#4 Blender Add-on Review: Flares Wizard

I feel like J J Abrams. Jokes aside! Flares Wizard is an addon for Blender that
can be used to add realistic lens flares to your 3d scenes. It is not a post pro effect.
The addon works in a way, that you can preview the lens flares in your 3d viewport in rendering
mode. Usually, before I had this addon, I used to
create the lens flares effects to my scenes by finding a photograph of a real lens flare
from internet. Then I added it to my scene with screen blending mode in an image editor.
That looks nice, but the problem is, that it cannot be animated. It�s for still images.
Also, the variety and quality of online photos that can be used with lens flares is not infinite.
I started finding out that I use the same photos all the time again and again. So I
kind of was repeating myself. Too strong manners is the enemy of an artist. How Flares wizard works? When you have installed the addon, you will
have a new tab named Lens Flares in your left T-menu.
To work with this add-on, you need to have a target object and when that object is selected
you click the plus icon in the Flares wizard settings. The most logical object I guess,
might be a light source. for example point light, but you can use any object you want
to. Sometimes it might be wise to have an empty where the lens flare is attached and
then you can parent the empty to your target, for example to car headlight or spaceship
afterburner or something like that. I’m for this my first example only using the point
light source. Now we can preview the Lens Flare by going
to the rendered preview mode. If you wanna try some other lens flare preset,
you can click the plus icon again and select something different from the list. Now you
can remove the old one or keep them both same time if your artistic preference requests
you to do so. Other idea might be to have the other object to where you attach another
lens flare. Every single one of these elements is a transparent
plane with an image texture. It’s a rigged overlay effect that is following the target
object. So because of the transparency planes, this addon is very hungry for the transparency
bounces from render settings. The more you have lens flares, the more you need transparency
bounces. If we now start to reduce the bounces for transparency, we will start getting this
kind of artifacts. So its a smart idea to keep these transparency bounces enough high
to avoid having these artifacts in your renders. The Flares Wizard comes with quite many settings
you can play with. I will start with the, I think most important. The obstacles. So if you have in your scene
an obstacle that is going to block the lens flare in some part of your animation. You
need to add that object to your obstacles list. Let’s say that my obstacle is this
column I created. So we select the use obstacles check box and then we select
the column and click the plus icon and that’s all you need to do. The lens flares is going
to disappear when the light source is behind of this obstacle. If we move very slowly towards
the pillar, you see how the light source is getting first dimmer and then disappear completely.
Every single one of these lens flares has their own settings. So the pillar is not going
to affect my other lens flares if I don’t add it also to the other lens flare settings.
The more complex your obstacle objects are, the slower the addon is going to work. So
sometimes it might be vise to create separate mask objects for your lens flares. Just for
the sake of your mental health. What i found out is that if I instead move
the obstacle, not the flare or camera, the flare does not disappear in the preview as
I think it should, but if I render the scene, then it works correctly. Let’s check little these general settings.
There is nothing too special with those, but the settings are in fact very important. I’ll
test all of these now. This one is very good, because If you want to and it
fits for you style for some reason, you can make the effects to be behind of the objects
for real in 3d-space. I will come back to this later why it can be a good idea sometimes. Normally the pivot point is located to the
center of camera view, but with pivot point settings you can change that. You can also
lock it to some other object to make different effects. For compositing purposes you can move the
lens flares to different layers from layer settings. You can also change the camera visibility
settings. Blinking is also a very interesting effect.
With that you can do cool looking blinking effects for your lens flares. I can think
many uses for that. For example that space ship afterburner could be blinking or some
disco effect. You say it. Next setting is the lens flare elements. If
you for some reason don’t like some specific element, you can disable it from these settings.
The names of the elements are quite generic, so you might need to click all of these through
to be able to disable the element you are looking for, but anyways, this setting is
very good to be here. Also, if you wanna modify that specific element, you can select it from
this list and change it’s color, location, rotation and scale. If you use the general settings 3D-space location
effect, you can duplicate your lens flare and make part of it be behind of the target
element, in my case the column and part of your flare be front of it. By that way you
don’t need to use the obstacles setting at all. As a tip for the developer, I think it would
be cool to be able to hide the lens flares temporarily. It could make this little bit
easier. You can in fact also create your own lens
flares with this addon. With this plus button you can add more flare elements to your flare.
You select the element type and then you find a texture for your element. I for example
use this coins texture to be lens dirt. I know, weird idea, but because I can, I will
do it. It’s a proof of concept. You can add whatever elements you want to there and
then tweak the settings until you’re happy. I will rename this
and then save the flare for future use. Flares wizard costs 19 dollars. That’s less
than netflix for 2 month in HD resolution. If we compare this addon to a similar addon
that is for After Effects, it makes this addon look even more cheap, because the optical
flares for After Effects costs more than hundred dollars. Anyways, if you can’t buy it, you
can download the free version from his website. It in fact is the same addon with all of the
features I told in this video, but with 10 lens flare presets, when the full version
has 32 lens flare presets. So at least test the free version and if you like it, then
you should consider to buy the full version. Anyways, I will give for Flares wizard 4 stars.
I think this is again another really good addon and I really hope it will gain more
popularity. All the links you need are in the description. Thanks for watching and I hope you learned
something from this short review video. See you again in some other video!

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