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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Creating Technical Illustrations using Blender

For my job at GSI (a nuclear research center in Germany) I am creating scientific/technical illustrations of machines and experiments. Here are some of my favorites which you can use as inspiration. Please note that the images here are copyrighted material and may not be used without explicit approval.

A look into the cave of the "Cryring" ion storage ring - the machine I am working on:

This illustration was created combining Blender files created from converted CATIA models. Thse models were converted to a Blender compatible format using the technique described in another blog post of mine. The two persons in the illustration were made with the freeware program Makehuman.

A detail of the Cryring storage ring, the injection septum:



There I like the most the combination of "photorealistic" and line art graphic. How to create this effect is described in the post "Using Freestyle for Highlighting Objects". Similarly I used this technique for the illustration of the ESR gas target:


A detail view of the system of electrodes of the "ion bumper" inside of a vacuum chamber. This is part of the CRYRING ion storage ring. Similar to above I used freestyle NPR in combination with photorealistic rendering:


Illustration of GSI and FAIR accelerators represented by glowing tubes:


Here I used the "IOL" (ion optical layout) exported from CATIA via AutoCAD dxf to create the polylines/glowing tubes. The IOL is a set of points in 3D space defining the positions of beam optical elements (magnetic dipoles, quadrupoles, higher N-poles, etc) and their connection.
Furthermore I used the SAPLINGS addon to Blender to create the trees. The replication of the initial set of trees was done exploiting the hair particle system.

A less artistic  but very technical aspect of using Blender as illustration tool can be achieved by creating illustrations from data stored in a database (related article). I used this technique to create an illustration of cable routes along the accelerator: