Ev Express

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You can download the full and up-to-date documentation here:  EV Express Documentation  

There are also video tutorials here: 

Below documentation is compact version

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.  

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.  

Compositor nodes: Adds nodegroups for the compositor. There are 9 nodegroups for now.  You can find them in the compositor > Add > Group.  Examples: Frame, Vignette, ASC-CDL presets, Logo overlay, Zoomblur. 

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.  

Indirect Cube: These are settings for the cube responsible for indirect lighting. Change it's color before baking.  Bright color gives lot of indirect light, and darker less.  Best results are when you give it a texture.   

Add Keying set: Add a keyings set.  Use for example: Change anything like location, color preset of the spot-rig. Press i.  Go to frame 20, make some changes again and press i again.  Now everything you changed is keyframed.  So no need to keyframe everything manual. 

3PointLight Ctrl: 

Light position:  RotLocScale the three lights.
Select both: Selects all.  Mostly used to move, (G), or rotate around Z (R, shift + ZZ)
Light Focus:  Where the lights have to shine at.
Key: Selects the Key light and specific controls will show up for that light like: color, size.  
Back:  Selects the Back light and specific controls will show up for that light like: color, size.  
Fill: Selects the Fill light and specific controls will show up for that light like: color, size.

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 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. 

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.  

Color presets:  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.  

Shader presets:  For now, before you can use this, there must be a keyingset for the Global Shader.  Choose a preset and then press i in order to see the changes.  (Probably a bug in Blender). 

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.  

Here the screenshot of the custom properties for the global shader:

I would suggest to play with it and have the cubes and the text Global Shader in vieuw (Scene).  

Screenshot of the Global Shader Node Setup: 

To add the colors to the keying set you click on the long node at the left-bottom (see blue arrow).  There you will find 6 RGB-nodes on the left.  Right lick on it: add to keyingset. 

There will be tutorials later this week.