A few weeks ago, I picked up a program called Blender from these great Internets of ours. It’s a freeware 3D design environment that’s really good for learning the basics of 3D art (at least I think so, I don’t really have anything to compare it with). It gives you an XYZ coordinate plane to work on, and you typically work by starting with a basic shape and chopping or extending it. The confusing part when I started out was getting the cursor where I wanted in the 3D space, which is difficult when using a flat screen and a mouse that only moves on the XY plane.
I learned it by going through these Wiki-tutorials and just building all the stuff that they explain. So I’ve got the goblets, the penguin, the volcano, the water, the rocket launcher, the ‘realistic’ eyeball, and a bunch more from those. I also came up with a few designs on my own, which were of course based on classic Nintendo games (shocker, right? Who would have guessed?). I’ll put some of my more favorite ones up here in the next few days. For starters, here’s the Nintendo 64 3D ‘N’ shaped logo (I know there are lighting issues, but it was like my 3rd day of using Blender ever. Give me a break.).
Something very interesting that I learned from making this object: It has 64 total faces (inside and outside) and 64 vertices. How crazy is it that Nintendo would hide that kind of easter egg in their logo?! I mean obviously it’s awesome…just think about that. The logo, in a way, implicitly says “Nintendo 64″ – N + 64 (faces+vertices). Crazy, man. Just crazy.
So yeah, Blender is really fun. I went about making this one in a pretty roundabout way, since I was in the process of learning the interface, but It ended up looking almost exactly like the real thing. If you’re into games or game design, certainly check it out – really if you’re just bored and near your computer. It’s just fun. And there’s a built-in animation and game engine that uses Python, so it’s possible to just use Blender to make full 3D games. Sort of confusing to learn without a tutorial, but the fact that the tutorial is a wiki really helps, since people can edit posts that were unclear and add helper comments. All around, it’s awesome. I’ll put up another one of these tomorrow.
This brought to mind another thought: I am excited for the day in the future when fully 3-dimensional displays are designed and released for me to buy. Not like a flat screen that makes images look like they’re coming out at you (like we have now), but a 3D environment that you can view from any angle in space. I’m envisioning a cubic hologram or something like that, where you can stick your hand or a cursor in and mark any point in the space by moving around it. Flat screens will be a thing of the past. Wouldn’t this be cool? It sure would make using Blender a lot easier.
Listening to Band of Horses – Cease to Begin. This is one of those albums that I used to love to blast in the empty auditorium of my high school when I got there early for theater tech. It’s “big room” music. I think it’s the reverb on his voice that makes it great for playing in a huge space.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of FreddieW, but he’s a really talented younger filmmaker who puts all of these awesome shorts on YouTube. If you’ve ever played Team Fortress 2, The Rocket Jump should make sense to you. And if not, it’s still super cool.
Get some sleep tonight. Sleep is very important. You’ll be happier if you sleep.