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.

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!

How to draw freehand curves in Blender

Since 2.78 Blender has had the amazing capability to draw freehand curves. Here’s how you do it:

-Add a curve object (shift+ A –> curve –> bezier)
-Take it to edit mode and delete the default curve there
-Go to the “create” tab (in the left hand toolbar) and click “draw”
-You can now use your mouse to draw amazing freehand curves

Importing alpha-mapped planes from Blender to Unity

This tutorial shows you how you can bring alpha mapped planes into Unity while keeping the transparency intact:

1. Import the 3d-model as an asset
2. Import the texture as an asset and toggle the “Alpha is transparency” checkbox on. Apply.
3. Drag the 3d-model to your scene
4. Drag and drop the texture on top of the 3d-model
5. Select the object and open it’s shader in the inspector. Change the rendering mode from “opaque” to “fade” or “transparent”