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19. January 2012

 

 

 

Our first Blender reference guide chapter has just been put online.  Think of it as a mash-up between a quick reference guide and a video tutorial.  We will cover off the most commonly performed actions in Blender with instructions on how to perform them via hotkey or using the mouse, as well as an accompanying image showing the action in, um… action.  We hope to bridge the gap between regular written instruction and video tutorial.  So for those that like moving at their own pace like you would with a written page, but with the clarity of video, hopefully this guide is perfect for you.

 

 

Obviously if you’ve been using Blender for a while, this will be of very little use to you, but if BorderSelectyou are just starting out, I hope you find it helpful.  If you have not, hopefully these will be of use.  Here for example, is the graphic illustrating the (B)order selection tool.  Click any image for a more detailed version.

 

 

We have many other pages in the work, the next one specifically covers the editing process, but any and all suggestions are welcome!  Feel we’ve glossed over an important command in a certain category, let us know!

 

 

Here is the first release though, covering selection and camera manipulation.  Consider everything to be a WIP, subject to multiple changes.  There are also some tutorials in the works, and they are going to assume you are familiar with everything in the guide.  As we bring more sections online, we will be improving the navigation of course.

Art


15. January 2012

 

 

I work on a multi-monitor setup and until now I have been using Blender on a single monitor.  Sometimes though, like when texturing, having a multi monitor setup is ideal.  I had always thought Blender offered no support for working across multiple monitors, how wrong I was!  Not only can any window be duplicated to its own window, it is laughably simple to do!

 

 

image

You know that little tab thing in the top corner of each Blender window you use for splitting and merging Blender windows?  ( If not, check this out. )

 

Well, all you need to do is left click and drag while holding down shift and it will duplicate that viewport into it’s own window.

 

 

 

 

As you can see ( after doing this a couple times ), each looks like a completely different instance of Blender to Windows:

image

 

 

However, if you look in Task Manager, Blender is still a single process:

 

image

 

 

You can now split blender into as many windows, across as many monitors as you want.  Here is Blender split out into 4 separate windows, while the original window is on the bottom left.

 

image

 

 

Changes in one window will immediately be reflected in all the other Windows.  NOTE! Closing the original window will close all the torn off windows, but closing a torn off window will do nothing ( more than close that window ).

 

It’s simple, as simple as a Left Click-Shift-Drag, but it will completely change the way I work!

 

Know doubt the majority of you knew this little feature, I certainly didn’t.  Hopefully it proves as enlightening to some of you as it was for me!

Art


6. January 2012

 

 

 

Coming to Blender from other modelling packages, a few things are much less intuitive than you would expect.  I’ve been neglecting things from the art side of the fence for quite a while, so I am going to address that.  This post covers a couple handy tricks in Blender.  If you are a vet, these things will be “well duh!” items, but if you are new to Blender I think you will find them handy.

 

 

 

Insetting a polygon

 

This is a common enough task that is frankly rather irritating to accomplish in Blender.  An inset polygon can basically be though of as a polygon within a polygon, generally flush to the containing polygon.

 

Wow, that was a terrible description!  Lets use a picture instead.  This is an inset polygon:

 

imageimage

 

Here is how you create one.

 

Press Tab to enter Edit Mode

 

CTRL+Tab+3 for face mode

 

Select your face to inset

 

Hit E to extrude.  Immediately click the right mouse button.  You have now created a new face exactly over your existing face, with the exact same dimensions.

 

Now hit S to scale your face, and drag the mouse until it is inset as much as you would like.  Left click when complete.  And you are done.

 

 

 

 

Handy tip

One thing to be aware of when using the extrude tool, even if you hit escape or otherwise cancel, the face is still extruded!  Why? Beats the hell out of me, this seems like a really stupid thing to do, as it clutters up your mesh with overlapping vertices and edges you don’t need.  So if you are doing an extrude, after you cancel, make sure you undo it!


 

 

 

That’s not really an outrageous amount of work to inset a face, but it is enough to be annoying, especially for a task I do so commonly.  Thankfully, there is a plugin available to make your life easier!  I believe it started shipping in Blender 2.58, but I wouldn’t recommend quoting me on that!

 

 

Lets go ahead an enable that plugin now.

 

In the top menu select File –> User Preferences…

Select the Addons tab

Scroll down and locate Mesh: Inset Polygon, then enable it using the checkbox at the top right like this:

 

image

 

Now, if you want to keep this enabled permanently click Save as Default at the bottom left corner of the window:

image

 

Now there is an Inset Polygon tool available.

 

Back in Blender in the Mesh Tools sidebar ( press T if it isn’t currently visible ) you will now have a new option.

 

image

 

You will now be able to use the Inset command.  Once you click Inset, the below option will appear. 

 

Amount determines far inset the new polygon will be.

 

Height determines how far out the face will be raised.

 

 

You can inset multiple faces at the same time, but the results are “wonky”.  Which is to say, pretty much useless.

 

 

 

 

 

I find myself insetting quite often, in order to add details to my mesh, which leads to the next tip.  Creating a hole.  Consider a model like a gun, how exactly would you go creating the barrel of a gun?

 

 

 

Creating a hole in your mesh

 

 

So how exactly would you go about creating a hole like the barrel of a gun?

 

 

Well, start a new scene and inset just like we just covered:

 

image

 

Now hit the W key then select Subdivide from the menu that pops up.  This will subdivide the selected face into 4 sub-faces, like such:

image

 

For rounder edges, you can subdivide again.  Now we want to “round out” our square selection into a circle.  Hit the spacebar and type “Sphere” in the menu you want to select To Sphere:

 

image

 

Now move your mouse cursor to the right until your selection is rounded, like this:

 

image

 

Now press E to extrude and pull your new hole:

 

image

 

And now you have a rounded(ish) hole in your mesh!  For smoother corners, make more sub-divisions before you call To Sphere.

 

 

Straighten Vertices

 

Want to line up a number of vertices at once, here is how:

 

Select your vertices

image

 

Now there are a few ways of approach this.  First you can set a pivot to line up around.

 

To do so, hold down the . key and click where you want the pivot to be.  Such as this:

 

image

 

 

Now to move all the vertices to line up with the pivot point, you:

 

Press Scale, then the axis you want ( in this case red, or X ), then hit 0.

 

So, hit S then X then 0.  Finally left click to accept the changes.

And presto!

 

image

 

All the vertices line up along the selected axis.

 

You can do the same thing relative to the selected vertices.  In that case, select your vertices and be sure to move your pivot point back to either median or active element, using this option:

 

image

 

Now change the orientation to Normal:

 

image

 

 

So, if you chose Median Point and set Orientation to Normal, it will look like this now:

image

 

The axis on the widget determine which axis to align along.  Green is Y, red is X and blue is Z. 

 

Let's say you wanted to flatten along the z-axis.  Simply S(cale), Z then 0 and left click, and your results will be lines up along the Z axis. Like such:

 

image

Art


5. December 2011

 

I just finished publishing my very first product review, this one covering Photoshop Touch for Android.  The whole world is looking for an alternative to the extremely expensive Photoshop CS without avail, has one finally arrived on Android for a mere 10$?

 

 

Read the review to find out!

 

If you only want to see the results, click here for the results instead.

 

 

 

This is my first ever, and hopefully first of many, product review.  It is long, it seems to be the way I do things.  I would love to have feedback on the format, style and contents!  Did it help you?  Do I ramble?  What would you like to stay the same and what would you like to see done differently in future reviews?

 

 

Art


5. October 2011

 

So if you want to stay on the bleeding edge, go get it.

 

Or of course you can just wait 10 days for the 2.60 official release.

 

The main changes are:

 

Not really a ton there for game developers yet.  Was kind of hoping 2.60 was when BMesh would get merged in.  Haven’t personally checked this release out and will probably wait for the non-RC release.

Art


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