Me, 3D and my fear of Blender

Me, 3D and my fear of Blender

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(Expect a long nostalgic egotistical introduction followed by me talking about my irrational fear of Blender – yes, I am self-indulgent! :)  )

In 1991, having completed a Bachelors degree in History & English, I did the obvious thing and enrolled in a Computer Science degree. By this time I had been playing with computers (trying to write games and create graphics) since buying a Commodore 64 in 1983. In this second degree I hoped to learn more about such things. I was not disappointed. The first graphics program I wrote for university was a fractal generator.

program

 

The next thing I did with this fractal knowledge was to create my own 3D terrain generator:

scrn1

About the same time I discovered a DOS program called POV-Ray. This involved a bit of programming/scripting and here is the only picture of mine that I can find from those days:

dome5

I did not play long with POV-Ray because Bryce came along. Bryce was astonishing. Here is my first Bryce picture.

isle

Not very imaginative but enough to blow me away at the time (about 1996). It took me a while to get a handle on Bryce and some of my early stuff was pretty average.

tower cryptnew lighthouse

Notice how I managed to work out how to transfer POV-Ray assets to Bryce?

Since then I have played with a lot of 3D graphics programs (Poser, DAZ Studio, Terragen, Vue, Scultris, 123D Catch,etc) but…

BUT…

…Blender has always been problematic.

It just does my head in. I look at the interface and I feel my eyes glazing over. I have, in the past, managed to use it with Inkscape to extract 2D objects into 3D, but then I immediately export them to another application. Even this was sometimes too much.

I have no idea why this could be the case when I am a software engineer with so much experience. But regardless of logic, that is what always happened.

However now I am in the blogosphere and making friends with people like you lot (“you lot” is a term of affection) I feel the need to overcome my fear. Indeed, when I confessed my fear to Doris she immediately linked me to some basic tutorials that were actually very useful. I then went on to watch some other tutorials and now I am making my first attempt to actually build something in Blender. It will be a spaceship, and below are screenshots of my progress.

SS2 SS1

It’s a bit sharp-angled at the moment and I hope to soften those. I also want to make some normal/displacement maps to add greebles. And also make the surface grubby and used with maybe some decals. Then add a light source. Once rendered I will probably add it to a Photoshop space scene.

So yes, I am finally plunging into Blender. All support (emotional, technical, artistic) is greatly appreciated, because this program freaks me out.

Thanks :)

Greg

 

PS: I know that I probably come across as inconsistent, one moment concentrating on my writing and then the next on my art but that is just me :)

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12 Comments


  1. hi greg, this is very interesting post, as i read it, and it reads like my “history” in 3d. i also started with the c64, and programmed the mandelbrot set, made graphic on the c64 with the 8(!) colors, and on with bryce, photoshop,,, yes a lot of similarities. fun :-)
    hey you are doing very well now in blender. this is a great start for a spaceship. has a nice feel of strength to it… about the sharp angles, i found the easiest way to get them rounder is to add a subsurf modifier on the model in object mode. this makes all edges smooth. then go in edit mode, select the edges you like to be sharper, open the n-panel on the right, and in the top part is now a menu point transform and in that at the bottom “crease”. type in a value like 0.9 (my favourite) to make the edge sharper. 1 makes very sharp, 0.1 only a little… of course there are many other ways, but i like this crease way as it is the easiest and gives good result… happy blending :-)

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    1. Hi Doris :) Thanks. I’ll have a go at that tomorrow night :) A bit tired at the moment. Spent the day trying to get the house in order for my daughter’s upcoming 11th birthday party this weekend!!!!! Good to see another person who used and loved the c64 in its day :) Those were exciting times :) Thanks again Greg

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    1. Thank you :)

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  2. If you like tutorials, checkout Blender Guru and Blender Cookie. There is also a forum called Blender Artists Community http://blenderartists.org/forum/ which is a great resource if you come up against any hurdles. People there are very friendly and helpful if you have any questions.

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    1. Thanks ☺ I should do that ☺i’ve started trawling through YouTube for videos too. ☺

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  3. I am wishing you success mastering Blender! I have always been too lazy to really start learning it; always found an easier program to get things done.

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    1. Exactly! But i think i need to bite the bullet and learn it ☺

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    2. Ps: perhaps if i learn some of ideas behind Blender i will more easily understand some of your more technical posts about DAZ Studio. LOL ☺

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  4. Hey Greg, you’ve gone an interesting way! My way was/ is acutally the other way around. When I was a little child, I’ve watched some animation films. I wasn’t interested in the storyboard I was mainly interested in the technique, so I began learning Blender. Now I am more concentrating on programming to teach myself c++ and opengl. Doing some fractal generator would be a good practice. Thank you for sharing, I had fun reading your post. Cheers Markus Ps: One little tip: Your articles appear in my wordpress.com blogreader, which is perfectly fine to me, but with every article you publish I only see your profile picture instead of a thumbnail or a header….

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    1. Thanks Markus :) I love the fact that everyone’s journey is different, albeit I was surprised to find that Doris’ journey had a lot of similarities with mine :) A fractal landscape generator is a good project because the algorithms are all sitting out there on the net and all you really need to do is integrate them into an interface. At the time I wrote mine I had found some simplistic code in C and some mathematical equations in a book but nothing in the newly released Delphi. So I had to translate the code into a different programming language and that was fun. :) Thanks for the tip too :) I wanted to have my picture at the top of each post to make each one seem personal. But I guess if its the only thing appearing in the blogreader then I need to change that. O well.

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