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 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...   Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:00 pm

I'm gonna try something new-ish here. SMALL, step-by-step tutorials for Blender, designed in such a way that you WILL learn advanced features in small bites, AND you WILL learn the most useful Blender hotkeys to speed up your future 3Ding.

How do I expect to make all this happen? NO screenshots! I'm going to try explaining everything as if I was on the phone with you, walking you through stuff. In such a case, I would not say "click on this button and change this setting" with circles and arrows denoting each. I would say "in the right side menu there's a button that looks like a blue circle. Click it. Hover over the 3D view and hit Shift-E to extrude, hit Z to set the axis, and slide the mouse until you like what you see."

My theory here is learning the hotkeys and features by having them POUNDED into your head. The same way I pounded these hotkeys into my head. Recently there's been some moments of amazement dashed as I demonstrated how many of my more potent images were basically cheating by knowing things in Blender. HOPEFULLY, I will give you the toolset to also amaze and astound, AND remember how you did it so you can do it again.

These tutorials won't run in any order of training. There will be no "if you didn't do the last one, go back and..." These will be tiny, self-contained packages of training in a single feature. Well, they may type out long, but the actual steps will be tiny. I will be using Blender 2.64 (when you fire it up, the splash screen shows the dude with the cyborg eye). Blender 2.61 and up SHOULD have all of these features anyway.

So, to recap, you will learn Blender's most beloved hotkeys by USING them, and you will actually SEE results as you go, and then it will be up to YOU to put it all together.

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Re: 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...   Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:20 am

NOTE: Something I forgot to mention in the last post. My idea behind no screenshots is to make YOU look for what I'm explaining. You have to HUNT for a button, chances are next time you need that button you will remember the hunt. Training through forced hands-on. That said...

Okay, this first run, which we'll call:
Toot #1: Make your shit look like my shit.

...involves making your shit look like my shit. With me so far? It occurred to me while making some threaded metallic objects that MOST of you will be firing up the Blender in a factory default state. That's all fine and good, but once you're officially blending, nobody uses the default state. That stupid cube? That's NOT your companion... it's an extra deletion I'M NOT going to remind you to delete at the start of every frickin toot! Hell, I've read tutorials that start with deleting that cube, then making a new cube the exact same size in the exact same place! 99% of toots I've read begin with "delete the default cube." NO... you wanna learn my blend-fu? You dress in my GUI config negligee and you like it!

Let us begin. **EDIT**

Let us try this first. It worked for me, and according to some of the more popular Blender forums, this is how you're supposed to share your settings... and/or back them up. Make sure you have Blender 2.64 installed, and have opened it at least once. Download this file. Put it somewhere temporarily. Navigate through your "user" folders (Vader, toss a reply after this if the XP/Vista rules don't apply in Win7 please). Normally found on your desktop under the name of you (being the current user), like you will have an icon called "Tom" or "Bill" or "Susie." Go in that folder and find 'AppData'. It is a hidden folder so if you don't have it, unhide it... instructions for your version of windows are all over the web... and I have no idea if Linux Blender even has the config files in the same place, but I will be checking that tomorrow.

Anyway, once you have Appdata unhided, you will navigate thusly:
Code:
*User folder*/AppData/Roaming/Blender Foundation/Blender/2.64/config/

Put that file you downloaded in the config folder (if it asks to overwrite, say yes!) and fire up Blender. You should now have it exactly as I do, WITH all the extra stuff turned on that we were going to cover in the next LONG post. If this works, let me know and the toots can begin!!! Also, if it works, skip the rest of this post.

If it doesn't work for somebody, I will figure out an easier way to cover all the stuff below, or you can follow it and learn something anyway.

Open Blender...sigh... Right-click the default cube in the 3D view. Make sure it has an orange outline around it, denoting it as the selected object. Keep mouse in 3d view, hit X... little popup asking if it's ok. The lower half of the popup that says delete is a button, either click it or hit ENTER to make the default cube go bye-bye.

Right-click the camera so it turns orange. In the 3D view, hit the N key, which will pop in a new right-side menu. This menu is for OBJECT MANIPULATION. We are manipulating the camera. Top section of this menu is the 'transform' menu. The first three boxes are your XYZ for the object's (CAMERA in this case) location in 3D space. Click in the middle of the Y box so the numbers highlight, and type '-8' and hit ENTER. Same in the Z box, and type in '4.7' and hit ENTER. ... Next set of three boxes is the object's rotation. In the X box, type in 61 and hit ENTER.

NOTE: As you blend, you will change all of these eventually to suit your startup preference, not to mention moving stuff to fit your scene better. What we're doing with moving this stuff now is setting things up on world axes. The blender default works fine, but then you render and rendering is always the camera view, which may or may not line up with your work. This way, you open blender, start working, and your stuff is always centered in front of the damn camera! Neat, huh? Also... the orange outline thing. I may have tweaked my Blender GUI, but I have not changed the default colors. Later on, you may choose to do so, but at that point, it will be up to you to remember what each color means.

If you can't see either the camera or the default light, zoom out with the mouse wheel until you can see both. Right-click the light so it turns orange. In your object menu, under location, set your XYZ as follows:
X:-2.7
Y:-3.4
Z: 5.3
Set the rotation:
X: 37.2
Y: 3
Z: 106
The rotation on the light doesn't mean squat right now, but if you suddenly changed it to a 'sunlight' type, or spotlight, it would make a world of difference. We set it as such right now to continue setting your shit like my shit, and there has to a good reason I have mine set like that...

In the 3D view, hit CTRL-U and click it or hit enter to save your user preference. Next time you start Blender, it will look exactly as it does now.

I'm splitting this into two steps. The next step is a bit hectic, and I really wish I could just send you my config file, but I don't think that has all the flags set for import/export and extra toolsets. MAYBE I will try a test run with someone and have good news next post. For now, bear with me... We're getting to the fun stuff soon!

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Shadowcrunch
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PostSubject: Re: 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:37 am

Okay, screw it. I'm on a roll. Whether the config deal worked or not, I will finish explaining exactly what changes are being made, in case anyone DOES want to follow along and learn what I'm setting and where. The first part (above, now in green) made your GUI look like mine (mostly), but it didn't do anything for extra features that I will be using in future toots.

TOOT#1: Make Your Shit Look Like My Shit Part 2

So you have Blender open, and you have no cube, and you have a camera ON a 3D world space axis instead of hanging out on some weird angle in east La La. Upper left, hit 'File' and hit 'User Preferences'. New window pops up called 'Blender User Preferences'. Tabs across the top, hit the first one labeled 'Interface'. In the middle column under 'view manipulation', make sure 'zoom to mouse position' and 'rotate around selection' are checked. Leave the other stuff alone.

Next tab over on the top 'Editing', under the first column find 'New Objects:' and make sure 'Enter Edit Mode' is UNCHECKED.

Next tab over on the top 'Input', on the left side near the top there's a check box called 'Continuous Grab'. Make sure that is CHECKED.

Next tab over on the top 'Addons' is where shit gets deep. On the left side make sure the highlighted options are 'Official, Community, and All'. (All is under categories). You now have a LONG list taking up most of this window. I will list, in actual list form, just the selections you want a check mark in. To be clear, you see it on my list, you turn the option ON by putting a check in the little box!!!

3D View: 3D Navigation
3D View: Copy Attributes Menu
3D View: Dynamic Spacebar Menu
3D View: Material Utils

Add Curve: IvyGen
Add Curve: Sapling
Add Curve: Simplify Curves

Add Mesh: ANT Landscape
Add Mesh: BoltFactory
Add Mesh: Extra Objects
Add Mesh: Pipe Joints
Add Mesh: Regular Solids

Animation: AnimAll
Animation: Corrective Shape Keys
Animation: Motion Capture Tools

Game Engine: Save As Game Engine Runtime

Import-Export: AutoDesk 3DS Format
Import-Export: AutoDesk FBX Format
Import-Export: Biovision Motion Capture (BVH) Format
Import-Export: Import AutoCAD DXF format (.dxf)
Import-Export: Import Images as Planes
Import-Export: Import Lightwave Objects
Import-Export: Import: Makehuman (.mhx)
Import-Export: STL format
Import-Export: Scaleable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 format
Import-Export: Stanford PLY format
Import-Export: UV Layout
Import-Export: Wavefront OBJ format
Import-Export: Web3D X3D/VRML2 format

Material: Texture Paint Plus

Mesh: Insert Polygon
Mesh: LoopTools
Mesh: Relax

Object: Add Chain
Object: Animated Render Baker
Object: Cloud Generator
Object: Fracture Tools
Object: Grease Scatter Objects

Paint: Paint Palettes
Paint: Texture Paint Layer Manager

Render: Copy Settings
Render: Cycles Render Engine
Render: Light Field Tools

Rigging: Rigify

At the bottom of the window, hit the 'Save as Default button'. Now every time you open Blender, it will LOOK like mine, AND all that stuff will still be turned on, so we can just dive in to the toots! YAY!!!
cheers cheers cheers

NOTE: All these addons... many of which may seem quite silly based on your level of experience (and mine), but some of them don't actually DO anything visibly, but run kind of hidden and help your work as you go. Some of the import-export addons will be useful if you find a 3D model online you JUST HAVE to play with, as we turned on MOST of the preferred 3D formats out there. Some of the addons I've only used once or twice, but it's always good to have them as a backup just in case. Some of them... will simply blow your mind once you see how to use them.

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PostSubject: Re: 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:43 am

Now that we're done making our Blenders act the same, I will add an afterthought to those settings we tweaked in the last post. If anyone wants to know EXACTLY what a particular feature or addon changed, ask. I'm hoping to help teach, and that involves making sure you understand what's happening under the hood. If you have questions, ask me. No question too dumb. Learning 3D software is one of the most challenging things I think I've ever seen, and I rank it up there with new languages and such. And it's worse because our minds and eyes SEE 3D, so some little voice in the back of our heads will scream at us that this shouldn't be so tricky... but this is software, not a pile of Legos or a ball of clay... get it?

Our hands manipulate Legos and clay. Here, we have to teach our minds to control "some other hands" to manipulate these virtual building blocks. Sleep

Okay, FINE! Screw you too!!! Next time, on with the toots! cheers

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PostSubject: Re: 3D tutorials to amaze and astound...   Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:17 am

Wow, those were some pretty well written tutorials. From way back when. Yeesh. Veedeeoh is the way of the future! Just ask Netflix! Would Netflix have gotten anywhere if all they did was scroll movie scripts across your screen? Probably not.

Anyway, some nice video tutorials showing an amateur workflow taking 3D characters from a program called Fuse, into Blender, and therein manipulating the character WITHOUT bones/rigging/weight-painting. This process looks relatively simple with a much quicker learning curve than full skeletal animation. The videos are long, almost an hour total, but these steps, once learned, should drastically speed up character creation AND posing, with clothing. Just, skim them and see what I'm talking about, and if you want to try it, go back and watch the step by step.
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