Blinking lights with Blender
Hi all. In this tutorial I'll show you how it's easy to create a visible blinking light with Blender, animating the Halosize material of a circle and the Energy of a lamp via their Ipo Curve Editors.
First of all create a circle (in the 3D View hit the spacebar then select Add > Mesh > Circle) with few vertices and a very small radius, call it HaloCircle. On the Buttons Window enable the Material buttons, add a material to the HaloCircle clicking "Add New" and set the color to red. In the "Links and Pipeline" tab turn on the Halo button, to render material as a halo.
Now, if you render the scene pressing F12, you'll see a visible halo point. It doesn't emit light, yet; in fact, if you add a cube (in the 3D View hit the spacebar then select Add > Mesh > Cube) near the HaloCircle, you won't see any colored light illuminating the cube.
To obviate this, add a Lamp (in the 3D View hit the spacebar then select Add > Lamp > Lamp), call it BlinkLamp and place it at the same coordinates of the HaloCircle. To center it easily, in object mode press Object on the 3D View menu bar and select Transform Properties, now you can edit the exact position setting LocX, LocY and LocZ. Change the color of the light lamp using the same color used for the HaloCircle, in our case red. Now if you render the scene (F12), you will see a red light reflecting on the cube. Well done, now we have to add the blinking effect.
To do so, select the HaloCircle and go to the Ipo Curve Editor window. Change the Ipo Type from Object to Material and select the HaSize channel to create the animation changing the halo size of the material. Add a keyframe pressing down Ctrl + left click, press the Tab key on your keyboard to enter in edit mode (the point color will change from white to yellow). On the Ipo Curve Editor menu bar click Point > Transform Properties: set the x and y values to 1 and 1.20 respectively. Add other two points at frame 11 and 21 (the x values) and set values for the y to 0 and 1.20 again. Press Tab on your keyboard, in the menu bar select Curve > Interpolation Mode > Linear, to imitate the turning on/off of the light. Press F10 and enable the Render Buttons, change the End frame from 250 (the default value) to 20, now if you press Anim you will see the HaloCircle blinking.
OK, the halo point is blinking but the red light still not. Select the Ipo curve of the halo size we've just created and click on the pointing down arrow of the Ipo Curve Editor menu bar, this will copy the selected curve to the buffer. Now select the BlinkLamp, go to the Ipo Curve Editor and set the Ipo Type to Lamp; press the button near the Ipo Type and select ADD NEW, click on the Energ channel and click on the pointing up arrow of the Ipo Curve Editor menu bar, this will paste the curve from the buffer. Now we have an Ipo curve associated to the lamp that will animate its energy. Edit the points of the curve keeping the x values (1, 11, 21) and changing the y to 0.8, 0, 0.8. Now in the Render Buttons window press on Anim, and you'll see a visible light point blinking and illuminating the cube.