Kent Trammell (theluthier)

508 replies · posted

COLLAB2021 - HQ - Stylized Fantasy Environment

Announcement #4: Closing Post

Announcement #3: Blog, Syncing Saga & More

Announcement #2: Updates & Loose Ends!

Announcement #1: Collab2021 has officially begun!


#Collab2021 is focused on stylized, low-poly, fantasy environment creation! Specifically this gorgeous illustration by Vadim Zaitsev:

You can find more from Vadim on artstation.

Through April we will be creating a comprehensive 3D version of this environment and we need a committed team to make it a reality! If you’re not sure what this Collab format is all about, check out the blog article first. If you know what you’re getting into, continue reading about how to register and what the schedule will look like.


Collabs are open to all Citizen members (membership is required to participate). You need to be subscribed by April 5th and remain subscribed through May 4. You're welcome to subscribe earlier so you can access the recommended courses listed below. This option could be helpful for focusing on learning from content before the collab begins at which point you can focus primarily on applying what you've learned.

Collabs don’t have an official web page or system built into our site. Instead it’s facilitated through the Forum, Live Streams, and Google Docs. Fill out this form to register for the Collab. This will give us insight into how many people are interested, the skill levels involved, and some other info that’s helpful before we get underway.

The last day for registration is April 5th. After April 5th the team will be closed! [evil laughs]



As with any production, one can only plan so much before unanticpated things come up. That’s to say we will be at the mercy of the project and the content could change as needed. Schedule should remain the same though.

Week 1 (Apr 5 - 11): Modeling

Goal: Since we’re working within a low-poly, stylized (simplified) genre I think we could finish all the modeling in the first week. For most assets in the scene the modeling is straight forward. For trees and bushes it’s a little different. I highly recommend using the Sapling Addon included with Blender) as taught in the stylized forest course. Similarly clouds will be a unique asset to tackle; something we will need to brainstorm as a team.

Stream 1April 6th @ 1pm US central time

Helpful Content:

Week 1 Homework Due: April 11th by midnight

Week 2 (Apr 12 - 18): Sculpting Accents

Goal: It’s possible that sculpting will be the next step for some assets (ex: rocks) and not for others (ex: trees). If your asset doesn’t need sculpting then your task this week is UV layout and texture painting a color map. If your asset needs sculpted detail, you can do that in addition to the UV layout and texture painting. By the end of the week we all should have our completed model painted with a color map and sculpting done if applicable.

Stream 2April 13 @ 1pm US central time

Helpful Content:

Week 2 Homework Due: April 18th by midnight

Week 3 (April 19 - 25): UV's & Texture Painting

Goal: This should be an easier week than the first two. Since the style is simplistic, the material can also be simplistic. It can also be more complex if one is so inclined. Things like procedural texture accents, procedural water, randomization of the same material across multiple objects, etc. Additionally we will dip our toes into lighting. At the very least we need to implement lighting in a way that informs our material qualities. At the most I want us to light our asset in a standalone presentation, as if you were presenting it to a supervisor for approval.

Stream 3: April 20 @ 1pm US central time

Helpful Content:

Week 3 Homework Due: April 25th by midnight

Week 4: (April 26 - May 2) Materials & Finalization

Goal: As with most productions, the last stretch is the most unpredictable and often results in a lot of problem solving. I expect this week to be a smorgasbord of  tasks from catching up / putting final touches on assets, assembling the final environment together, polishing lighting and atmosphere, and who knows what else.

Stream 4: April 27 @ 1pm US central time

  1. Project status update
  2. Homework reviews
  3. Overview week 4
  4. Demo: 
    • Environment lighting (Day)
    • Environment lighting (Night)

Helpful Content:

Week 4 Homework Due: May 2nd by midnight

Closing Stream (May 4)

With the project officially complete, this stream is meant to be a celebratory bookend. We will revel in our hard work and discuss a post-mortem: What worked well, what could be improved next time.

Communicating as a Team

Of course communication is key for effective teamwork. To facilitate this we will utilize a network of forum threads.

Discord: Our resourceful Team Leads have setup a discord server for us! The server features channels for each team including audio + video capability.

Discord is best for LOW LEVEL communication since it’s the easiest, quickest way to communicate. By “low level” I mean casual, small-consequence discussion. The main negative of persistent chat is its brief nature; comments appear and then immediately get buried. This is fine for the majority of our discussions (let’s say 75%) but we want to avoid important info getting buried.

HIGH LEVEL communication is the important stuff that shouldn’t get lost in a persistent chat. Please keep high level discussion like protocols, announcements, lengthy troubleshooting and idea pitches on the forum threads listed below.

HQ Forum Thread: This thread is the foundation of our communication structure as denoted with "HQ" in the title. Discussion here should be broader in context; having to do with the project as a whole. It's the place I will be posting important announcements for everyone involved. It's also  ideal for general questions about the project and light-hearted "water-cooler talk" for the team. Things like encouragement, inspirational info / artwork, relevant memes. I love memes.

It's NOT ideal for *specific* things like questions pertaining to a certain part of the environment, WIP of individual parts, or person-to-person discourse.

Team Threads: If more than 30 members register for this project we will divide into sub-teams. Each sub-team will collectively tackle a group of related assets and will be lead by a member (most likely contributors from #collab2020). Each team will have a dedicated forum thread for specific discourse pertaining to their parts. Same guidelines as the Central Thread but with a specified topic.

Individual Homework Threads: Each contributor is required to create a thread for themselves for posting homework confirmation at minimum. This is also where any discourse about your specific part happens. You're encouraged to treat it as a work-in-progress (WIP) thread, posting updates about your work as you go.

Direct Contact: Tagging is ideal for directly contacting me or anyone involved with the project. Tag me (theluthier) with questions or advice in any of these threads. I guarantee I will be checking my notifications regularly every Monday-Thursday throughout the duration of the project.

Of course the more people that register the less accessible I will become for direct / lengthy conversation. This is where sub-team leaders will be invaluable. If we break into sub-teams please contact your leader first, then me second.

Livestream Chat: The realtime interactivity of streams is another great way to communicate. Taggin works there as well along with an additional tool: Typing "[Q]" in the chat adds a blue "question" label to your post. This makes it easier for me to spot direct questions for me to answer while streaming.

DISCLAIMER: These guidelines are only intended to streamline the challenging task of communicating globally across the internet. They're not meant to create a tense atmosphere of rules! We're a relaxed, reasonable bunch of Blender heads. If you don't know where you're supposed to ask a question, go ahead an ask somewhere and you'll be answered or kindly directed to the right place if applicable.

Syncing Project Files

Everyone working from the same project directory is important for a production like this. From linking models back and forth to sharing texture maps, it's a must for a smooth working experience. Further protocol like file naming conventions and saving files in the right place is necessary to avoid a confusing mess.

The following instructions are depending on you syncing the project's Google Drive folder to your local computer. If you haven't done that yet, please check the Announcement 2 post for instructions.

For this project I want to make the process as simple as possible for participants. To achieve this I've come up with a "plug-n-play" system. Basically I will save a placeholder .blend file in both the WIP and MODELS folder for each participant by including their username in the filename. Once the placeholder is present, each participant saves their work into the MASTER collection within the scene and that's it! I take it from there.

I covered this concept in the Week 2 stream but here's a set up step-by-step instructions as well:

  1.  Locate and open your WIP placeholder .blend file that contains your username. Within the "WIP" directory there are folders corresponding to asset categories. Navigate through these folder to find the .blend with your username.

  2. Once opened, you will either see a proxy version of your asset or a blank scene. Either way, copy and paste all the pieces of your asset into this .blend file.

  3.  Look for the "MASTER_" collection in the outliner. The naming convention is "MASTER_category_asset_username'. This collection will be linked into the final assembly file. It's imperative that you move every visible part of your asset into this collection.
    1.  You can have other objects in this scene like reference objects, image planes, utility objects (empties), etc. But they must be outside this MASTER collection.

    2.  Do not name any other objects or collections "MASTER" in the scene.

  4.  If your placeholder scene has a proxy object in it, you need to align your version of the asset to the proxy. Scale it, move it, rotate it however you need to match the proxy.
    1.  Note: These proxies also have a copy of the master camera in the scene for which the proxy is aligned to the art.

    2.  If your placeholder scene does NOT have a proxy in it but DOES have a master camera, your asset should align to the camera, simply keep your asset in the center of the world when saving

    3.  If your placeholder scene does NOT have a proxy NOR a master camera, simply keep your asset in the center of the world and scaled according to the human proxy in the scene.


How much time am I expected to commit to this project?

We stress commitment because it's the best to ensure A) the project succeeds and B) lasting skills are learned. We only expect you to commit as much time as you can. DO NOT commit full-time hours to this project (8 hrs a day). As the instructor, I should be the only one doing this.

Everyone else (sub-team leads and contributors) shouldn't need to apply more than 2 hrs per day to the project. It's all relative depending on your availability and skill level. If you can't afford 2 hrs per day you can pick a simpler asset. If you have more time to contribute then perhaps choose a more complex asset. It's up to your discretion.

If you only have 2 weeks available in April, that's OK! Just let me or your sub-team lead know and it's all good. 

How do I tag someone?

Like twitter and instagram you simple type "@username" to tag someone. Tagging fires a notification to this person. Everyone's username is either A) in parentheses beside their display name or B) substituted if they don't specify a display name:

What service do we use for syncing files as a team?

We used Google Drive last year and it worked pretty well. Syncing our files to the cloud proved to be a crucial way for everyone to stay up-to-date conveniently. Since we lean heavily on library linking, it's imperative that we all be up-to-date. Google Drive is very accessible too; most people have an account anyway.

If you don't have one, sign up to get 15GB of storage for free. That should be plenty of storage for our project.

I know people are hesitant to sign up with Google but a burner account just for this project isn't too invasive, right? Otherwise Mega drive could be a good alternative since it offers 50 GB for free.

What if I'm not available at the time livestreams are broadcast?

Unfortunately the stream time can't be ideal for everyone. If you're not able to watch the stream live, I will post the recording within 24 hours of broadcast.

When is homework due exactly?

Homework is due every Sunday @ midnight each week. This means whenver your midnight is; relative to your timezone. This gives me each Monday to review homework internally before streaming on Tuesday. Please adhere to this deadline as late submissions can really stunt  the flow of the schedule.

Can multiple people volunteer for and build the same part?

Yes! Early volunteers will have the best chance at picking a unique part but eventually parts will be assigned to multiple people. Of course we can't feature multiple of the same part for the final scene so the best execution of each part will end up in the final.

Are we bound to also 1 asset or if there is spare time can we even go for a second or third piece?

You're not limited to 1 asset. I'd love to see contributors challenge themselves with multiple assets, as several did last year. This gives contributors the ability to define their own scope of participation: If someone is newer to Blender they can choose one asset. If someone is more experienced they can choose multiple assets.

Who “owns” the final project?

Technically CG Cookie owns the project but the final project will be released freely as Creative Commons (CC-BY-4.0).

Can I feature my work from Collab2021 in my online portfolio and / or demo reel?

100% yes! Contributors are welcome to use/share visuals from the project to social media accounts, online galleries / portfolios, and featured in demo reels.

  • theluthier do you think we might be trying to use Geometry Nodes for parts of this? Even with the limited 2.92 version, there would be quite a few advantages. And it might be good to get used to thew system, before it gets even more complicated ;)

    • crew

      Indeed I can see how geometry nodes could be useful. Particularly for the roof tiles. So far that the one "cool" thing I want to show on stream (though done with particles lol).

      I will say that I'm getting several inquiries from beginners wondering if they'll do OK in the collab. I've always wanted collabs to be a good space for beginners and I'm afraid teaching [technically] experimental tools will convolute the foundational skills.

      So I'm less inclined to jump into Geo nodes *myself* - BUT given that you're an advanced user, I think it's a great opportunity to explore geo nodes yourself.  Perhaps even share a video like you did last year? It'd be powerful for a team member to pitch us on the power of geo nodes in the context of our project 🙏

    • And I've always wanted to see UDIMS in action, I've seen the videos but I haven't put them to use myself. I even feel like they aren't even very useful at all. I bet I'm wrong so it's also a cool opportunity to try that out since this collab has texture painting and probably everyone's favorite thing, UV Unwrapping.

    • dostovel many people are just afraid of UV- unwrapping, maybe you could take their fear away..

    • theluthier I didn't understand how Geometry Nodes works for a long time, but I more or less get it now. My main problem was, that I didn't know what Attributes are. Apart from its current limitations GN is way faster and more powerful than the Particle (Hair) System.

      Of course I'll be happy to share my (limited) knowledge ;)

    • dostovel spikeyxxx still am a newbie at UV-unwrapping so i sure will learn a bunch of new stuff.
      and i am sure i will learn more efficient way's to model stuff

    • Okay so I actually wonder theluthier  if there is a unique way to push the veterans while also catering to the new students. Maybe the second live sessions could actually cover advanced assignments? Just thinking out loud. I feel like there is a win win and all people could really shine here.

      Maybe geometry nodes and udims have a spot here but perhaps being boundaried on the who,what,where for advanced topics. I guess it may just need to see where this goes. You are our fearless leader and we will follow you into the wild spiced up lo poly world.

      I feel like there potential to do basic and advanced stuff. Or maybe we just keep it basic and stick to the main plan.

    • crew

      Someone asked about the hidden parts of the environment, like the backside of the house. This was the primary place I was planning for the advanced contributors to be challenged. It's one thing to create exactly what we see in the artwork and a very different task to fill in blanks while capturing consistent style and spirit of the art.

      As far as the skill level for the live streams, I wasn't really planning on catering to one specifically. Rather I see them more as demos than lessons. Compared to when I teach a Class, the streams are designed more as lessons. For collab stream demos I approach the task simply how I would with professional work. Techniques can/will range from advanced to simple, whatever gets the job done in the moment.

      I approached the DOG streams the same way. Does that make sense / sound good?

  • Hi,

    I signed up this, sounds like fun.  What version of blender are we going to use?  I put in a vote  for an animation next time, what about if the water wheel and water are animated. this time,  then the whale could swim down the river?  Thanks for doing this. 

    • crew

      Likely whatever version is the current trunk version at the time we start (2.91  or 2.92). If a new version is released during the Collab, we will likely stick with the same version we start with. Introducing new versions to team projects is a risk not worth taking unless we think a crucial new feature is worth the risk.

  • Already 6️⃣6️⃣ people registered and page 2️⃣ in the forum 🥈 with 8️⃣8️⃣ replies and still 1️⃣ month left until the official start, I'm sure this will become an awesome collab 💪👍!

  • crew

    Sorry if you all missed me. I haven't been in the conversation much, I have been concentrating on brushing up on my Python. I haven't done any coding for so long.

    Which gives me a thought..........

    dostovel mentioned a whale in the river, I'm thinking a python in the grass. Maybe someone could do a mountain lion in the background, and monkeys in the trees. splat21 I think mentioned a herb garden, we are going to need some worms and maybe butterflies. And duerer maybe a Piero or 6 perched on the roof. Maybe a mouse running round the water wheel and a cat ready to pounce.....

    what have I missed ???

    A plane in the sky or a night scene with stars, and satellites and a space station......

    How long is this collab? are we gonna make it last as long as the Backhoe?? and then we get to the animation....

    • It's officially a 4 week collab until May 4.  

    • crew

      Someone said to me coding is like riding a bike, trouble is I learnt to code a long time ago on a tricycle, if you stop peddling the bike stops, then the pedals moved to a cog attached to the rear wheel with a chain, now I find the bike has 26 gears and 4 pedals.

    • adrian2301 I find Python coding, especially in the context of Blender, very fascinating. Data visualization like for example creating a star field from real astronomical data is one of my special interests. I hope that there will be some courses teaching Python in Blender on the basis of Blender 2.9 since, as far as I know, the Blender Python commands have changed significantly so that many older addons don't work anymore.

    • crew

      I would like to see a full course on CGCookie about Python coding in Blender, creating a basic add-on. I have seen the YouTube video recently by cbaileyfilm and now need more. There are others on YouTube using Python in Blender, but it's like there holding back a secret, I want to see the complete process. We need a fundamentals course and a more advanced course for creating an add-on in Blender. Not a full course on Python, there's loads on YouTube but Blender specific Python. sssssss 

    • Adrian I am also neck deep in Python! So crazy how our paths still cross outside the project!

    • Dude I have one huge recommendation: Serpens. It has taught me quite a bit and actually lets me play around in a more artist friendly way with my coding skills. We should catch up on this offline. I am learning sooooo much with Python. (Not a master by any means but I am finally able to troubleshoot my own bad code so that's a plus!)

      Also Curtis Holt has some decent Python for blender stuff out there. I recommend his Python crash course. I can also help with Serpens stuff. I even made a free template to help you hash out ideas quickly. (I think I posted about it in my polybook).

    • crew

      Yeah I saw your posts about Serpens, I'm considering it.

    • Yeah it's not a one stop shop, Serpens. But it is actually pretty decent for $15. Just amazing how quickly I was able to play after wrapping my head around stuff.

    • crew

      How long is this collab? are we gonna make it last as long as the Backhoe??

      LOL ya'll are crazy! I mean if the team wanted to carry on without me, I'm fine with that 😅 After April I gotta go dark to finish producing my portrait course. So it's definitely a torch that would need to be carried on by team leaders.

      Let's revisit this wild idea at the end of April. But if that were to happen, I'd LOVE to see animation tackled. Make the river flow, the wheel spin, clouds move, trees move in the wind, grass move...all the subtle things that will make this scene ALIVE.

  • When do we get to know or talk about which parts we get to work on? :)

    • crew

      I want to have a clear list to choose from by day one of the Collab (April 5). I need to dive in deeper myself to dissect the scene and develop a good list. Instructions for choosing will be ready by the time we start.

      Of course you can pick whatever asset you want now in your head and you'll be part of that team when we get underway. So far I'm seeing a decent variety of preference form the registration form. Only problem would be if everyone wanted to make the house and no one wanted to do other parts.

    • theluthier in our first Collab, I chose the Wheels of the DOG, because I thought nobody else would wanna do them...'what a mistaka to maka..'  You might end up with no-one wanting to do the house and everybody choosing the clouds. Apart from Omar, doing the Whale 🤣

    • theluthier  , So we can choose on the first day what we would like to create? Are we bound to also 1 piece or if there is spare time can we even go for a second or third piece? 

    • theluthier 


      Can´t wait for the collab to start :D 

    • crew

      yyukinoh1989 Yes, I'd like to explain the asset list during the first stream (April 6th) at the very latest. I want to post the list earlier so people can get started earlier but we'll see if I can finish this current course soon enough to have that time.

      Are we bound to also 1 piece or if there is spare time can we even go for a second or third piece?

      You're not limited to 1 piece. I'd love to see contributors challenge themselves with multiple pieces, as several did last year 👍

    • theluthier , awesome i really look forward to the collab :D

  • Guys I have an idea, now hear me out:

    This is above top secret, Kent specially cannot find out about this. If you read this you'll probably be committing the highest of treason, so I understand if you want to stop reading right now. Bear in mind, if you continue reading, you do so at your own risk.

    It felt good to see such a positive reaction from the internet of the DOG animation, didn't it? One of the things I've seen is how people while seeing the video think it can't possibly go on further, only for it to keep going on and on, more and more detail keeps pouring in, then when the outside is almost assembled people think that's it, it's over, it cannot go to the insid..... oh my god it does even go to the inside of the tractor! this is crazy! even the inside!

    Now, we have been instructed to stick to the artwork, it is intended to function as our client and our job is to capture the essence the concept art transmits. There are veterans here from the First Great Collab, it was a brutal seven months endeavor, not for the faint of heart, and the FGC culminated in the greatest of victories, mainly because the soldiers that participated in it were selfless and noble warriors that went beyond the call of duty. So I say, is it too much to ask to go beyond it once more? 

    Is it too much to ask more than a still image render that mirrors the artwork? Don't you want an animation that takes you around the house, it's lush beauty, the boat on the river with its whale captain, the rocks, the trees.... but then the door opens up, and there's a whole interior that feels alive as well; Tables, chairs, books, kitchen, bedroom, beds, desks, couch, lamps, bottles, paintings, rugs, etc; you get the feeling that someone lives here by a radiant rich atmosphere. Is it too much to ask to go beyond what the DOG accomplished? If this Second Great Collab is to be a great victory, it can't be less than the first.

    Kent's hands are tied up, he has too much on his plate, he has to manage a crowd too big, like a sheep herder where every sheep wants to go it's own way and it's his job to keep the herd united. He has to stick to the rules. There are people from beginners to veterans, it's too broad and the goal is to help beginners mostly. 

    All I'm saying is, it is the job of us veterans to make this Collab greater than the last one. If we start TODAY making all kinds of assets for the interior we gain an extra month where this thing can be alive as alive can get. It can't be left for after the Collab is over, morale always goes down after the job is considered done, no, we have to start now. We are disobeying a direct order here, overstepping our duty and our General. It's like George Lucas making A New Hope and then some of his team branching off without his permission to make The Phantom Menace in parallel, it's not a pretty picture, I never said this was a charming task.  

    The interior of the house can be a gold mine of detail. It's not an easy job, but neither was the DOG. We could use the old DOG headquarters outpost on Google Drive to store our top secret files, it's been abandoned for decades now, no one will be looking for us there. And this time we can't let good old boy Adrian here be the sole over-accomplisher, he has competition this time around.  

    Make no mistake, this is an operation well outside the boundaries of what is permitted. Don't expect medals or a ticker tape parade, if we get caught our governments will deny any knowledge, our lives will be ruined. We will be doing this at our own expense. Talk to your families, say your goodbyes, you won't be seeing them for a while and they won't understand your sacrifice. If Kent happens to stop by your work station, just tell him you are "oh just working on my warm ups daily practices'', repeat that over and over, that is to be your mantra. I know it is hard to lie to our commanding officer, but it's for the greater good.

    So, is anyone in?

  • Meanwhile, In the bat cave.

    I've been working on getting this 3D printed for the past two months. Then I heard you guys wanted a wagon.

  • I would also be interested in contributing to dostovel 's clandestine plan.  So, if we are talking insurrection, can I suggest we start a new forum thread and not hijack Kent's thread.  Thoughts?

  • Ok I tried variations of a table, it doesn't look woody enough. This is tricky man.

    I'm saving them on the old DOG outpost.

  • Aighh, I am still undecided as to whether or not I should join in. If I do jump in, it will be last minute. There are just so many things going on right now. Which isn't half bad, because it means I'm busy.

    • Oh no, the B word, the spell life puts upon you when you grow up. I’m trying to get ride of it myself. There’s no better life than the simple life.

      Anyways, think of all the XP that is waiting for you after the boss fight. This is like beating Dath Vader, Voldemort, Thanos and Sauron all in one big battle. You don’t want to miss out.

    • crew

      No worries if you commit last minute! We'd love to have you join of course :)

  • Okay so todays learning words from the ‘Trammell training video dictionary’ are for those who are assigned to the boulders and rocks:

    Remember these words and they will serve you well.
    undulation & crags

    • Undulation & Crags.....      it sounds like a new crime drama from the BBC  😛

    • It's actually a live drama and Omar is the director. We've all been cast to granite sized rolls in the production.

    • Ah dude, I’ve worked on real movie and TV productions before, I ended up hating them. The stress, everyone has a greater than life egos, the long hours, the short pay, everyone wants to shine, the mess, the trash talk, the back stabbing. And you might say well you were just unlucky to work on a bad one, but no, I worked on several and each was worst than the last one. And I have a close cousin that has worked his entire life on movie productions here and through him I know the experience can get so much worst. 

      Anyways, keep thinking about it in the Harry Potter theme, when that room in Hogwarts presented itself for the kids to practice their magic in secret. We’re just going in there, all the CG Artist students, with our laptops, and practicing our modeling patronus.

    • True words there Ron. I often consider myself aloof from the spotlight which is why the cookie appealed to a hobbyist like me in the first place (my true life therapy). This is technically an area where I don't currently shine. If this was hard surface, I'd be like "boom!" but lo poly is already going to stretch me lol. Which means the room of requirement is especially for me "Neville Blanchbottom"!

      I wonder when SpikeyPotter and Adrian Finnigan  will show up and teach me to stupify? Until then I can practice my alo hamora's, and snack on my gilliwig.

    • crew

      Lol I hope I used those words correctly 😅

    • I wonder when SpikeyPotter and Adrian Finnigan  will show up and teach me to stupify?

      blanchsb look in the TSFHI post ( ), I think you'll be stupified 😱

    • spikeyxxx consider me stupified !!!

      i like how you said it was easy. I’m going to probably have to start small with those nodes and mute all until I see what they are doing individually to wrap my head around it but I get the general idea.

      so along those lines of having to duplicate your boards over and over again.......what-if I use my trusty array modifier friend on one board......(or shingle or what-have-you)? Will the seemless texture work on all of the array’d members?!! Because if that is the case I have a great idea for interior floor plans muahaha.

      i’ve been coding an ultimate gridz engine in serpens over the past 3 months and it’s almost perfectly working on groups of objects. I’m dying to test out your shading explanation on it. I could make a decent board, or shingle or stone and then plug in your seemless shader and Bob’s your uncle, we have interior/exterior walls, floor boards, shingles, stairs, etc...,

      i’m getting giddy now.

    • what-if I use my trusty array modifier friend on one board......(or shingle or what-have-you)? Will the seemless texture work on all of the array’d members?

      The fact that I didn't use an Array Modifier on my example should give you an indication, that that wouldn't work here; even if you'd Apply the Modifier, all elements would still have the same the same Position...

      I'll have to think about a way to do that....

    • What about instancing the object to a parent vertex and arraying the vertex or a plane and showing the instances?
      I'm going to have to play around too......

      I definitely know that if it has to do with the object origins that I can totally code in to complete the array modifier and separate all objects and then set all of their origins to geometry. That's not too hard with the code that I already have developed.

      My Gridz engine will allow to array multiple selected objects at once so I have already figured that part out. Since I made it, technically I feel fine using it in my workflow. Who knows maybe I find other things to code along this learning journey....

      I'm definitely going to play with it this weekend though and see how I can marry the two work flows.

    • blanchsb I'll have to refine this, but we could use the following idea...

      Random per Island gives adifferent number between 0 and 1 for each instance of an Array:

      Even simply adding those colors to the Location would already give some variation:

      Haven't updated the .blend file yet, I'll try and improve this some more, but just add these 3 extra Nodes...

    • Ok so I haven't gotten to the part where I added the 3 extra nodes spikeyxxx  but I did have a blast recreating your workflow as I followed along your tut video.

      Then I figured out that instancing is definitely going to be a way to go. Tell me what you think of this as a follow-up?

      I'll play around with adding in the 3 nodes after work today. If I can figure this out I definitely want to tackle one of the repeating collections this way.

    • Great video! You are so much better at this than I am. I guess I'll just have to practice more ;)

      One thing though:

      There appears to be less variation between the boards along the 'rows' in the direction of the green lines.

      My extra Nodes would of course solve that.

    • You are so much better at this than I am.

      Always so humble is spikeyxxx. I wouldn’t compare myself to your awesomeness. That would be folly, lol. I’ve just been on an array and curve mod trip for the past 6 months. I still have much to learn in this amazing thing we call Blender.

      I’m looking forward to playing with the extra 3 nodes and seeing what comes from it.

    • Let's stop being so old-fashioned, when you say Instancing, I am thinking :

    • Crap does that mean that all of my dev work was replaced by 5 nodes?!?

    • I really need to get up to speed on Geometry nodes.

    • 5 nodes?!?

      I used the default Cube as it is. Should I have modeled it into a floorboard, it would be one Node less (the left green Point Scale Node).

    • I’m both stupified and hookwinked.

    • Ok, so you must obviously be on one of the experimental branches (like the spikeyxxx I know and love) because Simon T. approved the use of the replace/create just recently and I don't see it on the official release in 2.92 and was trying to place but I only end up with 1 instanced object.

      Did you instance that whole board array there with that new Replace/Create functionality? I don't see an array modifier on that object, only the Geo-nodes.

      Okay and on to my next question: let's say we modeled in some cuts and damage instead of texturing everything (just trying to wrap my head around this new work flow). For example there are 3 boards with enough variation that you get a total of 6 sides to use and rotate for tons of variation: I'm thinking about random-run instancing between the three objects in a collection and letting the instancer geometry nodes handle all of that and throw in a random value. It could pick one of the three boards and rotate about the local x axis 180 OR NOT and rotate around the Z 180 OR NOT and Possibly the Y 180 OR NOT and you would have all kinds of combinations of instances from geo-nodes, correct?

      Something similar to this posting only using Geo-Nodes:
      You would get some increasingly complex floor board or tile or shingle structures that way in my mind.

    • Did you instance that whole board array there with that new Replace/Create functionality?

      No, to be clear, there is no Array, I just instanced the Cube on the Vertices of the Plane,,the Plane looks like this:

      The blue Node only randomizes the rotation (Attribute) of each of the points (Vertices)...All those points have a rotation, scale and position (Attributes), a bit like Origins of the Instances that are going to be put there. The Replace/Create was the default in's just that now (in the future) we (will) have more possibilities


      ...and you would have all kinds of combinations of instances from geo-nodes, correct?

      That is correct!

    • O.k I've updated my .blend. 

      Should get rid of this issue:

      The 180° rotation of the texture is now no longer depending on the location of the geometry, but uses a Noise Texture turned binary ;)

      The use of Pi and e is random, could have used any number, but for randomness, avoiding integers is never a bad idea...

      For completeness, this is the link:

  • crew

    An insurrection? In MY COLLAB?!

    I'm Snape, and dostovel is Ron:

    No wait. What an AWESOME IDEA!!

    Truly, this is precisely the kind of passion that makes these projects special. Filling out this scene's interior is a brilliant way to go the extra mile! For anyone interested in getting a jumpstart on the project from the inside out, I'm 100% for it 👍👍

    I'm crunching through March to get a new course recorded so I won't be available to supervise. Therefore this seems like a great opportunity to new test the team leader component of Collabs. dostovel I think it's obvious that you deserve this role as the source of this heinous insurrection. What say you??

    I recommend starting a new forum thread to communicate about all things TSFHI. This will reflect the team threads we'll create once we officially start in April. I leave it up to you to decide if individual threads per contributor is better than handling everything in the one thread.

    Of course I will be a fly on the wall of this insurrection through March but I'm keen to see how you all handle this yourselves! I've no doubt the DOG POUND vets will guide this top secret effort to impressive success ✊

    I just created a new directory on Google Drive to store the entire project. Click the link and request access for me to grant. Vets will know the drill:

    • Work-in-progress goes in SPICE-VENDORS-HOUSE/SCENES/MODELS/WIP
    • Recommended naming convention: model-name_USERNAME_WIP_XX.blend
      • Example: table_THELUTHIER_WIP_03.blend

    I'll keep an eye out for questions but I'm pretty sure Omar knows what to do from here.

    • Guys I ran into Kent walking down the hall, he suspects nothing. Operation Inside Insight is a go. Code Name Top Secret Fantasy House Interior (TSFHI) #0002  CGC. INC. USA & AATW. 

      I accept the responsibility, but not the tittle, I’m a follower, not the other thing. Remember when Anakin was told “We accept you in this Council, but we do not grant you the title of Master” and he was like “whaaat?! But I want more!” And where did he end up? Yes, joining The Dark Side. 

    • Good luck to you, rebels.

      I stick to the Empire.

      I am a new cgcookie member since  december, i think, and looking forward to be part of the april collaboration.

       But I ll need to complete some more Blender Fundamental courses and exercises before being of any value to you, veterans.

      I hope I can be a spectator though of your progress on all this, and learn from it.


    • Lets go do this :D , am i looking forward to this, i so wonder what we will all be creating. but i am sure it will be a great succes

    • ....I have some thoughts!

      Omar as usual has knocked it out of the park with his idea, and I am REALLY excited about it; but I think there is room in this case for some compromise or at least some clarification of the rules.

      Firstly and most importantly, Kent announced a month-long collab, that would be finished by the end of April, and already he has amassed a number of registrations several times the size of the Dog Pound, that signed up for that project.  So I think it is important that those members, many of whom are beginners, get the content they signed up for, and presume Kent still plans to stick to that.  So that group should still have something at the end of April that they can call a completed project. 

      So what I propose - or agree with, in case this is what everyone already had in mind! - is that we treat these as two parallel projects, or a "forked" project.  The first project is exactly what everyone sees at the top of this thread - it starts in April, it ends in April, and those who have participated can feel proud of a finished project in terms of the highlight stills as originally planned, and so forth.

      The second "fork" is the veteran team who wants to Go Beyond.  Our collab files for now will be maintained separately from the Main Project.  If there's enough of us to warrant organizing sub-teams, these should be different obviously from the Main teams we belong to.  We can begin this month - but, here's the thing: we don't need to rush, because the April Project will be getting its own planned "completion", and what we're doing will be added on top of that.  I'm not talking about another seven months; but, say, we can start now, pause or slow things down during April as work shifts to the Main Project, then pick up in May to finish whatever is left.  The resulting Ultimate Final Animation will, of course, credit both project teams as one.  

      Does this idea make sense?

    • Yes Officer Jake, that's the plan. Yet there's a bit of danger in not having a deadline. Here's the wisdom of Orson Wells:

    • But I ll need to complete some more Blender Fundamental courses and exercises before being of any value to you, veterans.

      ddonsoarese That's perfect. That's how you get onto the leveling up freeway. Hit that gas.

    • crew

      I really appreciate your clarification jjakeblended and completely agree as well. As Orson says, limitations (and I'm adding "structure") within an artistic team project is crucial to its success.

      On that note, one of favorite aspects of Collabs is the potential to evolve and take on a life of its own. Courses and Classes need to be more strict with less deviation in order for specific things to be learned. However with Collabs this isn't the case and I really like that. In my opinion this increases potential for the spark of CG / Blender passion to fan into flame through the course of a Collab. I've already seen this evidenced by the enthusiasm for the TSFHI initiative!

      When I chose this art for the project I knew it would be cool and impressive. But I didn't know what would take it to the next level. TSFHI is pushing it to the next level already. I wish I wasn't recording a course so I could participate! 😅

  • this collaboration is getting more exciting every day,  count me in!!

  • crew

    In preparation for the start of this COLLAB2021 in April, anyone needing to set up Google Drive check out this thread 


    theluthier posted this thread for File Sharing and Linking.

    We did some troubleshooting for Google Drive setup during COLLAB2020, blanchsb also posted a video explanation which you may find helpful.

    We also used Google Sheets to confirm our submissions, I'm assuming theluthier we will have a similar process for this COLLAB?

  • It looks like I'm a bit slow to catch up with everyone...  I'll get to work taking the recommended courses right away.

  • theluthier Kent I have a question, maybe more than one...

    Should we absolutely avoid Subdivision Surface Modifiers when modeling the interior assets? It is a low poly project right? And so can we use that technique were you enable out smooth under normals in the object data properties? and then go through all the stuff of selecting edges that should remain sharp. But then it's a Blender only work flow? Is that ok?

    • crew

      Great questions - questions I haven't answered myself yet. My thoughts:

      Should we absolutely avoid Subdivision Surface Modifiers when modeling the interior assets? It is a low poly project right?

      The main reason I lean toward low-poly (non subsurf modeling) is so we could possibly have an optimal, complete environment running in real time in an Eevee viewport. I just think that's a cool final product to shoot for. One that could probably be uploaded to sketchfab as well.

      If we allow subsurf it's very unlikely it will be navigable in realtime.

      NOTE I'm not saying subsurf can't be used for the high-res versions of assets for the purpose of baking to the low poly. On the contrary I expect hi-poly sculpting to lo-res baking to be a common technique throughout this project. Still within that the MASTER models would be low-poly.

      can we use that technique were you enable out smooth under normals in the object data properties? and then go through all the stuff of selecting edges that should remain sharp. But then it's a Blender only work flow? Is that ok?

      I know normal data is exportable to other apps. We've done it many time from Blender to Unity. So I'm pretty sure hardening normals will translate to any app. BUT I don't care too much about the project's smooth transition to other apps. Not enough to influence our project's protocols.

      What do you think?

    • I think that I think exactly what you think you're thinking. So basically the rules of the game are:

      - We shoot for real time so no heavy dense meshes

      - Do your high res stuff but bake it to low poly ones

      - Thumbs up on the harden normals- auto smooth-mark sharp- super trick

      - Not like the DOG when we were aiming at universal modeling language, this can be geared towards Blender. 

      - (Extra space if another rules comes up)

    • theluthier  Speaking of low poly... For me low poly is at most 2000 vertices per person model. About 300 vertices per table for example. But that's my criteria. Do you have any number to give on an example?

    • I don't know if there's a specific number, but I would say SubD is a big no no, triangles are good friends and I remember JL courses, like the low poly tank of the sci-fi door, where he was always sliding verts that don't alter the shape in order to get the poly count even further. So I'd say as low as you can get given the model you're trying to create.

    • crew

      dostovel 👍👍 to your basic rules 👍👍

      ladymito I'm with Omar in thinking it's too early or too limiting to implement a firm poly count. Rather the principle of achieving a good silhouette and form with minimal geometry should be enough to guide us. Of course we will all have subjective interpretations of this guidance and if we run into drastically different interpretations we'll have to figure it out as we go.

      I think Omar's on the right track with his suggestions too.

  • I am taking the EEVEE cloud course in case I get assigned to the clouds.

  • Looking forward to April

  • Kent, how's the count? 

  • I am somewhere between beginner and intermediate, but this project looks like so much fun. I signed up yesterday, and it's nice to be part of this group. theluthier - I live in Taiwan, so I will be trying to join the LiveStream at 2:00 AM. 😁 But very excited.

    • crew

      Welcome to the team, Dave! Youch - sorry to hear about the stream time being at 2AM 😖 No hard feelings at all if you can't make it. I'll be sure to post stream recordings within 24 hrs of broadcast.