Philippe ROUBAL
Creative Commons.
(BY) 2.0 license. France


The tutorials, methods and setups provided on this page are released under Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.0 license. France. This means that you can use them for personnal and commercial use as long as you credit my name and website in your own derivated work.


Rain in a puddle - 1024x576 - MOV with sound from Philippe ROUBAL on Vimeo.

Ce texte est aussi disponible en Français dans la section Française du site.

This setup is an animated texture generator to be used to create Ripples patterns on water surfaces.

The generated textures can be applied as Bump textures or Displacement textures, or even better used with a real Displacement modifier.

Once you will have put your eyes and hands on my blend file you will see that it is easy to create your own templates objects to create ripples of any shapes.

In the example, ripples seem to appear at random, but in fact you can decide exactly where and when they appear, by simply placing vertices at the right location.

The core of the animation is a cloud of vertices moving in the Z direction, and supporting a template object.

Here is the Blend file, released under Creative Commons BY 2.0 license. France :

Blend files made with Blender 2.49b. Usable with Blender 2.5x and Blender 2.61. The generated textures aren't tileables.

• RipplesMaker.blend

Blend files for Blender 2.5x and Blender 2.61. The generated textures are tileables. This setup is not compatible with Blender 2.49b.

• RipplesMaker-Tileable.blend

Instructions for use are included in the text window of the blend file.

Feel free to comment, and please show to the community what you did with this setup. Enjoy !


Petrol Fire Test made with Blender v2.49b. from Philippe ROUBAL on Vimeo.

The blend file is available here :

• PetrolFire.blend

Ce texte est aussi disponible en Français dans la section Française du site.

This setup doesn't require a complex texture blending on the flames material, and not even a complex nodes combination.

Only a very simple nodes compositing is done to add Vector blur and a bit of ordinary blur to the flames.

The flame deformation is mainly based on the use of a model deformed either by Displace Modifiers (at least one) or by Softbody.

In this current file, Displace Modifiers are used.

The fire texture is not applied on the flames themselves. The material of the flames is set to fully transparent (Alpha=0), and specular. The Yellow/Red texture is in fact casted by a Lamp.

Using specularity on the flames material allows a more natural effect than applying the texture directly to the material, because the deformations acts on the angle of reflection of the light, and allows more random in the aspect of the flames.

The displacement of the Lamp texture as well as the displacement texture used for the flames mesh are both driven by an Empty moving vertically.

The set and the flames are put on two different layers lit by different Lamps groups. This allows an easier control on the lighting on the set, and the brightness of the fire.

This said, Textures can also be applied to the flames themselves in a more classical way, allowing the use of the Stress setting in the Map Input Panel. The Stress setting gives very interesting deformations in the flames.

I hope that you will like this setup. Feel free to send me some comments, and please show to the community what you did with this setup.



You have a large scene requiring many stones and rocks and you would like to avoid the tedious work of making them one by one ? This setup is made for you !

• StonesFactory.blend

Ce texte est aussi disponible en Français dans la section Française du site.

Stones Factory is a setup allowing procedural creation of stones and rocks with texture, in few clicks. The provided blend files already includes on several layers textures that can be enabled or disabled to create a large choice of stones textures. You can add you own textures and shaders to create any kind of rocks.

The setup is mainly based on the use of two Displacement Modifiers. These modifiers are referenced to two Empties. One for the overall shape of the stone, and a second one for the details of its surface.

By playing with the blend file, you will notice that the only thing to create a new stone is to duplicate an existing one and to move it in the 3D view. Thanks to the Displace Modifiers, every new stone will be different.

Of course, if you need falling stones in an animation, you will have to make the created stones real. Otherwize, you will get living stones deforming like blobs ! You can make the stones real in two different manners : You can apply the displace modifiers for each new stone created (convenient if you have few stones), or by selecting all the stones and using the Apply Deformation Python script available in the Objects section of Blender's Script menu. If you use this script, new stones are created and the original stones with Modifiers still present will remain available.

Stones Factory can be used in many different ways. Instead of creating the stones one by one , you can select a group of stones and move them in the 3D view. You will get a pack of new stones that you will be able to make real with the script. You can also move the Empties to get a new collection of stones, and then make them real with the script.

As Modifiers are applied to each Object independently from the others, you can get some interesting differences between the stones in the same collection, by using a different subdivision method (Simple Subdivision instead of Catmull-Clark), a different level of subdivision, a different Coordinate system for the Displace Modifiers (X, Y, Z or RGB instead of Normal), or a different value for the Displacement strength or Mid Level.

By scaling up the Shape-Displace Empty, you will quickly get interesting variations of the overall shape of the stones on the whole collection.

If you want to make bigger stones, you can select and resize one. As you will see, for a much bigger stone, it may be necessary to subdivide the mesh in order to keep the dimension of the faces compatible with the displacement. Fractal subdivision can also be interesting to add more variety in the shapes. Obviously, the Decimate modifier can be also used to reduce the faces count for big rocks seen in background, for example.

On the Material part of the setup, you will notice that I have used the same coordinate system for all the textures layers : Orco or Global. Both allow interesting visual results. Orco is convenient for independent stones, and Global is very interesting for making rocks and mountains from heaps of overlapping stones, because the veins of the rock are more continuous. Of course, making heaps of stones can be seen like a waste of faces, because many of them are hidden, but the method gives very interesting and natural shapes and it is very fast. There is an example in the provided blend file.

I have provided some textures layers, but you will be able to create you own textures easily. The possibilities are infinite and very interesting rocks textures can be created by using the color ramps and selecting different textures templates.

The setup is oriented to procedural methods, but you can obviously use photographic textures as well. This will allow you to add RGB Normal Maps for a more accurate relief, but as this kind of texture is most often applied using UV coordinates, it is not so easy to apply to many object at the same time.


Ce texte est aussi disponible en Français dans la section Française du site.

This section is dedicated to some content that I have made to be used within the amazing Python Script "Blended Cities", written by Jérôme MAHIEUX, aka "littleneo" on This script, allowing in few clicks the procedural creation of huge cities is available here : • 

The link below points to a Zip file that you will have to copy and decompress in the "proubal" subfolder. This directory is here : blended cities\libraries\proubal. Once unzipped, the content of the Zip file will overwrite and update the "proubal" library :

When you open the Blended Cities script in BLENDER, you find on the first green buttons line, a button named "Main". Just below this button, you can make a choice through almost a dozen of "City presets". By default, the visible choice is obviously "default". If you choose "philippe", you will have access to the content of my personnal library, named "proubal". This means that instead of creating fully procedural buildings, the script will create buildings by using my prebuilt buildings pieces.

Beside the buildings construction, you will also have access to some city props that will be spread in the city. When you have selected "philippe" for the "Main" "City presets", please enable the "Streets" button.

Now, if you enable the "Sidewalks" button, you will be able to add several kinds of props, by pushing the "add" button. Currently, the library contains also some "standard templates" that will be removed later. You will find three categories of objects : streetlights, trees and Pedestrians.

In this last category, you will discover some characters, walking automatically ! These pedestrians are animated by Ipos and shape keys, and can walk through the city without slipping effect, even when rescaled. They are very low poly characters, not very nice in close up views, but it is a first step before making better models. As this kind of animation requires many keys, and so much time, please be patient, or bring your own contribution to the project by creating you own standalone characters !


This video is a demo of my current minimalist car setup made with BLENDER v2.49b. It is only an animatic, just a test without shading nor texture.

Car animation test - Tires deformation improved. from Philippe ROUBAL on Vimeo.

The goal is to provide to the end user the simplest car rig ever built, with a maximum of automated functions giving the more life to the animation.

• Cars&TrucksAutodriveSystemV7-1-1 : PDF Tutorial

The blend files with complete setup for Cars is downloadable below.

Version 7.0 for cars. Functionnal. In demo on circuit, but not very easy to import in a Blender project :

• Cars-AutodriveSystem-V7.blend

Version 7.1.1 FULL for cars. Pack ready to import in a Blender project. Simplified constraints. More detailled manual in the text window of the blend file :

• Cars-AutodriveSystem-V7-1-1_Full.blend

Version 7.1.1 LIGHT for cars. Pack ready to import in a Blender project. Simplified constraints. This version is reserved to urban traffic on flat ground. No control for secondary animation. No support for tires deformation. More detailled manual in the text window of the blend file :

• Cars-AutodriveSystem-V7-1-1_Light.blend

The blend files with complete setup for Trucks is downloadable here :

• Trucks-AutodriveSystem-V2.blend

For a car, only 10 objects are necessary for this setup : 2 Empties, 7 meshes and 1 lattice !

No Physics simulation. No keyframe. Only "mechanics" made with constraints. Ground detection using 5 sensors (vertex groups) on a plane affected by a ShrinkWrap modifier. It works on every terrain, even bumpy. Just avoid very huge bumps or holes at high speed. In this animation , the car speed is only around 50 kmh, but it looks like faster.

Several vertex groups in each object give spatial references for the numerous tracking constraint, allowing realistic animation for car and the pilot character.

For the fun, one more object has been added in this demo, allowing the cool pilot to chew automatically a chewing gum in some circumstances !

Broken bridge test - Improved suspension. from Philippe ROUBAL on Vimeo.

For this second test, two Meshes objects have been added to the setup, and two Empties.

The wheels are more independent and their slope is affected by the weight of the car.

The two Empties are not really necessary if you need only automated animation, but they are very useful to allow an adjustment of the wheels slope, espescially when the car takes off, like when jumping over the broken bridge.

By moving the front and rear Empties along their Local Z axis and inserting few Loc keyframes, it is easy to simulate the wheels fall, due to gravity.


1 - Automatic ground level and obstacles detection.
2 - Four independent wheels.
3 - Dynamic suspension with automatic transversal slope.
4 - Tires deformation.
5 - Automated steering wheel.
6 - Automatically animed driver.
7 - Can follow a Curve or a keyframed Empty.

The setup is ready to play : just add the body of the car, the four wheels, the steering wheel and your own character, or edit the provided character.

Since the last demo, the tires deformation has been improved : it is the reason of the 7th mesh object.

The wheels require a vertex group to allow the tires deformation without affecting the wheel rim.

The Car rig as well as the Truck rig are released under Creative Commons 2.0 BY license. France.

Below, a study for the animation of tanks and other vehicles with caterpillars (tracks). This system is still in very early stage. The tension of the caterpillars leads to very complexe problems when trying to create a suspension system.

• Tank&Caterpillars-v1.2-Compressed.blend

• 4x4-Autodrive-V6.1-Manual.pdf
• 4x4-Autodrive-V6-1-Compressed.blend

• TracksCreator-v3-Manual.pdf
• Tracks-Creator-v3.blend

• 4x4 Autodrive system 1.0 and Tracks Creator v3 in action : Demo movie Mpeg2 - 38.775 MB.

• 4x4 Autodrive system 2.0 and Tracks Creator v3 in action, with dust : Demo movie Mpeg2 - 51.523 MB.

• 4x4 Autodrive system 3.0 and Tracks Creator v3 in action, with dust : Demo movie Mpeg2 - 50.401 MB.

This tutorial in PDF format shows how to create tracks and prints in grass, sand, soil, mud or snow. A special setup named Tracks-Creator-v3.blend is provided, allowing to create in few clicks various kinds of animated tracks.

It is usable to cut the grass on the path of a lawn mower as well as creating wheels tracks after a car or even a running predator in high weeds or sand.

4x4 Autodrive system and Tracks Creator from Philippe ROUBAL on Vimeo.

• HowtoMowTheLawn.pdf
• Lawn-Mower-Pack.blend

The Lawn-Mower-Pack.blend file comes with a complete scene with some bonus like a lawn mower and an animated crow ! All needed textures are packed in the file. This scene will allow you to study the method to mow the lawn with (a) Blender !

The file includes various kinds of usable textures and some images provided as examples, as well as the former version of the Tracks-Creator-v3.blend .

• A short movie is available at the bottom of this page, showing one of the possible effects

The Tracks-Creator-v3 is a new version of Tracks-Creator. It has been improved and various kinds of tracks have been : human foot prints (with and without shoes), animals prints (cat, Velociraptor...), and vehicles tracks (tyre tracks, caterpillar tracks). These animated tracks will be usable on sand, soil, snow, mud and grass ! You will also find an animated dotted line and an airplane to be used over a world map in your travel films or adventure movies (like Indiana Jones !).

4x4 Autodrive system is a setup allowing the automated animation of a 4 wheels drive vehicle on all terrains, as well as the automatic animation of its driver. The only required operation is the edition of the trajectory curve in top view. The system does all the animation work. Ground leved detection and obstacles detection are fully automated and don't require physics simulation. The Game Engine is not used. The 4x4 Autodrive system and the Tracks-Creator are complementary. The 4x4 Autodrive system is still a Work In Progress, but I plan to include the Tracks-Creator in it when it will be completed.

• Roto&PaintingSetutp&Tut.pdf
• Roto&Paint-Setup.blend

This tutorial in PDF format shows how to do Rotoscoping and Garbage/Matte Painting in Blender v.2.48a.
The provided setup allows to render an alpha mask combining both Rotoscoping and Paint Matte. An example file is included.

• VolumetricCloudsTutorial.pdf
• VolumetricClouds_v01.blend

This tutorial in PDF format shows how to create natural looking volumetric clouds in Blender v.2.48a.
An example blend file is provided, as well as a useful Python script written by David Bertin, aka GFA-MAD.

• Cloud - Demo movie 1- DivX.avi
• Cloud - Demo movie 1-
• Cloud - Demo movie 2 - DivX.avi
• Cloud - Demo movie 2 -

• Cars Animation Tutorial.pdf • Cars_Autodrive.blend

This tutorial in PDF format shows how to animate cars automatically. An example blend file is provided.

• Displacement_Tutorial.html

This tutorial shows how to create foot prints in sand, mud or snow, using Displacement Mapping. The method covers Still pictures as well as animations. Video example and textures are availables.

• winch_tutorial.pdf   • Winch demo movie

How to use the Curve Deform function to model a rope winding around a winch drum. A short demo movie is available in WMV format - 20s - 3.715 MB.

• example_avk_rvk.html

This is not exactly a tutorial, but could open your eyes on the amazing possibilities offered by some underestimated tools of Blender, named Absolute Vertex Keys and Relative Vertex Keys.

• Mirage effect tutorial - Heat effect - HTML page

• Downloadable PDF version

This is a tutorial, about how to make a "mirage effect" simulating hot air over the ground.

This is a short movie showing the effect.
DivX6 - 400x300 - 5 seconds - 1.901 MB.

• Desert_Heat_03_DivX6.avi

• example_crowd_animation_tutorial.html

Crowd Animation tutorial.

• blender_layout_sheet.pdf

• blender_animation_sheet.pdf

• blender_rendering_sheet.pdf

• blender_objects_data_sheet.pdf

• storyboard_sheet.pdf

• storyboard_sheet_2p.pdf

A simple list of paper tools to improve the workflow of animators.


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