December 19, 2011

The blender trail

Posted in Grids tagged , , , at 1:54 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

When I started using Second Life last year, one thing that really was the source of my joy was the learning curve. I learned to steer my avatar, change its shape, make basic prims, make clothing, make hair (of each I completed only one to market level), done scripting, particles but than came a hugh wall. A learning curve that was so steep that my attempts to climb up that mountain failed several times and my motivation to try again was on an all time low. Besides the times where I hadn’t time for virtual worlds and each time I restarted with this particular subject it seemed like I couldn’t remember anything learned and had to start all over.

This subject was sculpties.

Or to be more exact, Blender. Or to be even more exact, the combination of the complexity of both. I had experimented with 3D Design a bit about 10 years ago on a very basic level, with the then actual version of 3D Studio Max and an experimental 3D modelling tool by Corel that came with its Version 8 of the Suite ( I used it up until Version 9, ignoring Adobe pretty much until last year) but that was not enough to make it easy to start over with the complex userinterface of blender which, at least from a windowsusers point of view, was very unintuitive. Added to that the special limitations of sculpities which would require an experienced modeller to grasp the concepts easily.

So, for a while I gave up.

But then came meshes. Much more easy as the promise is you model your object and can just export it to collada, to be able to import it to Second Life (or any up to date OpenSim). And thus it eased one part of the learning curve – I just could learn from any tutorial and use whatever I built freely. Yet I really developed a kind of anxiety to the concept of Blender, as I often had my work destroyed with one or two wrong keyboardclicks there and I got myself a test version of the actual 3D Studio Max Version, which comes with a better UI – or so I thought. It was more icon based, thats all, as soon as I made my first steps I recognized that with all my tries with blender, I already got a bit used to its userinterface and concepts and that 3D Studio Max once again would mean to start all over (*). And after all, mesh is not the best solution for everything, many an object in Second Life would best be served with a combination of standard prims (cheap at all sizes, quite flexible if you like to torture then), Sculpties – weighing always one prim, yet providing you with a many faces mesh, which would be primweigh-expensive with actual mesh. And I found myself, again, doing blender tutorials.

Blender Trail
Machinimatrix really has made some great tutorials over time: The blender Trail

Which at the same time tell you something about how you model with Blender and how you optimize for Sculpie, and not stopping there, having the first tutorials for meshoptimization, too. Yet the sculpting part is not complete, I still try to figure out how to stamp holes in meshobjects, e.g. but I’m more motivated now.

I even made a first sculptie completely without following a tutorial, its the bottle in the picture above. Yet it didn’t work out as I wanted, I have to admit, it should me a classic cola bottle, with its 12 dents around it, which were clearly visible in the modelling, but didn’t survive the sculptbaking process. So I think I need to redo that tutorial about doing high precision sculpts 😉

I think I finally managed finally the first steep passage on the way, and now it gets more easy, and I can finally really do something useful and build with my own sculpties and meshes.

(*) Which is a good thing, after all, 3D Studio Max has a pricetag of several thousand dollar