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Randomizing Leaf Color


Kent Trammell kicks off the autumn with this new CG Cookie video tutorial!

Kent writes:

I for one am ready for apple cider, jack-o-lanters, and fallen leaves! So in this quick tip I want to show you how a single material with a single texture can be used for several separate leaf objects, while still maintaining the ability to vary the color of each leaf. This is accomplished with the Object Info node. By using the “Random” output we can procedurally manipulate any nodal value based on objects in the scene. For color variation we’ll use the “Hue” value of the Hue Saturation and Value Node.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


      • Scott Amsberry on

        Or more importantly, "Why did you do that?"

        The crew at GC Cookie do a great job of presenting tutorials as a work flow. Start off with the most basic step and add details when, and where you need them.

        This is a great example of how to create a Cycles material from scratch. Much better than the ones that have you just connecting a bunch of nodes together without showing how they came up with that particular combination and arrangement of nodes.

  1. Good tip.

    The only gitch I'd point out is that it'd be more clear if the last (Add) node Value he uses would have been between 0-1, as raising it (to a greater than 1 value) only repeats the same range of colors again and again.
    But all in all a nice tutorial!!

  2. Kent Trammell. Just the best thing to happen to the Blender community, in my opinion. There are a number of great teachers and creators among the Blender community and I truly love their effort and many great contributions, but Kent to me just stands out.

    I just love his mindful professional quality, his great talent and, as someone creating videos myself (and working on my rather stuttering speaking manner), I admire his clear, clean, concise and confident speaking manner.

    Every production he does is just a solid production. Even his mere tip videos like this one are packed with usefulness and are really something quite profound.

    • I agree 100% with you Brian.
      The first tutorial I saw of his was the bird popping out of the tree and the cookies falling. I've read some of his articles online previously and was impressed back then on his depth of knowledge. I think we're extremely fortunate to have Kent in the Blender community. One thing I really value about Kent's approach is not only his solid grasp of the various steps to produce an outcome, but his patients to go through those steps w/out rushing like he's in a race and without getting bogged down. He's obviously put in his homework before tackling these tutorials. Anyone can learn to play an instrument, but not everyone is gifted. To me, he is gifted and excels not only as an artists, but also as a teacher/tutorial producer, sometimes a hard combination to come by. I know if I ever decide to learn how to properly produce a tutorial he'll be in my list of people to learn from by observing.

      Thanks for the great tutorial(s), Kent!

  3. I've been playing around with this and by swapping out the HSV with a color ramp set to constant you can have better control over the colors and, to an extent, the distribution of those colors.

    HSV is best for leaves where you want the subtle color differences but in the gumball machine example you mentioned color ramp gives better results.

  4. nice tut . love that node set up . gonna keep that one in the old tool shelf for future reference . the only thing that could be better is if you could use it in a particle sys. set to object , and get that randomization . wow that would great . not to take away from this tutorial , good job . long live the blender community . :)

  5. A Cookie-quality tutorial, thanks!

    p.s to devs
    The bump map value trick with the multiply node is pretty simple for experienced users, but a newbie might be baffled. I'm wondering why there isn't a simple bump map node with an image input, a strenght value slider and an output connectable to the material nodes displacement socket.

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