EV Express is an addon that speeds up the workflow setting up a scene in EEVEE to showcase your model. No more hassle adjust all the rendersettings, shadows, contact shadows, probes etc.
Add light rig with best settings known so far for shadow, contact shadow, etc.
Colour preset inspired by HDRI's from Greg Zaal. Of course it's not possible to simulate HDRI's with lights in EEVEE but it is pretty handy to have some preset that are recognizable.
Add backdrops to the scene. For now, there is three kinds of backdrops.
Add volumetrics. Ready to render, so no hassle to set up material (or find the material) but just press two buttons.
Add keyingset for all the settings of the light-rig. This means that you can keyframe the rig and with that, you keyframe it's colors, position, scale, and focus. Normally you have to keyframe each color for each light for example. now you can do it with one click.
Settings related to camera which are normally spread out across several places like Lock to View, DOF, Focal Length, and with one button you place an empty for the Depth of Field. The depth of field with be automagically enbabled. How convenient! I love it.
The global shader is now included (per 12 april update). This was a seperate addon but I merged it in the EV Express addon. See the global shader as a shader for the whole scene but has a colour scheme. With one button-click you can change the colourscheme. I stole these colour combinations from movies.
- Start up - presets. I believe that starts to look a bit (unintentionally) like Pro-lighting Studio. It would be nice to have some previews and preset of lighting setups. A one-click load.
- Improvement of the UI.
Update: There is now documentation in the add-on stored locally on the computer. It will open up in your default internet browser.
The latest documentation is also available for download here:
EV Express Documentation
Tips using EV EXpress:
- Make with EV Express a nice default scene and save it as startup file. You easily can hide EV Express's collections if they are disturbing you. And use them when need.
- Use False Color (Color Management, Transform View) to calibrate your scene. a) Make a plane with midgrey color. That is R:0.18, G:0.18, B:0.18. Turn on False Color and adjust the strenght of lights so that the plane becomes grey (as good as). A bit green is ok. Turn False Color off, and you know now if a material is way to bright or to dark.
- Keep backdrops big (scaling) and often better to have lights further away but stronger lights. If the lights are to close you have a strong fall-off, and could result in to much dark area's where light is not comming.
- Keep the cube for indirect light as small as possible. All lights need to be inside it. Then bake, and if need, hide from render in case you see it in the render.
- Pay attention to baking indirect light. It might make or brake a good render. You can see bad indirect light when there are very dark areas in the scene, for example area under a chair.
- Click the Select All button in the SpotRighLight Ctrl. Then press Alt, and you will see that you can now adjust the strength of all the lights at the same time.
Old documentation still applicable:
-- Add to scene:
Backdrops: Dropdown menu showing backdrops you can add to the scene. At the moment there are three backdrops. A backdrop comes with probes and the probes are parented to the backdrop. So if you rotate or scale the probe, the probes will transform as well. Don't forget to bake (again) after that.
Add SpotRig: Adds a spot rig. This is a rig of spotlights which are parented to an empty. There is another parent for the focus of the lights. There is a button elsewhere to change the spotlights in to pointlights. When you are going to bake, it's best to set the lights to point-light because they will lit up the hidden box for indirect light during baking.
Smoke: Two presets of fog/smoke you can add. The second one is a bit more colourfull and streched vertically like falling dust/smoke.
Add Global Shader: This was first a separate addon and I merged it with the EV Express addon. This is something you have to experience to understand the benefit. It works with colour schemes, keying sets and instead of adjust all shaders of objects, you are now adjusting one shader. Still the shaders are flexible or features can be disconnected from the Global shader.
-- Spot Rig Controls:
Light position: This selects the parent of the rig to you can loc-rot-scale it. Here a few tips:
- Press R and then R again and move the mouse. This is a comfortable way to rotate the parent.
- Press S and then Shift+Z. This way you adjust the size of the radius. (Spotlights are arranged in a circle).
- Press G, Z, Z. This way you move the rig up and down on the local axis. (The light goes further / comes closer in it's direction it shines).
Select both: The next button is the focus. That's where the spotlights are pointing at. And with this button you select both the first parent (previous button) and the other parent. Try pressing R, R. This is comfortable and most effective way to create dramatic results.
Light Focus; Where the spotlight are shining to. Works only with spotlights, and only moving has use. G, Y and G, Z, and G, X.
Color Presets: Color presets for the lights inspired by Greg Zaal's HDRI's. Of course it's not possible to simulate HDRI's with lights, but it's to have somehow a reference.
All to Point: Turn all spot lights into point lights. Handy for when you want to have more indirect lighting. So you can set first all lights to point lights, bake and then set it back to point lights. That way you don't have such dark shadows in the scene.
All to spot: Turns all lights back to spot.
-- Additional lights:
Point Light: Adds an extra point light with settings for shadows and contact shadows already applied. Everything you do further with this light is not affected by other features of the addon.
Area Light: Same as point light but then it's an area light.
-- Render settings (Render settings and baking)
Bake indirect: Bakes indirect. You need to have first probes in the scene and to see the result go in rendered preview. I'd like to turn all lights first to point before baking so I get more indirect bounces.
Render Settings: Applies the best render settings known so far but without AO.
Render Settings 2: Applies the best render settings known so far but with AO, and some other tweaks. In a future update this will be the default because it always shows better results.
Add Keyingset: This will add a keyingset for all the settings of the spot rig; the colours, the loc-rot-scale of the empties. This means when you press i on frame one, go to frame 10 and change things on the spotrig, everything will be keyframed with one keypress on i.
-- Camera settings:
Lock to View: No need to navigate away to find this button elsewhere. You need this a lot to I included it here in the addon. To experience it; press 0 and then press the button lock to View.
Unlock to View: This unlocks the camera again from view.
Focal Lenght: Focal Length.
Add DOF: First place your 3D cursor there where you want the picture to be sharp. Then press Add DOF. And with the next button you can define how blurry the rest has to be.
F-Stop: See notes at previous button.
-- Global Shader:
Sel. Global Shader: When you added the global shader (see first menu), you can select the global shader in the scene. This is eassier than trying to find and click manually in the scene. At the moment (possibly a bug in Blender) you have to do an extra step: a) press the button Sel. Global Shader. b) On numeric keypad press . (the dot) and the Text Global Shader comes in view. Select it one more with the mouse and then press 0 if need to bring the view back. Then you go to the properties panel, tab object and open Custom Properties. There you find quite a lot of settings for the Global shader as shown below which needs a separate documentation or tutorial to discuss all of it, but you will get the hang out of it mostly. See a screenshot at the end of this documentation.
Copy material: Select your object(s) first and then select one the the cubes above the text Global Shader in the scene. (Use previous button if need). Then press Copy Material and your object(s) will now get the same material as the active cube.
Ben Still…. Alice..Glass. I stole some colour combinations from movies and with one button-press you change the colors and other settings of the global shader. If you assigned materials from the Global Shader to your objects, then they will change as well. And that is what these buttons are fore: to change the colour scheme of the whole scene.
Add Keying Set GS: This adds a keying set for most of the settings of the Global Shader, but not for the colours unfortunately. Not sure if it is a bug or that I was not able to code it. So to add also the colours to the keying set you open the Global Shader (use the button to select the text) and in the node editor you see a long node. Open it, and then you right click on each color and choose: add to keying set.
For documentation with screenshots see: https://blendermarket.com/products/ev-express
- - - -
Improved UI, starting with options to add items to the scene to ensure a better workflow.
Correct name of addon in the preferences and in the N-Panel's tab.
Fixed an issue that a backdrop showed up invisible.
The cube to bake indirect light is now hidden to it's eassier to control the rig with the empties.
- - - -
- Quite a huge update this week:
- Added common settings related to camera.
- Merged the addon Global Shader into this addon EV Express. See documentation (and video later) what you can do with the Global Shader.
- Divided the menu with collapsible panels. This to make it better readable and settings you don't need for the moment you can collapse.
- The backdrops comes now with probes, and the probes are parented to it.
- A selection button to select both parents of the rig. This is convenient manipulating the rig. Try R and R again.
- Fix: Scaling and rotation of the two empties were not included in the keying set.
- Fixed issue with making the global shader active. (it was only selected, not active)
- Now you just have to click the button: Select GS. and then go to the customer properties in the properties panel (tab object) to adjust the material.
- Made a dropdown menu for the presets of the global shader so it takes less space.
- There is now a menu for colour combinations and a menu to choose shaders. So I added shader presets.
- EV-Express goes TURBO. There is a .Blend-file with instructions in the viewport.
- There was a bug in Blender, and removed the text inside the principled volume to prevent the bug to happen. Smoke/Fog is working again. Meanwhile the bug in Blender is now solved as well.
- Added more colour combinations, mainly based on Movies from Tim Burton and one colour combination from the movie Geisha.
Documentation and videos of this update will follow later.
Update April 26, 2019:
- Added a 3 Point Light Rig
- Added control for the smoke
- Added settings for Color Management
- Made menu's dynamic.
- Added extensive documentation in-app. Meaning there is a button in the in the addon that opens documentation in the browser.
Update May 3, 2019:
- Compositing NodeGroups added
- Bug fix when adding additional lights.
Update May 9, 2019
- A workaround for the current but in Blender that we get pink materials when using the Texture coordinate node.
- Added one backdrop. It has the middle grey color. Handy for calibrating with False Color.
- Some tweaks like: Bigger size of Indirect cube (in Z mainly), position of the spotrig, material tweaks of some backdrops.
- Added an extra addon, NMSComposNodes.zip, in case you prefer to add nodegroups when you are in the compositor.
- Price of the add-on is increased.
Update May 15, 2019
- In the latest build of Blender, lights settings have been unified more between Cycles and Eevee. Therefore EV Express had an update to adapt to these changes
Update May 17, 2019
Some tweaks, but big impact on quality of lights:
- After the update two days ago, I found the lights to harsh. Then I found out: the stronger the lights are, you tend to place them further away. This make the lights look harsh (search for fall of). So I reduced the strength of lights and also gave them a bit soft shadow. Overall the lights looks much better and it improves user-experience. (More control).
- Tip: For the 3point Control, use the colorpicker instead of the Energy property. This works much faster. In the colorpicker, to change the strength of light use the vertical slider on the right.
Update May 19, 2019,
- Due to changes in Blender's api, many functions broke and have been fixed. (related to render settings, camera settings, additional lights and smoke).
Update May 29, 2019:
- Tweaks to have softer shadow.
- Added a panel so we can control also the 8 lights of the spotrig separately; select, color, strength, size.
- Reorganisation of the addon files. The Visual Studio Code is now used for further development of the addon.
It feels like we have an amazing control now.
Update July 05, 2019:
- Softer Shadows
- Blend files with complete setups.
Update October 18, 2019,
compatibility with Blender 2.81.
- Render settings (changes in shadow algorithm)
- Lights and Additional lights (changes in shadow algorithm)
- Rendersettings to reduce lightleaks.
- Transform View. Use this to calibrate your scene with False Color, especially if you are going to make a startup scene/file. See tips below.
- Select All button to select all the lights in the SpotRig.
If we now press Alt and then change the Energy of 1 light, we do this for all the lights at the same time.
Update December 05, 2019
I finally hired a developer to implement big thumbnails for presets. We have now 32 presets and those are complete light setups including probes, background and smoke. All you have to do now is add a preset and tweak it with the EV Express addon.
Update December 12, 2019,
- Suprise Suprise! I created some looks under colormanagement with help from Troy. To get it to work you need to download the config.ocio and replace it in your Blender installation. For example: C:\Users\YourName\Downloads\blender-2.81a-windows64\blender-2.81a-windows64\2.81\datafiles\colormanagement First rename the original config.ocio to config_old.txt and move it somewhere as backup.
- Also tweaked some backdrop, making them more generic.
- And used a woman's bust from CGCookie for the thumbnails. The thumbnails looks much better.
Update January 15, 2020:
- EV Express goes Archviz. This means I added 8 presets with buildings. And for each building lights, probes and materials are set up.
- A render preset that has Lower light threshold. This means that weaker lights can contribute to lighting the scene. I added a bit more ambient occlusion in this preset.
- Made it to work with Blender 2.82.
Here a video that shows what your workflow could be:
With every update I send out an e-mail. In case you didn't receive any e-mail let me know.
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