Thursday, May 28, 2015

Today's Did You Know That Question is about a QD (quick & dirty) Way to Mesh a Wall

 Today's 5/28/2015 Did You Know That?  you can use a reference drawing (blue print) with your extrusion of a plane to draw your way to building a wall, house or whatever you can imagine?  In this case I needed a wall for my mountain that I built several months ago.  I did not want to start over.  Rare Find Mountain is itself a character in my plot, and she works well in my environment.  So:
1.  I took a screenshot of my original model in an orthographic top view and used it for the reference print. 
2.  To use a reference, key N and bring up the properties menu.  Choose Add image as shown in the slide and adjust as desired. Generally the only adjustments needed are resize, right or left (X or Y), and opacity.

Note:  if you no longer have your original model, you could take a photo of the build you want to reference while you are in your world (or someone's world) and use it for your reference print.
3.  Add a plane, extrude from one edge,  while constraining the Z axis, and carefully draw faces like you would vector lines from one point to the next.   This might take a bit of practice, depending on how much dot to dot (box to box) drawing experience you have. 
4.  Roll your view port into 3D view with your mouse, select all faces and start your extrusion.  You have a nice wall or walls. 

Note:  If you want doors or windows in your wall, don't extrude (deselect)  applicable vertical faces.  Or you can wait and delete those faces later ( a bit more work to case the openings). 
Personally, I think its fun to draw face to face or dot to dot (vertices), and you quickly get such nice clean geometry from the process. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Today's Did You Know That? is About Avoiding Quagmires

Shape Originated with a simple cube
Today's 5/27/2015 Did You Know That? Blender Modelers can avoid a quagmire by making friends with 4 tools/processes from the outset: 

1.  Box Modeling - In nearly every instance its possible to start with a plane or cube to model a sphere or cylinder.  Using the subdivision surface modifier to shape the cube, followed by object mode convert to mesh (alt C) nicely shapes a whole or part of a model, so that you keep your lo poly start, and your quads for less frustrating unwrapping and texturing.

2.  To straighten a group of face edges, use the combination (Key S), (Key X or Y or Z) depending on the edge direction, and (Key 0).

3.  Draw loop cuts close the edges of ornery holes, door or windows opening made with insets or deleting faces from spheres.  Much like you would do when you sew in a patch to a hole in your sock, you need to ease the patch into the hole.  Loop cuts do it automatically.  Use reason.  Loop cuts do add a few faces, but it well worth. 

4.  Check your normals (whether the face is facing in an interior or exterior direction) by using (Mesh, Normals, Recalculate Outside) after you box model, draw your loop cuts, and straighten your edges.  9 out of 10 times, there won't be a problem, because you avoided the issues in the first place. 
Coming next how to avoid unwrapping quagmires.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Multiple Textures for One Bowl (1 Joined Model) of Dinosaur Oatmeal

 The Waymarker 88221 5/20/2015 Did You Know That? you can use several imported textures on a model and import them all at once (on 1 prim) to Open Sim.  This question came up, because we never got this far in earlier tutorials, and some folks needed a bit of clarification about how different  textures are applied to a joined model in Blender before exporting. 

The process is a bit confusing, because nothing seems to work, but it does (even in Blender Render)  Adding a trip through the node editor to add specularity and other fringes is a nice elaboration.  But not entirely necessary.

To make matters wacky worse and more fun, when you edit the model in Open Sim (after you import the collada in the usual way)  you will see the multiple textures, and when you look those textures up in inventory, they will all be there 1, 2, 3, 4 or more.  No painting, no generation,  no baking (with exception of ambient occlusion)   You can change them around if you like. 

In this case the model I've chosen is a coconut bowl.  A little odd, but I needed one for a dinosaur who likes to eat oatmeal out of it.  Storybuilding first, then Blender wonking.
The Steps
1.  Create model and mark seams, so that your islands are separated in your UV Unwrap.

2.  OPTIONAL - Complete an ambient occlusion first, save that image, then choose a material and attach (import) that image to the material you chose for the "whole" model you occluded

3.  Select the Island by island (faces for each island) and assign a material for each different island you want textured differently.  The choice of different materials for each island is how you can know for sure your textures will "slide into place" over those faces.  Use your Outliner, not the UV image editor to see this.  Your UV image editor will likely fool into thinking that every island is being textured with the latest texture you apply.

Note:  Be sure you've checked textured solid and back face culling, so that you can see your model is textured in the way you like.  Save often in case you want to resort to an earlier version. 

4.  Export using Open Sim operator presets.  Import into world high LODs  (You can afford in OS).
Go into edit and check out the texture stack you brought in with the model.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finding Blend Files In an Old Trunk

Ruby Checks Out a Bird Suit Blend File
Today's Waymarker 88221 5/19/2015 Did You Know That? the Ferd's Outworldz Site is a great place to find all sorts of wonderful ideas, concepts and scripts, but the zip file builders may want to pick up today is called Frankie's Assets.  The folder includes collada files (avatars and objects) that are free to use, and even better the folder includes blend files.  Opening the folder is like opening and old trunk in the attic.  Take out the costumes and wear.

The blend files are also good places to start, beginner to advanced. Since the blender files include rigged files, they make nice constructivist tutorials for those you who like to take things apart and put them back together again like I do.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Waymarker 88221 Did You Know That? is About Our Invitation to Access our Recorded Tutorials 24/7

Today's Latest Recorded Tutorial Added to Docs
Today's 5/15/2013 Waymarker 88221 Did You Know That?  there are now three ways for learning about building (Open Sim primitive and Blender Mesh) @ the Waymarker. 
  • Participants (including hypergrid) can join us for live Blender tutorials at the Waymarker on the Kitely Grid (see Kitely calendar).  Watch for G+ announcements.
  • Participants can join the Google + Waymarker community to access the Google docs files where MP4 video w/sound tutorials and PDF versions are stored, along with the applicable Blender files for quick starts and any images or resources needed to complete projects.  
  • Participants are invited to join presenters and tutorial creators in Google Hangouts to discuss the project or ask questions about the recorded tutorials. 
Of course there is a trade off for all of this community (greater Metaverse) minded spirit and participation.  Waymarker tutors invite participants to  take part in tutoring using a method that works for them.  This way we all get to share the work we see at the Show and Tells and inworld.  It is the encouragement of fellow builders that motivates tutors to continue creating new methods for reaching  3D illustrators.  It is not our effort  to cover the metaverse with Blender Mesh.  Rather it is an opportunity to be better builders in general. 

So, if you haven't received an invitation to join the community, one way or the other, please let us know.  We can get your sort of invite out to you. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Today's Waymarker 88221 Did You Know That? is all about improved Blender Mesh texture masking processes.

Today's Waymarker 88221 5/12/2015 Did You Know That? you can paint directly on your mesh model without it bleeding from one face to other by using UV masking?  And did you know that you could use control c and select faces to mask so that there is no excuse for not being able to paint in blender any longer?  See the two examples here.  1) used the face selection mask, painted to 5 sides of the cube with one left over for the stencil.  2) even more fun --- (forget about trying to paint on a UV in another program) Used masking with control c selection tool to paint directly to faces I wanted to paint and no other part of the bottle (curves and all).

For my friends who argue that wacky texture unwrapping and texturing is the reason they've not tried Blender there really is no excuse anymore.  While the cube painting and stencil texturing is comparable to do what we do in world (even less complicated than inworld),  we can't paint one prim organic objects using the select only some faces we want to texture/paint in world. No pile of textures for this or that to contend with either, albeit I do like to shuffle through textures from time to time :)

I can't wait for tomorrow's Blender Tutorial class.  It will be lots of fun and exciting to see immediate results coming from participant work. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 Waymarker's Did You Know That? Blender Mesh Texture Painting is Fun and Efficient?

Lean w/easy Curve
 Waymarker 88221 5/11/2015 Did you know That? you can build a caldera (or other terrain) with a generator, decrease the polygons you generated, paint an original texture (even if don't call yourself a painter) and then add it to your world in 30 minutes?  Use Hi Poly (7938 tri) and Export Lo Poly (246 tri).  The Live Tutorial for this week is about the relaxed fun  you can have Texture Painting.  You can  take home your own caldera or snow capped mountain (and an illustrated step to step PDF).
---No wacom required either.

This week's live project tutorial scheduled for Wednesday at 9:am PST will help you unravel what you don't get from the summary tutorial shown here.  Prior to the lesson you need the basics of navigation, but the rest of the process is  a step by step follow along.
During  this month's Intermediary live Blender tutorials participants will produce - including texturing, export and import to Open Sim:
    week 1 -  caldera or a lake/pool/mountain  5/13/2015 9 am PST
    week 2 -  table cloth, curtain, bedding  5/20/2015 9 am PST
    week 3 -  flying machine or hot air balloon 5/27/2015 9 am PST
    week 4 -   3 prim 2 level (7 room) house from a simple blue print 6/3/2015 9 am PST

In between a basic UV Unwrapping tutorial and a Retopology survey tutorial offered. TBA

Friday, May 8, 2015

Did You Know That? 5/8/2015 Ponders the Matter of Going 2 Far.

Today's Waymarker Friday May 8, 2015 Did you know that? it is likely me the world and  blender mesh builder has gone too far when I decide all this plugging and baking is worth modeling a rock? My gut reaction is huh?  So I did decrease the tri count from 18,444 to 148, and it is texture painted with an important clue to decipher (1 land impact).  Truth is the practice might be worth it, but the rock not so much.

Blender cycle recipe - diffuse map, normal map (post sculpt), specular map, texture repetition,  all stirred nicely into a sheeny rock <sighs>.

I am thrilled it is Friday! and the last day to discuss baking metaphors.   I have all weekend to repeat over and over, it is not about the gold, not about the glory, it is all about the journey.  Over and over and over again. 

Editorial Comment:  It is my opinion that Open Sim is open to prim, Blender mesh and artists of all sorts and ilks, and while it perfectly rational to buy what is needed to stage a world, I hope that it never becomes a place of buyers and sellers who specialize in only one medium, cause or objective.   

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Baking or Cooking? There is NO argument. It is Baking.

LO Poly Ingredient Builds
Today's Waymarker 5/7/2015 Did You Know That?  that I am a baker and not a cook,  I don't like scurrying around the kitchen, while my starving family is staring back at me.  I like to conjure my goodies ahead of time (including getting the dishes done before I sit down to eat).  I also like getting anything done early in the process, so I can dance or nap later.

So for the somewhat more serious version...

Today's Waymarker 5/7/2015 Did You Know That?  is likely about what you can confirm you know.  Today's answer is about baking.  Baking is defined differently for the chef, the fine artist and the 3D artist, but baking shares a definition with all three artisans.  Baking is a process that blends ingredients or tasks now to save time and resources later.  So we look at the if's to see the differences between what artists do.

If you are hand-painting your own textures or adding shading or highlights to your textures, you are already baking.  Your visitors are not required to increase their graphics performance to see your model's shadows or shininess.

If you are you a 3d artist who uses Open Sim,  Blender mesh or other tools to enhance your surfaces you can bake in your shininess, fake bumps and cracks and shading ahead of time.  I suppose baking underwear onto a model is also a kind of baking.  Your model is not required to put its pants on, and it does take less performance time to render those pants, but pants is another way of thinking about baking (and not my way of thinking about baking) *caution here - sometimes baking does mean permanent

Baking does not mean your texture is glued to your model in Open Sim during import.  If you notice, your model's texture is added to your inventory (and can be removed) after being imported.  In fact some 3d mesh artists wait until their builds are inworld before they add the textures they textured painted, cycles processed or texture adapted in Blender (or other). 

Like the layers of a cake, the layers in a 3d bake could include a
1) specular map, the shiny highlights or an environmental filter that comes from some kind of manufactured light source,
2) bump maps that we normally see in black and white drawings that cause us to see edges (straight up or down)
3) normal maps that cause us to see colors/light reflected at angles and
4) ambient occlusion that causes us to see a model's shadows regardless of current light condition.   The baking process occurs at a point in time, and we can fix that photographic texture to the object like we do a texture.  Blend some colored  material or a texture into the occlusion and you've got a new texture without too much extra work.  Some will say an even more accurate shading than artists do on their own.
Blur Sculpting Brush
    *Note:  black and white brushes for sculpting are easily made for Blender work.  The black part of the image will not affect the model, while the white part will cause an effect on the model.  My gift to you today - 2 Waymarker brushes. Save image and use.

Button Sculpting Brush
A good baker will know how to bake ingredients that can hold onto their individual tastes but can also blend with other tastes === long before the party or the coffee break begins.

Link to best bread in the geographical world.   The Only Way to Bake Bread (can use stand mixer)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Today's 5/6/2015 Did You Know That?  is about using material and texture features for either prim or blender mesh.

Ornery Disclaimer:  I am not suggesting there is no impact on performance.  There is an impact like there is an impact for the size of texture used, the number of polygons built and scripts embedded, but when used effectively 'surfacing' can be a nice way to enhance a world.

If you always use jpg textures, you may not know that a png (layered) texture will pop up a menu for you to adjust.  And even if you do use layered textures, you may not know why your alpha is flickering away.  Take another look at your diffuse textures options.  You can make change the degree of alpha displayed.  This is not the same as reducing transparency.  This will cause a more subtle and artistic change to your texture.  Following find a simple chart about how this works.

In addition to these options, you can also add a bump (normal map) to your texture layers that will create an illusion of cracks, bumps, etc. to your texture, and a shininess (specular map) that will change how your texture is reflected by environmental or glossiness.  You can add a complimentary color like artists do to create richer texture colors or a texture sheen to your texture, so that when  any light shines across your object the color shines.   This process for creating visually complex surfaces is the same for Blender mesh or prim objects.

Tomorrow's Did You Know That?  Q&A is also about texture illusions & baking processes that add no polygons to your builds (prim or mesh).  Until then you can read a very informative article about how artists use color to create aesthetic environments (fiction, nonfiction authentic, serious uses). Textures and Materials

Texture Options
Texture aka diffuse (used solo or blended with other maps)
Bump aka normal (used to create complex textures - fake polygons)
Shininess aka specular (shiny or fake reflective)

Layer Summary - Alpha Mode  (The Short of It)
Alpha Blending   Use rarely to create semi-transparent surfaces.  Can cause overlapping (flicker)
Alpha Masking    Use when necessary, adjust to just what is needed.  Can eliminate flickering
Emissive Mask    Use to create surface highlights, ambient properties. Good option.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Waymarker May Schedule Update

Rafting with a color palette in mind

This month we are expanding the Waymarker Live Tutorial Schedule.  I am happy to announce that Serene Jewell will be tutoring basic blender mesh and I will begin scheduling intermediary (project lessons) next week. 

*At this point we know that Serene will be tutoring blender mesh navigation 101 on Thursday at   10 am PST and blender mesh materials 102  on Friday at 10 am PST.

 **Please check schedule changes on this website and in the Kitely calender.  Sometimes      circumstances necessitate cancellation, postponement, or rescheduling.

Also I will be starting to publish my Did You Know That?  posts about building and displaying builds in Open Sim.  For example, Did you know that Itunes University (a mostly free online university that offers several courses) is now offering a 115 video Blender course?
Itunes University Blender Tutorials

I have watched a few of the videos already.  These clearly audible videos are very well done, move along, provide adequate information and great visuals.  Since it makes no sense to -rehash these already made and free videos, check them out here.  I am sure you will be happy you did, particularly those of you need to download for bandwidth reasons.  Start your own collection of videos you want to view over and over.  Yes, you can download and watch them on most mobile devices too.  (MP4) - 115 lessons, time for each lesson  between 1 to 17 minutes.