How to apply, scale, rotate and relocate image textures in Blender 2.79

How to apply, scale, rotate and relocate image textures in Blender 2.79

This tutorial teaches you how to use Mapping in the Node Editor and it’s meant for intermediate learners.

Beginner learners click  here.

Blender 2.79

1. Change the view from Default to Compositing from the top menu (next to Help)

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2. You should see 3 panels. The top one is the Node Editor, the bottom left is for the UV Image and the one on the bottom right is for the 3d View. To be able to see the nodes in the Node Editor make sure that Use Nodes and the Node Shaders are selected like in the picture below with the yellow highlights.

002

3.  Hover your mouse on the 3d View panel and select the mesh to be textured. In my case, it is the wall behind the person.

4. Go to the far right of the screen and switch the view to Properties

003

4. In the properties menu, select Material (the ball) first and then the far right corner of the color in the Surface section (not the white part) as illustrated by the yellow arrows in the picture below:

004

 

5. A menu will appear: select Image Texture.

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6. At this stage click on open and add your texture image. In my case it’s a brick wall. Select the image in the UV  Image/Editor as well.

006

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8. While still in 3d View, in Edit Mode, press U on your keyboard to bring up the unwrap menu. To unwrap means to cut your 3d object into a 2d shape. There are different options, the following are the most common:

  • Unwrap (used when the seam has been marked)
  • Smart UV Project (common for simple objects)
  • Project from view (you get the exact same shape as seen in the 3d view. Excellent for texture painting)

I chose Unwrap.

You will see the unwrapped version of your mesh appearing on top of the image texture in the UV Image Editor.

If you cannot see it, it means that your mesh has not been selected. If that’s the case, go to Object Mode again, right click your mesh, switch back to Edit Mode and press U.

Once your Unwrap model is overlapping the image texture, click assign in the material tab.

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9. In the 3d Panel, switch back to Object Mode and select the method of display to Render.


 

02_3panels

 

10. Hover your mouse on the Node Editor, press SHIFT + A, you will see a drop down menu: select VECTOR/MAPPING (for the purpose of this tutorial the Node Editor has been enlarged)

03_Vector_Mapping

11. Connect the Vector in Mapping with the Vector in the Image Texture

04_Vector_Vector

12. Press SHIFT + A and select: Input/Texture Coordinates

05_Texture_Coordinates

13. Connect UV to Vector

06_UV2Vector

14. Now, play with the X and Y value in the Scale section in the Mapping Node until you get the desired result. If you need to Rotate or change the Location of the image texture then use the other values available right next to Scale. The final result is immediately visible in the bottom right view pane (Rendered).

07_Final

That’s it!

Enjoy your work.

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The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its toilets are treated

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its toilets are treated

The Mahatma Gandhi used this famous quote referring to animals and I obviously totally agree with him.

However, as a female nomad, there is nothing as comforting as finding a clean toilet when you have been on the road for a while. To my surprise, the cleanest toilets I’ve found are located in areas which are known as being developing countries (apart from Japan).

Toilets in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia. Burma, Indonesia and Cambodia are very clean because there is water in each single toilet and people use it not only to wash themselves but to wash the toilet as well. I’ve been traveling to remote areas in the above mentioned countries and every single time I found a sparkling clean toilet. I am obviously referring to the local people and not to Western travelers who have the bad habit of leaving a mess wherever they go.

Humans do need toilet training because it’s an act of respect towards other people.

On the contrary, my experience with toilets in Western countries is rather nightmarish. Many Western people, both men and women, do not clean after themselves for whatever reason and if you happen to need to use a public toilet, you have to be very lucky to find a clean one.

There are horror movies and computer games which have shown how disgusting “rest rooms” can get.

(Image from the game: Silent Hill 2)ouWRymi

Milano, Italy, the capital of fashion together with Paris… But have you tried using a public toilet? It doesn’t matter whether it is in a cafe, on a train or in a park; you are very likely to find a surprise inside.

My negative experience with toilets in Western countries is not limited to public places but to private companies as well. When I was training people, I had to stay inside a company for several hours so I obviously had to use their toilet which in big companies are divided according to your gender. OMG! I was working with highly educated and elegant women, most of them carrying Prada bags worth about 1,000 dollars per piece and yet, you wouldn’t believe how they left the toilets…

Maybe they think that someone should clean after them but isn’t that completely disrespectful towards the next person needing to use the toilet or the cleaners themselves?

India and Nepal are a bit different … I’ve found myself traveling in remote areas where there are NO toilets and as most of the travelers are men, they don’t seem to care much about the fact that a woman cannot pee standing up. If you travel by bus, in India in particular, be aware that toilet stops might occur every ten hours and when they finally decide to stop, especially in remote areas, it’s very likely that the place doesn’t have any toilets. That was my experience traveling by bus from Nepalgunj (Nepal) to Rishikesh in India. I was almost in tears when after a 10 hour ride the bus stopped in a flat area with no trees and when I inquired about the toilet with the driver his answer was “This is all open toilet, madam!”. Luckily, a very kind and gentle young woman who couldn’t speak a word of English, understood my discomfort and took me by hand to the other side of the road where there were some trees so I could finally pee in peace! She and I were the only women on the bus and her uncle, when he realized that I was a woman traveling by myself, silently kept an eye on me making sure that I had everything I needed. God bless them both! So far that has been one of the hardest travel ever.

For me, finding a clean toilet is one of the highest forms of respect.

In Myanmar, I traveled by bus from Yangoon to Mae Sot (Thailand) and despite the visible level of poverty of the local people, their toilets were always clean.

My last important toilet episode happened in a local market in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I was buying some plastic containers when I suddenly felt the urge of using the toilet. Though the woman could not understand English, I mimed the toilet position and she understood immediately. She asked her daughter to take me to their toilet and, despite the very basic material with which the toilet room had been constructed, the place was, as usual, sparkling clean. As it is customary, there was a huge barrel filled with water inside so I made sure I washed the toilet perfectly before I left it.

You can be the richest person on this planet but if you leave the toilet dirty after having using it, you are just another disrespectful asshole!

ECOSIA : the ecological search engine

ECOSIA : the ecological search engine

Ecosia is a so called social business, namely, a business whose goal is not to enrich its shareholders but to turn a large part of its profits into planting trees around the world.

Before becoming a vegan nomad, I used to train business people and that’s when I started to develop a sort of allergy towards the word “business” and everything related to it. The purpose of this life is not to make money recklessly but rather to experience life to develop in better and harmonious human beings. By the time I left Europe, thinking about business and the money making process was enough for me to cause me nausea. Ever had that feeling?

Anyway, I became disillusioned with everything and almost everyone because I had the feeling that there was the shadow of a profit behind everything people did or thought. Not everyone, naturally, but a good number of people gave me that feeling.

It is no surprise that when I bumped into Ecosia search engine, the first thought that came into my mind was – Oh yeah, now they’ve found another way to fool people – but I was wrong. Completely wrong.

I thoroughly researched the company and what they have been doing so far; they are indeed doing what they claim. Their monthly financial report is publicly published online every month and there are videos and other files documenting their progress in planting trees in different areas.

The company is made up of a team of motivated young people who believe in a better planet. Its headquarter is in Germany. If you want to help, here is their official website:

ecosia.org

Together we can make a difference but the choice must be made individually!

Vegan Melanzane Impanate

Vegan Melanzane Impanate

Some people call them aubergines, others eggplants but in Italy they are known as melanzane.

This delicious vegetable can be cooked in a thousand different manners but today I’m going to share with you the vegan version of a very traditional recipe: melanzane impanate. This quick and delicious dish can be ready to eat in about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

(For two people)

2 medium size eggplants

1/2 cup of wheat flour

1/2 cup of chickpea flour or pea flour

some salt (ideally, sea salt)

Vegetable cooking oil

Recipe Instructions:

  • Clean the eggplants by getting rid of the non edible top part.
  • If they are very long, cut them in a half and then slice them vertically so that you can obtain a shape like the one in the photo. Ideally they should be about 1 cm thick.
  • Spread the eggplant slices on a plate and sprinkle some salt all over them. Let them sit for about ten minutes (my mother lets them sit for much longer to get most of the water out of the vegetable but if you are in a hurry don’t bother too much about it).
  • In a different plate or a big bowl if you prefer, put the chickpea flour and gradually add a little water while stirring with a fork. This is supposed to be an egg substitute so the consistency should be rather creamy but still liquid. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Now, you need another plate for the wheat flour. Spread it around the plate uniformly.
  • Prepare a non stick pan with a quarter of a cup of vegetable cooking oil in it and put it on low heat.
  • Take one slice of eggplant, deep it in the egg substitute cream, then put it on the plate with wheat flour and turn it around. Do not press the wheat against the eggplant with your fingers, otherwise it will be too much. If you think that there is not enough flour attached to the eggplant, just turn it around another couple of times in the wheat flour.
  • At this stage, the oil should be hot enough to start cooking. As soon as the eggplants are coated, gently place them in the pot and let them cook until their bottom color change into brown. Then, turn them around and cook the other side until crunchy.
  • When the eggplants are ready, put them in a clean plate and wait another 5 minutes before eating them. The eggplant should be crunchy outside but soft and creamy inside.

This is a wonderful dish liked by almost everyone. Traditionally, the melanzane impanate used to be deep fried but if you use a non stick pan, you just need some oil for the crunch effect.

Melanzane impanate is a side dish but I eat it as a main dish together with brown rice and green vegetables to have a balanced meal!

Happy Vegan Day to all of you!

How to use Blender Cycles on a Lenovo Ideapad 100S

How to use Blender Cycles on a Lenovo Ideapad 100S

Lenovo Ideapad 100S is small, cheap but can be tweaked to do some powerful stuff such as using Blender Cycles.

After having spent some time in monasteries doing meditation, I came to the conclusion that computers only manage to take your focus away from your inner self so I told myself I was never going to use a computer again… until I found myself in Bangkok.

Now, for those of you who love computers, you must know that Bangkok used to be one of the most popular places to buy your latest device for an excellent price though today,  the place with an unbelievable selection of technological stuff with all sort of prices is Kuala Lumpur… but this is another story.

Back to Bangkok, I went to the most renown places to buy a cheap laptop and I was surprised to see only a few models and rather pricey. As a vegan nomad, my budget for a laptop was ridiculously small but I decided to try my luck anyway. To be honest, I don’t like Acer. My friend had one, I used it and was totally unimpressed by its economical value and performance. On the contrary, when I saw the Ideapad 100S, I thought it was cute and good enough to surf the net and do basic stuff so I bought it.

To be completely honest, once I got to my guest house I tested it and it had a problem with the keyboard – some keys where not responding so I went back and they replaced it immediately.

There are pros and cons about this little jewel and I will start with the cons so that we can all have a happy ending and go to bed with a smile.

CONS

Windows 10 is completely inadequate for such a small laptop. As you turn it on, it takes centuries to load because there are a lot of  mostly useless apps not to mention what’s running in the background which eats up most of your CPU. I actually tried to install Linux but it was impossible because the laptop cannot be booted up by a USB drive…

It drove me mad, I wanted to throw the computer against the wall but then I found some helpful websites with hints on how to turn off the various annoying apps that could not be uninstalled regularly. It felt as if my computer was in the hands of a hacker who did not like what I was doing. A few times, I changed the settings and then Windows put them back as they were originally. I was so upset, I wanted my money back. Basically, you need to get rid of Cortana, Edge, the antivirus and the firewall asap before getting a nervous breakdown then, go to the services and disable every service connected to the security system, xbox, remote controlling and whatever you think you may not need (read the description). I also suggest to deactivate windows update and only do the updates manually so that it won’t hack your machine without your knowledge. The last fundamental trick is to replace the start menu with an older simplified version freely available online. Finally, check the amount of memory used by the system in the task manager and see the difference. However, this was, in my view, the biggest mistake Lenovo could possibly made; having a huge OS in such a tiny machine with limited capacity (50 GB storage, CPU 1.33 GHz 4 cores, Intel HD graphics) it’s just ridiculous!

PROS

It was after I managed to tweak Windows 10 that I found Blender and totally fell in love with it. It’s fairly easy to learn – if you follow the millions of tutorials available on You Tube and elsewhere. Blender has a lot of options so you can use it for different purposes but my main purpose is to use it for making animation and games. Yes, games! There is a tremendous need for women made games in the world and I’m here to answer those prayers.

Go ahead and install Blender if you want to give it a try, it’s open source, here is the link:

Blender Foundation

I’ve been learning a lot since I started though there are some features of Blender that I cannot use because my CPU and GPU are not powerful enough for the rendering. I’m referring to physics particles, materials with too many nodes and other fancy options. However, if you are patient and willing to render one layer at the time and then put them together in the video editor, you can make pretty good animation and games. Here is an example:

Logo made with Blender

I normally render using my CPU but recently, I discovered that I can even render with my GPU if I set the performance to Progressive Refine. To expand my hard drive, I bought a 16 GB pen drive which I use as an external disk and I recently bought a 32 GB pen drive as well so that my rendered projects can be stored directly on them. Ideapad 100S has two USB sockets; I use the first one permanently for the pen drive and the second for the mouse which is really needed when drawing or modelling.

Blender is about to release an incredible feature called Eevee: a real time engine. For that, I’ll probably need a new laptop and I already know what I want: the most powerful Lenovo with at least an intel i7, and a very powerful GPU provided the system is Linux based – no more Windows thank you…

You don’t need to be a billionaire to express your creativity!

Contact me if you have any other ideas on how to reduce CPU usage by Windows background file systems or if you know how to render with Blender by using a little CPU or GPU.

 

Vegan Gnocchi di Patate

Vegan Gnocchi di Patate

Gnocchi di patate is a traditional northern Italian dish simply made of potatoes and wheat flour. It’s a very delicious and nutritious food yet affordable and the ingredients widely available. You can use your imagination to make the sauce that better suits your palate but in my case, I made a green been sauce to garnish the gnocchi. By the way, many people love gnocchi just as they are by adding a little bit of olive oil on top once they are cooked.

Here is the recipe:

How to make Gnocchi:

(Ingredients for 2 people)

2 Medium size potatoes better if young

1/2 cup of wheat flour

(I used organic white wheat flour but you can use other types if you wish and if you are allergic to gluten you can use rice or corn flour)

Some salt

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into fairly big even cubes (not to small)
  • Fill a pot of water and bring it to the boil
  • When the water is boiling, put the potatoes inside and cook until they are soft but still a little firm.
  • Drain the potatoes and put them in a big bowl.
  • Mashed the potatoes down with a fork  and add a few pinches of salt.
  • Gradually start adding the flour with a spoon while keeping stirring the dough with a fork
  • When the dough starts getting thicker, start working it with your hands. If you think that the dough is still too wet, add some extra wheat.
  • When the dough has a homogeneous consistence, make little balls and then extend the edges a little to make them look like those in the photo (this is the traditional Italian way).
  • Now fill a pot with water (o recycle the previous one) and bring it to the boil. Add a spoon of salt (sea salt is best)
  • Add the gnocchi one by one rather quickly because they cook in a few minutes.
  • When the gnocchi come to the surface of the water, wait another minute and then drain them.

Gnocchi

How to make the Green Beans Sauce

(Ingredients for 2 people)

10 Asian long beans or 1/2 kg of green beans

2 cloves of garlic

1 spoon of sesame seeds

Vegetable Cooking Oil (I used pure soy bean oil)

salt

1 red chili

  • Smashed the garlic into small pieces and clean it from its peel
  • Slice the chili
  • Mix the garlic and the chili together
  • Wash the beans and cut them into pieces of about 2 cm of length
  • Put a little oil in a non stick pan and add the garlic and chili
  • When the garlic is starting to turn orange, add the beans and the sesame seeds and stir thoroughly
  • Cover the pan with a lid and wait for a few minutes
  • Occasionally stir the beans again
  • When the beans look slightly crunchy, turn off the heat, add the gnocchi and stir gently then serve.
  • Gnocchi taste better when they are not too hot so let them sit for a few minutes before eating them.

 

いただきます!

Cambodian Angels

Cambodian Angels

A great idea good for the environment and good for the people: Rehash Trash.

While I was on my way to the market, I noticed a different shop which I couldn’t quite figured out what it was about. My intuition told me to stop and have a look because it had certainly something to do with recycling by the name of it.

For those of you who’ve never had the opportunity to visit Asian countries, you should know that the biggest environmental hazard is primarily represented by plastic bags. In the past, most Asian countries used banana leaves and bamboo baskets to carry their food and goods around so when those suddenly got replaced by plastic bags, nobody bothered explaining to the people – many of whom are illiterate – that plastic is not biodegradable,  on the contrary it is a real threat to everything and everyone.

I do my best here not to use plastic bags but sometimes it is virtually impossible. Even if I go to the market with my own containers, there are some types of food which are sold sealed in plastic bags (just like in supermarkets), like fresh tofu for instance. But I live here, so I have the opportunity to buy containers (yep, made of plastic) to be recycled over and over again. As a tourist, it is not that easy to do it but here are some tips for those travelling in Asian countries.

Do your part no matter how small, many drops of water together form an ocean:

  • Carry a thermal bottle with you because in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Nepal, you can just refill your bottle for a very cheap price without any plastic waste. In Cambodia, most guest houses and hotels have free water dispensers where you can fill your bottle.
  • Make a little room in your backpack or suitcase for a lunch box  so that if you want to buy anything fresh you can ask the people to put it in your box.
  • Do not use a straw when you drink, people are very clean and nobody ever got sick by drinking straight from a glass. I’m your living proof, I even drink fresh coconut milk straight from the market without cooking it: delicious! For coconut water, if you are given a straw just keep it and use it for the time being.
  • If you are given any plastic bags, wash them in your room and use them again.
  • Buy your fresh food from the local market and not the supermarket because they use a lot of packaging just like in the West.

The target is obviously to eliminate plastic altogether but in the meantime, let’s do our best.

Back to my story with the shop named Rehash Trash, I discovered that they are an NGO which recycles rubbish bags and turns them into beautiful and useful items. I actually bought a big laundry basket myself. The women working there are the mothers of several street children who are given the opportunity to make a little income and provide for their kids. They also offer workshops where you can learn how to recycle plastic.

 

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If you come to Siem Reap, do visit them, here is their FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/RehashTrash/?ref=py_c

Be proud of yourself live Eco and not ego!