This article is about baking normals with the Cycles Render Engine. But it also contains excerpts from our book The Cycles Encyclopedia. This is where you can get extensive information about how normals work internally and what they are used for.
Volume scattering is used to create effects like smoke, dust, clouds, sun beams (a.k.a. god rays) and similar things. This tutorial will help you understand everything about volume scatter in Cycles and how to get the effects you expect from it.
This second BlenderDiplom winter special will focus on a stylized snowflake inside a snowstorm rendered in Cycles. The first part is about easy snowflake modeling and is presented to you by Christoph Pöhler while in the second part Gottfried Hofmann will show you how to render it in Cycles.
OpenVDB is not in Blender yet, but there are plans to include it in future releases. You might wonder - what is this OpenVDB all about? BlenderDiplom talked with Ken Museth, lead developer of OpenVDB at Dreamworks, about the project and what users can expect from a software that uses OpenVDB.
By baking normal maps, you can add lots of details to models without increasing the polycount. Baked normal maps are used a lot in games, but are also usefull for animations and still renderings. This tutorial shows you how to bake normals using the Blender Internal renderer.
Blender 2.72 introduced the sun beams node in the compositor. It comes in really handy when creating light rays. Since it is a pure post-pro effect, it can even be applied to images.