I have recently been trying to practice and get used to LuxBlend in the new-ish Blender 2.58. After using 2.49b for so long, the changes dont come naturally. That said, I need to move with the times and get used to the new.
To do this I took an old scene file of mine, the spider scene I think I have posted here before.
Here is a reminder
Lets start out with the table. In the above, I also used an image map for lighting, but I have replaced the main light sources with two light planes. Not shown below is the glass, which doesnt change at all. It is simply glass2
So far so boring, I set the table to glossy, and made the diffuse colour 0.26 across the board, and the specular colour I set the texture 0.24 across the board. u and v roughness are both set to 0.05.
Lets add some texture, for the original scene i used a texture from the indigo material database. It is the Elm wood texture. in blender 2.58 i recommend splitting the material pannel in half so you can see the textures, and material settings next to each other.
To explain the panel a little, first look at the material panel. It is exactly the same almost as 2.49b. to define the Diffuse colour to have a texture i have pressed the T button… The nice thing about LuxBlend25 is that, I have to make my textures in the texture panel before i can assign them, once it is defined, when pressing T, a box appears with the name of all the textures defined for that material.
So look at the Texture panel, Tex.001 is my diffuse colour, it is defined as a blender type image map. The ElmWood texture is set as the file name, and i have defined it to be UV mapped and scaled down 5 times. This is because, usually the textures are high res, but not a high res scan of a whole table!
NB, when defining textures, you can use the blender Texture -or- the LuxRender Type texture, for image maps they are equivalent i think. As you can see, I have set the texture to the Diffuse colour and checked the M button, which means Lux should multiply the colour of the texture by the colour defined (in this case 0.26) so it will appear dull.
I cannot remember if the packed texture contains a bump map or specular map, so if it doesn’t, i think i likely grey scaled and played with the diffuse map. Either way, I did the same for the specular map as i did with the glossy.
The fun part now is the bump map. On the original scene I only used the grey version of the elm wood texture and set an appropriate scale which gives the slight bump you see in the above.
For this, i tried to do something extra… a scratch texture too to give me a table that looks like it has seen some action, like you might get in a pub. Doing this is simple in either 2.49 or 2.58, but i found the interface to be much more user friendly and simple, allowing me to define a few textures and have them all to play with, rather than a HUGE long vertical list like it would be in 2.49, where each texture has to be defined by hand. Here things are defined and then put into slots, the system is wonderful.
I googled before for a scratch texture, once more, i cant give the address to go and get it because i cannot remember, sorry. So i defined the scratch texture in the same way as I did the glossy and diffuse. I then used a mix texture to give me a 50:50 merge of the scratch texture, and the Glossy texture. This time i didnt NOT press the M button on the textures, As i didnt want to weight them.
For this scene the approximate scale height for the bump map as you can see from the above panel is 0.0004, (0.4mm), I put the mix texture into the bump map slot and selected the M, so the texture height is scaled appropriately. I think this could be a little too high a scale for the bump map when looking back at the original image.
Either way – the final image, along with the spider, and another spider + beer mat is as follows.
The colours look a luttle different, mainly due to tonemapping. However, the extra experience I have had with material setup between the original and now shows a little. I am very happy with the table and will likely feature it more often.
This is the final result, sorry for not including more pictures of panels, much of it is i believe self explanatory from the images shown, and the text. I found that once i got started and defined a few textures, everything actually fell into place.
My only word of caution is that, it often appears like textures do not work when you hit preview… if this happens, it usually means you have mixed up a float texture with a colour. A float texture is when a numerical value is given as the texture, such as in a luxrender procedural map. The best solution to this is to do a mix texture… a two step texture where you define the colour in the mixed textures, and the mix amount to be the procedural texture. Getting this right and getting it into your head in the right way is a bit difficult. I have had a few occasions where textures seem not to work at all…
This problem was taken care of in LuxBlend2.49, so it is something that was hidden to the user. I am not sure if there are plans to change this for LuxBlend25, but it isn’t too bad once you understand the differences.
Bump maps for example tend to cause most heart ache for this… but… from advice, bump maps should be grey scale or floats in general… and things will be ok.