blender 4.0 vfx tools and extensions

no movie in modern times is produced without vfx. most of the time if you cant see any vfx or cgi in a movie its simply because its done so well its unnoticeable and thats the goal of vfx, to blend what is digitally made into the real world, when done write it goes unnoticed and when done wrong its all you see.

vfx can be a simple sky replacement, or as complex as adding large monsters in a scene. Before blender to accomplish this, you would have to be a large studio or subscribe to expensive software like houdini and maya but since blender 2.5 blender has become a great contender for vfx production.

while blender is a powerful vfx tool, you still need to know the right tools and extensions to use, to get it right, remember vfx when done right should go unnoticed unless, of course, you’re featuring an unmistakable giant spaceship or a monster rampaging through a City.

so how would you add a large moster in your city.

vfx tools and extentions.

Camera matching

the starting point would be to track your footage with the blender motion tracking tools but to keep things simple lets just use an image instead of a video.

when working on images you still need to match the camera you used to capture the image like you would with a video, though images are way simpler, blender comes with a built-in motion tracking tools but it does not come with any camera matching tools for images for that you will have to use a feel standalone program called fspy. while fspy is a great tool you dont get the convenience of working inside blender for that option perspective plotter is a more powerful option with features like dynamic camera matching, scene scale guiding, camera target location and more.

Shadow Catcher.

background image used

after matching your camera the next step is to add your monster into the scene, if you dont have any monsters vfxgrace has the best looking models on the market and diffuse studios have also just released there new pack of models at blender market. free dinasaur model

to make the models fit perfectly into your scene, you need them to cast shadows onto objects in your original image, this could be a nearby buildings or the ground. to do this blender gives you the shadow catcher.

this is any renderable object like meshes, curves, volumes or even particles that do not show up in the final render but shadows casted onto them show. to set any object into a shadow catcher, select the object, go to object properties, visibility, mask, shadow catcher.

to make the image as the background of our scene you need to turn on compositing for your viewport under overlays, and switch one of your editors to the compositor and turn on use nodes.

import the new image into the compositor, and blend it with the scene, this will require that you set transparency on, in the render settings under film, so that the image is the background.

Damage and destruction

a shadow catcher by its self is not going to be enough to sell realism, you need your monster to add some damage to its surroundings, some basic understanding of the built in cell fracture addon is going help you tremendously to add damage or break apart objects, and if you mix that with geometry nodes then the sky is the limit, i have some tutorials to get you started with that. of if you need detailed damage quick the realistic internal damage extension will give you that in just a few clicks.

tutorial : breaking stuff in blender

Surface Details

if you are adding smaller objects in your scene at close range, surface details are going to be the key to blend your digital additions into reality, imperfections can be made by adding a grunge texture into the roughness of your material, the key is finding the right grunge map with high enough resolution, incase you can’t find anything you are looking for Bproduction just released a set of 200 high resolution 4k texture


when you are done, with setting up the background, you can setup the lighting to much with the background, since there so many things that can affect lighting like weather, cloud cover, season, environment you will have to experiment to see what works with your image, blender comes with a builtin sky system, its main limitations is that i does not come with clouds to mimic the different sky conditions that are possible so for a setup that captures all sky conditions, i would recommend the true sky extension for blender.

Color Grading and compositing

after lighting you can move on to color grading, this will help blend the different parts together, blender comes with a very powerful compositor, and now supports cryptomats and different masking features, like object index, material index, color and more. the compositor can be challenging to learn so if you want something quick the compositor pro extension gives you are set of pre made effects to throw on your render for that added professional touch.

Weather libraries.

to take the effects to another level, you can add weather effects like snow, rain, wind and more to elevate your render to the next level, this can be easily done with the built in particle system, all you need to make sure is that your footage is well tracked or camera matched for an image, and that you have proxy objects to act as collider objects for your effects, if you want rain to fall on the ground, you need to create an object to much the shape of your ground or buildings where you want your weather elements to bounce onto.

the weather fx extension comes with a variaty of weather effects if you dont want to make them from scratch on your own

those where blender vfx tools both builtin and extensions to help you on your vfx journey

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