Morning at the Diner

  • January 12, 2013
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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UPDATE: 2013-01-13

The preview image doesn't show the small details such as the sugar crystals on the counter top and the pepper grains on the plate. You will need to render the blend file to see the details.

Also, I forgot to mention that in order to see the coffee steam, you will need to run the smoke simulation. It's easy. BEFORE you run the smoke simulation. In the Physics tab, go to the Smoke Cache and change the Start frame to 40 and the End frame to 114 and then click Bake. This will create a new folder called "blendcache_Coffee Mug6" with about 75 files ending in .bphys. If you don't change the start and end frames you end up with about 400 MB of cached files.

Even at that, the cache will be about 100 MB.

If you are not animating, then it appears that you can delete all but the last cache file and the render will display the full amount of steam that was on the last frame. I'm not sure if you are supposed to do that, but it seems to work and the cache file is then down to about 1.5 MB.

My apologies for the update on the smoke, but when I first posted the blend file, I didn't realize how big the cache file would be if you don't change the start and end frames.

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying breakfast at one of my favorite diners. I decided to create the look and feel of that place in Blender.

I learned a lot creating this scene. Its the first time I used the smoke simulator (the steam coming off the coffee). One odd bit of trivia is that when I rendered the smoke domain against a plain background image, the smoke blended OK. But when I defocused the background, the domain containing the smoke left an obvious outline. The only way around that problem was to keep the smoke domain below the background image so it blended with the coffee, cup, and counter OK. It turned out to be a good solution because limiting the smoke made the coffee steam more realistic.

Everything in the scene was pretty straight forward.

I was particularly pleased with the aging on the counter top. At the diner I frequent, there is a lot of wear on both edges and some wear and discoloration elsewhere on the counter top. It's subtle but realistic.

I'm not too pleased with the background image, but it's the only decent orthographic perspective image I could find. It's a bit too modern for the counter top scene, but on the other hand it did enhance the reflections in the scene.

The scene may look simple, but there are a lot of subtle settings throughout.

The scene looks better with HDR world lighting, but the file is too large and the render times skyrockets.

This preview image renders on my computer in 58 seconds. I have a five year old computer with a quad cpu and max memory on a 64 bit OS.

As always, all of the textures are copyright free and some I've made myself.

The blend file is CC0 and so feel free to use any of the objects and textures in anyway you like. No credit necessary.


  • wi-chi profile picture

    Thanks, BMF, nice improvement to your previous breakfast which looked good too but wasn't so realistic.

    Written January 13, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    I did use a couple of objects from the earlier breakfast scene, but except for the toast, I reworked them to be more realistic. Everything else was modeled from scratch.

    However, I have a long way to go to match the incredible skills of many of the contributors on Blend Swap. They inspire me to reach for that next level and I've learned a great deal from their models as well.

    Written January 14, 2013
  • tthales12 profile picture

    was very good

    Written April 30, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    My breakfast scene is an excellent example of not understanding what other Blender users are interested in.

    Personally, I felt this was a scene that captured the look, feel, and emotion of a typical breakfast scene at a truck stop or diner. It is exactly what I see and feel when I eat breakfast there in the mornings.

    Obviously, it hasn't connected with the Blender community and so that is an important learning point for me.

    The most important lesson learned from this scene is that I need to be more astute with regard to understanding what the Blender community thinks is interesting.

    But in the end, I like this scene because for me it evokes a feeling and an emotion.

    However, what I feel is not necessarily what others think would be interesting. That is an important insight.

    Written July 05, 2013
  • mramshaw profile picture

    Thanks for this great breakfast, obviously a lot of work has gone into it so here's a critique.

    This type of diner seems to be rapidly disappearing, also there's having to 'Free Bake', type in frame numbers and then Bake again. Actually that made me more interested as I don't often use Physics. So props from me for that. Anyhow, maybe not too popular or perhaps simply no emotional connection to most of the swappers here?

    Nice job organizing your meshes, personally I like to have an Empty as Parent, my choice of course, but that way I could move the salt cellar as one object rather than multlple selects.

    The sugar container looks too tall to me, should it be nearly as high as the napkin dispenser?

    The cutlery is not doing it for me, the spoon seems okay but the knife and especially fork not so much. Way too shiny, also very thin. Could be either of course but not both at once.

    Vignette and Defocus seem way too strong but I assume you are covering up the not great backplane, in which case the menu (which your waitress should have re-shelved behind the napkin dispenser after the order was placed) could be used to obsure any unpleasantness.

    Day lighting scheme seems not the greatest choice, not completely impossible of course. My general experience of these spots is there will be multiple light sources, generally artificial.

    When using Compositing, checking 'Full render' will save Anti-Aliasing until the last moment, and you will generally want to check it in this circumstance. It moved the pepper around a bit and actually made the render LONGER but didn't seem to make anything much sharper.

    Apart from that, I'm confused. Has the food just arrived or has the eater left? Who pays for their meal as soon as the bill arrives (maybe a cultural thing, fast truckstop food and all) but why is there money with a FULL cup of coffee and none of the food eaten? And where is the ketchup, I'm always amazed how many people put this on eggs but EVERY diner has it right there with the S & P.

    Every picture is supposed to tell a story but it's a very confusing one in this case. My $.02 of course, but generally the difference between 'Meh' and 'Interesting' is very fine and can be simply too many fudged details. If you like this diner (I assume you do) then the title can help you out as in 'Morning at My Favorite Diner' perhaps, lead the viewer a bit. No harm in this, if there's no emotional impact there's no picture, you show by care and attention to all of the details what this place means to you.

    Thanks for giving me some homework, it's very hard to critique your own stuff, I try to be as hard on my own stuff believe me. And this critique is only meant to help (or at least I hope so).

    Written July 12, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for you comments.

    Written July 13, 2013
  • InGaN profile picture

    Thanks for this blend! I moved the camera to get more of a view of the objects (less of the bg) and then put a simple Freestyle line set on this render. I think it looks really great with Freestyle.

    Written January 02, 2017