself," and Kemi said: "Let it be called Laurelin, for the brightness of its blossom and the music of its dew," but Vana would call it Lindelokse, and both names remain.

Now was it twelve hours since Lindelokse had first sprouted, and at that hour did a glint of silver pierce the yellow blaze, and behold the Valar saw a shoot arise in that place whereto the pools of Silindrin had been poured. It had a bark of tender white that gleamed like pearls and it grew even as swiftly as had Laurelin, and as it grew the glory of Laurelin abated and its blossom shone less, till that tree glowed only gently as in sleep: but, behold, the other waxed now to a stature even as lofty as Laurelin, and its stock was yet more shapely and more slender, and its rind like silk, but its boughs above were thicker and more tangled and its twigs denser, and they put forth masses of bluish green leaves like spearheads.

Then did the Valar stare in wonder, but Palurien said: "Not yet has this tree ceased its growing", and behold as she spake it blossomed, and its blossoms did not hang in clusters but were like separate flowers growing each on fine stems that swung together, and were as silver and pearls and glittering stars and burnt with a white light; and it seemed as if the tree's heart throbbed, and its radiance wavered thereto waxing and waning.

Light like liquid silver distilled from its bole and dripped to earth, and it shed a very great illumination about the plain, yet was that not as wide as the light of the tree of gold, and by reason also of its great leaves and of the throb of its inward life it cast a continual flutter of shadows among the pools of its brightness, very clear and black; whereat Lorien could not contain his joy, and even Mandos smiled. But Lorien said: "Lo! I will give this tree a name and call it Silpion", and that has ever been its name since.
--- "The Coming Of The Valar And The Building Of Valinor", Lost Tales, vol. I.

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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:14 pm

Wow, thanks for the help!

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Re: Blender again

Post by Calantirniel » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:28 pm

I like the forging of this concept this far Luthien! Thanks for sharing, I look most forward to your progress (and Dave providing those quotes I am sure will be helpful) :-)
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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:54 pm

this time I worked more on the leaves - two different sorts, one light green/silverish, the other darker green. The light one is also emitting light; but the main light source of the scene is an invisible light within the tree. There is also a halo object to give the whole a bit of an aura of luminousity. It's not yet to my liking though, but we'll get there.

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Re: Blender again

Post by Calantirniel » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:32 am

Ah, I see the detail hehe! Looking good, you will get it the way you want, I am sure! It looks like it is on snow right now too :-)
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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:21 pm

Thanks! Re. "looking like snow": that's because the ground was completely structure-less material. In that model I was trying out the leaves and did not put any effort in the rest of the scene.

Today I experimented a bit with how to make good grass. That's still quite difficult; it oftentimes looks way too regular to be credible. But I found a blog from a guy who had a tip of using multiple "grass stalk models", al different in shape. Combining these on one object (Ezellohar in this case) and performing some randomisation in rotation, size, and "clumpiness" looks indeed a lot better than I had until now achieved.

I'm also thinking how to create the "luminous leaves" effect especially combined with the fact that the other side of Telperion's leaves is dark green. What I did now was to divide the leaves in two, and assign to half a dark leaf image, and to the other half a lighter image and set THAT one to also emit light.
On top of that, I copied a subset of that collection of leaves and turned those into a halo object in order to create the luminous effect around the tree. And lastly, there is a point light source inside the tree which is responsible for the majority of the actual light that Telperion radiates. I set the falloff to inverse linear: in the normal physical world, light intensity decreases following an inverse square relationship with the distance. I.E.: for a point light source, the intensity of the light that falls on an object two meters away is four times as weak as when it would be one meter from the source. But because the light of the Trees is very "carrying", I thought it better to alter that.

I'm still not satisfied by far, but it's getting better ... (don't pay attention to the mountains - now they are still "basic featureless material", apart from a greyish colour)

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Re: Blender again

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:50 pm

Lúthien wrote:[...] I set the falloff to inverse linear: in the normal physical world, light intensity decreases following an inverse square relationship with the distance. I.E.: for a point light source, the intensity of the light that falls on an object two meters away is four times as weak as when it would be one meter from the source. But because the light of the Trees is very "carrying", I thought it better to alter that.
I think you are correct in doing this.

In my shamanic Voyages, I too have noticed that bright objects (usually, entities like the Salvia-people) appear much brighter at a distance than they do right beside you -- you can look right at them and not be blinded, whereas from a distance they can appear so bright that it seems you would get retinal burns at close range.

Perhaps this is an inherent feature of the Imaginal in general? I've also noticed it with regard to the Moon-chalice imagery.

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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:28 pm

Meneldur Olvarion wrote:In my shamanic Voyages, I too have noticed that bright objects (usually, entities like the Salvia-people) appear much brighter at a distance than they do right beside you -- you can look right at them and not be blinded, whereas from a distance they can appear so bright that it seems you would get retinal burns at close range.

Perhaps this is an inherent feature of the Imaginal in general? I've also noticed it with regard to the Moon-chalice imagery.
Exactly! That is also my experience. It also goes for the image of the Two Trees as seen in meditation. Then they appear no brighter as this image above, but if you consider that only a single fruit of Laurelin is powering the whole Sun - then the area would be so luminous as when there would be a thousand suns in the sky.
It clearly works very different.

In that regard, it is interesting how the strong force works:
Wikipedia wrote:The strong force acts between quarks. Unlike all other forces (electromagnetic, weak, and gravitational), the strong force does not diminish in strength with increasing distance. After a limiting distance (about the size of a hadron) has been reached, it remains at a strength of about 10,000 newtons, no matter how much farther the distance between the quarks.
I'm most definitely not suggesting anything here though - such as that the Trees' light is not electromagnetical in nature but a manifestation of the strong nuclear force - it is just a nice analogy.

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Re: Blender again

Post by Calantirniel » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:38 pm

This looks quite luminous Luthien! :-) Yes, I understand you are working on backgrounds and even the Green Mound itself (nice start on the grass too). This is going to be awesome when complete!
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Re: Blender again

Post by Lúthien » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:52 am

and another experiment: I figured out how to use indirect lightening. Because this is a relatively new feature of Blender, I wasn't aware that it was even possible. Until that existed, all the light in a scene was to come from lamps (sun, point light, area light etc.) and even though you could make materials emit light, that light never could illuminate another object; it just made the thing itself light up as from a lamp inside it.
But they added this feature, which is really cool. So I can actually dump the point light source that represents the actual light coming from Telperion and use the luminous material itself.
This is a first attempt and I could not resist adding those kitchy effects to the halo, so please forgive me :)
NB the intensity of the light reaching the mountains is of course way too weak, so maybe that would require using an additional light source. But I need to figure that out.


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Re: Blender again

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Lúthien wrote:[...] This is a first attempt and I could not resist adding those kitchy effects to the halo, so please forgive me :)
By "kitchy effects" do you mean the star-like diffraction spikes?

They are in the original source description:
J.R.R. Tolkien in '[i]The Coming Of The Valar And The Building Of Valinor[/i]', Lost Tales, vol. I wrote:[...] and its blossoms did not hang in clusters but were like separate flowers growing each on fine stems that swung together, and were as silver and pearls and glittering stars and burnt with a white light

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Re: Blender again

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:02 am

Lúthien wrote:
Meneldur Olvarion wrote:In my shamanic Voyages, I too have noticed that bright objects (usually, entities like the Salvia-people) appear much brighter at a distance than they do right beside you -- you can look right at them and not be blinded, whereas from a distance they can appear so bright that it seems you would get retinal burns at close range.
Exactly! That is also my experience. It also goes for the image of the Two Trees as seen in meditation. [...] In that regard, it is interesting how the strong force works:
Wikipedia wrote:The strong force acts between quarks. Unlike all other forces (electromagnetic, weak, and gravitational), the strong force does not diminish in strength with increasing distance. After a limiting distance (about the size of a hadron) has been reached, it remains at a strength of about 10,000 newtons, no matter how much farther the distance between the quarks.
Idea:

In the standard equation for EM radiation intensity, Intensity ∝ 1/distance²

But as we've both noticed, what we're observing in the Imaginal is closer to Intensity ∝ distance², but as your analogy to the strong force points out, the equation is probably not that simple -- perhaps a limiting function has to be applied to the exponent?

Can Blender vary these parameters? If not, i know that Mathematica can; to get the basic equation, or for test cases numeric solutions.

What I'm thinking is that if you can find the right exponent by comparing your memories of visual images for different values of the exponent, we may be able to get a more accurate idea of what may be going on (I have an idea that this may be related to cognitive 'reception', but I don't have enough data to form a non-trivial postulate).

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