Let's Learn Blender - Ep 1

  5 mins read  

In my first game Container Stack I created a few models in Blender which turned out only okay but the goal there wasn’t perfection it was just learning how to import and use models with textures so in that regard - success! For my next game a major goal of mine will to be create a much more complicated, animated model which means it’s time to get failing! This series will be a transparent look into the learning process behind certain aspects of game development. Without further ado - let’s get started!

Note: I will assume some basic understanding of the tool in these tutorials - if something is unclear let me know in the comments and I will address it


First thing’s first - time to fire up Blender and clear the scene by press A then X. Now that I have a blank scene my first act is to figure out the size of my model. In real life my model is 1/5” so for ease I’ll assume 1 unit in Blender is 1/5” and make all other models life size by multiplying by 5 (they won’t be as detailed generally). That being said I wanted to first plan out the sections of my model so I created 4 boxes for the 4 main regions of the model. These will act as my size guide. Using my reference photo I guesstimated the percentage of each major section and sized the cubes accordingly.

First mistake

With the cubes in place my first idea was that I could simply subdivide the cube using the Tools/Subdivide option in Edit mode then manipulating the vertices manually to create spheres without a huge number of polygons. After 10-15 minutes of manipulating vertices I realized there was no way I was going to get a symmetric model so looked up how to split objects in half since I knew there was a Mirror Modifier that I could use after. Using this method I could at least make sure the model was symmetric. After splitting the model in half in Edit Mode via Ctrl-R, Left-Mouse-Click, Right-Mouse-Click, V, Right-Mouse-Click, Ctrl-L, X (Tutorial) I was left with a half a model. After simply applying the Mirror Modifier I was left with a symmetrical, full object. Hooray!

Still no good

Unfortunately this was still a terrible way to create a model - trying to shape using each vertex would be an arduous task. It would take me forever! After pondering an alternative I remembered the Create/Circle option and figured I could use a series of circles to act as slices and guide my model. So I started setting up these reference circles.

View post on imgur.com

Now we’re cooking! Once I saw the circles in place it dawned on me that I could just take a circle and extrude it to the next to create the baseline sphere shape I was looking for so I removed my initial cube and began extruding my circle in edit mode via the E key and the direction modifier - in this case Y.

View post on imgur.com

The beautiful part about this method is that after you extrude your selection you can select the new vertices then simply scale them with the S key. This allowed me to quickly create a sphere shape that matched my circle guidelines.

View post on imgur.com

A nice hotkey I learned in this process was using F to create a face from selections. In this case since I started with the rear-most circle I was left with a hole in the model. By selecting all the vertices at the end and hitting F it creates a face that fills the hole in. So convenient!

Great success

This method was really easy to start outlining the baseline model. Since I was using a reference picture (and a few others) I wanted to at least try to match the direction I was seeing so it’d be easier to tell if I was accurate. You can see in the following post that I rotated the rear section to accomplish this.

View post on imgur.com

Continuing with this method I worked my way up to the head and abandoned the need for the circle references as I could just scale the new vertices as I created them.

View post on imgur.com

An important tool for selecting things in Blender edit mode is C which gives you a circular brush. You can press the Left-Mouse button to select vertices and hold Shift to unselect. Once you are satisfied you can hit Esc and use your new selection. Next to the settings that control what you are selecting in Edit mode (vertex, edge, face) there is a Limit selection to visible toggle which is important to use so you can select both sides of a model without having to exit and rotate it.

First major hurdle complete

After completing the head I was left with the baseline model in a single mesh upon which I will be able to mold and shape to form the model I want to import.

View post on imgur.com

Stay tuned for future episodes as I detail other bad ideas, revelations and tricks learned.

View all images