Five easy ways to speed up renders in Blender

1. Enable the “auto tile size addon”. This will automatically optimise the size of your render tiles for best possible performance.

2. Set the Light Sampling Threshold in the render settings (under the sampling settings) to something other than zero. The greater you make this number, the faster the render (but with some sacrificed quality, especially in the darker shadow areas of the image). Here’s what the Blender manual says about that setting:
Probabilistically terminates light samples when the light contribution is below this threshold (more noise but faster rendering). Zero disables the test and never ignores lights. This is useful because in large scenes with many light sources, some might only contribute a small amount to the final image, and increase render times. Using this setting can decrease the render times needed to calculate the rays which in the end have very little affect on the image.

3. Use GPU rendering. This one is probably a no-brainer these days, but in case you are not familiar with the fact, using the graphics processing unit instead of the central processing unit can greatly speed up your renders. Set it in the preferences –> system –> cycles compute device to your graphics card (which hopefully has Cuda support) and the switch to GPU rendering in at the top of the render settings.

4. Use denoising and drop your sample amounts. The new denoiser let’s you get clean images even with lower sample amounts. Simply turn it on in the “render layer” settings and let it work it’s magic.

5. Use the “simplify” option in the scene settings. Just check the “simplify” checkbox and set the “AO bounces” and “AO bounces render” to 2.

Finally a good free tool for displaying keystrokes and mouse button presses

During my time making video tutorials and teaching various software programs to students I have constantly struggled with finding a good tool for displaying the keystrokes and mouse buttons that I use. The tool should be free, lightweight, customizable and open source. Earlier I was quite happy with the Screencastkeys-addon for Blender but stopped using it after it got removed from the trunk of Blender and the problem with it was of course also that it was for Blender only. Since then I have tried many decent programs like KeycastOW, OSDHotkey and QiPress, but they all had some minor issues that made me search for yet another solution. Which I finally found in the latest beta-version of Carnac found here:

https://github.com/bfritscher/carnac/releases/tag/v3-beta

This tool is modern, looks good, has animations and now finally has also mouse support in the latest beta-version. I strongly recommend Carnac for the purpose of displaying key presses and mouse clicks for your recordings or streams.

Selection tips for Blender

Have you noticed how it can sometimes be difficult to select the right thing in Blender? You might for example need several clicks to select the object you want in object mode. That’s because Blender will take into consideration each object that is underneath the cursor when you click. Here are some tips that might help make selecting the correct object a little bit less frustrating:

Tip 1:
Hold down the alt-key when you right-click on an object. This will open up a selection menu which allows you to see all the objects that were under your cursor when you clicked. This will also work even when adding to an old selection, so that if you hold down shift and alt it will let you add the new object from the list to the current selection.

Tip 2:
See if changing the selection depth engine helps. You can find the option under Preferences –> System –> Selection. There you can test both “OpenGL Occlusion Queries” and “OpenGL Select” to see if one works out better for you.

Tip 3:
See if holding down the control-key while selecting helps. That will disable the depth check and select the object which origin is the closest to the mouse cursor during the click.

Tip 4:
Sometimes it can be really difficult to see the objects you have selected because the outline can be so thin. Luckily you can increase the outline width/thickness by going to preferences –> Themes –> 3D View and changing the “Outline width” property.

Blender build modifier order

Here’s how you can change the order of the build modifier:

-Take your mesh to edit mode

-Select the faces you want to effect

-Place the 3D cursor to a suitable location (if using the cursor distance option)

-Choose mesh –> sort elements –> cursor distance

-Make sure you select “faces” in the toolbar properties section (the area where temporary options for various tools appear)

-Now the build order should be based on the distance of each face from the 3d -cursor. This is perfect for quickly growing things!

Examples of Brackets plus the Emmet extension

Here’s how the Emmet extension for Brackets can really speed up your workflow:

-type #mydiv and hit tab to get <div id=”mydiv”></div>
-type lorem and hit tab to get lorem ipsum text
-type #container>.col-sm-4*3 and hit tab to get
<div id=”container”>
<div class=”col-sm-4″></div>
<div class=”col-sm-4″></div>
<div class=”col-sm-4″></div>
</div>