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Reflections & Reflective Materials

It is sometimes said that traditional illusions are all just 'smoke and mirrors'.  In the digital world things are never that simple, but we can replicate the mirror effect with a few simple commands in Blender, giving us unique illusions of depth and complexity.  Here's you how do it:

Step 1 - Start by creating a new file in Blender. At this point you may find it useful to set up your viewports to show a camera view and perspective on the left-hand side of the window... but this is entirely up to you.   In any case, go to the render section and select the buttons indicated on the left, so that they are all pressed in.

Step 2 - Delete the cube and then press the spacebar to pull up the new object menu.  Add a plane and size it up real big ("s" then move mouse).  Position it to act as the 'floor tile' in the scene. You can, of course, make the ground anything you like (hills other mirrors, etc), but that is not the focus of this tutorial.

Step 3 - Switch to front view (num pad "1", making sure the mouse pointer is in the window) and add another "plane" to act as the mirror.  The image on the left shows you how it should look in the camera viewport (the plane being the pink square). Make it about the same size as mine.  

Step 4 - Just a quick adjustment. Right-click the "lamp" so it turns purple, and then navigate to the menus indicated in the second image. Enter my settings into your own blender dialogs.



Step 5 - Click on the smaller plane (the one you made in step 4), and load up the materials tab. Click "Add New", and change your settings to the ones indicated in the image opposite.

Step 6 - Now go to top view (num pad "7") and add a "UV Sphere".  This will be our object reflected in the mirror plane (unless, of course, you have a better object to reflect).  Click "OK" for the resulting object-creation menus - we don't need to set those values at the moment. Press "tab" and "g" and move the sphere down to pull it apart from the mirror plane.

Step 7 - Now, if you are sure you've done everything correctly in the steps above, you can press 'F12' on your keyboard to render your scene and admire your handiwork.

Note: Please remember that its a hard learning curve with Blender. Don't expect to get perfect results first time, and feel free to mess with all the settings to learn how things work.

Conclusion - And here is our final result!   It looks a little stark because, apart from the mirror, it has no textures or complex lighting.  You might want to attempt curved mirrors, double reflections, etc. This is something I will leave in your capable hands.

Check out the other Biorust tutorials and Blender.org for more info, inspiration, and help with the program.  Good luck!

- Tutorial written by BigTallBill

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Last 5 User Comments

User:  Culann (#55934)
Date: Mon Feb 09, 2009. 22:35:05

Post #3 of 3

Quote from rudbol;55356:
I get reflection both in standing plane and ground plane. I get this each time I try.
Ubuntu 8.10
Blender 2.46

My monitor shows only rubbish colors when trying to show the render-picture (F12).
Monitor: HP w2228h

In future, make sure you edit the second material, not the first. Depending how you play your cards, you might end up with raytracing on the default shader; you don't want that.

Reply to this post

User:  rudbol (#55356)
Date: Mon Dec 29, 2008. 12:26:05

Post #2 of 3

I get reflection both in standing plane and ground plane. I get this each time I try.
Ubuntu 8.10
Blender 2.46

My monitor shows only rubbish colors when trying to show the render-picture (F12).
Monitor: HP w2228h

Reply to this post

User:  jerry43812 (#48989)
Date: Mon Mar 24, 2008. 14:08:12

Post #1 of 3

Here it is, after about an hour...

Reply to this post

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