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Introduction to blender scripting
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run_script.py

README.md

blender-scripting

This is a collection of simple to more involved examples to scripting in Blender with Python.

Table of Contents

Requirements

Blender 2.5+

To run the examples, open your favorite console in the example folder, make sure that the Blender executable is an environment variable or in the PATH environment variable in Windows and run the following command. Make sure to edit in run_script.py the scriptFile variable to the Python script in the scripts folder you want to execute.

blender -b -P run_script.py

Another option is to open the script in Blender and run run_script.py inside Blender, which is a nice way to test and tweak the files and to see and play with the generated result before rendering.

Resources

Utils

utils

Some frequently used functions in blender, which will be used in most of the scripts.

Simple Sphere

simple_sphere.py

Simple rendering of a smooth sphere. First an icosphere is added with

import bpy
bpy.ops.mesh.primitive_ico_sphere_add(location=(0, 0, 0))
obj = bpy.context.object

Then the subdivision surface modifier is added to the object to increase the resolution of the mesh and afterwards all the faces of the object are set to a smooth shading

modifier = obj.modifiers.new('Subsurf', 'SUBSURF')
modifier.levels = 2
modifier.render_levels = 2

mesh = obj.data
for p in mesh.polygons:
	p.use_smooth = True

Alternatively the icosphere can be subdivided with the subdivisions argument in the function

bpy.ops.mesh.primitive_ico_sphere_add(subdivisions=4, location=(0, 0, 0))

Simple Sphere

Parametric Torus

parametric_torus.py

Parametric generation of a torus. The torus is created with the following parameterization of a grid of the variables u, v

Torus Formula

where the values u, v are between 0 and 1 and are then mapped to x, y, z coordinates. In parametric_torus.py, the function torusSurface(r0, r1) returns the surface parameterization function for a torus which is then used in createSurface(surface, n, m) as the first argument, which creates the object from a n by m grid. The function createSurface(surface, n, m) can be also used for other parameterizations such as surfaces of revolution or other parametric surfaces.

Parametric Torus

Metaballs

metaballs.py

Generate random metaballs in Blender inspired by this tutorial.

Metaballs

Voronoi Landscape

voronoi_landscape.py

This is a more advanced example for using a Voronoi diagram. The Voronoi diagram is implemented with the module scipy.spatial which can be added with Scipy, or can be found in the Python distribution Anaconda. The steps to use Anaconda as the Interpreter in Blender 2.77 are shown in this solution.

Voronoi Landscape

Tetrahedron Fractal

tetrahedron_fractal.py

This is an example for a fractal tetrahedron, where each tetrahedron is subdivided into smaller pieces with a recursive function. In order to create a material for the tetrahedron the material is assigned as shown here:

color = (0.5, 0.5, 0.5)
mat = bpy.data.materials.new('Material')
	
# Diffuse
mat.diffuse_shader = 'LAMBERT'
mat.diffuse_intensity = 0.9
mat.diffuse_color = color
	
# Specular
mat.specular_intensity = 0

obj.data.materials.append(mat)

Tetrahedron Fractal

Phyllotaxis Flower

phyllotaxis_flower.py

This script implements a Phyllotaxis Flower which aranges leaves or the petals according to the golden angle. Additionally The flower is animated by appending an application handler for frame change by

def handler(scene):
    frame = scene.frame_current
    # Create new geometry for new frame
    # ...
	
# Append frame change handler on frame change for playback and rendering (before)
bpy.app.handlers.frame_change_pre.append(handler)

In order to render all frames you can run

bpy.ops.render.render(animation=True)

The animation is inspired by the mesmerizing sculptures by John Edmark.

Phyllotaxis Flower

Rugged Donut

rugged_donut.py

This script implements a number of different things available in Blender. For one it applies a Displace modifier to a torus which displaces the object with a texture as follows.

# Create musgrave texture 
texture = bpy.data.textures.new('Texture', 'MUSGRAVE')

# Create displace modifier and apply texture
displace = obj.modifiers.new('Displace', 'DISPLACE')
displace.texture = texture

Further we can control the texture by an object such as an Empty object

# Create Empty to control texture coordinates
empty = bpy.data.objects.new('Empty', None)
bpy.context.scene.objects.link(empty)

# Take the texture coordinates from empty’s coordinate system 
displace.texture_coords = 'OBJECT'
displace.texture_coords_object = empty

Additionally we want to add a material with additional bump map to our torus object which is done in the following way.

# Create bump map texture
bumptex = bpy.data.textures.new('BumpMapTexture', 'CLOUDS')

# Create material
mat = bpy.data.materials.new('BumpMapMaterial')

# Add texture slot for material and add texture to this slot
slot = mat.texture_slots.add()
slot.texture = bumptex
slot.texture_coords = 'GLOBAL'
slot.use_map_color_diffuse = False
slot.use_map_normal = True

# Append material to object
obj.data.materials.append(mat)

Now we want to animate the empty in order to animate the texture. We can achieve this by inserting keyframes for the location of our empty as shown in this quick tutorial and in the next snippet.

for frame in range(1, num_frames):
    t = frame / num_frames
    x = 0.7*cos(2*pi*t)
    y = 0.7*sin(2*pi*t)
    z = 0.4*sin(2*pi*t)
    empty.location = (x, y, z)
    empty.keyframe_insert(data_path="location", index=-1, frame=frame)

Rugged Donut

Fisher Iris Visualization

fisher_iris_visualization.py

This script implements a visualization of the famous Fisher's Iris data set. The data set consists of 50 samples for each of three flower species of Iris setosa, Iris virginica and Iris versicolor. Each sample consists of four features (sepal length, sepal width, petal length and petal width). In order to visualize the data set in three dimensions we apply dimensionality reduction by using Principal Component Analysis. The data set and PCA are both included in the scikit-learn library for Python. This script works both with or without sklearn which is not part of the Blender Python distribution. You can use sklearn by using Anaconda in Blender which I show in this quick tutorial.

from sklearn import datasets
from sklearn import decomposition

# Load Dataset
iris = datasets.load_iris()
X = iris.data
y = iris.target
labels = iris.target_names

# Reduce components by Principal Component Analysis from sklearn
X = decomposition.PCA(n_components=3).fit_transform(X)

The data set in /scripts/data/iris/ is downloaded from the UCI Machine Learning Repository and PCA is implemented manually with the help of the included Numpy library. If sklearn is not in the current Python distribution the Iris data set is loaded as in the next code snippet.

path = os.path.join('data', 'iris', 'iris.data')
iris_data = np.genfromtxt(path, dtype='str', delimiter=',')
X = iris_data[:, :4].astype(dtype=float)
y = np.ndarray((X.shape[0],), dtype=int)

# Create target vector y and corresponding labels
labels, idx = [], 0
for i, label in enumerate(iris_data[:, 4]):
    if label not in labels:
        labels.append(label); idx += 1
    y[i] = idx - 1

# Reduce components by implemented Principal Component Analysis
X = PCA(X, 3)[0]

The data set is loaded into the scene as a 3D scatter plot with different shape primitives for each class of flower from the BMesh Operators. Additionally each collection of shapes in a class has different materials assigned to them. Each class has corresponding labels which are rotated toward the camera by a Locked Track Constraint.

Fisher Iris Visualization

Voronoi Sphere

voronoi_sphere.py

This is another example using the Voronoi diagram, but this time in the 3rd dimension. It is implemented as well with the module scipy.spatial which can be added with Scipy and it is even used in a similar way as the previous Voronoi example in 2D.

Voronoi Sphere

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