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4. May 2016

 

Mixamo is a great animation resource, that enables you to quickly (and currently freely) add animations to your 3D models.  However, if you want to incorporate the results into your Blender workflow, it can be a bit non-intuitive.  The Mixamo documentation recommend using Collada, which simply does not work well.  There instructions also skip completely the process of actually using the resulting animations...  a rather key component.  The following workflow is perhaps the easiest with the best results.

 

First off, when exporting your animations from Mixamo, use the following settings:

image

 

This will result in a zip file containing your model, as well as several animations, like so:

image

 

If you haven’t already, load Blender.  Next go to File->Import->FBX.  The next part is critical, in the Import FBX settings select Manual Orientation and Apply Transform

image

 

Your model and it’s armature should now load fine, with full proper textures showing up.  I suggest you rename your armature something meaningful, as each animation is going to come in with the same name (Armature, Armature.001, etc.).

 

Next do the import again, with the exact same settings, this time bring in one of your animations.  If you only need to wire up a single animation, you are nearly done.  Just bring up the DopeSheet, switch to Action Editor

image

 

You can now toggle between any animation available in the Blend file:

image

Keep in mind, I renamed my main character Timeline, then the walk animation armature was renamed Walk, etc...

 

If however you need to use multiple animations, or want to create a single timeline with all of the animations on it, you are now going to have to break out the NLA Editor.  It is simply a matter of Add Action Strip to your main character, for each animation in the timeline, like so:

image

 

And, the end result:

GIF

 

I glossed over part of the process, but never fear... I also did a video!

Art


29. March 2016

 

Welcome to the second Blender how to ( here is the first ), a series of quick step by step tutorials showing you how to accomplish a specific task using Blender.  Today we will look at a way of quickly modeling a high rise building.  It assumes you know the basics of using Blender.  If you don’t, no worries, I have tutorials for that!

 

First, start with the default cube, like so:

image

 

Now enter edit mode(TAB) and  loop cut (CTRL + R) it about the center, like so:

image

 

Select all the faces of the top half and separate them (P->Selection)

image

 

In object mode move the newly separated top portion up along the Z axis (G + Z + mouse)

image

 

Select the bottom box, make a copy (SHIFT + D), then move it up along the Z axis.

image

 

Select the middle piece, switch to edit mode, select the bottom face and delete it (x –> faces), like so:

image

 

This face is going to represent the various floors of your building.  Keep the top and bottom edges the same size as the top/bottom box and start carving it up to match your floor.  I generally start by doing a pair of loop cuts along the entire length, like so:

image

This can be accomplished by doing a loop cut (Ctrl + R), then before clicking to commit, scroll button once to perform multiple evenly spaced cuts at once.  Next I move them up and down the mesh simultaneously by simply scaling along the Z axis (S, Z, mouse move)

Now lets do several more loop cuts for windows using the same process (Ctrl + R, Mouse wheel multiple times):

image

 

Next select every other edge created (alt + shift click to select multiple) like so:

image

 

We now want to edge slide the selected edges (G,G)

image

Now select the inner faces like so:

image

Then hit E to extrude them

image

Repeat the similar process on all 4 sides to define your building.  Obviously you would arrange as you saw fit.

 

Now that we have our floor defined, it’s time to make a lot of them.  Switch to object mode then go to the modifiers tab and select Array:

image

 

Now we need to make sure we set the axis to array along ( set Z to 1 in the relative offset area ) and the number of times to duplicate under the count section.

image

When satisfied, click the Apply button.  Finally move your top and bottom pieces so they cap the building on each end, like so:

image

 

Select all 3 shapes and merge them together (Ctrl + J) like so:

image

Now we just need to weld our objects together.  Box select (B) the overlap area between the bottom and middle boxes in edit mode, like so:

image

Now select Remove Doubles in the Tool menu(T), then manipulate the Merge distance

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Until you see

image 

Repeat for the top portion.

 

TADA, a building in Blender.  An ugly building mind you, but a building none the less.

image

Art


21. March 2016

 

Blender 2.77 is finally out, you can download it here.  Taking a bit longer than previous releases, this version brings a number of new features, including:

  • Cycles rendering improvements including GPU support for Smoke/Fire, Subsurface Scattering and more
  • Massive Grease Pencil improvements (including 2D animation)
  • OpenVDB caching for large simulation datasets
  • UI improvements
  • Improved painting and sculpting tools
  • Edit mode booleans
  • UVMap on creation of primitives
  • And much much more

 

When Blender 2.77RC2 was released, I put together a video highlighting major new features of this release.  You can view it here or embedded below.

Art GameDev News


13. March 2016

 

BDX is a 3D engine that is hosted inside Blender and uses Java and the LibGDX library for programming.  For more information I took a pretty in-depth look at an earlier version available here.  Basically BDX installs as a Blender add-on, which you use to create your games content and levels, but you use LibGDX and Java to program your actual game.  BDX exposes several Blender features to your game, such as physics properties.

 

Details of this release are available on /r/gamedev, but the heart of the release are:

  • Saving the meshes from Blender has been optimized, which can make the starting process a ton faster.
  • Rendering to a depth texture for depth-based 2D screen shaders is now possible.
  • Additional built-in screen shaders include: Outline, Invert, and Depth-Of-Field shaders.
  • You can now color, tint, and otherwise alter individual materials on a GameObject.
  • Camera functions have been added to allow for view changes (i.e. changing the viewport width of the camera view).
  • Various bug-fixes.

It’s an interesting project, especially if you are working with Blender and Java, and is one you should consider checking out.  It is complete free and open source, released under the Apache 2 license.

GameDev News


28. February 2016

 

I have done several complete Blender tutorials here on GameFromScratch on using Blender including this one and this one that take you from complete beginners to reasonably fluent.  Taking the next step however can be quite tricky.  So I’m going to do a series of quick and simple tutorials showing how to accomplish a specific task in Blender.  Keep in mind, this shows one way of doing things, not necessarily the right way.  These tutorials assume you already know how to operate Blender, so if you do not, be sure to check out one of the two earlier linked tutorials.

There is now a video version of this tutorial available here.

 

Modeling a Low Polygon Sword

In this tutorial I am going to model the entire thing as a single mesh.  You could of course model it component by component if you preferred.

 

Start with the default Blender cube.

image

 

Switch to edit mode, insert an edge loop (Ctrl + R), apply immediately.

image

 

Switch to Polygon editing mode (CTRL + TAB + 3), select the left most face and delete (X) select Vertices:

image

 

Now go into modifiers, add a Mirror modifier.  Select the appropriate axis to mirror along (Y in my case)

image

 

This puts us back to having a cube again:

image

 

Now, still in edit mode, select everything (A), then scale along X then Z axis ( S-X, then S-Z ), so your shape looks like this:

image

 

Select the end face (non-mirrored one) and extrude ( E ) it several times.

image

 

Now switch to the side view, then apply a Bend (Shift + W), like so:

image

 

This presents a small problem, our vertices left the mirror axis:

image

 

The easiest solution is to select the top vertices, then in properties (N), manually set the mirror axis value to 0, then repeat for the bottom vertices.

image

 

I’m going to be extruding the sword blade out next, but first I want the edge to be flat so the blade extrudes cleanly.  This is easily accomplished in a non-intuitive way...  select these edges:

image

 

Then scale 0 along the axis you want to align.  This can be accomplished with S+Z+0, aka, scale 0 along the Z axis, with the following result:

image

 

Easy enough...  now we need to make a few edge cuts so we have a nice extrude-able blade.  First make a pair of loop cuts like so:

GIF

 

By the way, when making your edge cut (Ctrl + R), before right clicking to commit you can use the wheel mouse to make multiple evenly spaced cuts.  Or new edge loops are a bit two far apart when evenly spaced, so move them closer together.  With both newly created loops still selected, simply scale on the X axis (S+X) and move the two edge loops closer together.  Then add another edge loop at the edge, like so:

image

 

Now simply extrude our newly created polygon  a couple times:

image

 

Grab the top most edge to make things pointy...

image

 

Now taper the edge however you like your sword to look:

image

Finally we need a hilt...  Everything we need is in place already...  If you look at the bottom of the sword, it should look something like this:

image

 

First less flatten the one polygon (S+Z+0) like we did with the blade, just this time with the single polygon selected:

image

 

If you prefer the look, you could have flattened the entire bottom of the sword.  Next scale along the X axis, then move it slightly down the Z axis:

image

 

And time for more extrusions...

image

 

Now move and scale things until it looks like you want...

image

 

TADA... one low polygon sword in about 3 minutes time.  Of course you probably want to add a bit of detail here and there...  Mostly this can be accomplished with bevels (CTRL + B), for example using a bevel we can add so detail to the hilt or handle should we wish, like so:

GIF2

 

After loop cutting in and beveling whatever additional detail you wish into the model, leave edit mode and apply the Mirror modifier:

image

 

And tada:

image

Art


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