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Blender issues   
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/20/2008  1

I've been playing around with Blender and trying to figure out how to make things that could be used in Creatures. Here are some of the things I have so far:


Head for a critter from Bai-Loki


Body for a Naga Norn

However I don't know if I can even use them at this point... from what I've read the camera positions are defined by the number keys on the right side of the keyboard... but my laptop doesn't have those keys. Is there some other way I can adjust the screen, aside from spending 5-10 minutes trying to drag myself around with the mouse?

Also, how do I put image-type textures on things? Like if I want to give my critter or my Norn scaly skin, how do I get the image onto the body? I spent half an hour trying to figure it out last night. None of the so-called "beginner" tutorials I've found bother explaining how it works, and I can't get the video tutorials to play correctly. Help!



 
Malkin

Malkin
Australia  
Manager


 visit Malkin's website: Malkin's page at CWiki
  7/21/2008

Might I suggest checking out the manual a bit, if "beginners tutorials" don't cover stuff? Blender Manual - Keyboard and Mouse has a workaround for your number pad issue. I'll leave it to you to interpret the manual. :)

Embri used a "UV Map" to create the Flaris Norn skin. "Blender 3D Noob to Pro" has several tutorials on "materials" and "textures" which may prove useful.

And for advice from someone who's had to learn a computer program from scratch? Every time you learn something new about Blender that you can't seem to find in a tutorial, write it down.


My TCR Norns
 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/21/2008

Okay, thanks!


 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  7/21/2008

Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is there is an excellent basic tutorial on UV Mapping (the technique of applying a flat picture to the three dimensional object) Try here: Blender Wikibooks UV Mapping Tutorial

You can set up Blender's Preferences to allow you to simulate the keypad for a laptop. To access the Preferences panel, put your cursor over the bottom edge of the top menu bar of the Blender window (The one that says File, Add, Timeline, Game etc). When it changes into a hand, click and drag it down. Go to the "System and OpenGL" tab, and turn on the "Emulate Numpad" button. Save your Default Settings in the File Menu. Your standard number buttons (above the letter keys) will now function as numpad camera control keys.


The bad news is I think you're using NURBS primitives.. which require spline modeling, an advanced technique. You may have better luck using Box Modeling to learn the basics.

Working with meshes is less easy to animate "on the fly" but that's of little consideration for creatures sprites. Mesh or Box modeling is easier to learn (in my experience) and you can do some pretty amazing stuff once you get the hang of it.

Only *your* view is controlled by the number keys, by the way - as in your window of the project is independent of the camera's view. However, you can easily set the camera to look at the same thing you are seeing with CONTROL + 0Key. (that would be the zero number key)

The Blender Wikibook as some great stuff on camera control, it comes highly recommended as it'll reduce your frustration level by alot. :)

The Flaris Norns (see site link below) were done entirely with Box Modeling.




~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/21/2008

Yay CTRL-0 key; I was hoping there was some way to do that.

Although I'm not quite sure about the differences in modeling you're talking about... all I do is hit Tab and mess around with the "points" that show up around the outside of an object. I'm not sure if that's what you thought I was doing, because I find it hard to believe there's an easier method than that.



 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  7/21/2008

Sort of... it has to do with what base object primitives you're working with. There are a few types. NURBS (Non Uniform Rational B Splines) objects have no visible faces or hard edges, they're more like solid clay or a soap bubble you can shape. They are deformed with other vectors, called splines as curves instead of lines.

Mesh or POLYGON objects have faces, with "points" (called a vertex, plural vertices), edges, and faces. Think old computer or console games. They are hollow on the inside.
Polygon objects can be made by placing points and connecting the dots (the "lines" become edges, the area enclosed by the lines, a face). You can also start out with one of the default poly primitives, like a sphere, cone, or cube.

The difference looks mostly cosmetic when you first start out, but it's quite fundamental. Mesh models are more like origami - except you can fold, extrude, subdivide, and sculpt them quite easily. Adding more control points to NURBS objects is rather more complicated.





~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/22/2008

Yes, that's definitely much nicer.

OK, there's this little pink circle off to one side and it seems that my Norn's ear is set to pivot around this thing, because when I try to swivel (or resize, or do just about anything to) the ear, it goes flying off the Norn's head! How annoying! Where did this pink thing come from? How do I get rid of it? And how can I make this not happen anymore?



 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  7/22/2008

That's your object center.

It's part of every object, generated automatically.

You are correct in saying it affects your resizing, rotation and scale, however you cannot get rid of it and you don't really want to.

You DO want to put it back where it belongs, in the middle of your object. :P

What happened: You moved your model in EDIT MODE instead of OBJECT MODE. That caused your model to move but NOT the Object's center.

You can use this to your advantage in some cases, for example to "spin" duplicates and make vases, etc. But that's for a later lesson.

How to Fix

In OBJECT MODE:
In your Panels window (default location is the bottom of the screen) choose the Editing Panel (F9). Under the Mesh Tab (second from left), find the group of three buttons that say Center, Center New, and Center Cursor. With the misbehaving object selected, press Center New. (It may say "Center Ne" depending on your font size.) This will return the "pink circle" back to its correct location.



~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/22/2008

Oh good. Thank you! You're such a great help. :)

I have another question, though. :$ I've been looking at the "Noob to Pro" tutorial, and I was playing around with making a landscape. The tutorial says to use the mouse wheel to make a larger or smaller area affected when I go to make a hill/mountain. I've tried doing this but it just makes me zoom in and out (the affected area *does* look larger afterward, but that's just because I'm closer to it--I don't think that's what the tutorial meant). I've tried combining the moust wheel with Shift, Ctrl and Alt, but the first two just moves the camera around and the third doesn't seem to do anything at all. The upside is that I've found the solution to accidentally zooming in on a point offset from whatever I'm working on and not being able to see it up close, but the downside is that my hills are still quite small.



 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  7/22/2008

Well, to scale something in general you select it, then press the SKEY (that's "S" on your keyboard). How close your pointer is to the object's center (that annoying pink dot! ;) ) will determine how radically you scale - close and it'll do a lot, farther away and it'll be easier to control.

You can restrict your scaling (or any other action, for that matter) to a certain axis (X, Y or Z) by pressing that key on the keyboard. Personally I find it easier in most cases to use the 3D transform manipulator (it's the fancy blue, red and green thingy). It'll either be a set of rings (for rotating) a set of arrows (for moving) or a set of lines with cubes on the ends (for scaling).

Thus:
GKey (move) + ZKey (only on Z axis) = the same as dragging up on the blue arrow of the 3D Manipulator.

HOWEVER!

They're not trying to get you to scale the actual vertices here, but a special attribute when in proportional editing mode - the sphere of influence.

Here's the probable culprit: Not all versions of Blender respond the same way in Proportional Edit mode, the default settings for your scroll wheel may be overriding. This tutorial may also help: Mountains out of Molehills


I've found that pressing G, S, or R will make the gray circle of influence appear, then try your scroll wheel. Just be careful not to move the mouse! Once you've adjusted your sphere of influence, click the LMB (carefully!) to set it.



~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  7/23/2008

Yay, it worked!

I've made a page with some screenshots, including the Strider critter and Naga Norn with textures added, and the metaroom/world where I was trying to make hills earlier: [link]



 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  7/24/2008

malkin tossed the link my way, you've made some pretty awesome advances. :D

Lovely stuff, Ghosthande. When you're ready to try and get useful output (renders) from your models, give me a poke. It's not that hard but it is rather un-obvious, so I'd like to spare you some of the frustration I had figuring it out.



~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  8/6/2008

Thank you! I'll be sure to come looking for ya when I'm done. :)




I do have another question, though. I know if you hit the 5 key it changes the proportions/angles so that distant things are either smaller than things nearer to the "camera", or everything stays the same size. Is there a way to toggle this on the camera used to render pictures, so that there is no difference in proportion between close/far objects in the rendered images? Because I have a staircase I woul like to use for The Sims, but now I'm realizing that unless I can change that setting somehow, the camera will just mess it up. Is there a way to fix this, or do I have to take a Print Screen on the work area and apply the final touches in Photoshop?



 
Embri

Embri
Canada  

 visit Embri's website: Flaris Norn Project
  9/2/2008

Sorry this is so late. I've been away.

The 5 Key toggles between literal and perspective modes. You can do the same thing for rendering.

Select the Camera you're rendering with in Object Mode. Hit F9 or go to the Editing panel.

Toggle the Orthographic Button to on.
Lens will change to Scale instead, which defines how close the scene/objects appear to the camera. Bigger numbers move things farther away.





~Flaris Norns!~

 
Ghosthande
Prodigal Sock

Ghosthande
United States  

 visit Ghosthande's website: Breeders Beware
  9/2/2008

Awesome. Thanks for the help. This'll help with that metaroom background, too. :)


 


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