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Animating Material Attributes

Before reading this page, you should know about Blender’s materials – if not, read this chapter first!

Animated materials can be a very powerful tool, for many different purposes. For example, you can use them to simulate the color changes of a chameleon’s skin, a video screen lighting up, the surface of a river or lake, a light lighting up (with an halo material), etc., etc.

The possibilities are nearly unlimited (or would be, if all material settings were animateable…).

Two different things are gathered in Material animation channel:

  • Real material settings (like diffuse/specular/mirror colors, alpha, etc.).
  • And texture mapping settings (i.e. where and to what is mapped a given texture).

Animated textures don't have own animation channels - their animation datablocks are included in Material channel. They are no visual distinction is made between material and texture animation datablocks, but in animation editors (Graph Editor, Dope Sheet Editor, NLA...) in names of animated texture channels are the adding "(Tex)" what means that are animated texture setting.

As of Blender 2.5, Everything is animatable. And about keyframing and actions see more here.

Example

As an illustration, we’ll create a simple “psychedelic” background. This obviously won’t demonstrate all possibilities of material animation – but I think this would need at least a whole book!

Add a plane and a camera, such that the plane faces the camera and covers the whole view.

Add a material to the plane. As we won’t use any light, set its Emit value to 1.0.

Create Fcurves for R, G and B, with a few random control points, all in the [0.0, 1.0] range. Manage to have three different length between the first and last keyframes, and enable the Cyclic extend mode (E2 NumPad). This way, with the three curves cycling over various periods, you’ll get a never-the-same color animation! Unless you want to get a “time-tileable” animation, in which case you should manage to get exactly the same color at start and end… You can also create an Emit Fcurve, e.g. to create a fade in/out…

Now, let’s add a bit of fun in this plain colored background. Add a texture to the material and, in the Texture sub-context, select a procedural texture (DistortedNoise, for example, but any one will work – follow your taste!), and set it to your liking.

Back in the Material sub-context, choose to what you want to map the texture – for this example, I chose to map it to diffuse color in Difference mode, in a first texture channel, and to emit value in Multiply mode, in a second texture channel.

Finally, animate the Z offset of the mapping of both channels (define a first OfsZ Fcurve, and use the copy/paste buttons to exactly copy it to the second texture channel’s curve). Here again, you can either have two different values for start and end, or the same if you want a cyclic animation…

Usually, you will create a slow, linear variation of the Z offset (i.e. a straight curve with low gradient), e.g. a decay of 1.0 over 500 to 1000 frames, but the only way to find the good value is to make preview renders!

You should get something similar to what shown below. You can download the blend file

File:ManAnimationTechsMaterialExPshychedelic.blend.






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User Manual

World and Ambient Effects

World

Introduction
World Background

Ambient Effects

Mist
Stars (2.69)


Game Engine

Introduction

Introduction to the Game Engine
Game Logic Screen Layout

Logic

Logic Properties and States
The Logic Editor

Sensors

Introduction to Sensors
Sensor Editing
Common Options
-Actuator Sensor
-Always Sensor
-Collision Sensor
-Delay Sensor
-Joystick Sensor
-Keyboard Sensor
-Message Sensor
-Mouse Sensor
-Near Sensor
-Property Sensor
-Radar Sensor
-Random Sensor
-Ray Sensor
-Touch Sensor

Controllers

Introduction
Controller Editing
-AND Controller
-OR Controller
-NAND Controller
-NOR Controller
-XOR Controller
-XNOR Controller
-Expression Controller
-Python Controller

Actuators

Introduction
Actuator Editing
Common Options
-2D Filters Actuator
-Action Actuator
-Camera Actuator
-Constraint Actuator
-Edit Object Actuator
-Game Actuator
-Message Actuator
-Motion Actuator
-Parent Actuator
-Property Actuator
-Random Actuator
-Scene Actuator
-Sound Actuator
-State Actuator
-Steering Actuator
-Visibility Actuator

Game Properties

Introduction
Property Editing

Game States

Introduction

Camera

Introduction
Camera Editing
Stereo Camera
Dome Camera

World

Introduction

Physics

Introduction
Material Physics
No Collision Object
Static Object
Dynamic Object
Rigid Body Object
Soft Body Object
Vehicle Controller
Sensor Object
Occluder Object

Path Finding

Navigation Mesh Modifier

Game Performance

Introduction
System
Display
Framerate and Profile
Level of Detail

Python API

Introduction
Bullet physics
VideoTexture

Deploying

Standalone Player
Licensing of Blender Game

Android Support

Android Game development