Junior's Modding Workshop - Virtual 3D
15 August 2008
In deciding to add a new
page on Modding, and 3D Modeling in general, I've taken down some prior
entries from other pages of THS and more appropriately placed them here.
While the desire to get into
3D modeling came about about some years ago, with the release of
several modifications, and specifically weapons packs, for Rogue
Spear, and then later Ghost Recon, it has taken this
long for me to get some decent literature on the subject. As I write,
I've still not booted into a screen of 3D Studio Max
or witnessed the origin for real. Still, my brain absorbs the
information necessary to make a healthy beginning into this foray of
virtual engineering. And speaking of which, I can already say that a
prior appreciation of real world engineering allows me to better
understand the texts I've been making my way through.
The world of vector graphics
permits you to construct anything you might otherwise create in the
real world with wood, metal, cardboard or plastic, in virtual space,
and then manipulate it to operate as any mechanical device would,
While my initial interest in
modding computer games came out of the pains to discover a particular
game was, while great in and of itself, didn't feature my favourite
pieces of hardware - more than a decade on it is evident there are far
more uses for the skills of 3D modeling than that. Television
constantly bombards us with CGI and animations in advertising. Feature
films are released where there is no live action scenes at all, and the
video games industry now well and truly outstrips Hollywood in making
money through the virtual universes its creators produce. On top of
that, architecture now makes full use of virtual spaces to depict
either proposed or existing engineering feats of the real world to
assist themselves in design or to show their works to clients or those
they are contracted to.
Technology now allows
structures themselves, as well as effects like smoke, water movement,
lighting or even weather to be depicted with such realism you wonder if
you're not actually in the real world. But to be able to create these
sorts of amazing atmospheres and environments starts with the first
step. I've done that now, so its just a case of continuing the
08 January 2013
Files, Programs... and fun with
UT static meshes.
While I need to get down WinRAR or
similar to decompress some small applications for this whole jaunt into
UT modding, I was able to get The Compressonator today, and do what the
tutorial demoed. But rather, I did it with the standard issue assault
rifle rather than a character model. The second image shows a slight
modification of the texture, put on the mesh. Yes, the Kiwi DPM again,
on the forestock this time.
[ Unreal AR ]
[ Unreal Kiwi AR ]
In order for any new textures to have an
effect in-game I think there is a need to make it part of the texture
package proper and reintroduce it, rather than just bringing it into
the game as a BMP via UnrealEd and the texture browser as normal. Tried
several time to do it, but it didn't change the rifle's appearance
The above link I believe is the best,
most comprehensive tutorial online to import your models from Blender
into UT2k4. As I mentioned to a mate today there's plenty out there for
UDK, and as expected the stuff for the older version of the game is a
rarity. Still, it is like learning to drive with an old clapped out
bomb, or shoot with a .303 jungle carbine...
05 January 2013
Recent Adventures in Unreal Land
It has been a long while since the summer
of 2008 and my little venture with Design
School and my first foray into UnrealEd.
But, thanks to an awesome Christmas present I'm back behind the wheel
of virtual world creativity. While some of the tutorials aren't so
precise, and some differ with different versions of the editor, I've
been managing to make my way back to the level of competence where I
left off. Movers, triggers, that sort of thing. And I've added water
volumes to that as well. Evil pools in which to drown... you know the
Worked on Bot Pathing for the first time.
relatively straightforward, and asides the normal node there are plenty
of others which make it easier for bots to navigate stairwells and
lifts, and tactical ones like AssaultPath, but most importantly I have
to work out how to use GameObjective . Even when they're not set up as
well as they might, bots still seem to get around the map easily
enough. Oddly I have noticed that they came through the wall when I had
set up two stories and started at the bottom level, only having nodes
in the upper level.
Going back over my old notes I've made up
a new textures package and started putting some in there. UnrealEd
only accepts a handful of file types for this, so had to convert the
ones I'd prepared to BMP. I suspect UDK has more options. Now I want to
go over doing a transparent one, as we were required to do at skool.
That is, so for example, it looks like writing on glass. Speaking of
which, my attempts at doing up glass, much less breakable glass has yet
to see the light.
While I managed to get my own textures
package, and can put them into the editor, the only problem I've
encountered is, I can use a transparency (.tga) and it comes up in the
editor fine – but when I go in-game it doesn't appear.
III, UDK and Static Meshes
I've heard that UDK, which comes with
mostly static meshes. This means its even more imperative for me to
discover what file type the game uses for its models, so I can export
convert it to whatever file type is required and import it into the
engine. That's really the ultimate goal. It also, as a preliminary
step, allows me to export from the game (which I can do already) into
Blender, and then modify the character or weapon model, and pop it back
into the game.
The program required to import textures
onto game models from Unreal
into Blender is The
Compressonator. It allows you to convert .dds files which the game
uses, into .png which Blender
can use. Once again, it is a case of going back the other way when I
get to building my own models and need to make the textures to go with
them. This aspect, model and texture format is key to the whole
24 November 2012
I looked over some old skool files and
that it was a version/file type issue which meant I couldn't play
through the maps I had made in UTEd
way back during DESN 104. I only had access to UT99 which uses .unr
files. Skool was a newer version of the game and editor, using .ut2
files for UT2004. Played
through the old tutorials and want to bring myself back up to where I
was. Still, its just a muscle memory thing only since the real need is
to be using something more up to date. Was really happy with what I
achieved at Uni, but needs to be able to be put into purposeful
application otherwise its all a bit of a waste of time.
It takes dedication and devotion of time
to that point of getting something you can show to a prospective
employer or someone who might back your commercial enterprise. Since Hammer SDK is online through Steam it really isn't practical for
without the Internet or a decent system at hand. Plans for getting some
useful real world skills, and putting the modelling skills into an
engine are going to have to be put on hold for sometime.
There's more for me in the creativity
than the playing of games, which is the same for literature in that
sense. When I think what happened with Counter Strike, and other works,
it reminds me that its doable. Just comes down to the logistics of it
all. Commitment isn't the issue.
12 October 2012
Having been drawn to the Hammer SDK (Source Development Kit)
I quickly went about looking up some YouTube videos and websites for tutorials even
though I don't have the Net, Steam
or PC (that's just me). There is even a soundtrack you can download. By
Joel Nielson. Not bad, especially when its time to go without lyrics
for a while.
The first thing I noticed about the SDK
similar it is to Unreal Tournament
Editor, which I was introduced to at Uni on my Design course.
Learned so much, created several levels for Unreal.
Just want to be able to properly utilise those skills for something
tangible, if you understand me. Hate having skills I can't apply
So Hammer will allow me to take that
and experience and transpose it into a modern engine. This one is what Half Life 2, Half Life Source, Counter Strike
Source (both updates
of the original game and mod respectively, into the new engine, with
all the new physics) and Left 4 Dead
are built in.
Its time soon (once my final draft is in)
get a handle on the basics, then build on that to make something more
useful, providing a significant outlet for my Blender skills.
09 July 2012
[ KiwiMech ]
After Friday, and just being burnt out
from writing and reading, decided to do a little more modelling. Though
I have planned to do a lot more for my mates, only a little has come to
pass but in a day and a bit, I came up with the first rendition of a
Mech of one sort or another. While I prefer legs over wheels, tracks
will always come first, so thus, we have bi-catapill-oid if you will.
Will be doing quite a bit more down this line, and also a purple and
yellow robot dude... Want to animate both, and the Mech will no doubt
get a couple of smoke stacks that actually smoke, and maybe a
wind-blown banner. Had a Cadian shock trooperish walker in mind
initially I suspect.
05 July 2012
3D Sculpting, Unity 3D and
brushes for texturing.
Sculpting, rather than box modelling is
way to get things done, when you're doing biologicals, like human
heads. A mate put one up a while back online for me to look at and I
was thoroughly impressed. It took me until now, and only after I walked
into a few videos via a different search, to get some stuff on it. I
will put up images when I have something worthy to show.
This is a Open Source Game Engine, which
can utalise Blender
models, via saving in . Being mindful I have only very limited
experience with Blender GE, this one, could be easier to use. Either
way, it is a tool, and plenty of good stuff has already been made using
it. Also, while I love the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. world, the quality of
documentation and tutorials out there for modding it are very low. The
few times I've been into the SDK its been a horror story of its own.
Perhaps the game will serve as inspiration, and it will simply be a
case of using other tools to produce a similar experience, somewhat
further down the well beaten track. It would be nice just to be able to
put one of my own models into the game but its simply not intuitive and
most certainly hasn't been brought up to date, which goes against the
developers' original voiced intention of making it mod friendly.
It shows you are making progress when you
can guess what a tutor is about to say in what is happening.
A guy I watched said you don't want to be
using pictures from say Google,
for your textures, since they have content. You are best to make your
own textures using Gimp
or Photoshop. You can go to
the likes of Brusheezy
in order to download countless brushes to make them. So, for example,
rust would be a classic for metal, wood, rock, sand and so on. This is
also a good place to ensure you understand unwrapping and getting those
textures on your model, whether it be a rifle, a character, some
armour, or, in the case of the tutorial I watched, a section of gate
with portcullis spikes.
27 June 2012
Introducing Character Animation
Character Animation with Blender
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
After some months, and having gone
through a little
of it, due to getting it out from the library, I have finally picked up
my own copy. A lot cheaper than I thought, this is going to be a
serious asset, and perhaps, in terms of character modelling and
animation at least, be considered the Blender Bible. With skool and
focusing on the scriptwriting side of things there won't be much time
for developing my Blender skills for a while, but at least it will be
there when I do have the time to properly commit to it. My focus will
always be writing, creating worlds and character; this is simply a
17 June 2012
E3, Vostok Games... and writers in
[ HaZardUs 03 ]
Well, only due to this Kid's TV program
are doing I'm trying to get back into some Blender. That and
get down some graphics for my mate's website. Well overdue. Doubtful I
will get much time to put into it in a proper sense of broadening my
horizons and skill sets. Always find though that if I am away from it,
unlike writing, it takes a wee while to get back into the swing of it,
having to remember some stuff again. Have installed the latest version,
which is 2.63a.
and the death of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
If you're not much into gaming, the
the industry or what its all about, best you avoid the rest of this
post. Considering all what I have to do, I probably should have dodged
It appears that the end of this game was
due to money but something to do with securing rights of the I.P. Which
makes sense since some of the development team from GSC Game World have
gone off and set up a new company, and are working on a new game.
Happens to be a Massive Multiplayer Online FPS. See below.
The regular expo of electronic
massive and allows the industry, bigger than Hollywood, to promote
their wares; games, hardware and even revolutionary forms of technology
new to the business. A good heads up as to what to expect over the
coming year and what you might want to pick up.
This one looks good, but only for PS3 by the
looks. When I saw the promo on BBC,
had the feel of Fallout 3.
All the very best to Vostok Games. When these
guys worked so long without pay while waiting for financial backing for
the new version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. it becomes evident that in a world
commerce, it still isn't always about the money. So they go off, form
their company and keep on trucking. Good to still see some familiar
faces in the staff there, like Oleg.
The only problem with MMO is the “online”
you're not online, when you don't have a connection at home it becomes
a little bit ummm... Saves on addiction I suppose. And I already have
enough to do. Want to see where this goes of course. Very much assuming
it will be just S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
in a different format. Finding it hard
to grasp yet the concept of all the inhabitants [ human and zombie at
least ] being players somewhere in the world does have a certain
appeal. Hoping that, in that case, there are far more different
character skins that can be adopted, just so I can put New Zealand on
the map. There has been a shift to this form of gaming for a very long
time. Single player and LAN is deemed old skool.
technology sounds very much like where
the X-Ray engine would have gone. It is interesting that they say A-Life won't feature. While
dominated by actual player characters
that's understandable, but in respect to N.P.C.s [ if there are any ]
but most specifically, animals and zombies and so on, there has to be
some form of, A-Life, surely.
No day-night cycle would suck. The
dynamics of the game, tactics, so much changes with the cycle. With all
the details to consider, it must be remembered, this beast is still a
long way off from arriving on a PC near you.
When we think about all the complexities
design, the technology, the aesthetics, the game play, there is so many
different avenues you can travel, so in the typical group needed to
make things happen there are certainly going to be various visions. As
long as some version(s) of the imagined worlds come to fruition that
should be the only thing that matters, but its about commerce, and
about the market place, and not everyone is going to come out happy.
Forget the writers and all the worlds & characters become the same
old same old. You can see a lot of that.
10 February 2012
[ MP5K ]
In an effort to produce a series of
weapons based on my characters' loadouts, here is a MP5K. Modelled it
up a few days back now. As a fellow modeller said recently, have to
smooth out many of my edges. One has to keep the poly count down if it
is to be used in games, but for demos, for other purposes no worries.
Modifiers are good for this - I used smooth on the pistol grip section
and was very happy with the result. For the rest of it, in time, I
would simply use edge loops.
09 February 2012
While many were excited by the prospect
of modifying S.T.A.L.K.E.R., with the introduction of the SDK, and even
plenty of tutorials dotted about the Internet, it soon became clear
things would be ad-hoc at best. Unfortunately in regards this, the game
was partly promoted on its capacity for modding and GSC Game World's
wish to see it as such. The quality of the SDK, documentation and
tutorials is very poor, but some of this can be translation issues as
On the long weekend, Kryton and I made
some progress into adding a new weapon to the game – asides our gaming
session till 0300. Long time since. What we discovered, we believe, is
that not all the components of the model were present, so it is a case
of tapping into other weapons and seeing what components are there.
This was a MP7, and since bits of a Mac-10 and a P90 are floating about
in the game itself, but were not adopted in the release, its not so
My work, as modeller, is pretty much
redundant until such time as we can get a ready-made model in from
elsewhere. Part of the learning curve you might say; that is, all the
textures, models, rigging and so forth, as well as icons and what not
for the menus. It is the art of reverse engineering, seeing how
everything fits. And in time, I'd be very keen, as it progressively
gets easier and easier, to do up proper step by step documentation for
others to follow. My dream of a complete conversion is a long way off.
For now I'll settle for getting a weapon into the game, then... one of
my own. Had an old zip file for adding a AK-47 into Clear Sky, so,
variations in the original aside, it will hopefully not only be
complete, but also be possible to import and see what is going on.
We had discussed it before, and even
though there is some good material out there, including plug-ins for
Blender, which I use, Fallout 3 might be nice to play, but its not MP.
Sure, it might have saved them plenty on development costs, but any
game of this sort which is not multiplayer is missing out on a huge
player base. Plus, in terms of our choice, when it comes to a complete
conversion, set in the world of my novels, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has it about
right for the environment. Really, just need more snow!
29 January 2012
[ RPK Special Edition - work in progress ]
been modelling away, slowly, as I find the
time about the reading and writing that is taking priority at the
moment, to build up a collection of weapons which are used by my
characters and their adversaries. This one above is a RPK-16, mounting
a M203 on a universal interbar painted for snow ops, utilising a 75
round drum magazine, and dubiously acquired night sights. While this
stuff is solidifying my skills, its not
building new ones, so I am looking to model up a Humvee next – which
will be modified to be one featured in my first novel. So, to find
tutorials on wheel and tyre creation...
21 January 2012
Saw this thing on BBC last night about
company who is being busted big time under the online copyright laws.
The US has asked for New Zealand authorities to act on its behalf, to
extradite those responsible. They showed the big arsed mansion and all
that, Rolls Royce, and American classic cars, etc. First time I'd heard
of them, and yet, today, I roll in to download some tutorials on
developing FPS games in Blender,
and I find this game out of Indo called Z-Virus that has been developed
with the Blender Game Engine. And guess what, their free
download is off Mega Uploads, so I couldn't get the game.
As for the reports that the jokers
show had sawn down rifles and what not. A bit more dramatic effect for
the media. Even if it is true – they had armed cops there after all –
why have these weapons, act all tough, like you're some mobster of old
or something, and then not play the game when the heat's on. It is
frequently said it is simply to intimidate the competition. Well, there
is always a bigger fish.
And people put their own lives, and
risk, for money, worldly gain. Dumb arses. Big time. The photos coming
through of the top dog say it all really. Upload that and smoke it.
Could say a bit on how these sorts of scenarios typically pan out, but
I take it for granted that my regular readers know how the world works.
14 January 2012
Complexity of a 3D Model
Sometimes I have to move away from the
side of me and not think about actual component parts – as with rifles
such as lower receiver / upper receiver, bolt group, if the model
doesn't require that sort accuracy in terms of the individual parts
being modelled, as it most often is with games. One must consider what
the model is intended for. Pretty much all you need is the weapon, and
the magazine / clip / drum which must be separate for reloading
procedures. Whereas, if you're doing something which needs to show
detail, it can be a good idea to model individual items even from the
project management point of view. I'm trying to get into the habit of
naming parts, so that when there is thirty cylinders, you can say;
barrel, gas plug, gas tube, bolt, bolt retaining pin, receiver pin,
drum, cartridge, scope... This is a good thing to get onto in the early
days for later on when you are doing very complex models.
With doing the holo-sight for this
model, I'll be able to now sort out windows for my house, and
Plexiglass for the Huey I need to build. It will be a representation of
the one featured in TtG. Yes, the plan is a complete conversion using
my world, characters and technologies. At this stage it will just be
nice to get a weapon of my own into S.T.A.L.K.E.R. But yes, some day...
12 January 2012
The other day, was it Sunday? while I did
more work on a revamp for my mate's new-look site, I also squared away
another chapter for the new novel, which I realised I needed to ask
another mate some questions on. Then the idea to finally make a start
on a Kel-tec RFB model come to me, and before I knew it it was 0400hrs.
But, the basic model is done. This one has taken me a couple of days,
but the geometry is still a bit rough in places. But with more practice
I'm learning how to minimise that.
More than a bit painful is getting image
textures on a mesh. I can get it onto a single one, as the plane shows
with the US flag. Can scale the image right now, so they occupy the
right amount of space, and can flip it on X/Y axis but can't rotate it.
You can see this with the American flag here, I can't rotate it to get
it to be on the horizontal.
Also have to work out turning a weapon's
component parts into a single mesh, so I can apply the reference image
to it. In the meantime, I just used materials on this one, which gives
you colours, shades and some variations like clouds (for a rusty look
say) or marble. Am pretty sure its compulsory to use textures to import
a model into a game.
[ Kel-tec RFB with Materials applied ]
There is something about modelling a 7.62
weapon. It must be that the RFB uses old SLR magazines. A real round, a
real rifle. Now, to get it into a game...
06 January 2012
Pictures from Chernobyl
Mate flicked me this URL the other day.
swag of pictures from the Chernobyl area. It will take a little time to
load but it is well worth it. There is plenty of opportunity for
modelling from them, and they are high enough resolution as well to get
textures off them too, I think. But for the moment am just a little
01 January 2012
Building a Scene
The fear of idle hands means the last few
I've been working on some graphics, via 3D modelling rather than
conventional 2D, mostly for my mate's website. And I've been rapt with
the results. The work you would have to do in Photoshop to get these
effects – well, some of them would be impossible. But 2D has its uses –
each tool for its job, with a fair bit of cross-over.
[ Building a Scene ]
Have also been
working on a scene, a house.
[ 3D generated grass ]
Started by learning how to generate hair,
which is also used as grass, via particle physics. Really powerful
tool, amongst so many tools. The version on the left reminded
me of Waiouru tussock.
Reaper... and modelling
Nerves are setting in for this graduation
business. It should be a celebration, sure, but heaps of people - and
the idea that all that work doesn't exactly mean “work” in the sense so
many out there see it to be. Never mind, there are other things to
occupy my mind and my time, which helps considerably. Once it is over,
maybe I will be able to appreciate it a little more.
Managed to find an article from the ODT,
my old local rag, which had something on the big Ex I mentioned which
was happening while I was down home. There was also a bit in the latest
and will be more in the next issue. Full blown Combined Arms deal,
which doesn't happen often, and nowhere near as often as it should, but
with budget cuts being what they are. And one will note that it is
never about defending New Zealand's territory, but going off and doing
peace-keeping somewhere else in this or other necks of the woods.
Reminds me of a wee tune... If you go out in the woods today... you
might get a heck of a surprise...
Someone needs to tell the article writer
phrase is not “over and out”, but “out” if you are ending the
transmission, and “over” when you've finished what you have to say but
expect further communication. People watch too much TV, too many movies
:) and even some professionals don't get it right.
Now, who gets to pin a name on these Ex's
and Ops? What an awesome job. Southern
Reaper has a nice ring about it.
Got down some good high res pictures of
the FG42, my favourite all time World War II weapon, the German Fallschirmjägergewehr,
Paratrooper rifle. When I flicked off my stuffed up textured basic PDW
cut-out, a mate suggested texturing seperate elements; stock, magazine,
grips etc, and it so happens I got down a tutorial on doing exactly
that – so that will be my next attempted solution, to UVW Unwrap
component parts of the model. First, to model up a new weapon... a
FG42. While the basic model can be whipped up quite quickly, to make it
into something reasonable after that takes the real concentration.
Reminds me why I loved Enemy
Territory so much, for Return
to Castle Wolfenstein.
[ FG42 Fallschirmjägergewehr ]
[ FG42 Render ]
Right, have three things to do before I
hit the hay tonight; do the cloth tutorial, using my (yet to be
finished) character model as a base, do the smoke/flame tutorial on my
(yet to be completed) basic robot arm, and lastly, take my old
catepillar track tutorial, duplicate it, and link them both to some
sort of base – perhaps my robot arm, and animate it. Then, taking all
that, will be able to progress to doing a Scorpion.
01 December 2011
Spoke to Kryton on the weekend, this idea
in my head (yes I know, dangerous bloody things), had the old 80s
series Whizz Kids in my head. Loved it. Richie had a whole heap of
computery bits and pieces, thanks to a absent father who worked on oil
rigs or something, sent him out this stuff. One of the things he had in
his cluttered techno-geek room was a classic (now anyway) robot arm.
Decided, in order to test my skills, and develop new ones for my show
reel – basic by any level of the imagination – to get into further
training without having to do the basics, would model up and animate a
robot arm of type. Maybe even link sound to it, have the engine burn
out, spark up etc, using particle smoke. At the very least I will learn
parent /child object relations, and have some armatures in there for
coordinated movement, and have the claw hand pick up an egg maybe, or a
stick of jelly...
Speaking of robots...
It had me thinking as I come out of
Blender, the inverse. In order to form a concept of a robot, one must
consider what one is not. Thanks to all my readers. The few, the brave,
24 November 2011
[ FN P90 - Render ]
This is the finished model of the FN P90.
One can thank Open Source for the software, Belgium for the weapon -
and oh, Stargate SG-1 for popularising the latter. Wasn't too keen on
the iron sights but since it is from the image, and I don't know
(except maybe going into Photoshop and deleting them) how it goes with
regards texturing later on. Note that the foresight is "AK" style,
since this is how GSC Game World
did it for the MP5 in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., for which I
intend to import this.
Unfortunately I went looking for the
follow up videos
and they're not about. So, while I have my model done, fixing a bit of
the rough geometry not withstanding, can't go much further in terms of
texturing. And am sure it is compulsory to texture before you can
import your models, otherwise things spit the dummy.
While I was struggling to get my head
around loop-cutting via reading in Essential
with doing these tutorials, getting hands on and applying it to
something practical, e.g. actually building a model, I now understand
it. This is where you produce additional polygons at a given point in
order to better shape your model as it would be, e.g. to produce the
effect of curves.
Another major bit here was my modelling
scope bracket. While Daniel extruded out I had problems doing this, so
built up a block, added some loop cuts and just made a hole, then
filling in the removed faces for essentially the same result.
While my P90 isn't anywhere as good, it
like a P90, and its my first attempt. Thanks to an excellent tutorial
(conversely there are lots of rubbish ones out there) got a reasonable
model out of it all. Awesome. Plus I'm back into the swing of things,
not getting confused with the numerous buttons one must press in order
to get things done.
[ FN P90 - Ambient Occlusion ]
Discovered that another three videos I
had from the same author demonstrated different ways to texture. One
was Ambient Occlusion, which is under Bake - which simply applies
darkness on edges where light would not fall so much. Another is to
"project from view" approach which allows you to take elements from a
reference picture and apply them to the relevant parts of your mesh.
The third is to use an image. Unfortunately, for each, I can get it on
the model, but when I render its not applied. Have done it successfully
once before with a basic box, so just need to sort out that simple
little part of the process I've left out.
20 November 2011
Blender... and FPS Tutorial.
From my recent journal entries you may
noticed I've been to the library recently. Reading is good. Books are
good... Picked up this one (and another on Open Source software and its
use, including Blender) and have slowly being making my way through it.
After going into the fundementals for Blender it sets you up for
another way to do a head, in Chapter 2. Then, like David Allen Ward's
tutorial series, it goes into creating a Captain Blender character,
which you go on to animate later on, which, as the title suggests, the
book specialises in.
Character Animation with Blender
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
If I want to get into Natcoll next year,
starting from stratch and scraping the barrel for more courses, have to
show I can at least animate something. This will be the ticket. The
other option is the BCT - Bachelor of Creative Technologies at Weltec.
You can dispense with the last year and just get a diploma, which would
be enough to get me the skills I need to do what I have planned out.
This one also features a disk, and in
asides from Blender and some additional stuff like a Python (Game
Engine built into Blender) crowd / battle program, it tells you it has
Elephant Dreams - the first animated short film made with this open
source software. Well, you get in there and it tells you they couldn't
fit it on the disk. So, off to the website and you can pick it up as
small as 40 odd megabytes. The higher resolution is more around 400Mb.
Suggest getting it - well worth a look and shows just what can be
achieved with this free software.
[ faces-on-de-face ]
Above is that first tasking, to construct
It can get messy, and like I've said before, fixing problems is good,
otherwise your troubles are compounded down range. Still, as I've also
mentioned, much better to make a few mistakes as you learn much more by
sussing out how to fix them. And like crafting a 3D model, there is
more than one way of doing it. With complexity comes flexibility. As I
move along in the book, will post additional pics. Hopefully too, will
be able to put up a video of future animations once I suss out
armatures and rigging. And still have to successfully texture and
import a rifle model yet...
Tutorial - Modelling the gun in Blender 2.58 - Part I
Speaking of which, using KeepVid.com
I was able to download the first five in a series for building and
texturing a P90. Yes, well, I can now confidently build any firearm,
but, it was the next part in which Daniel got into texturing, so I need
to top up my account and get the rest of the series down. Excellent
series for beginners.
Not sure yet, but I believe this is meant
put into Python. My tutorials are now coming in for 2.57 up to the
latest of 2.60a. The new interface is somewhat crisper.
24 June 2011
Building a Human
A few days after the Bolter mission I got
Ward's tutorial. Well, you learn by doing, and eventually, one hopes,
you gain muscle memory too. The head is most definitely the most
difficult part, and the ears the most difficult part of that. In any
case, here are a few pics. The head bust demonstrates the
aforementioned point. It's an alien OK. It has ears... like a Narn.
Looks more like something intended to scare small children.
[ Head -
first try ] ---------- [ Torso - first try ]
I think I will be modelling plenty of
respirators, and gloves and such like. Plus, doing up armour, like a
Space Marine's from 40K in particular, avoids much of the challenges -
but rest assured I will be working on it until I can model a human head
as required. Its important as an artist, and important in the business.
While aliens and mutants are a big part of that, it can't be an excuse
not to put in the hours to get the skills. Remember too, I wasn't using
any picture reference either. Yes, there are lots of triangles, and
lots of horrible geometry when you look at the thing in edit mode, and
that's clearly visible in the render. Johnny Blender, at least for the
meantime, is Johnny Freak Show. Thanks to David Ward for his efforts in
his excellent tutorial. Thoroughly professional lesson from start to
finish from a talented 3D artist.
One day soon I'll be able to do a
reasonable impersonation of a human being.
21 June 2011
After an eventful and productive weekend
sitting here on my bed, almost 0100, having sussed out my first model
for a wee project, brilliantly conceived by Kryton, which I shall dub Project
It is a Space Marine bolter for the game... many more to come. Like a
decent soup like Mum used to make, its chunky, and not only serves well
for the style of the game, it also is relatively simple and a good
thing for a beginner like me to be tackling. Speaking of tackling – the
next thing to do is get texture on it, and the Gepard I have completed.
We spend the weekend trying to nut out the SDK, and getting back into
the gamedata files, modding sound and statistics.
[ Warhammer 40K - Bolter ]
I managed to learn how to do this Boolean operator
business as I
mentioned a while back, under 3D Max on the Modding page. Used it to do
up the barrel, flash eliminator and the hole in the foresight. You've
got to build the two meshes in Object mode. Got down a tutorial and the
remembered learning boolean operators in high school.
14 June 2011
Modelling a Character
So, am on the final run for my essay.
Difficult though, as I have to cut around 500 words from a piece that
reads well, flows properly. Have to pretty much cut out a chunk and
stitch a seem to tie it up again.
Not totally unrelated, but virtual rather
than literary, the making of characters is my next step and I know its
a reasonable leap. Still, Kryton wants me to model up a Gepard PDW so
will do that. And then of course there is the thing of texturing, and
importing a model into the likes of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
mechanical, manufactured to the organic is going to be a steep learning
curve. But, one step (or is that limb?) at a time.
Found this guy, randomly, as you do on
YouTube and went off to his personal website as well which looks pretty
good. He has the best tutorial on building a character in Blender I
have found. Not ruff, but goes from head to toe and textures it. While
some aspects aren't 100% clear it is about simply getting more time on
the mouse and keyboard and doing it, rather than having every little
point explained. Have looked at the first three files which go into
building a rather detailed head, so there's a lot more to do. But once
I've gone through it a few times, from start to finish, I'm confident
the skills will be there for anything else related to character
modelling I might want to do.
Just takes time. Have been looking at the
Media Design School, but really don't want to be in Auckland, even if I
would be focusing on study alone. Instead, looks like it will be
Natcoll, here in Wellington. That means waiting out till February next
year. Still, a bit of work would be nice and it means getting some
skills up to speed and building a decent showreel by then, which is
21 January 2011
The Essential Blender
Got to Real Groovy
other day to pick up a book on the shelves there, called The
On sale for $50. Prefer hard-copy, rather than PDFs and reading off a
screen, but you take what you can get when in the realms of Open
Source. Its not a nice looking interface this one, but its a powerful
tool and just takes a wee bit of getting used to, particularly if
you've had much experience on the likes of 3d Studio Max. Of
course, the price difference is phenomenal!
The book comes with a disk with installs
for all OS, of Blender
2.44... so, as long as you have a machine that has enough graphical
power to handle the labours of 3D mathematics, you're good to go. Much
like the Open Source community, this has been put together by multiple
authors. After guides to installation, and a introduction to 3D art
itself and the nature of said programs, plus the specific Blender
interface, the fun begins.
The various experts take you through
working in Blender
and manipulating objects and what can only equate to a gentle intro to
animation - later this gets a bit more in-depth, including rigging and
shape keys (which allow the movement of meshes without actual animation
- like say, the movement in a cartoon character's lips as it is
talking), lighting, textures and so on. Lessons lead to the building of
a bridge, and creating a monster's face.
With my previous experience I'm pretty
confident that it will a good combo of gentle easing into what is
there, while providing me plenty of challenges with the benefit of
plenty of new skills along the way. Particles, like fire and water, and
strands, as you require for things like hair, is something I'm really
looking forward to. It will be nice to get my head around texturing so
I can do something with my rifle models, too, but organics is a whole
different deal, and the results are a lot less forgiving.
While it is not (and what can be in terms
this huge domain of virtual creativity?) definitive, this book,
according to the introduction, is the official guide to Blender.
The index is not very extensive and there are no keyboard maps or such
like tools, which would have been nice, but it has focused chapters on
the major aspects of the application. If you want to specialise in the
gaming engine or get more depth in terms of animation you'll need to go
elsewhere. All in all, though, for a book of just over 350 pages, its
got the topics you'd expect and looks to be an excellent place to
start. If you are only interested in particular aspects you can easily
flick to the relevant chapters as they're not geared to be dependant on
each other. Bonus.
I'll have more on it as I progress
through it, but in the meantime, the details of the book are;
The Essential Blender: Guide to 3D
Roland Hess (.ed)
No Starch Press (2007)
07 June 2010
A mate flicked me an email not so long
ago, informing me of the Vityaz submachine gun. Basically for all
external appearances, asides a slimmer and plastic magazine, it looks
like a AKR, abet a little more modern - plastic furniture instead of
wood. Sorry... just had a thought on the environment... Basically it
uses a special 9mm round which gives it armour piercing properties. I
have yet to find out if it a 9x18 modified round (not enough velocity
in my view) from the Makarov pistol. Though, essentially, what we have
is a Russian PDW, Personal Defence Weapon capable of defeating modern
body armour. All the raw facts need to be sussed in order to
realistically punch in characteristics of a weapon if you're planning
on using it in a game.
[ Izhmash Vityaz ]
Since my main focus is on modding for the
series of games it is nice to finally do up a Kalashnikov style weapon.
Has taken me about two and a half days and so far as basic modeling
principles go I'm pretty sussed now. I can do it, but there is far more
to learn. Also, accuracy in detailing has to increase. Finer features
and parts can all be done by zooming in and taking the time and using
the right primitives and modifiers.
With the Vityaz the basic process has
definitely sped up somewhat, but also I'm getting a handle on the
little errors that come up, like patching up faces that for some reason
don't show up, or polygons which are not quite right and come up odd
when you render the model, shadows showing them up. Even just becoming
confident with the keystrokes and what does what is a huge motivator.
You can get on with building the model, getting the results you want,
without paining over how to get there. But you can tell by the larger
images, more work can be done to improve this model, particularly in
making it more streamlined.
Yeah, and then, as I say, you can refine
your techniques from there, progressively learn new and better ways of
doing things. The key to this whole thing is pushing the envelop, so
you have to be driven. You don't get any better, or more confident to
tackle real world problems without constantly taking the next step in
the learning curve.
Though its a rare item, making such
discoveries, and since its from that part of the world, I'm inspired to
model up this Polish bull-pup rifle, too, as I recently mentioned on my
journal. Have a request for a PDW (MP7 that is), and although I did one
up earlier on in this particular foray, a new model with far more
detail must be built before it is worthy of importing into a game.
Importing - another major step in this process. Want to approach this
one by doing up every component typicial of the field strip. The more
photos you can have of a weapon (or any other object you can name to be
modeled) the better you'll be - both for importing into the program as
a guild to your building, but also as general reference as you go
along. But before I do anymore weapons, I have to jump in and make a
10 May 2010
Mac-10 Mk2... and rolling with
dreams and aspirations of friends.
Way after my beddy byes... but I have
redeemed myself on the Mac-10 front. This is my second attempt at a
decent machine-pistol, ah la, .45 ACP. Thank you mister Ingram. I am
evidently on a roll... but since it is 0055, I think yes... And I have
skool work to do as well. Am really rapt with this progress. Funny how
you have a go at something, initially it doesn't work out - you come
back to it a wee way down track and everything comes together. O is for
awesome. Praise be to good mates and open source.
[ Ingram Mac-10 - Blender 3D ]
Yip, all this has reminded me tonight of
history, technology and old mates. Had a mate who was a genius on POV
Ray, a rendering program he used to use on my old Amiga 500+. He did up
a Battle Tech mech and it took all night to render, but for back then,
the results were amazing. Computers today are super computers in
comparison. He could also do machine code - which I'll never be able to
It reminds me of so many other mates over
the years who have skills, knowledge, experience, that all seem to
culminate into where I am today. If it wasn't for them, and their
ongoing support, well... I hate to think. They keep you rolling, keep
you inspired, and remind you that while the world at large doesn't get
it, and sometimes even they don't, they recognise the dream, the drive
and what it is to be part of that. It is as if there is a part of you
in them, part of each one of them in you. Life is for living and that's
a very special part of it.
Happy Muther's Day Ma. Have a wee pressie
coming your way - but no, cost no money, just time and effort and the
testing of new skill sets. Artistry of another kind. Sorry it couldn't
be the real thing; the smell of cordite, the feel of metal...
[ Colt .45ACP Gold Cup pistol ]
First Weapon Renders
Well... didn't know when I'd get a
chance, but with getting my hands on Blender (which is open source - not as intuitive
as 3d Studio
Max, and far uglier, but still a powerful tool) I've been able to
struggle away, get to grips with the basics, and get a couple of models
done. They're basic as, and essentially extruded and sub-divided cubes
and not much else. With some texture applied (eg: metal), like painting
really, a great deal of basic or rough modeling can be covered up.
There is a big process of putting a new
weapon into a game but am sure looking forward to it. The Mac-10 is my
first try, very blocky - you get the idea, and the HK USC (I made it
with a shorter barrel than the civvie version) has a bit more realistic
shape to it, looking far more like it is meant to. You can get right
down to the bolts, rough surfaces for pistol grips... and of course,
for changing out in game, you need to do up separate magazines.
[ Mac-10 machine pistol ] ---------- [
Heckler und Koch USC45 ]
It may seem weird, but after taking my
first jump into it at Uni for DESN 104, I'm really rapt to have finally
modeled a weapon. You can see some of the stuff I did for the course on
page. In my
own time I did a smoke grenade, and started a PSG-1 but it never went
anywhere, as I got really frustrated.
Well, now its working out. Now, it
actually feels like at some stage modding the likes of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
to my own world and characters is a distinct possibility. My ambition
is to do a complete conversion, in turn, as a promotion to get a team
together to develop a FPS / RPG based on my primary literary works.
But... one step at a time. And this is definitely one. A big boost.
Tutorial, Compound Objects, and modeling the real world.
Got to work on some modeling
tonight. Part way through the set of drawers I mentioned. A few tricky
bits but its a case of remembering to follow the instructions to the
letter, not assume anything or think you can skip anything due to prior
experience. Little steps...
Looking over a tutorial to
build up a Galil rifle told had me thinking that it is probably a good
idea to practice individual portions of such projects, to learn key
processes, such as the idea of in order to bore equally spaced holes
through a cylinder (say for a flash eliminator) you put a a couple of
cylinders through a tube, by going to Compound Objects and choosing
Boolean, clicking on "Pick Operand B", click on the given cylinder and
thereby create the holes through the original cylinder at the end of
Thanks to Ran J. Levay for the
model and the insight.
Had a yak to a guy I know who does this
stuff professionally - he said he learned to do Boolean operations on
the first few days of his degree, but didn't actually use them until
four or five months later. He told me to be mindful of them so far as
low-poly counts on your model, for gaming purposes. They are a bit
intensive, and there are, as I've said in the past, more ways than one
to get a particular outcome. Often you can just work with a shape's
existing geometry, extrude etc, in order to get the desired look.
Realise that, while most of
what I want to learn is based around characters and weapon models for
gaming applications, without learning other areas such as animation or
other things I'm likely to miss out on a lot, and even forgo
discovering easier, more efficient ways of doing particular things.
Plus, logically enough, if you want to build gaming type environments,
they contain vehicles, furniture, organic features, structures,
everything you find in the real world environment so its foolish to get
tunnel vision and only be putting together models of soldiers and
pistols and rocket launchers alone. You can't get a job rendering up a
house based on architectural plans if you haven't ever modeled a house
03 September 2009
Motivation for More
More talk of modding and the
suggestion made that introducing a bow might be an idea. Well, I'll be
happy just to render one up. Rigging is the problem but that's a long
way off. Just getting it into the game would be great. Having it
operable regards limb movements might be a trick, might even be
impossible, but one can only see by trying. Speaking of which, the
thoroughfare software wise in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
land is somewhat disjointed at best, but 3D Studio Max
is industry standard and I'll be very keen to get some decent hours
under my belt with it. Back to the text books, with a somewhat
different flavour to what I am used to.
Note to self: remember that
the AEC Extended Primitives have heaps of foliage options and
architectural items that can be used for maps. And I can use the Hose
primitive under Extended Primitives as a superb base for a under-barrel
GL, eg: draw it out and slice it down the middle.
Going to be taking a wee
look at Call of Duty 4 - no, not the ongoing saga of this
particular franchise but the contemporary version of the WWII FPS. Very
realistic I'm told but for those investigating military simulation they
can't seem to get trigger groups sorted. Maybe every weapon capable of
automatic fire can only fire in automatic. Well, maybe they were trying
to replicate the movies... Sad. Some do like the idea of replication of
real-world tactics and not just chewing through the ammo for no result.
And now, alas, I must return
to my studies...
22 December 2008
Final Assessment... and a bit
After sending off a parcel home, and
receiving one, I was off to make the most of the labs again. Today I
got started on a MSG90. No, its not some horrible thing in your food,
but it is one fine piece of German engineering which can be helpful in
acquiring a meal. Expensive, but no where near as expensive, and far
more robust, than its excessively refined PSG-1 cousin. About half way
there, should be able to finish it tomorrow but the results are going
to be a bit rough, I can tell.
As I said in the labs and fixed up my
email / login problems the results for the third project came in. A B+
means, after the other two I'll end up with a respectable B average.
The comments were moderate, and it seems that too much detail in my
concept was my downfall for a better mark, or rather, to much academia
and not enough imagination from the other side of the fence. I'm glad
of a pass anyway, and hope to do a few more Design papers next year to
make up the points needed for the double degree business.
Investigate Magazine were kind enough to
send out a couple of complimentary copies of the September issue in
which Defence Matters
was published. Think I'll flick one off to the old man and see what
sort of reception I get. Try to show that my life hasn't been all a
misfire, stovepipe misadventure.
Gidday Shakes. Hey man, all the best to
your mob ya Aussie bugger, and we'll hook up soon eh.
21 December 2008
Some Kiwi Smoke.
Of my academic studies, next year, just
making up points means it won't be so hard a thing to grind - so the
balance of my various studies, including those martial, it is an apt
time to return to the Dojo.
Today I was in the labs, even though the 104 is now unofficially
(officially we have another week) over. I downloaded a few tutorials,
one a character model, which I'll begin tomorrow, a 30-30 lever action,
and a smoke grenade. It's an M18, but, well, as you can tell from the
comparative pictures below, you wouldn't want to give the thing any
sort of official designation :) Today a ruff as smokey, tomorrow, a
fully textured G36
with a KSK splash sandbox paint job.
27 November 2008
Another night in the labs until 2100, but
I got 65 of my renders done of my "simple" object. Need 50 by Monday,
and 81 (what a beautiful number...) required for the second experiment.
Our favourite one will be textured. I think I know which one it will be
- classmate reckoned it looked like Batman. And low and
behold tonight on the late news there was word that there was a
forthcoming comic which will sign the death of the Dark Knight. Super
Heroes have perished before. We shall see. But what a franchise.
26 November 2008
Solid Works, 3D Max, Morphing...
and 81 versions of... something.
Solid Works is a pain. The
tutorials are hard to follow for a newbie. Have to make sure your menus
are set up exactly as required in the tuts. We learned to use it to
produce a 3D image from a 2D pic, in order to take it into 3D Max
and get onto the good stuff of manipulating things. Glad we can now
ditch SW and move on.
Sorted what I needed to do, and to be
honest, I could have done it better without the tutorials. Played
around with morphing and other manipulations. Have to produce 81
versions of the same initial 3D image. All about learning the design
process and appreciating that you don't do just one or two renditions
of any given project to come up with a final product. I've learned that
in very different creative worlds.
Getting help, helping your mates. I can
tell you this, if what the lecturer says about time spent to get a pass
is anything to go by, I've got to pass, despite the difficulty and time
constraints. Heck, to learn that we learn in a day on Solid Works what
a normal semester take in in two weeks... Tonight I was home before
dark. Last night, 2100. Gotta make it.
Three of my renders, the green one the
original. I like the brown one cause its ended up like a row boat. The
image idea has an abstract simple version of Santiago Calatrava's
25 November 2008
UnrealEd, Static Meshes, First Assignment...
and the art of lighting a scene.
Found out I have to go up the hill to get
my access card sussed out. All after a week and a half. Bit shabby
really. Especially when we don't have too much spare time to do so much
Discovered static meshes in UnrealEd,
which are hundreds of
pre-made objects you can insert. I used several different rocks to put
in place to save trying to build them from scratch. Given a bit more
time and effort, producing a pretty reasonable map will not be too
As old as it is, this program is a good
introduction to rendering. I'm seeing it like learning to shoot with an
old pig of a .303 jungle carbine, then going onto something far more
refined, like a Remmie 700, the 3D world equivalent being 3D Max
or Maya. Yeah, like no one should really learn to drive in a
late model car, much less an automatic.
Has been really good to help out class
mates and share the learning experience. Feel good about achieving so
much in such a short time.
Got the first experiment in just in time,
along with most of my classmates. Think we all know, given more time,
the results could have been far better. I had last minute problems with
my lighting - ones for my "normal" room kept rendering red. Deleted
them and inserted some new ones. Pretty happy all things considered. So
true, lighting goes a long long way to creating the atmosphere and
presenting the final product. Doesn't matter if its a promo for a game,
a 3D model of a house, or a video for a new product...
Can't believe you've been here for a year
D. Hopefully the renewal of the visa won't lead to anything near the
hassles of last time round eh. Been good to know ya man, and all the
best in finding a new digs.
24 November 2008
Door Security, Getting to Grips with Unreal
Managed to get into the building
yesterday. Just waited for a friendly student with a working card to
turn up. Whole swag of us waiting so I'm definitely not alone. Dunno
why its closed on Saturdays but open on Sundays. Maybe the people who
own the building are Jewish? Opps, starting to sound like Sgt. O'Neil.
Low and behold this morning, I can get in the building. Didn't even
have to go and see someone - which it was looking like, for sure.
Was odd too, checked for my results again
on Friday, no cigarette... I mean cigar. And checked yesterday and
sweet as, there they where. Gave me the energy to work through till
2030. I got the mainstay of my map for this first "experiment" as they
like to call them here. After all the other tries, finally getting the
hang of the program and sorta know where I'm at with stuff. All in
Personally, think I've done really well,
never having been near the program before. Unreal Editor is
okay, if not a bit dated and not meant as a professional tool, even in
Game Design as such, but once you get the hang of it, the fundamentals
stand you in good stead if you don't go straight to the likes of Maya
of 3D Max.
Got the result for Scriptwriting a wee
while back. Nice and quick that was, especially with a course which had
so much paper work. Got an A- for Asian Cinema... rapt. Better second
essay, my Blade Runner
one, and a kick arse presentation, which is perhaps the best one I've
been involved in. Entertaining too people reckoned. Always a bonus. And
a B+ for Popular Music. Wanted to have a A- to sit next to the 200
level course, but with being crook just on when the first essay was due
there are no surprises.
Anyway, better bug out for my first
Design lecture of the new week. Then at least five or six hours in the
19 November 2008
Day, Some Kinda Map...
Today I was nailed for thinking about too
many aspects in regards the designer I'd chosen as my influence for the
first project (experiment we're calling them). Must be the fault of
three years straight study. Oh well, rather have too much info to run
with than not enough. Can't be done for not doing my homework. And,
apparently, if you come every day, do the work, do the self-directed
stuff and are seen to put in the effort, you'll pass. Well, if
yesterday is anything to go by...
And today I actually solved a few
problems, got my first proper map together - in the prescribed manner -
two rooms joined by a corridor. Sweet as. I'll right more on it on the
Modding page soon I think. Getting the hang of it as we work our way
through UnrealEd, for UT2004.
Hopefully experience with Dreamweaver
(we present our work on a website of our own design which must reflect
the themes of the virtual environment we've created) and Photoshop will
help to balance up with my lack of knowledge here, and I can spend more
time concentrating on my newbie status. Seriously looking forward to 3D
I have got a 30 day trial of 3d
Studio Max, but no PC to run it on :(
Another day and my access card doesn't
work. No after hours time in the lab for me, still. Better be sussed by
11 September 2008
Jeeps, RPGs ... and getting ahead of myself.
In what ended up being the
early hours of Wednesday the 10th day of September I did my first,
quite ordinary render. It is the results of a somewhat disfigured cube.
Yes, one does always start with a cube. Was a bit tricky remembering
keys and commands, but as with all things, practice makes... ummm,
well, a more efficient worker bee. That brings me up to about page 29
of the file mentioned below, and being as I have a meeting tomorrow
with skool mates and it is now 0040hrs I better bug out and get some
And now it be 0252hrs on the
11th... Just flicking through the file I see I get to make a die
(singular for dice) which includes the pits in the cube shape to denote
the numbers on each side. Further on to that, I was quite surprised to
see what looked like a mutated RPG (rocket propelled grenade) launcher,
as if it was part of a snap together toy. Well, I get to build the
entire Jeep, RPG included. It is broken down into steps,
unsurprisingly: seats, tires, mud guards, fuselage... I mean car body
Additionally there is a wee
project where you render a wolf, based off a photograph, linking a .jpg
file as a basis for a model. Basically, this is how you'll start out
with a weapon for a game from what I can gather. Just at the moment,
I'll be quite rapt just to make it though this tutorial.
03 September 2008
and first port of call for documentation.
The following document goes
from the very basic to advanced methods in Blender. Much of the
material is transferable to other packages and is a very good starting
This is the key reference to
start out with when using Blender. I've made my way through the first
twenty pages. The first few sections are on finding your way around the
interface. At 140 pages I should hopefully be done by the time I start
Summer School. Deeming they use it in DESN 104 this probably wasn't a
silly idea. Many of the terms and techniques are totally compatible
with the industry standard 3D Studio Max so there shouldn't be too much
double handling during the learning process of the latter. Will be back
once I've made some headway on the modeling side in the document. I'll
drop in some screen dumps of what's been created.
19 August 2008
Design courses at university.
It took a while to click,
but eventually I investigated the Victoria University's School of
Design in regards what they had to offer in the realms of 3D modeling.
My initial correspondence reminded me of Blender, a open source 3D
modeling program which is well worth looking into if you're running
Linux etc. I'm going to explore that angle myself in time. Much of the
terms and methods are the same as the industrial standard 3D Studio
Max. Asides that, I still have to find out what the textbook is for
DESN 104, so hopefully I can preempt some of my learning before Summer
School starts. If its theory, and not hands on computer lab work at the
100 level, then I'm likely to give it a miss.
The URLs below provide some
idea of the output and course content offered at . While the courses
offered in Auckland are more the atmosphere I'd prefer, I have to weigh
that up with the city in which I'm studying, and my capacity to study
14 August 2008
Introducing 3ds MAX 2008
3ds MAX 2008
In my break between Scriptwriting and my
Film tutorial headed into town - after a steak and cheese pie and a
Cookie Time, and grabbed this 3D Studio Max book. Another
look over the shelves ended up convincing me to invest in a different
book from the one I had first had my eyes on.
Introducing 3ds MAX 2008
Darviush Derakhshani and Randi L. Munn.
Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc. (2008)
This volume starts out with the very
basics and deals with the full spectrum of modeling, texturing,
lighting and rendering. The whole nine yards is covered. The other
book, which featured the development of a character model based off
Hicks from Aliens, and the building of a Pulse Rifle, was
labeled as a Intermediate to Advanced level focus, which, at this
stage, is just a bit too advanced for me. Anyhow, the one I did get is
some 600 pages, and with a student discount ended up being under $60.
For a full on text like this, not a bad price.
11 August 2008
Text Books for 3D Projects
On the way to Uni I went into Borders
to look up their computer books pertaining to Maya and 3D
Studio Max. They had a text on Maya for $50, where most are
approaching or exceeding $100. I think because this one was done by a
publisher who does educational based text books - the same people who
did the text I got for (X)HTML and CSS for COMP 101, it ends up being
considerably cheaper. Still, flicking through the pages is a bit
daunting, but that just translates to challenge. You just take one step
at a time, working from the basics, building confidence and not jumping
the gun. Things like seeing how much is involved in constructing a hand
or a face for a character model for example...
10 August 2008
The Long Hard Road of 3D Modeling
19 days for the world wide release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Clear Sky, the much awaited prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl.
All those things of the original vision now realised by the sound of
it. We will soon see. There is a tin box SE version being released once
more, and I'll be up for that.
The only reason I can see for owning a
PC... these fine games, and the capacity to work with Autodesk 3D Studio Max so I
can learn this modding business. I'll be picking up my first book on
the subject next week, and have been downloading plenty of tutorials.
Real skill sets too, in 3D modeling, texturing and lighting, to get
involved in some serious projects. From what I can tell so far, its
going to be a long hard road, but one well worth it. Got a prospectus
from the Auckland (ick) based Media Design School in regards some
training in this area so I can get more skills for realising my vision
- taking my world into the virtual...
But that won't be for a couple of years.
Have to train up myself to have the skills to be accepted, plus working
for at least a year and saving to pay my own way through it all.
Hopefully by then I can get into a similar course here in Wellington,
rather than have to go up there... Looking into the technical nature of
this stuff, whether you play on your old original Playstation, are a
hard core PC gamer or have a PSP in your bag, it really opens your eyes
to the skills required by the artists who create these games. As for
the programmers, I can't begin to even entertain that route! More about
my thoughts on this on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
09 August 2008
Beginnings of the
While Kryton makes some
headway in understanding the cryptic nature of code, from the
programmers angle of the modding world, I begin my journey of the 3D
artist. This entry is simply an initial statement of intent. A
motivator... With that in mind I've looked into things enough to know
that it will be a long hard, but very rewarding, road to get to the
point of confidence. As we have begun with altering weapon names to
their real names, and modified trigger sets to their real world
options, I will begin with equally basic models, such as the tutorial I
discovered on how to make a round... rather than the rifle :) There are
about two dozen steps, and then the texturing (which produces a object
with realistic surfaces, rather then a bland structure).
Eventually, there will be a
dedicated page for this side of things, as we intend to take this to
its fullest extent and produce a complete conversion. This is early
days, but there is enough in the detail of such a mission as to justify
a separate entry page for everything that will go on. This will
include, as a result of experiences, so basic tutorials to help others
on their way. As others help you, you pass on the knowledge and benefit
Next week I get my first
book on the subject, with a trial version of 3D Studio Max to get
started. It features the modeling of a US Colonial Marine Corps
character (of Aliens fame), and I think the modeling of a
M41A Pulse Rifle... There will be investment of some serious text books
as time goes by. Quite involved, but a very worthy mission, in order to
gain some real, practical, tangible vocational skill sets. The fun and
games come at the end of some very hard work.
Below is an example, from Oblivion Lost a few months back, of a rendered
Faction Leader from Clear Sky, one the model, the other
completed with textures. This gives you some idea of the process and
what can be achieved.
Faction Leader model
[without texture] [with texture]
Below is a link for the
modeling of a US MAC-10 machine pistol, often mistaken for the Israeli
Uzi. It gives some idea of the building blocks in constructing the
weapon. Then comes the texturing, to give it that metallic look on the
surface, or, for example, wooden stocks. The effects of lighting on
those surfaces comes further to that.
Some sense of direction
might be in order, so I've come up with a list of initial projects,
more or less in order of difficulty:
barbed wire (there is a tutorial out there which I need to find again)
round (rather than the rifle - I have the tutorial)
staff weapon (from Stargate SG-1)
Kabar USMC combat knife
retexture the bandit model
retexture USP Compact pistol model
retexture MP5 submachine gun model
SAS trooper in CRW kit
But before I get onto that...
One will need the Developer's Kit [SDK] to get their works of art into
the game... It is a bit over 300Mb.