10 things you will like in Blender – 2/10.

It has a versatile node editor for compositing and materials

Compositing features

Generating stills for a client in archviz most of the times requires rendering different passes out (combined, ambient occlusion, z-depth) with transparent background. The usual work-flow is to import these images into a 2D image editor like PhotoShop, PhotoPlus or Gimp and then putting them together with layers, removing artifacts if there are any, adding a nice background, adding small details if needed (like more people, plants, birds) and also adding some special effects (like flares, bloom, lens effect) and image enhancements.

Although Blender compositor will not make all of these jobs (no any other app could make them), you can easily setup a general compositor project for some parts of the process (and also for image sequences, of course).
I will share my setup soon.
So you have just to choose the input images, select output, then hit ‘Render’ and the compositor makes the job for you. Really useful.

Unfortunately I also have to mention that compositing in Blender cannot match the speed of compositing in After Effects yet. Difficult node trees could run slow. I hope it will change soon.

Material nodes

With the new ‘Cycles’ render engine node-based material system you can make really cool and difficult materials for your projects.
I worked with nodes in other apps earlier, but for me the Blender work-flow is one of the bests.

Why?
Because node-based materials are great when you want to create a unique shader and they are a nightmare in speed terms when you want to reuse them with small adjustments. In Blender you can create a complicated shader and in the very same moment you can use it as a ‘classic’ material through the ‘GUI’ interface. You can change colors, textures, etc. It is just great.

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