Making Soap Bubbles using Bryce and Photoshop.

Make three materials in Bryce, using a lot of transparency in the first, less transparency and more reflection in the second, and no transparency or reflection in the third. In that one, though, use the material for both the diffuse and ambient color, and turn them both up to 100%.

Render each one, removing bubbles if necessary and rendering each material again until all bubbles, those in front of all other bubbles and those partially hidden, have been rendered completely exposed.

Render as mask for all levels of bubbles.

Render once more, removing all bubbles and leaving only the sky.

In Photoshop, bring in each render as a layer (bring in mask renders as channels) putting the sky on the bottom. The next layers should all levels of bubbles with the most transparency. The next layers all levels with the most reflection, and finally all levels of solid bubbles.

Hide the top layers, and, working from the bottom, apply masks. The more opaque the bubbles, the more should be masked out. The effect we are trying to recreate here is that of looking through a transparent object, where the sides less transparent and more reflective than the center (because you are looking through more of the material.) You can get that using refraction in Bryce; but soap bubbles have no refraction. The minute you add it, you have crystal balls, not soap bubbles. So we are doing it manually, instead.)

Make the masks a bit uneven, to convey the illusion that the bubbles are wobbling as they fly through the air, and are not hard and solid like glass.

For the outermost layer, which should be just a thin bright film, load the rendered mask channel as a selection. Then invert the selection, and apply a mask to the layer. Next I apply a Gaussian Blur filter to the mask, which leaves just the bright edges of the bubbles showing.

Finally, add highlights to the bubbles using the brush tool, and a star brush with white paint.

And that's it! Enjoy the bubbles.

If you want to download the materials I used in Bryce, and the star brushes I used in Photoshop, you can Download the Goodies.

They are compressed using Aladdins .sit format, since it is smaller than anything else, and the expander is free (Which I, for one, find to be a distinct advantage.) If you need a copy of the expander for Mac, Windows, Dos, or Linux, you can get it from Aladdin here.

If you have a question, write to me and ask it!

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