Monday, April 30, 2012
The purpose of this tutorial is to compare some pre-BMesh and post-BMesh modeling operations, to give you a flavor for why BMesh is a good thing. BMesh is a rewrite of the modeling architecture in Blender to support polygons of any number of sides. Before Blender 2.63 Blender only supported triangles (3 sided polygons) and quadrilaterals (quads) (4 sided polygons). With BMesh, Blender can create polygons with any number of sides.
We’ll start with Subdivide. Subdividing is a good place to begin looking at BMesh because subdivide actually is an edge related edit operation (you’re basically splitting edges in half). Edges correlate to sides of a polygon. Subdivide either explicitly splits an edge (if an edge is selected), or implicitly splits the edges formed by the selected vertices and/or faces. This process creates new vertices, which must belong to a face. The vertex cannot just be sitting on an edge without belonging to a face. Before Blender 2.63 (i.e., with BMesh), the face could only be 3 sided (triangle) or 4 sided (quad). With BMesh, the face can have any number of edges. This makes for a cleaner topology, making it easier to add detail to your model.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
This tutorial is the first in a series on modeling with curves in Blender. Mesh modeling is based on polygons, straight lines connected together to form a face. Most objects occurring in nature (look at the palm of your hand, your face in a mirror, a leaf, or a drop of water), are curvy. Curves indicate naturalness and beauty, such as in a car, a house, or a flower. For example, if we say that a car is “boxy”, that’s a criticism of its straight line, polygonal, design. To make a car conform to our idea of beauty, the design needs some curves. Modeling an object with curves will give it a more natural, organic, look. Part of the problem with mesh modeling is that, no matter how much geometry you define (say for a human face), you’re never going to get the exact, natural shape of the object. Thus the need for modeling with curves.
Friday, April 27, 2012
This tutorial is the first in a series on modeling with curves in Blender. Mesh modeling is based on polygons, straight lines connected together to form a face. Most objects occurring in nature (look at the palm of your hand, your face in a mirror, a leaf, or a drop of water), are curvy. Curves indicate naturalness and beauty, such as in a car, a house, or a flower. For example, if we say that a car is “boxy”, that’s a criticism of its straight line, polygonal, design. To make a car conform to our idea of beauty, the design needs some curves. Modeling an object with curves will give it a more natural, organic, look.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The Spin tool extrudes a profile, a two dimensional outline, using the 3D Cursor as its pivot point, in a variable number of steps. The Spin tool works in edit mode. It’s a very versatile tool for modeling things like wine glasses, bottles, mugs, vases, and donut or cylindrical type objects - any object where the profile doesn’t change around a particular axis, which is the axis on which the profile is spun. Sometimes the spin tool is referred to as the lathe tool since the action of the spin tool resembles an actual lathe, on which you also need an axis to spin. It’s important to spin paying close attention to the view you’re in, as well as to make sure of the position of the 3D cursor.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Shape keys are used to create fine tuned changes in the mesh without adding geometry. This is great for doing animations, and for performance in the game engine because extra geometry slows down the responsiveness of the character. Some examples of where shape keys can be useful are animating a rig, changing facial expressions on a character, and lip synching with audio. The appearance of a mesh deformation can be simulated, without using modifiers. You should not use shape keys unless the geometry is final because adding geometry will mess up the shape keys. Shape keys affect the mesh data block, not the object itself. The appearance of an object can change at the object level, for example when an object is scaled or rotated, or even moved, if you are in perspective mode. This is not the same as a shape key change because the location, scaling, and rotation information are not stored in the mesh data. To animate these, use the Loc, Rot, and Scale channels. Shape keys are animated using the Shape Keys editor in the Dopesheet.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
There are many reasons to add text to a Blender scene, whether it’s for creating a title, adding opening or closing credits, creating speech bubbles, adding a watermark, and so on. My goal for this video is to get you comfortable with adding text to your scene. Blender text objects are special curve objects. You’ll most likely need a bit of practice before you become comfortable with Blender text objects. The purpose of this video is to give you a basis for practicing.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Cycles is Blender’s new render engine, more based on the actual physics of light than Blender’s internal render engine. The goal is to produce more realistic lighting. The new cycles render engine is automatically enabled in Blender 2.6. The purpose of this tutorial is to compare the two. In particular, the Material and World settings have significantly changed, radically enough so you won’t recognize it. Also, the Render settings have new panels, Integrator and Film, that are specific to Cycles. Cycles is still in the development stages, with many settings still either experimental or not implemented.
I’ll point out those as we go. Also, since the Cycles rendering is based on nodes, I will give you a gentle introduction to how Cycles interacts with nodes, in particular with material nodes, now called Shaders.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Addons are just what the name implies...programs that extend, or add to, the functionality of Blender. They are not part of the core Blender program. Instead, you can turn them on or off (enable or disable) by clicking on a check box in the User Preferences screen. There are many addons, which can add more capabilities to your Blender environment. To see the addons, from the default Blender screen, I will change the 3D View window type to User Preferences. A tabbed menu displays, with different types of preferences grouped into categories such as Interface, Input, Addons, and so on. Interface displays by default. To see the Addons available, click on the Addons tab.