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Fidcal

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OK, I'm in between tasks and need a rest and a change. Have a painful back problem at the moment so have to keep lying down but I can manage an hour here and there at the keyboard so thought I'd take a look at modelling.

 

I'll list progress so if anyone else is interested they can avoid any problems I meet along the way and also know what to expect.

 

Three tutorial websites:

 

http://guerrillacg.org/home/3d-general

This looked promising and very professional to start with but no indication it is anything to do with Blender. Started to read the top nice clear info but only got through a sentence or two and the panel cleared to push some different info. Flashy videos are very clever but this is impossible to read in the time given.

 

Moving down the page looking for a beginner's way in. There is no info on the home page as to what this page is about but with a bit of guesswork I think it lists video tutorials. The first one is Hierarchy Basics: " Hierarchies are used to link the translation rotation and scale of objects to each other." D'uh? Next up is a tutorial about polygons. Mmm... I'm not sure who this is aimed at. I'll come back to this site if the others are no good.

 

http://www.blendercookie.com/

This looks perfect. "New to Blender? Start here" now that makes more sense. Uh Oh! Embedded video crashes with some strange message and no clue what to do. Shelve that one then.

 

http://www.katsbits.com

OK, here's a tutorial: "Blender Basics: interface and appearance" that claims to take you through the basics to make a simple chair. Sounds OK. Let's go.

 

Nothing here about where to get and install Blender so I'll go away and check for that first. Mmm... The entire website seems to be about Blender but can find no hint where to get it! Why oh why? Over to google.....

 

http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/

 

32 and 64 bit versions. 10MB download for 32 bit. I'll probably have to get the 64 bit for my other system later.

 

Start installer. It installs but tells me "you will also need to install python" Link to python download. I think python is some sort of script runner.

This seems to be the recommended one: Python 2.6.4 Windows installer (Windows binary -- does not include source) (in English they mean it's an application, a runnable Windows program ready to go.) This is 14MB. It's an MSI file but clicking it Windows seems to know what to do with it.

The installer shows me a tree of features which mean nothing to me so I click the word Python at the top and get a + plus sign which I think means install everything. I have no choice but to go with this blind option.

 

OK, that finishes and disappears so I now click the Blender shortcut on my desktop and woohoo it's up. By now my back is killing me so I'll resume later with the tutorial.....

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Ah ye old serpent posture does wonders for my lower back. :) I'm good for another half hour or so.

 

There is a second black text window on your desktop with Blender running. Whatever you do don't close it! It closes Blender.

 

OK, relaunch.

 

Basically Blender is erm... grey and grey. No colour wasted in this program so not much to distinguish one thing from another.

 

After an intro the tutorial refers to the three areas of the program window.

 

The header area appears to be menus plus some other sections which the tutorial doesn't mention for some reason and only refers to one section which doesn't mean much to me. Skip that.

 

Work zone in the middle seems clear enough. I expect the model to appear there. It has a single long bar on its lower edge with various controls and buttons which I skipped over. I'll never remember them by reading so no point.

 

The lower area is a deep tool bar or panel which again I skipped over.

 

I may need to refer back to the above later I dunno yet.

 

End of page 1. No forward or back buttons but page numbers so you need to remember what page you are on. Especially confusing because the actual page headings appear to be different to the page names.

 

I break off here because I want to see a model. Let's see what demos are included...

 

Ah I see Blender has menu help and mentions its own tutorial. Let's take a look. Crash. Blender becomes a black window. Cannot close it. Task Manager. Force close. Relaunch...

 

File menu > open. Non-Windows standard confusing file browser and no sign of a single demo model to load. No points scored there Blender. Let's see if I can load in a Dark Mod model...

 

I guessed 'open' would only open Blenders own filetype but I see import. Mmm... it only shows Lightwave .lwo files that we use and not .ase. I thought it could. Maybe later I'll find a way. OK, browse to and find a Dark Mod crate. Not obvious how to load it but by accident I find you select by right clicking it to highlight then click the import button top right. No error that I can see but no crate either. No clue that anything is loaded at all. No status bar nothing. Let's try a few buttons: View. Nothing obvious. Render Mode: a black panel. OK, clearly it's not going to be intuitive. Back to the tutorial...

 

Middle mouse button to rotate. Let's try that. Ah! I see there is a crate but zoomed in so far I can practically examine its atomic structure. Yes I can rotate it. Also mouse wheel to zoom (maybe I previously zoomed in without realizing.) Good job I loaded a model then because without it the tutorial is telling how to rotate but there is nothing to rotate so guess you are just supposed to memorise that control for later. So my first advice is load a simple Dark Mod model. Note that no texture is shown at this stage. Just a cube that is, you guessed it, grey. :) (this guy really loves his grey.) Note also by default it keeps no memory of where you navigated. Hope I can set a work directory later or some kind of shortcut. Render preview still show nothing.

 

Ah Ctrl Drag zooms in and out too just like Dark Radiant.

 

OK, the tutor now admits he is wasting his time describing these controls without something to use them on so moves on to actually building a chair on page 3...

 

More later.

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Start installer. It installs but tells me "you will also need to install python" Link to python download. I think python is some sort of script runner.

This seems to be the recommended one: Python 2.6.4 Windows installer (Windows binary -- does not include source) (in English they mean it's an application, a runnable Windows program ready to go.) This is 14MB. It's an MSI file but clicking it Windows seems to know what to do with it.

 

 

fyi python is a programming language. what you downloaded was most likely the python interpreter / libraries.

 

windows definitely knows what to do with MSI files because MSI is the windows installer, the artist formerly known as microsoft installer. Just an alternative to using a single executable file.

 

 

There is a second black text window on your desktop with Blender running. Whatever you do don't close it! It closes Blender.

 

 

that would be python. the interpreter i believe runs from command prompt, so you'd see like a dos type looking box in the background.

 

as far as the blender issues, can't help there. know absolutely nothing about it.

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OK, thanks.

 

Next section is to start with the basic cube and make cuts through it. The tutorial is a bit vague but I think he means make one vertical cut down through the centre of the cube and another vertical cut at right angles (90 degrees) to that. Then 4 vertical cuts each 6 units from the edge.

 

I struggled a bit to follow what he was saying so it took longer than the above suggests so at this point I wanted to save what I'd done. I recommend you do this very early so you know how to save. I could not see how to make a new folder so made one in Explorer called saves in the Blender folder. Somehow I fiddled and deleted the default name to type in a new name. It is not clear properly how to select, edit etc so I'm not sure how I did it. But once 'saved as' I should be able to easily just use 'save' for this project.

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Got to the part where I extruded the back of the chair upwards and saved it. But beyond that I've somehow taken a wrong turn. Tried to restart with the save but I must be in the wrong mode or something because his reference to certain buttons they are just not there any longer. I'll have to restart at an earlier stage to figure out where I was. :(

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Well, this first attempt has gone horribly wrong. The extrusion thing is not doing what he is describing but turning it inside out so clearly I've gone wrong somewhere. In addition where he is saying select the blue arrow at the top I have a green arrow. I now think that when he described how you could rotate the cube at the start that I must have left it rotated. He never said make sure blue is at the top before you actually start modelling. So I would probably finish up with the first sideways chair with an inside out seat in history. :laugh:

 

I'll start over tomorrow.

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Slightly OT :I'm not sure if the tutorial is intended for the old version, however I know that I have tried before to get the hang of blender and never got anywhere. Then I tried the new alpha and suddenly I am leaps and bounds better. Worth checking out (I'm still useless as hell tho :D) Its interface is almost completely replaced, there almost seems to be some logic this time! tho there are some things that the interface makes feel very odd, I never the less think its a big step in the right direction.

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guerrillacg.org is all about the fundamentals of modeling rather than the specifics of any one package. It's aim is to teach you general modeling terms and concepts. guerrillacg is polygons, vertices, normals, subdivision surfaces, topology, etc. explained.

 

The tutorials on katsbits.com were all made with an old version of Blender and you will have trouble following along if you've installed version 2.5. Also keep in mind that if you're using an older version of Blender you will have to relearn everything when you upgrade.

 

That said, I hope you resolve this embeded video problem your having with blendercookie.com. They use vimeo.com as their video host. Perhaps you can view them if I post the vimeo.com links?...

 

Installation

Interface

Modeling

Materials

Animation

Rendering

Lighting

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First thing this morning I start afresh with 'new' to see the green arrow at the top. I then realize by default it is the top view. The tutorial never mentions this so I'm working with green at the top. :wacko: Well, that explains that.

 

Thanks for input. Now what?

 

I just downloaded the latest Blender yesterday but I should scrap it and get the latest alpha?

 

The tutorial I am using is out of date?

 

I have to install some special video in order to see some tutorials?

 

If the new alpha is radically different interface then all the tutorials are out of date?

 

And people think I'm crazy to be so reluctant to start anything new. I hate it when people tell me how easy it is. This almost always happens. Basically a day of my life has been wasted.

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Very difficult for me to evaluate but looking at the screenshot and description of the new alpha it is so different that clearly the tutorials will be hopeless for a beginner. Couple that with unknown bugs they say it has. So I think I have to stick with what I have for now and upgrade at a later date.

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Is there a way to re-edit the filename text? For instance, in save as it offers my last name chair2 but I want to save as chair3. I can't find a way just to backspace out the 2 and type 3 but have to delete the lot and start again. Same with the folder path I gave up and created a new folder in Explorer. Any way to just type in a new folder name at the end of an existing path?

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Just found + increments the file number but still it should be possible to re-edit an input?

 

OK, got further today and (rather tortuously) managed to produce the basic chair mesh. One or two things seem to have changed since he did that tutorial and it could be made shorter and simpler. Now to texture it...

 

post-400-126709094037_thumb.jpg

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And people think I'm crazy to be so reluctant to start anything new. I hate it when people tell me how easy it is. This almost always happens. Basically a day of my life has been wasted.

Sorry, but I think your expectations are a bit high. Would you tell people that DarkRadiant is hard to use? Did you "learn" DarkRadiant within a day?

 

I don't think you can expect to immediately get hold of an advanced 3D editing application within a few hours of toying around. It will be very easy for you to edit stuff once you've learnt the concept, but this is not MS Word. ;)

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I'm afraid my expectations are low not high. From what I've seen so far I am certain that with better information I could have learned in 20 minutes what it has taken me several sessions amounting to several hours to accomplish. And it is that unnecessary inefficiency that irks me. And this is a pretty good tutorial as they go but it only takes one or two omissions or ambiguous descriptions to perplex the student.

 

To answer your question about Dark Radiant. Yes, I think someone with a Doom3 editing background could read my A to Z guide and get the basics of Dark Radiant and produce the tiny demo FM in one day; newcomers a few days. In my case it took months because there was little documentation and that is what motivated me to write so many tutorials.

 

Currently I am learning how to texture. A total novice would hit a brick wall here because no demo textures or materials of any kind are provided. How would they know they needed to bring their own textures when they don't even know textures are needed? Even myself I realize of course that we have virtually no textures in normal image files. In fact I don't even know what image files Blender accepts because the demo does not say. Blender accepted a dds but it does not show so I guess it's not working. So I'm quickly knocking out a rough tga. Add a bit more wasted time to the learning process. I don't mind the time it takes to learn something; it's the wasted time I don't like. Plus multiply it by a thousand users then by a thousand applications and we run to billions of man hours wasted (not in learning but in wasted time.)

 

I am simply documenting in this blog what anyone coming along in 6 months time can learn from and hopefully avoid my delays. Maybe I'll write an "A to Z from downloading Blender to a finished model in Dark Mod in one day" tutorial. :)

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Anyone know if the following is changed as F6 doesn't seem to do anything. Meanwhile I'll continues on the assumption I don't need it. My texture is so crude I wouldn't know if it's right or not:

 

"To change "Map Input" mode, press "F6" to open the "Texture Buttons" and find the "Map Input" panel (as shown below), then click on the button titled "UV"; you may or may not notice a change on the mesh itself but you should see a change occur to the material preview window panel to the far left side of the Texture Buttons window, this indicates that we're using the correct 'map' type."

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Maybe I'll write an "A to Z from downloading Blender to a finished model in Dark Mod in one day" tutorial. smile.gif

 

 

I for one whould love to see that! smile.gif

I tryde looking in to Blender but whas put off by the lack of any GOOD tut´s!, and your A to Z tut for Dark Radiant made it easy for me to get a understanding of the basic of Dark Radiant without knowing anything about Doom3 Edting in advance (thanks wink.gif )

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Thanks Nielsen74. Maybe I will. Maybe I will... ;)

 

Meanwhile...

 

The tutorial describes how to make seams at the top of the chair legs then key 'U' and unwrap. This produces a distortion in his texture image but no effect on mine. Any ideas why this won't work for me? I'm unsure whether to proceed or whether that is relevant.

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Yeah I know what you mean. But I did find the info by chance. I searched through that wiki tutorial. Confusing as hell but reached the part where I was in unwrap and what was missing before was to unselect and select all before unwrap. The Katsbits just says A to select all which just unselected. Need to press it again to select the whole chair. So now I see a distortion in the uv map so I think I'm back on track. Funny but I never thought I'd be pleased to see a distortion. :laugh:

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Just before proceeding today I looked at window layout configuration which is far more flexible than would first appear.

 

I came across a ref to units. Not found out where that is set yet but the question arose in my mind; any tips as to how to set it re: doom3 units? I don't want to finish up with a tiny or giant chair.

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Another question about saving the window layout which is only saved in your model .blend file. Is the normal method for your favourite default to config with the default cube startup and save that as a .blend file then use a shortcut on that to launch Blender?

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Well, the wiki says...

 

To match Blender's grid with the Radiant grid, go to "View"->"View Properties"->"Grid:Spacing" and set it to 10. This matches the DarkRadiant grid set to "1".

 

But that gives a HUGE grid size suggesting my chair is microscopic if those represent DR units of 1. I cannot even see the next grid line.

 

Then...

Usually it's better to just turn on the edge length rendering: (Buttons view: Mesh Tools 1 > Edge Length) to see how large the objects really are.

But I can't find any Mesh Tools in Buttons view. :(

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