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17. June 2013

I am a big proponent of Blender so I am always quite interested in how it is going to develop.  Recent releases have been all about bringing a number of projects that have been in the works for years back into the fold.  Functionality like BMesh and the Cycles renderer are now part of the core package and Blender is vastly improved as a result.  Now that most of that work is complete, Blender started looking toward the future and released their roadmap of upcoming features.

 

The nutshell version:

2.6x

  • For 2.68 and 2.69 we strictly keep compatibility and keep focusing on stability for Blender.
  • Anything potentially unstable or breaking compatibility should go to a 2.7 branch
  • If needed, we can do a couple of 2.69 updates (a b c d) to merge in bug fixes only.

 

2.7

  • Move to OpenGL 2.1 minimal (means: UI/tools can be designed needing it, like offscreen drawing)
  • Depsgraph refactor, including threaded updates
  • Fix our duplicator system, animation proxy (for local parts of linked/referenced data)
  • Redesign 3D viewport drawing (full cleanup of space_view3d module)
  • Work on cpu-based selection code for viewport
  • Sequencer rewrite
  • Asset manager, better UI and tools for handling linkage
  • Python “Custom Editor” api (including better Python support for event handlers, notifiers).
  • UI: refresh our default

 

2.8

  • New “unified physics” systems, using much more of Bullet, unification of point caches (Alembic).
  • Particle nodes (could co-exist for a while with old particles though)
  • Nodification of more parts of Blender (modifiers, constraints)
  • Game engine… (see below)
  • OpenGL 3.0?

 

Blender Game Engine

Or more radically worded: I propose to make the GE to become a real part of Blender code – to make it not separated anymore. This would make it more supported, more stable and (I’m sure) much more fun to work on as well.

Instead of calling it the “GE” we would just put Blender in “Interaction mode”. Topics to think of:

  • Integrate the concept of “Logic” in the animation system itself. Rule or behavior based animation is a great step forward for animation as well (like massive anims, or for extras).
  • Support of all Blender physics.
  • Optimizing speed for interactive playback will then also benefit regular 3d editing (and vice versa)
  • Singular Python API for logic scripting
  • Ensure good I/O integration with external game engines, similar to render engines.

What should then be dropped is the idea to make Blender have an embedded “true” game engine. We should acknowledge that we never managed to make something with the portability and quality of Unreal or Crysis… or even Unity3D. And Blender’s GPL license is not helping here much either.

On the positive side – I think that the main cool feature of our GE is that it was integrated with a 3D tool, to allow people to make 3D interaction for walkthroughs, for scientific sims, or game prototypes. If we bring back this (original) design focus for a GE, I think we still get something unique and cool, with seamless integration of realtime and ‘offline’ 3D.

 

All told, nothing earth shattering, but one heck of a big change in store for Blender game engine.

Art News


11. June 2013

One man game development studios are becoming more and more common these days and plenty of them are having success.  That said, what do you do when that one man doesn't happen to be an artist?  This post looks at some of the options the Indie game developer has for creating or acquiring art for their game.

 

Pixel Art

 

Big chunky pixels that look like they jumped out of the 1980s are becoming more and more common and there is a good reason for it.  Creating Pixel art is easy, at least relative to other art styles.  Don't get me wrong, it still requires some artistic talent…  representing a complex object with a few blobs is certainly a skill.  That said, you can churn out a ton of pixel art in a very short period of time.  The downside to pixel art, if you don't like the aesthetic ( like me ), you are greatly limiting the appeal of your game.  

 

Pixel Art Example:

 

Realm of the Mad God

ROTMG Screenshot Combat

 

Realm of the Mad God is probably one of the most successful pixel art titles.  As you can see, it has a very simple aesthetic, harking back to games from the NES era… and possibly earlier.

If I am honest, far too many Indie titles are pixel art based… because it is probably the most accessible art style.  As a result, I am overwhelmingly sick of it.  It takes a hell of a lot of buzz to get me to even look at a game using this art style now.  Of course, that's just me… plenty of people still love pixel art, so you will have an audience.

 

Pixel Art Tools

At the end of the day, any image manipulation tool that supports a "fat grid" can be used.  A fat grid is a zoomed in view that shows each individual pixel extremely scaled up, as well as a view of the image at it's regular size.  This means your traditional raster graphic packages such as Photoshop, The GIMP and Paint.NET can all be used.  Of course, a great many (insane???) people just use Paint that comes with Windows!

Additionally a number of Pixel Art focused tools have been developed over the years as well.

Pyxel Edit -- in beta, written in Air

aseprite -- Allegro Sprite Editor.  In pixel art style itself

Pixelmator -- MacOS only raster graphics application.  A vastly cheaper alternative to Photoshop with pixel friendly tools

Grafx2 -- a free pixel art oriented graphic application inspired by Deluxe Paint.  Open source too if that's your thing

GraphicsGale -- available as shareware, another pixel art focused application

ProMotion -- another pixel oriented editor, this one is commercial and has been used to create several commercial games. Not sure about it's development status.

PD Pro -- commercial software.  A Photoshop alternative that is vastly cheaper than photoshop

UltimatePaint -- another Deluxe Paint derived painting app

Pixen -- another Mac only pixel editing app.  Beta is available free, otherwise its $15.

 

Frankly at the end of the day, any pixel based image editing tool will do.  Some of the above programs do make more complicated tasks like animating or lighting a great deal easier than just using Paint, so looking into a dedicated app is certainly worthwhile.  Oh, and if you are under 30, you may be wondering WTF Deluxe Paint is?  Simply put, it was THE 2D game art package for the Amiga.  I think it's safe to say that most games in the early 90s had their art drawn in Deluxe Paint!  Since those days, its become the benchmark of sorts for game art packages.

 

 

Tutorials

YouTube Video on pixel Art using GIMP

Pixel Art for games ( using Photoshop )

PixelJoint -- The sites all about pixel art and hosts a series of tutorials.

FinalBossBlues -- Another series of pixel art tutorials

 

My personal opinion… Pixel art is way overdone, I am sick of it and have to imagine many other people are as well.  That said, its the easiest art form for a non-artist to crank out.

 

Voxels

Voxels are the pixel art of the 3D world.  Voxel is an amalgamation of the worlds VOLUME + Pixel.  So, basically they are a pixel with depth, which in every day parlance is what we call a cube.  Voxel worlds are made up of thousands and thousands of cubes… like a gigantic lego set.  Minecraft wasn't the first voxel game, not by a long shot ( there was a company called Novalogic that was obsessed with Voxels ), but it was easily the most popular.

 

Voxel Example:

Minecraft

Minecraft snapshot

Comanche Maximum Overkill ( 1992! )

Comanche92or 2

 

Voxel Tools

There are a number of tools available for editing voxels, some free, some not so free.

Voxel -- create Voxels on your iPad or iPhone.  Export in OBJ/MTL format or in Minecraft's .binvox format. Free

Sproxel -- free voxel editor.  Seems to have been abandoned in 2012.  Last version was Windows only, prior version available for MacOS. Free

Q-Block -- free, online, simple Voxel editor

Paint3D -- $20.  Windows application for editing voxels.

Zoxel -- I think its free.  Available for Linux and Windows, can export in OBJ.

Voxelogic Acropora -- Much higher end product than the above, for creating ultra high resolution landscapes.  Commercial, $90, with demo available

Cubicle Constructor -- Probably the most polished looking app of the above. Prices range from free to $80.

 

Personally, and this is just me, I've always hated voxels.  These days, a voxel game is going to look like a Minecraft clone as there were SOOOOO many Minecraft clones out there.  That said, Voxels work a lot like lego, so if you can create something visually impressive in lego, you can do the same in Voxels.

 

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are increasingly common, as you can support multiple resolutions using a single art asset.  Since files are stored as a series of vectors, the image stays sharp regardless to how large or small it is scaled.  This can be a huge boon when supporting multiple resolutions especially with mobile devices.  In many ways, constructing an image using vector graphics is similar to working with construction paper.  You essentially layer shapes on top of other shapes to make more complex objects.  Working with vector graphics is a great deal more difficult than pixel art, but isn't outrageously difficult.

 

Vector Graphics Example:

Castle Crashers

Castle crashers 20100902050138751 001

 

Vector Graphic Tools

There are less vector graphic applications and some clear favourites when it comes to game creation.

Adobe Illustrator -- This is the Photoshop of vector graphics.  It's also got a LOT of stuff in their that you don't need, as the package was originally made for doing page layout in the print world.  Still probably the most used professional tool. Expensive! Only available by subscription now.

Adobe Flash -- Increasingly Flash is becoming more and more about game creation.  Flash Professional can be used to create and animate vector graphics, and commonly is!  Also expensive. Only available by subscription now.

Inkscape -- FREE!  Great free vector graphic package.  Very commonly used by those on a budget.

Corel Draw -- another commercial vector graphic package.  Targeted at the same market as Illustrator. Also expensive ( $500 )

iDraw -- Mac/iPad only, quite cheap ( 10$ iPad, 30$ Mac ).  I personally use this program.  More intuitive than Inkscape, simpler than Flash/Illustrator.  No timeline for animation though.

 

There are a couple 2D animation systems available as well.  You can draw your character once, cut them into pieces and let the software handle the animations.  Note that these tools work with regular bitmap graphics, not just vectors

2D IK animation tools

Spine -- 2D skeletal animation

Spriter -- another 2D animation tool

 

Vector Graphic Tutorials

2dgameartforprogrammers -- Has a ton of great vector graphic tutorials.  Be sure to check out the Apache Helicopter tutorial.

Gamasutra tutorial -- Same guy as above, great series.

Inkscape Tutorials -- A series of, you guessed it!  Inkscape tutorials.  Not necessarily game related, but techniques still apply

 

3D Art

I've been a hobbyist at 3D graphics for about as long as there has been an industry and even still, I can only JUST make art good enough for a game and even then I probably take 3x longer than an actual artist, and generate much lower quality work.  Don't kid yourself, 3D is as much a profession as programming.  It will take you years to learn to the point your results don't look like crap.  Don't worry, I wouldn't mention it if there weren't options for the less… talented.  I will discuss those in a second.

 

If you are interested in pursuing 3D, you can find a list of the most commonly used 3D applications right here.  Many of these applications have a price tag in the $5000 range.  However there is the freely available Blender package which is an incredibly capable 3D program for modelling, animating and texturing.  On the other hand, it isn't an easy application to get started with.  That is why I created this five part series, Blender for Programmers.  If you are interested in 3D, it is a good place to start.

 

3D for the less talented!

There are plenty of tools available with a much lower learning curve if you want to work in 3D.  This section mentions a few of them.

Poser -- Use existing character models.  Dress them up, animate and render or exports.  You can easily create animated characters using this application, and can buy a number of pre made assets if the existing content isn't enough for you.  Poser costs between $200 and $400, although it is quite commonly on sale.

Daz Studio Pro -- This program is a lot like Poser.  However it is free but comes with a lot less assets.  I did a tutorial on creating a sprite sheet with Daz and The GIMP if you want an idea what it is like.  That said, although Daz is free, they will spam you A LOT.  I still get two or three emails a week from them and it's not trivial getting yourself removed from the mailing list!

Make Human -- Create fully boned photorealistic humans with ease.  Oh, and it's free!  Used to be a Blender plugin, but now it's free.

Bryce -- Create stunning landscapes with basically zero effort or talent.  It's rather amazing the results you can get from this guy!

Sketchup -- Previously a google application for making 3D models for use in Google Earth.  There is a gigantic repository of models available for free.  If you need to create levels or cityscapes, this is a GREAT place to start.  There was a recent article on Gamasutra on exactly this.  Be careful with licensing issues though!

 

Sculpting Applications:

These applications are like working with 3D clay.  Even with little skill, you can make some remarkably awesome results.

Sculptris -- Free!  Baby brother of ZBrush.  Try it out, it's free.

ZBrush -- THE 3D sculpting application.  $700.

3D Coat -- In between Sculptris and ZBrush.  $350.  Often on sale on Steam, keep an eye. 

Mudbox -- Autodesk's sculpting application.  Most expensive in the list, $800.

 

Use existing assets

There are a HUGE number of assets available that you can buy or simply download online.  You should be able to source a ton of your assets this way.  The maxim You Get Way You Pay For isn't always true, but it often is!  On the other hand, simply because you paid for something doesn't make it good!  Working from many of these assets is tricky because they may not be suitable for games, may not be legally licensable, etc.  

 OpenGameArt -- a huge repository of game focused 2D and 3D art assets.

Blend Swap -- 8000+ freely available Blender Blend files.

Blender-Models -- Another Blender model resource

Mixamo -- 3d character model and animation on a pay per use basis.  Much like Bryce and Daz but online.  Upload your own model for animating, or buy one of theirs.

Content Paradise -- (paid) content for Poser.

Daz3D models -- (paid) content for Daz3D

Unity Asset Store -- if you use the Unity 3D package, there is a huge asset store of ready to drop in assets and scripts

Turbo Squid -- the biggest 3D object store.  Huge variety of content, quality and prices.

CGTrader -- buy and sell 3D assets.

GameTextures -- high quality game ready texture maps for sale.

There are a number of other asset stores available, this is just a small selection of the more common resources. 

 

Programmatic Art

Of course, you always have the option of creating a game that uses strictly programmatic art.  This is, art that is generated by an algorithm instead of an artist.

 

Programmatic Art Example

Rez

Rez ingame

 

Geometry Wars

Geometry wars galaxies 20070629054423884

 

Basically if you go this route, your art is in mathematic form.  On the one hand generating your game art algorithmically has the advantage of minimizing the need for artists.  On the other hand, it requires a completely different set of skills, especially when it comes to writing shaders!  Fortunately there are a few tools out there that help you create shaders visually.

 

Hire an Artist

Of course you may also decide at the end of the day you need an artist!  Obviously adding another person to your team can have a number of downsides…  you will lose a certain amount of creative control ( and should by the way!  Why are you working with an artist if you don't trust their artistic direction? ) over your baby.  Of course there is also a loss in either ownership or a cost involved.

 

Paying an artist, how?

This part is always tricky… how much does an artist cost?  Do you get what you pay for?  Will they work for free?  Will they work for a percentage?  How much of a percentage should I give?  What should I expect from an artist?  What should an artist expect from me?

 

To answer all of those questions, it depends.  It depends on so many things you can't give a simple answer.  Some games have much higher art requirements than others.  Some people have a budget and can pay for contract work, others do not.

 

The easiest and most likely most successful option is collaborating with an artist you know in real life.  Of course, this isn't always an option and can still lead to massive friction once things become about real money.  Make sure you establish the revenue split up front, and make sure fixed costs are accounted for before you start splitting up the pie.  Also be realistic that the pie may never actually arrive!

Contracting out pieces is a bit trickier.  Probably the simplest is to pay X amount per assets.  For example, pay 25$ for a textured tree model.  Working on bid work is by far the most straight forward, but you need to be very specific in what you need from the artist.  The more detail you can give, the better your relationship with go.  Instead of saying " I need a textured tree", say "I need a textured tree, under 300 polygons, a single texture no larger than 512x512 using a power of 2 resolution".  As to determining the cost X… well that is an art form in and off itself!

There is a good chance you have no money, and are willing to offer a percentage of future profits in return for labour.  If this is the route you are going, be VERY upfront about this, and don't pester people that aren't interested in such a work example.  The further along you are in the project, the more likely you will be to acquire a good artist.  If you can hand a game to someone with programmer art stand ins that the artist needs to replace, things will go a lot smoother.  If you've got an idea only… get further along before recruiting, unless you know an artist personally.  If you got an idea only… and that's all you've got ( no programming skills ) I would generally suggest not wasting anyones time.  In this day and age, amazingly enough, the idea is the LEAST important part of the process.  Everybody has the next killer game idea!  The reality is, its generally execution that makes a game great, not the idea.  Exceptions exist, but they are exactly that, exceptions.

 

Where to recruit artists?

Real life is obviously a great place, but not always or even often, an option.  Otherwise there are a number of places you can look for artists, often depending on the type of contract you are offering.

http://www.polycount.com/forum/ -- They have a series of recruiting forums, for paid and unpaid work.

http://www.reddit.com/r/GameDevClassifieds -- Post your jobs, make sure to note paid/unpaid status.  Browse for artists looking for work

http://www.gamedev.net/classifieds -- GameDev.net job boards, contract board and hobby recruiting listings.

http://www.conceptart.org/forumdisplay.php?f=11 -- Concept artists, not game artists, but theres an amazing amount of talent here.

http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/ -- You get a WIIIIIDDDDDEEEE gamut of talent on this forum, many without game experience, but it is certainly another place to look, if even just to figure out payment amounts.  Forums are for paid work only!

http://www.game-artist.net/forums/employment/ -- Game art focused forums, have sub forums for all kinds of hiring.

 

Summary

At the end of the day, relationships are CRITICAL.  The network of contacts you make will be one of the most valuable assets you can acquire.  Deal fairly with people, don't misrepresent yourself or your project and act professionally.  Even if you aren't paying, act professionally.  It will pay off massively in the long run.  Also keep in mind, every relationship is a two way street.  If you don't like working with an artist you contact walk away ( … if not in breach of contract! ), you will both benefit in the end.

 

Make as much clear up front as possible… revenue split, paid/unpaid, detailed specs, etc… the less ambiguity, the smoother things will go.  Oh, and never pay 100% up front, EVER!

 

This post on scratches the surface of what is out there.  As you can see, even if you don't have artistic talent, there are tons of options out there for you!  If I missed something you feel I should have included, let me know!

 

 

Art Design Programming


7. March 2013

Pretty much just a bug fix release:

 

Interface

  • Fix #34357: Image editor scope and clip editor track preview did not resize properly with different DPI settings. (r54760)
  • Fix #33466: Alt+MouseWheel changes frame as well as buttons (r54929)
  • Fix UI/DPI: user preferences window size now takes into account DPI, otherwise the buttons don't fit properly. (r54945)
  • Fix soft shadow at top edge incorrectly drawn (r54954)
  • Fix #34418: Screencast could be started twice (r54961)
  • Fix #34509: Panel color were not updated from old files properly (r54996)
  • Allow trackpad and magic mouse swipes to control brush size for circle select. (r55027)
  • Fix (regression) #34391: Window position not saving correctly for next start-up (r54879)
  • Fix #34390: quicktime video codec menu showing blank (r54942)

 

Viewport

  • Fix #34378: GLSL materials using multiple UV layers fail in editmode (r54783)
  • Fix #34347: View3D Mini-Axis drawing in error with overlay (r54789)
  • Fix #34426: Manipulator handles drawn incorrectly by depth (r54923)
  • Fix glitch rotating the camera in camera mode drawing helper-line in random locations (r54928)

 

Animation

  • Fix zoom for graph-editor (and other editors) (r54910)

 

Sequencer

  • Fix #34439: Strip modifier - Mask multiply failure (r54901)
  • Fix #34453: Added RGBA|RGB channels toggle to sequencer preview (r54904)
  • Fix sequencer crash when pasteing strips after creating new file (r54935)

 

Composite/Nodes

  • Fix #34356: Inputs list in file output doesn't appear properly. (r54754)
  • Fix #34359: Crash when using image output node (r54746)
  • Fix #34474: "Record Composite" image op segfaults in compositor code (r54948)
  • Fix #34461: Inconsistent behavior of "Color Mix Node" and "Alpha Over Node" (r54960)
  • Fix #34507: Adding reroute node into invalid links would crash the compositor (r55047)

 

MovieClip/Tracking

  • Fix memory leak when loading multilayer EXR as movie clip (r54934)
  • Fix for incorrect subpixel precision of marker when using track offset (r55028)

 

Render

  • Fix #34351: Displacement map Bake margin does not work (r54748)
  • Fix #34436: Node editor delete texture crash (r54908)
  • Fix #34493: Image Sequence texture didn't allow "Offset" with fcurves. (r55012)
  • Fix #34475: Weird noise bug with Texture nodes (r55021)
  • Fix for texture preview render with show alpha enabled (r55026)
  • Fix image transparency backwards compatibility. Now the texture datablock has a 'Use Alpha' option again. (r55022)

 

Render (Cycles)

  • Fix #34421: viewport render stuck with no objects in the scene. (r54885)
  • Fix #34480: hair render in dupligroup did hide the emitter properly in some cases. (r54959)

 

Modifiers

  • Fix #34358: Shrinkwrap modifier project along normal did not work correctly (r54793)
  • Fix #34369: applying screw modifier turns object to black (r55004)

 

Tools

  • Fix #34384: Border select in UV Image window crashed (r54816)
  • Fix for weight paint using values over 1.0 when blending (r54833)
  • Fix for regression in 'object.shape_key_transfer' operator since BMesh merge (r54834)
  • Fix #34415: Edge slide results in segmentation fault on certain mesh (r54875)
  • Fix #34455: Origin to Center of Mass is missing in menu Object > Transform (r54891)
  • Fix selecting linked faces (r54920 r54921)
  • Fix #34366: mesh.select_mode operator could not be configure the use_extend and use_expand properly. (r54944)
  • fix #34486: Selection of bones in armature edit mode only toggles between two bones (r54969)
  • Fix #34534: Copy/Paste objects hangs (r55051)
  • Fix (regression) #34438: Solidify crease error (r54882)
  • Fix missing select menu for weight, vertex, texture paint modes. (r54883)
  • Fix joining meshes could loose crease/bevel weights (r54899)
  • Fix (regression) #34449: Edge toggline bevel failed (r54900)

 

Sculpt

  • Fix #34370: Collapse-Edges crash in dyntopo (r54827)
  • Fix #34431: Crash when dyntopo enabled and using view plane mode (r54971)
  • Fix #34473: Blender Crashes on toggling modes, dynatopo sculpt/object mode. (r55007)

 

Game Engine

  • Fix projection clipping (r54733)
  • Fix #34349: Character walkDirection ADD mode -#INF error. (r54738)
  • Fix #18967: Enable alpha buffer (useful for TV broadcasting). (r54745)
  • Fix #34353: Ray cast on Triangle mesh bounded Rigid Body Object crashes (r54757)
  • Fix #34219: Webcam support under Linux in Standalone broken (r54764)
  • Fix #34330: Action Actuator "caching" the previous ran actions (r54766 r54767 r54769)
  • Fix error using actions with multiple scenes (r54767)
  • Fix object color channels can now be animated separately without zeroing out the other channels (r54772)
  • Fix error using uninitialized variables for rendering (r54776 r54781)
  • Fix #34377: Game-Engine - Multi UV mesh's materials not backwards compatible (r54780)
  • Fix Game-Engine crashing when on material conversions (r54837)
  • Fix #34440: Motion blur (2d filter) not working in osx (r54912)
  • Fix #34428 #20856 #20281: converting multi-uv layers. (r54972)
  • Fix #34523: 2D-Filter produces render error (r55010)
  • Fix #34517: 2D-Filter causes mouselook script drifting effect (r55011)

 

Rigid Body

  • Fix motion paths calculation being incorrect for rigid bodies (r54799)
  • Allow rigidbody collision groups to be animated (r54818)
  • Fix #34410: Planes with Rigid Body always keep distance to colliding objects (r54855)
  • Fix #34420: Rigid objects not resetting original properly after running a simulation. (r54862)
  • Fix inconsistency with world rebuilding with the start frame (r54990)

 

Text Editor

  • Fix Fix text editor bug: ctrl+F is not configurable (r54878)
  • Fix #54907: freeze when turning on syntax highlight (r54907)
  • Fix crash when overwriting ascii character with multibyte character (r54917)

 

Python

  • Fix Python console bug: "autocomplete" doesn't advance cursor properly when completion includes UTF8 characters (r54824)
  • Fix #34423: foreach_get crash for any non existant attribute (r54865 r54866)
  • Fix #34372: mesh.verts.foreach_set not working with normals (r54943)
  • Fix for python exception getting the ID from an operator button (r54835)

 

Other

  • Fix freeing all bakes in particle mode (r54822)
  • Fix file with packed images crashes on load (r54790)
  • Fix image alpha version patch with library linked files (r54794)
  • Fix #34427: Collada export crash with armature (r54856)
  • Fix X3D import error loading UV's (r4325)
  • Fix X3D import for images (r4327)
  • Rigify fixes (r4321 r4334 r4335)

 

You can head on over and download it here.

News Art


14. January 2013

 

One of the themes of this site has always been to focus on low cost (or free) game development technologies.  As a result, you will tend to find content here tends to focus more on products like Blender or Wings instead of 3D Studio Max or Photoshop.  I will of course share any game development related news regardless to price tag, but I tended to focus on the tools available to the most people, especially when it comes to tutorials.  As a result, one product certainly comes to the front of the pack, GIMP.  While Paint.NET is nice, the GIMP is really the only affordable (free) product that comes close to feature parity with Photoshop.

 

When I first started this site, I looked at compiling a list of resources for getting started with the GIMP and noticed well… it was a bit of a wasteland.  There were a couple books, mostly far out dated at this point.  Today on Safari Books, this title(Safari link), The Artist’s Guide to GIMP(Amazon link) was just added, although it was published a few months back.  So I decided to take a look at how well the GIMP world is represented in books since I last looked a couple years ago.  The answer is, surprisingly well.  So what follows is a list of books about GIMP, in chronological order of release date:

 

Book Title Publish Year Safari Link  
The Book of GIMP 2013 Link
The Artists Guide to GIMP 2012 Link
GIMP For Absolute Beginners 2012 Link
GIMP 2.6 for Photographers 2011 Link
GIMP 2.6 Cookbook 2011 Link
GIMP Bible 2010 Link
Beginning Digital Image Processing using Free Tools 2010  

 

 

There are more books of course, but these are the ones released in the last 2 years.  Anything much older would be rather out of date at this point. 

 

I have to admit, the body of work available for GIMP is vastly improved, as has the GIMP in general.  If you haven’t checked it out in a couple years, you really should.  The UI is a lot nicer now, although it still has a ways to go.

Art


10. January 2013

 

I’ve been at a bit of a loss for what to work on next.  I am still going to be working on game math recipes, as well as the HTML based level editor, but I wanted to start a new tutorial series and couldn’t really decide what to work on.  Then I realized how heavily I’ve been ignoring the artist side of the fence… perhaps because I am no artist.  I do of course follow it as a hobby and have since I got 3DS for DOS way back in the 90s.

 

blender icon (1024)

Programmer art is a tricky thing, especially when it comes to the world of 3D.

 

In 2D, you can download a spritesheet from the web and use that as a placeholder.  In 3D, this becomes a bit more difficult.  There exist tons of premade 3D models, some even completely animated, that you can download and plug into your game.  This sounds wonderful… in theory, in practice it is anything but wonderful.  After importing you will often find the animations don’t work, textures are missing, the scale is all wrong, the orientation is all wrong, etc.. 

 

That’s why it’s often handy for a programmer to be able to create their own art.  That is exactly what this tutorial series is going to cover.  From beginning to end on how to model, texture, animate and export your own 3D models or levels.  The results aren’t going to be pretty…  that part requires years of experience… but it will be functional and will teach you all the basics and you can take it from there.  There are also a ton of resources available for Blender, I will point to or include them as I go.

 

Of course, you won’t need to be a programmer to follow this series, I am just making the assumption that my target audience is composed of programmers.  This series should be useful to anyone looking to get up to speed with Blender.

 

Hope you enjoy it.  Any and all suggestions, recommendations and feedback appreciated.

 

Stay tuned for part one shortly.

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