This post is about the top 3 mistakes made and lessons learned in making my recent Starship image in Blender. Hence it is probably not the most exciting of posts. This said, I always feel the need to share such things with others in case anyone cares to learn from my mistakes. So here goes.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
An oldy but a goody. As anyone who has read my previous posts knows, I usually (not always, but usually) like to have some sort of plan as to what I am designing. In this case, I was a bit weary from struggling with the art nouveau door and wanted something “fun”. I had always felt that my last spaceship had been a disappointment. So I just leaped into Blender and threw together a spaceship, with the vague inspiration of 1970s Chriss Foss book covers. Once I was half-way through, I started changing things because I really had no idea where I was going. The final product is, therefore, a bit of a hodge-podge. I like to believe that I should have come up with a 2D design/blueprint and then worked from that.
Model objects in a separate file to the scene file
When I started changing the design, and later adding greebles etc, I had already positioned the ship at an angle. This created all sorts of irritations for me as I tried to fit to the angle at which the ship now floated. Had I left the ship at the original angle and placement then adding objects would have been a lot less painful. So in future I will model ships, create environments and then bring both into new Blend files.
Back in the late 1990s, I was a computer programmer and I used software that managed each version of my programming files. This meant that if I stuffed things up, then I could easily look back at an earlier version. I wish I had done that with this project. At least twice I stuffed things up but could not look back. The worst time was at the end. Just after this render I decided to radically change my lighting settings (not placements, just settings). I ended up with a really crappy render. But when I tried to undo those settings I realised that I could not remember my original settings and I had overwitten the actual file. Eeek! So I have downloaded Git (a free file versioning product) and I am looking into using that. Hence with every change I will save a version. Upon a satisfactory completion, I can then backup the files to a DVD.
These then are my top three lessons learned from my most recent work. Hope someone found it useful.