Putting it all together: still learning to animate in Blender 2.66a…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarigrove/8659856898/

So I took a break, after my first 11 days of Blender 3d animation software lessons…Mainly because after 11 eight hour days of watching tutorials & trying them out, I had drunk way too much coffee & had made myself a little ill…

Also, because once you learn some of the basics, you no longer feel like this is a hopeless pursuit…You become hooked…You also gain some confidence, enough to know you can now go do other things but still come back…

The short looped movie shows some of my previous lessons & a few new…

First, I finally learned how to take my cube & slice it in half using “Loop Cut & Slide”…Once I did that I was then able to delete half the cube, leaving half…Then I was able to go into the Object Modifier panel & select “Mirror” as an object modifier…This meant that then I could model my figure only on one side, but the other side would automatically mirror & model, so now I’d have a perfect symmetrical object…Ok that is an important thing to know how to do…

Next, I rigged the modelled figure with bones…Set the bones as the parent using CONTROl P, & SET AUTOMATIC WEIGHTS, & know when I moved a bone, the shape would move too…Big lesson too…(But I learned that one early on, this was just practice…)

Ok, then I learned from the Blender 3d animation iTunes application video (There are 2 apps in iTunes or you can buy them from your iPod or iPhone that contain many Blender videos-an excellent investment of like $1.99…), So I watched the Texture mapping video late last night on my iPhone…

Texture mapping means you can stick your own image onto the surface of your object…It is really neat…

You just ADD a New Material…Then Add a New texture…Then in the Texture area, change the modifier to IMAGE or MOVIE…Boom, a menu appears & choose OPEN…It opens to your file system & you just choose your picture…Later you can choose what kind of PROJECTION you want…Flat or Cube or Sphere or Tube depending on the shape of your object…

In my little animation above I also used my new knowledge of how to open up DOPE SHEET in order to copy & paste keyframes…

It is helpful to copy & paste your first keyframe to the very end of your animation too…Then shorten the end of the film to end JUST BEFORE it gets to that end frame…What happens is that the movie will animate towards that last frame, end before it gets there, then loops back to the first, so you don’t get a jerky loop…Now you should know in my little short above I did NOT succeed this time for some reason…Instead of getting a smooth loop I get an ending then a new beginning…I think I was trying to do too much at one time…I succeed at things when I do one little thing at a time…

I guess I was trying too many tricks at once…Oh well…

Still it was fun to make! The picture I used for texture was my Grove Body part Chart…It almost looks like cloth though in the animation!

Moreover my whole work today was clouded over my sadness about what happened in Boston…Been feeling sad all day…It’s hard to work when you feel sad…Every setback makes you want to cry…

Ok, well after writing this post I decided to try again…Writing about being sad is kinda cathartic…Felt better so gave it the ole college try again…This time it worked!

Ok All I did here was to make the cube go up in the air then back down again, but was succesful at copying & pasting my first keyframe to the last, then cutting the reel short before it reached the last frame, so that when I loop the reel later in SIMPLE MOVIE it loops smoothly! (I added the texture mapping again just for fun & practice!)…

Lesson of the day is that if you write about failures, they don’t seem so bad anymore & you then have the energy to try again…So write about both your failures & successes in art! Especially the failures if you want to have catharsis so you can then try again! Good lesson!

Extra lesson: In Edit Mode, go to Materials & add a new Material & choose its colour…Then add another Material & colour…Then add another material & colour…Now go to your Object & select some faces…Choose one Material & click ASSIGN…Then go to the object again & choose some other faces…back to Material number 2 & click ASSIGN again…Go to Object again & choose some more different faces…Back to Material 3, & click Assign for those faces too…Now you have an OBject with 3 different colours on it in three different places!!! This is how you can colour your objects! Very big lesson too!…Sorry didn’t show you the video here of how I did it, but there are many tutorials online that will show you that on Youtube…Hint: When searching Youtube make sure to use the words Tutorial & Blender 2.66a & the exact thing you want to do…Knowing the exact thing you want to do is actually hard because the words are technical…It can take a while just to learn the right words to type just to get the right tutorial! Also sometimes watch tutorials in foreign languages-you can still follow along in the screencast & sometimes there just isn’t one of what you need in English! (Note: My German & Portuguese are getting better this way too!Ha!)…

Oh Lord God Almighty (Yes, I say that when something is truly astonishing)…I found out why I was having trouble copying & pasting my keyframes, even though I had done it before…I went over my earlier blog post on this subject, & lo & behold, it said to RIGHT CLICK on the keyframe I wanted to copy & paste…HAHAHA! I was LEFT CLICKING…Wow! Big difference…(Yes I am using a 3 button mouse which is why I get confused sometimes…But you have to use a 3 button mouse with Blender or you will really be up a creek without a paddle…)

kooTextures, Update: two things I have been trying to do but just now figured out…(With help once again from some kind people on Youtube!)

Ok…In Sculpt Mode: if you go to the tab called Symmetry, & adjust the Radial sliders for x, y & z, up from 1 to like 27 or 34 or whatever, you increase the amount of brushstrokes that you lay down at one time…So if you enable Dynamic Topology (& Optimize to help your computer deal with this), you can sculpt really fantastic shapes quickly…

Number 2: Ok, then if you want to texture into that shape, go to Object Mode, then new Material, then new Texture, In the textures panel choose Image or Movie, click Open, open your file, then once that is loaded, see the checked boxes? Uncheck Colour, & Check NORMAL-plus you can slide Normal up to make it more apparent…This will take your texture file & stick it onto your shape without colour but will create a cool texture right into the skin of the shape…(Like in the picture above)!

sculptureA neat thing you can do is make a plane a canvas for your image using image texture methods…Then render the image…Take your original image, lasso the edges in Preview, hit Copy, then Paste that into your Blender plane image…Line it up…Now you have your image (my sculpture) on top of a carpet that is mapped with that same image…

person of interest

This 3d rendering made in Blender was done after the Boston Marathon bombing…It made me want to title it “Person of Interest”…Since they are looking for the bomber or bombers…What this image makes me wonder is if the bomber(s) are actually one of the people in the hospital? Judging from past events, these bombing people tend to either die or get injured themselves…Maybe one of the hospital survivors is actually a person of interest? At any rate, this image makes me think that whoever did this is probably an already damaged person themselves…(Sorry, if this upsets you…It upsets me too…)

The knife tool in Blender works by you selecting it from the menu in Edit Mode, then click on points on your shape, it will draw lines, you can shard up your shape, then click Enter to confirm your cuts…Then click P & choose Separate Selection, to separate the shards from your main object…Then you can pull them off if you want a shard effect…The figure was sculpted in Sculpt Mode, & one of my paintings was used as an Image texture…The stars are an effect you can select in the World selection…

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