Compositing Nodes

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Introduction to Compositing with Nodes

Compositing Nodes allow you assemble and enhance a render (or movie) by effects.

If you are new to Nodes / Compositing: They might seem overwhelming at first, but be aware that you can read how the nodes are connected from left to right; Input to nodes: left - Output: right. (Approximate quote by Andrew Price)

Andrew, aka Blenderguru has published a video that introduces you to compositing with nodes for free, to promote the ebook on the complete topic he has written and which he offers updates for while Blender 2.5 is changing.

(It is a great ebook which explains the different tasks, you can purchase it via the link above. Antoher tutorial that got great critiques by adventuresinblender is this one by Sebastian K├Ânig (while he mentions that cmiVFX as publishing platform is annoying. )

Until there exists a 2.5 documentation, albeit probably confusing for beginners, it is best to dive into the 2.49 manual on if you want thorough information.

You can also download a free introduction (pdf) by Deep Thought on BlenderNation

Video as introductory tut + basic handling

Additionally, even if this means repeating: The video " Rendering with a Background Image" by Jonathan Williamson is still a great way to start out using Nodes and the Node Editor with a task you for sure want to learn and can - while getting familiar with Nodes and loosing your fear: see it on blendercookie

For legal reasons, as blender cookie videos are not in the public domain, I have created my own description here based on several videos and texts. (The basic process is very much the same, so all descriptions, free or protected, are nearly the same here: this is not an excerpt.)

Basics - Handling Nodes

Adjust the Nodes Editor for Compositing Nodes: (SHIFT + F3)

  • At first, prepare your scene for rendering (by the Node Editor improve a finished render by combining effects)
  • Switch from 3D Viewport to the Node Editor Window (icondropdown left bottom)
  • By default Material Nodes is marked active (3 iconbuttons right to text menu)
  • Switch to "Compositing Nodes" - click the third icon, after Texture Nodes in the middle;
  • Checkmark "Use Nodes" bottomheadercheckbox appearing
  • Checkmark "Backdrop" to activate a preview image of your changes under the Nodes (background image) later.

Pan, Zoom Backdrop

  • (ann.)ALT + MMB click + drag allows you to pan/move your activated "Backdrop" (Render you work on live updated) within the editor
  • V - key to zoom into ** ALT + V** to zoom out from the Backdrop (Quicktip on Blender Newbies
  • Move the nodes panels more to left and right of your screen to have more place for working

Add new Nodes:

  • SHIFT + A: select type of node from dropdown
  • Click on the viewport first, to position the node where you clicked (or adjust after automatic positioning)
  • Add your background image:
  • SHIFT + A -> select Input -> Image ->
  • Click "Open" on the Image Node -> open it via file browser (choose one cropped to your render size ( or at least ratio) - basic manipulation possible from within Blender through Distort nodes for SHIFT+A dropdown, but mostly better to use a img-editing program

You need to connect your nodes to a Viewer Node to see anything: ->

  • SHIFT + A: select Output from dropdown and add a Viewer Node (to actually see the image)

Depth of Field

Another short introduction to using the Nodes Editor and Compositing Nodes is this "MicroscopicVirus Effect" video by Jonathan Williamson on blendercookie. It was already featured on the Material and Texture Tutorial page, but covers adding Depth of Field too, and fits here. In case you did not try the tut yet, you might love to create to such a fantastic image relatively quick - to add the Depth of Field to.

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