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Figure 1.  Setting up lighting layer.

Tip: In Blender, remember that your mouse cursor must be visible in  particular viewport or toolbox for them to respond to keyboard hotkeys. The hotkeys change from one frame or viewport to another. If a dialog box is active, that changes the meaning of a hotkey also. For example, with the MC (Mouse Cursor) in the 3Dviewport, pressing "T" shows or hides the object toolbox at the left. If the dialog brought up using Ctrl + "T" is active, pressing "T" will set the "Track to" Constraint described in a moment.

This is the first step I do with my CG scene. I'm using Blender, at the moment, still one of the first things I want to know how to do in any graphics program, 2D or 3D, is how I put parts of the drawing into a separate layer. Above I'm placing my basic cube, camera and light onto the last, lower layer by pressing the "A" key twice, then pressing the "M" key and clicking with the LMB (Left Mouse Button) in the space for layer 20 or the bottom-most, right-most box in the right-most layer cluster. The camera, light and cube disappear.

I generally click on that layer, then press "A" to deselect everything. Then I RMB (Right Mouse Button) click on the camera pyramid wireframe, hold down the shift key, RMB click on the cube then press Ctrl + "T", then "T" again, or LMB click on "Track to Constraint."

This lets me have that cube as the place in my scene that camera is pointing to. I can scale it small enough to hide right behind the nose of a figure if I want without always tracking the camera to that figure.

Figure 2. Setting the background scene

Just as we would with any painting we were making, a wash, for example, it is a good idea to create the environment. Once I moved the lights to the last layer, I scrolled down in my toolbox (No toolbox? Press "T".) then expanded the "Cloud Generator" tool panel. I chose both "particles" and "smoothing" then chose Cumulus" as my cloud type, then "Generate."

The resulting cloud bank I scaled by pressing "A" to deselect, then again to select ALL. I press "S," to activate SCALE, then "X" to lock the scaling direction to the X axis and type 30, then ENTER. I use the LMB down atop the Blue arrow of the Red(x), Green(y) and Blue(z) pivot center, and drag the cloud bank upward several meters. (A grid frame is 1M x 1M).

Next, with the cloud bank still selected, I press "M" and click on layer 19 (next to the camera). The cloud bank disappears to that layer.

Layer 1 is still the active layer and all visible there is the grid and the 3D pivot in the center. No objects are there, so the axis arrows are not visible either. I momentarily LMB click on the Cloud Layer (19), press "A" to deselect ALL, then LMB click back on Layer 1.

I then press Shift + "A" or LMB click the Add menu, from the main menu , then LMB click on Mesh then on Plane. A plane appears and the Red/Green/Blue axis is back. I press "S", then 10 to scale the plane 10 times. In the Context panel, at the right, I click on the ochre colored cube.

Figure 3. Adding the ocean

The Object comes up as "Plane.001" I LMB click in the box directly on the word "Plane..." It highlights the word. I type Ocean1 then ENTER. Next I LMB click on the little wrench symbol. The context box changes to "Modifier." I click on "Add Modifier," then, from the rightmost group, I LMB click on "Ocean." The plane changes to an ocean. I then LMB click on the material sphere icon in the context panel menu header.

The material can be given a name, just like the plane became "Ocean1." Below the preview panel, is "Diffuse Color." I LMB click on the white box. A color wheel dialog box appears. I LMB click on a color, then LMB click on a HUE level at the right. The ocean has that color suddenly in the 3D viewport. As I move the cursor away from the box that is now the chosen color, the color wheel disappears. I move down to "Specular Color" and do basically the same as with the Diffuse Color, remembering that I'm choosing the highlights.

I scroll down a bit and click in the "Mirror" check box, then slide the Reflectivity control to about 2.5 or so. If I want to show something, like fish or a sub, just beneath the surface, I'd add transparency too.

 I press "A" twice, then "M," moving the ocean to Layer 18; next to the cloud bank.

I hold down the Shift key and LMB click on all layers that hold drawing information; 18, 19, & 20. Then I press the F12 key to render the scene as in Figure 2.

If the rendering isn't just right, I LMB click on Layer 20 to bring in just the camera and lights. I select the camera, then, in the context panel, I click on the camera's object data context panel icon. Just below are settings that include "CLIPPING." Adjust the outside range of clipping to exceed 10000.

There are some basic steps in Blender. The basic concept, nonetheless, applies to all rendering, computer graphic or otherwise. First create everything that results in the horizon, eye level and a place for vanishing points to reside. Then add objects and other scene elements.

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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. :P Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.

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