Thread: 3D Software?
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Old January 26 2004, 11:11 PM   #9
Four Mad Men
Fleet Captain
Re: 3D Software?

Blender has a whole host of features I've not even used yet. There are some new mesh editing tools like "loop subdivide" and "knife subdivide" that makes the overall building process MUCH easier. No one on the project has tackled to problems with the booleans so these features are very much appreciated by myself (and others I'm sure). It's got all the standard stuff you can think of: UV Mapping, Multichannel textures, a whole host of lamp types, and the list goes on and on.

Some of the advanced stuff in modeling is the ability to create bones so you could create a "being" (human, animal, whatever) whose components move relative to how the bones are attached. Another really nice thing is Blender uses Python as a scripting language and there are some really interesting scripts out there for things like creating hair, grass, flocking behaviour (like in birds). Again the list of scripts is quite long. One nice script is an extrude along the face normal, this is quite handy for creating hull panels (extrude it, bevel the top edge and viola!). I myself have written a script that creates a spotlight for each vertex of a mesh (typically I use an Icosphere) and directs each lamp towards the center. Each lamp uses the same datablock for it's properties so a change to one affects all the others. I wrote this soon after Vector's GI lighting tutorial to decrease my ligthing setup time.

The introduction of Yafray integration (in the daily builds) is something people are raving about. I've not had a chance to play with it much but it has a GI setting with a ton of options.

Blender's animation tools (which include some audio tools by the way) are another area I'm not completely familiar with but it has a physics engine for the game engine that was recently re-actived. On a more day to day level you can create paths for objects to follow, or you can let Blender tween the objects motion by simply setting the location, rotation, etc. of an object for each frame and Blender will fill in the "gaps". All the setting (IPOs they're called) are modifyable as graphs if the changing them in the 3D space gets too unwieldy.

I'm the King of never-finished-projects but there are plenty of people out there who have created some really nice stuff with Blender. In fact I recently download the Refeit enterprise which has some nice detail. Including the spotlights you see that illuminate various parts of the hull. The impuse engines on it stunk but I just happened to be reading some tutorials on halos so I spiced those up, created a simulated GI lighting setup and it is now is my desktop wallpaper. I'd post the image but I'm not sure I can identify the author of the mesh. There are however a ton of galleries on the web with people you used Blender and Yafray so I don't think you'd have too much trouble finding examples of can be done with Blender.

That's probably too much information for you but it's just such a nice program (and getting nicer every day -- literally).
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