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1. October 2015

 

I just tried out a free plugin for Blender UV-Squares and found it useful enough to share.  One of the things about working with texture mapping is textures are rectangular but UVs, well, arent.  So you spend a lot of time shaping UVs to fit square textures.  UV Squares can help.

 

Just download the linked .py file and copy it into the Scripts/Addons folder of your Blender install.  Then go in to User Preferences->Add-ons and enable it:

image

 

Operation is extremely simple.  UV Map like normal.  Consider this UV sphere, split along the back:

image

 

Let’s say you want to edit the faces at the front portion…  not going to work well because they are so pinched in.  The plugin can certainly help here.

 

Select the faces you want to texture on, like so:

image

 

Now in the left menu (T) in the UV editor, go to the Misc tab:

image

 

You can use Rip Vertex to detach the selection, then To Grid By Shape to “squarize” the UVs, like so:

GIF

 

To Grid by Shape will try to preserve the dimensions of the original UV grid as much as possible.

Art


23. September 2015

 

The newest version of Blender is now available for those willing to walk on the wild side.  It’s RC1, meaning Release Candidate 1 or in other words… try thisSplash 276.png version and tell us what bugs you encounter!  For the most part though, I have found previous RC versions to be quite stable and I am a huge fan of shiny and new.  Speaking of which, this release brings a number of new features:

 

In this release:

  • Initial support for Pixar's OpenSubdiv geometry subdivision technology.
  • A huge view-port performance boost.
  • Big file browser performance boost and arrow keys navigation support.
  • Node auto-offset feature that helps organizing node layouts.
  • Absolute grid snapping in the 3D view.
  • Sculpting with tiled strokes.
  • Text effect strips for the sequencer, supporting subtitle export
  • And: 100s of bug fixes and other improvements!

New functionality by category:

 

Cycles Renderer

 

  • New Point Density Texture
  • Improvements for AMD GPUs (stability on Windows / Linux and compatibility with OSX El Capitan).
  • Camera zoom motion blur support
  • Support for extended and clipped image texture extension.

 

User Interface

 

  • Viewport: The ongoing viewport project brought a big performance boost
  • Node Editor: Auto-offset of existing nodes when adding a new one
  • File Browser:
    • Arrow-key navigation and selection.
    • Huge rework of internal code, now quicker & lighter.
  • It's now possible to get the correct (user edited) shortcuts of modal operators
  • And more!

 

Modeling

 

  • Two new tools: Flatten faces and edge offset
  • Data Transfer supports transferring data between equal meshes better
  • Absolute grid snapping for the 3D view was added
  • Displace modifier custom normals support
  • And more!

 

OpenSubdiv

 

  • Initial integration of the Pixar OpenSubdiv library
  • Greatly improves viewport playback performance
  • GPU tessellation support
  • Improves edge sharpness
  • And more!

 

Sequencer

 

  • New text effect with capability of exporting as subtitles was added
  • Improved AltRMB Template-RMB.png selection behavior

 

FreeStyle NPR

 

  • Freestyle memory consumption was reduced
  • New stroke modifiers were implemented

 

Sculpting/Painting

 

  • Weight paint smoothing.

 

Animation

 

  • Clean channels tool was introduced that helps organizing channels
  • A new add-on to create bone selection sets is bundled
  • And more!

 

If you are interested in trying Blender 2.76 out, click here.  I have been waiting a very very long time for a flatten faces option, as the current workaround is a horrible hack.

Art


10. September 2015

Just got this email from Unreal and damn is it cool!

 

Unreal Engine

Download the Infinity Blade Collection for free today!

Infinity Blade Collection

As our gift to developers, you can now download thousands of assets from the Infinity Blade universe for free in the Unreal Engine Marketplace!
Three impressive dungeon environments, two massive character packs, many sound and visual effects, and a host of melee weapons are available, no strings attached.
This content has been produced at the quality level players have come to expect from our successful mobile franchise, and represents a $3 million investment in art and sound design. We're excited to see what you make with it.

Infinity Blade: Grass Land

Infinity Blade: Grass Lands

Explore Grass Lands, the earthy citadel adorned with stone set pieces and beautiful props. It's lovingly crafted and yours to keep!

Infinity Blade: Ice Lands

Infinity Blade: Ice Lands

Delve into this beautiful wintery fort set within a glacial enclave. Build your own perilous quest using this free environment.

Infinity Blade: Fire Lands

Infinity Blade: Fire Lands

Check out Fire Lands, the castle interior laced with unforgiving paths and dramatic props. Make this rare locale all your own! 

Infinity Blade: Warriors

Infinity Blade: Warriors

Customize heroes with exotic battle gear and detailed armor. All characters are compatible with the standard Unreal Engine 4 skeleton.

Infinity Blade: Adversaries

Infinity Blade: Adversaries

Craft a range of fierce characters with this pack, which includes all the pieces for making robots, monsters, trolls and master warriors. 

Infinity Blade: Effects

Infinity Blade: Effects

Can you use attractive fire, smoke, lightning, fog, laser beams, magical reactions and other visual FX? Treat yourself to this pack!

Infinity Blade: Sound FX

Infinity Blade: Sounds

Use thousands of raw audio files and sound cues to take your audio to the next level. There are over 3,600 assets in this pack alone!

Inifinity Blade: Weapons

Infinity Blade: Weapons

Enjoy this awesome selection of melee weaponry. Access never-before-seen swords and axes along with a few Infinity Blade fan favorites.

 

 

Professional quality place holder assets don’t grow on trees, so this is an extremely cool move!  There is now a blog post about this topic available here.  Simply download from the asset store.  I am not entirely certain what the license is, but this seems to indicate a very liberal one:

Most of the content comes from Infinity Blade: Dungeons, which we made here at Epic and chose not to release. While it was a tough decision to make back then, the content is beautifully crafted, and we are happy for you to have it for free. Use it in any Unreal Engine 4 project, no strings attached. We succeed when you succeed.

There are special cameos from released games in the Infinity Blade series, including humorous weapons such as the finger, the lollipop, and the rubber chicken. My personal favorite is the popular Cardboard Hero armor from Infinity Blade II: Vault of Tears.

 

I look forward to jumping in to these assets a bit later, when I am not using my mobile for data!

 

EDIT:  Confirmed on Twitter that the only license limitation is use of the Unreal Engine:

twitterUnreal

 

Seems reasonable to me.

News Art


18. July 2015

 

So I just ran into a recent problem with Blender that ended up having a very very simple answer.

 

Normally I do my animations in place with no movements along a certain axis.  However an animation I downloaded from Mixamo wasn’t in place and I had to get around it.  In fact, the animation looked like this:

Blender

 

My first thought was to simply delete all of the transform keys along Y axis.  It didn’t work, so then my thought was I could reset each key to the same position, but this quickly became a complete pain in the arse.  In the end, as I said, the answer was incredibly simple… track the translation of the model using the camera, leaving:

Blender2

 

And…

Blender3

 

To do this, simply select and position the camera, then add a Copy Location constraint:

image

 

Pick the axis you are moving along, set the target to the Armature and pick a bone to aim at.  Done.

Art


10. July 2015

 

A new Blender tutorial series was just released here on GameFromScratch.com.  It has actually been under development for a couple months, I have just finally put together a table of contents page for it.

 

The series is called Learning Blender, One Hour at a Time and the entire premise is to break learning Blender into one hour chunks and cover as much as possible in each hour.  Currently there are video tutorials for introduction, modelling, texturing and animating.  There will be one last video on rendering released shortly.  Combined, the five hours of instruction should give you all the details you need to get started learning Blender.  Additionally there are a few simple tips and trick videos we have published, they have been gathered together into one place for the first time.

 

Below is just a screenshot of the actual series table of contents.  Click here or the image below to go to the actual tutorial.

image

 

Enjoy!

Art


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