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Blender 2.8 Tips and Tricks

Below follows a collection of shaders, addons and general tips that I like to use when modeling and shading.

Use Environment Map only for Reflections

When creating a product visualisation, you might want to use an environment-map for your lighting. When you want to render you scene into an image with a solid background and still make use of an environment map, you have to use a transparent node with you world material. You use a Light Path node and select the Is Camera Ray and connect that to the factor input of the Mix Shader. See the shader setup in the image below which allows you to use an environment map for reflections and renders a solid color in the background.

Floor Plane for a Product Display

When you're creating a product visualisation where you want to render only the product, it's good practice to render the product onto a ground plane. Note that you can combine this method with the Use Environment Map only for Reflections shader setup as described above.

With this shader, you fade a plane using the generated texture coordinates. Note that you need to make sure you fade along the desired axis. I'm rotating the texture coordinates by 90 degrees and then scale along the x-axis. Also make sure that you use easing for the Gradient Texture.

See this StackOverflow where this technique is described.

Diffuse texture for roughness

I found this shader setup in the You Say Armchair .blend file that you can download from blendswap. The model is created by piergi. The nice thing here, is that we use the diffuse texture directly for our roughness, so we don't need an extra texture and works perfectly.

You connect the diffuse texture to a ColorRamp. This ColorRamp influences what range of colors you want to use for the roughness. Next, you connect the ColorRamp to a Mix RGB node. You use this MixRGB node to set the strength of the roughness by making the color darker or brigher.

Transparent material

This material fades away based on the Z-height. This shader is based on this one from Blender Artists. You take the generated UV as input and attach it to a Mapping node. The Mapping node allows you to offset where we should start fading away. To access the z value from the UV, we use a separate RGB. The value ranges from 0-1. We use a ColorRamp to flip this so that we have a range from 1-0 (1.0 at the bottom, 0.0 at the top). We then mix a transparent and emission node using the output of the ColorRamp.

  • Use the Location.z of the Mapping node to change the offset for the effect.
  • Use the ColorRamp to influence the falloff.

We can add a Noise Texture to create a more dynamic shape. A RGB Curves allows us to tweak the fallof a bit more.

Texture Baking

I've got a renderer that uses a separate texture for roughness. Below I'll show you how to bake the roughness into a .png file. Let's say you've got this node setup:

A simple way to bake textures is to create a new separate image node in the shader editor and make sure it's selected. You add the image node, then press the New button.

Now, make sure that this node is active and make sure that your are using the Cycles render engine. Open your Render tab, scroll to the Bake section. For the Bake type select Roughness and press the Bake button. Then you can open an image pane and save the generated roughness map.

Export to GLTF using Principled BSDF Shader

GLTF and Blender use these channels:

  • Occlusion = R
  • Metallic = B
  • Roughness = G

Use this node setup: