Nebula Generator

by Mark Kingsnorth in Materials, Shaders, Textures

Any tips and tricks?

Both 2D and 3D Versions

  • Change the 'Viewport Shading' in the 3D View to 'Rendered' to see the effect in real time. (Z Key)
  • In the Node Editor, hold SHIFT-CTRL and click on a node to see the individual effect of each node.  This will help understand how the different parts of the effect is made up.
  • Press the SHIFT key whilst changing parameters with the mouse for finer control.
  • By adding node groups like noise and musgrave to the inputs of the main node group, you can get lots of additional interest effects.  I'd encourage you to experiment and let me know if you get anything interesting.

2D Version

  • Also, I have added a curves node to the outputs of the stars and nebula node groups - playing with those settings will help intensify the colours of the nebula further.
  • Try swapping out the stars input for your own starfields and you should get more interesting effects.

3D Version

  • When changing parameters that have a significant effect or preparing for a render, switch the viewport to Wireframe mode.
  • Start with a high Tile Size and low Samples value, change parameters, and then increase them gradually to get the desired effect.
  • When animating, you will experience strobing effects on the clouds unfortunately in EEVEE. This can be countered with a higher Samples setting but may not be resolved entirely.  It is hoped that EEVEE can be improved to counter this.
  • Although the default renderer is EEVEE, the file can be adapted for CYCLES by changing the rendering format and changing the parameters of the materials.  Even though there will be a significant performance, this removed the strobing artefacts mentioned earlier.
How best can I control the parameters? I've managed to change something so that I'm not getting a good effect. What do you suggest I do?

You can click and slide the mouse over multiple parameters and change them all at once - this is useful when you want to change a property on all 3 cloud settings.

Also, by hovering over the parameter box and hitting the delete key, the parameter will return to its default value.

There are a set of sample .blend files I have supplied in a .blend file to give you a head start in configuring different effects.  I'm sure you can find more.

How can I control the parameters slowly when I move the mouse?

A neat trick in Blender is the shift key - whilst clicking and moving the mouse over a parameter, hold shift.  The values will change more slowly.  Especially for this node group, you can more subtly change the effects.

When I load the .blend file the viewport is blank. What's happened?

You have to change the viewport mode to "Rendered", Blender unfortunately does not load it by default.