Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blender 3D Basics Beginner's Guide by Gordon Fisher

Peering over the cover of this book I see a Blender and primitive shapes on the cutting board: a cone, a torus, a sphere and a tube about to be sliced by a knife.  Sounds like a culinary danger, but this is a reference to the Blender 3D software.  Gordon Fisher wrote Blender 3D Basics Beginner's Guide to uncover the mysteries of the blender interface which all new artists to this software face.  His instructions are so thorough that they answered some of my lingering questions even though I had been acquainted with Blender through my modeling efforts.  This book covers modeling a rowboat, oars,  a sailboat, an island, a tree, animating the oars, using key frames, cameras, the graph editor, dope sheet and the  video editing sequencer.

Here are some the book's highlights:

Chapter One the author discusses the history of animation and computer graphics and gives the reader a few assignments: watch animations and collect your favorite animations.
Chapter Two:  covers the Blender interface, the author guides the reader through a series of exercises: re-sizing the view port, the visual differences in orthographic vs. perspective, and navigating the view port.

Chapter Three describes the lamp, how it looks in the view port, how to move it and guides the reader through a series of lighting exercises.
Chapter Five guides the reader to build a row boat using box modeling techniques and extruding vertices.

Chapter Ten Gordon explains how to use the Ant Landscape add-on to procedurally generate a crescent shaped island.  He guides the reader to use the Sapling add-on to generate a realistic looking tree.  He uses the array modifier to make a pier.  He models the portals of a sailboat using a Boolean modifier.

Chapter Eleven I see advanced lighting techniques that I haven't encountered in other Blender books, cookies!  Cookies apply textures to lighting.  The first time I encountered cookies was with Unity software.  The author uses cookies to provide mood lighting.  He also explains how to use curves in lighting to focus on a specific area.

Other topics covered in this book include planning your animation, examples of using a storyboards,  camera techniques Dolly vs zoom, compositing using nodes, dope sheet, graph editor, adding audio, how aspect ratio affects what gets cropped out of a picture and cycles rendering.  This book is for a beginner, but it guides them to excellence.

To find out more about this book here's the link :

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making Fortress Island

It began with a simple doodle almost resembling a sunny side up egg.  Why model an island? Unity offered a challenge: make an island using your favorite 3d software and post it sketchfab. I downloaded the latest version of Blender 2.72.  I was excited to open the new version of Blender and I saw a new tabs vertically arranged on the left.  I clicked on the create tab and saw cone, cube, tube, sphere and torus meshes.  I added a circle to my scene and extruded up forming a pumpkin shaped fortress.  I extruded the top ledge then extruded down.  I selected the bottom vertices and extruded outward the rest of the island.
I modeled my palm trees, made a UV map of the island and applied textures of sand and water.  I made a normal map of my textures using GIMP software. In Blender I enabled the sketchfab export add-on by checking the box in user preferences and saving my preferences. The upload tab appeared on the bottom left.  I uploaded my model to sketchfab as a .blend file and then added my UV map and adjusted the material settings.  I added a treat for my island a Milkyway background from sketchfab and a vignette effect.  I enjoyed peering into my small magical landscape and zooming in on the palm trees.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My first model in Sketchfab

Hello folks.  I am delighted to share with you my first  3D model on Sketchfab.  With Sketchfab's embedded player you will be able to zoom in on my spaceship  using your scroll button, turn the model around  by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the view left or right. 
I invite you to take it for a spin.