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11. September 2013

 

Now we are going to export our texture so we can edit it in an external image editor.

 

First in the image editor, make sure Mode is set to View.  ( We changed it to paint in the last section ).

 

In UV Window, Select Image-> Save As Image

image

 

Pick a filename and location and then click Save As Image:

image

 

Now we can export the UV layout to help us with the painting.

 

In 3D View, switch to edit mode and select All ( A ).

In the UV window select the UV menu, then Export UV Layout:

image

 

Once again, pick a directory and location for the saved image file.  I personally went with ReferenceImages5UVLayout.png.

 

Now load your exported texture file in your image editor of choice.  You have the option of registering a program that will be opened by Blender automatically if you prefer, then you can simply select Image->Edit Externally.  For now we will simply open it manually.

 

In this case I am going to use the GIMP as the editor.  The GIMP is a freely available 2D graphics package.

 

Here is our texture loaded in GIMP. 

image

 

Now let’s load the UV Layout.  In the GIMP select File->Open As Layers

image

 

Select the file you saved the UV layout to.  Now it should appear like so in GIMP:

image

 

Now we draw the additional texture details on our texture.  Just be certain you have the right layer selected when you edit:

 

image

 

Drawing textures is an art in and of itself that I can’t cover here.  Frankly, I am not very good at it either.  Now I add some graphical details to the image and end up with something like this:

 

Untitled 3 2 (6)

 

… yeah, I’m no artist!  Don’t worry though, in sprite sheet form it will look just fine.  Just make sure when you export the image from your image editor, the reference layer ( the wireframe ) isn’t visible.

 

Once you are done editing your texture, assuming you didn’t change the location or filename, in the UV/Image Editor window, simply select Image->Reload Image or press Alt + R.  If you did change the file name, instead select Image->Replace.  Keep in mind you also have to change the texture name in the Texture panel if you renamed it.

 

image

 

As a 3D model though, it could certainly use a bit of work.  It’s a matter of adding more details to the texture, as well as implementing normal maps to give it some depth, something we will hopefully talk about later.  You can also greatly improve rendering with various texturing modes ( specular, bump, etc ) which only will work within Blender.  ( Wont work when exported to a game engine ).  This is also something we will hopefully talk about in more detail later.  Texturing adds a hell of a lot to your models quality, so it’s certainly a skill you should take some time to develop ( unlike me! Smile )

 

image

 

 

Tips

Often you will find yourself working in the UV Window and wanting to figure out just what @#$@$#ing Polygons you are working on.  Fortunately there is an easy way to do this.  In the UV window, make sure you are in View ( as opposed to Paint ) mode.  Then click the Keep UV and edit mode mesh selection in sync icon:

image

 

Now you can select stuff in the UV window:

image

And in the 3D View, the corresponding items will be selected.

image

 

 

Another thing you might have noticed is how incredibly annoying the layout is to paint on.  The UVs are set how Blender thinks they fit best, not necisarrily how you think they should be arranged to paint on.  You can however move the UVs however you want.  Unfortunately every single time you Unwrap again, the UV layout changes you have made will be reset.

 

Say for example we want to paint our cockpit in it’s natural direction.  We could then move the cockpit UVs into a position that is more appropriate to painting ( using G(rab), R(otate) and S(cale) like normal 3D editing ).  Like I’ve done here by moving them to the right and rotating 90 degrees:

image

 

This will be a great deal easier to paint.  Unfortunately if we go to 3D View and choose Unwrap:

image

 

Well, that’s annoying!  Fortunately there is a solution.  If you want to have a custom UV layout, you need to “Pin” them in place.  Then when the model is Unwrapped again, Blender knows where to put it.

 

Select the outermost two vertices and press P to pin them in place.  The selected value will turn red(ish) when selected, like so:

image

 

Now the next time you Unwrap the texture, these UVs will be pinned in place.  Of course, you could just select and Pin all vertices in place, but you are greatly handicapping Blender’s ability to deal with UV map changes.  Keep in mind too that adding a Seam will automatically cause an Unwrap. 

 

Final tip.  Notice the ugly line across the tail of the plane?

image

What causes this?  It’s the texture seem.  Basically make sure the edges of your textures where you cut a seam have a matching seamless colouring on both sides, or you will end up with an ugly artefact like this.  A few seconds with a Blur brush would solve this problem.

 

The astute eyed may also notice that the text is mirrored on the mirrored half of the model:

image

 

This is a side effect of using the mirrored modifier.  You’ve got a few options here.  1 – apply the modifier, to form a single mesh and texture each side manually ( nah! ).  2- Switch to a symmetric number like 808  3- live with it.  I’ve chosen 3.

 

Next up we will look at animation.


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Blender BMesh in action… what’s so special about ngons anyways?
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20. April 2012

 

 

As you may have noticed, I am somewhat excited about the addition of BMesh into the main Blender trunk in the upcoming release.  What you may be wondering is why? In the past I explained what an ngon is, but without seeing them in action their benefit can be a bit hard to understand. 

 

So that is exactly what this post is going to cover, it will demonstrate the new functionality that will be available in Blender 2.63 once BMesh support is added.  Each animated image is actually 1080p in size, so click on it to see more details.  Some of these features, such as the bridge edge tool, aren’t specific to ngons specifically ( and could be accomplished without BMesh ), however the internal changes to support BMesh made adding these features more feasible.

 

 

 

 

 

Dissolving face/edges/vertices

 

Disolve

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

Coupled with the knife tool, this is easily the biggest feature of BMesh.  Instead of simply deleting faces, vertices and edges, you can now dissolve them, which effectively turns the selection into a single giant ngon.  Therefore you can add detail where you need it, or quickly remove it where you don’t.  With traditional triangles/quads, retooling a mesh was an arduous process of deleting faces/vertices then rebuilding them one quad/tri at a time.  Now with BMesh it’s a heck of a lot easier.  One word of warning though, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should! 

 

Dissolve can result in some really funky geometry, especially if what you are dissolving isn’t planar.  In the end, when it is sent to the renderer, it is still triangulated, so if you have dissolved into an impossible shape, you will get some weird artifacts.  That said, some time with the knife tool can quickly fix up most problems.  One thing to remember, BMesh does not replace the need for a good topology!  It may make things easier, but in the end the same basic modeling principles hold true.

 

One last note, dissolve works slightly different based on if you have edges, faces or vertices selected.

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, select your geometry.

Hit ‘x’.

Select dissolve.

 



Knife Tool

 

KnifeTool

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

The other major part of BMesh is the knife tool.  There is a knife tool in Blender 2.5x but it’s fairly awful.  First it has to tessellate as it goes because of the 3-4 vertices per face limit.  The new knife tool is much more capable and flexible and as you can see from the image above, can make pretty arbitrary cuts with ease.  Again though, good topology is still important, so use the knife with care!

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, press K.

A green dot will appear where the cut will appear.

Left click to make cut, move mouse and repeat.

Right click to complete.

 



CTRL + Knife Tool ( centered cut )

 

CTRLKnife

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

Quite often you want to cut at the halfway point, this is exactly what cutting with the Control key pressed down will do.  The green dot will snap to the halfway point between the two nearest vertices.

 

How do you do it?

 

Exact same process as the knife tool, just hold down CTRL to snap to midpoint.

 



Creating > 4 sided faces

 

CreateFace

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

On of the big pains of working with polygons in Blender before was manually recreating faces.  You had to select 3 or 4 vertices in order then hit the F key, repeating for every polygon you need to create.  Now, select the bordering edges or vertices, regardless to their count and it will create a single ngon, which can be extrudes, scaled, etc… like a normal face.  Just like dissolve though, it is quite easy to create “bad” geometry.

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, select bordering vertices or edges.

Press F to build ngon.

 



Bevel ( finally! )

 

Bevel

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

Blender 2.4x has a bevel, 2.5x replaced it with an awful modifier that I don’t think anyone was happy with.  Now, with BMesh, bevel is back!  It can be a bit buggy at times, especially with multiple edges selected and can result in some strange cornering geometry, but its really nice to see bevel back.   Bevel basically allows you to add more geometry evenly spaced and rounded, normally used for rounding corners.

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, select 2 or more consecutive vertices, or one or more edge or face.

Hit spacebar, type “Bevel”. Click Bevel in popup menu.

On the left hand Mesh Tools menu ( hit T if not open ), select percentage or recursion level.

Percentage determines how big bevel is ( relative to next closest edge/face/vertex )

Recursion level determines how many times the bevel will be performed ( number of edges created )

 



Inset/Outset face(s)

 

insetoutset

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

Inseting is basically identical to doing a zero distance extrude followed by a scale, but much easier.  Think of it kind like creating an edge loop, but instead its relative to the selected edges.  Inset causes the new geometry to be created within the selected geometry, while outset causes the geometry to be created surrounding selected value.  The above image illustrates an inset, followed by an outset.

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, select the face.

Hit spacebar, type “Inset face”, select menu item.

In the tools panel, thickness slider determines the amount it is offset.

Check outset if you wish to outset instead of inset.

 



Bridge Edge tools

 

bridge2

 

 

What are we seeing here?

 

This functionality was actually available via the loop tools plugin, but it’s nice to see it part of the main application.  Select two edge loops (within the same/connected mesh ) and it will create a “bridge” between those two points.  Sadly it doesn’t delete the interior face, so be sure to delete the face before bridging.

 

How do you do it?

 

In edit mode, select two edge loops.

Hit spacebar, type ‘Bridge Two Edge Loops.

Note! Both edge selections need to have the same number of edges.


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