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Video Demonstration

A while ago a had some fun creating kaleidoscopic / mirror effect animations using Blender 2.8. Here is an example:

Example of kaleidoscope-like animation created using Blender 2.8.

These type of effects can be created quite easily in video animation software by simply copying and flipping a section of your animation sequence. This tutorial however outlines how I achieved this effect using Blender in a way that allowed me to view the reflection of the elements whilst building and creating the animation simultaneously. Before I forget here is an example blender file.

Step 1 – Create Objects to Be Mirrored

In this example the basic monkey preset object will be used.

  1. Click on the default cube, press x on the keyboard, and delete it.
  2. Add – Mesh – Monkey.
  3. With the monkey selected go to Object – Shade Smooth.
  4. With the monkey selected go to Modifiers tab and select subdivision surface.
  5. In the viewport switch to the Render Preview mode.
  6. In the material tab add a Principle BSDF material and set the metallic to .6.
  7. In this example I also darkened the base colour. (Adjusting the material of the object is something that is easier done later when also adjusting the lighting settings).

Step 2 – Adjust the Camera

In this example the camera will be adjusted to point directly along the y-axis.

  1. Select the camera in the outliner.
  2. In viewport press n on the keyboard to open the viewport properties.
  3. Set the camera Location x,y,z to 0,-10,0.
  4. Set the camera Rotation x,y,z to 90,0,0.
  5. Click on the camera to icon to view through the camera.

Step 3 – Create a Masking Object

  1. Add a cube
  2. With the cube selected and using the viewport settings, set the cube Scale to 5,5,5
  3. Set the cube Location to -5,0,5

Step 4 – Apply the Masking Object

  1. In the outliner rename the cube to Cube Mask (or similar).
  2. Click the button for the Filter and then Disable in Viewport.
  3. Then disable the object in the viewport.
  4. Also click the button for Render and Disable in Render.
  5. Select the monkey object.
  6. Under modifiers add Boolean.
  7. For the Boolean modifier set the Operation to Intersect and the Object to the Cube Mask object.
  8. Now move movie your monkey object in the viewport and you will see that only the part of the object that is within Cube Mask object will be shown in the viewport.

Step 5 – Mirror the Object

  1. Add an empty ‘Plain Axes’ to the scene. Make sure it is in the location of 0,0,0.
  2. Make sure the monkey object is selected and in the Modifiers tab add another modifier for Mirror.
  3. Under Axis set tick the checkboxes for x and y.
  4. Under Mirror Object select the empty object you just created.
  5. Now if you move the monkey object you should see the mirror / kaleidoscopic effect.

Step 6 – Adjust the Position and Direction of the Light

Most likely you will want your light to be pointing directly at your scene so the mirrored segments have consistent lighting. To do this.

  1. Switch the viewport shading to Render Preview (so you can preview the rendered lighting).
  2. In the world settings you might want to adjust the background colour. In this example I set it white.
  3. Select your light.
  4. Adjust the light properties to be the same as your camera (for example). Location (xyz) 0,10,0 and Rotation 90,0,0.
  5. In this example I left it on Point light, but increased the power to 4000w.

In this example I also switched to the Cycles Render.

Step 7 – Create the Animation

  1. In the timeline adjust the frames to your desired length.
  2. You may also want to switch out from the Render Preview as that may not be necessary when creating the animation sequence.
  3. Press the button to record.
  4. Make sure the Suzanne / monkey object selected.
  5. Make sure the cursor is over the viewport.
  6. Press i on the keyboard and select to insert a keyframe – LocRotScale.
  7. In the timeline either move the slider or enter the last keyframe number to move to the end of the sequence. Then repeat step 6 to add another keyframe at the end of the sequence. This is handy technique because if you create the first and last keyframes first, and they are the same, then your animation sequence will loop back to the starting point if it is repeated or played on a loop.
  8. Now move the slider to different points in the timeline and apply changes to the Suzanne / monkey object such as position, rotation, and scale, to create the animation sequence.

Step 8 – Render the Animation

I won’t include the steps for rendering the animation here as that should be covered by lots of other videos on youtube.

Example of mirrored and masked objects in Blender

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Filed under:
3D Modelling, Blender

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Henry Egloff
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