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Posted by SilveRansom at Feb 21, 2011 9:51:26 PM
Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
This may be jumping the gun, but I have the file working at the moment, and I wanted to take advantage of it.

While I've worked for a while now with 3DS Max, and have whipped up a little tutorial for the Easter egg design contest using that program (found thataway ), Max is an expensive program and the trial version is limited to thirty days and requires registration. Blender, on the other hand is free.

Blender (make sure you get the 2.56 beta... it's approximately 18 times more user friendly).

Of course, you get what you pay for with Blender. Let's just say I'm decidedly not a fan of the program (so if someone else wants to take this and run with it to make a much better tutorial, by all means, please do so... there are probably better ways to do this, and this is very "bare bones" for a tutorial). For the purposes of tinkering with potential Easter egg design, though, a free tool is kind of a Nice Thing. Blender is a free tool, and it can help with some tinkering with designs.

You'll need the files from my MediaFire (free file hosting) link thisaway:

http://www.mediafire.com/?15qfmhpz09w55

There should be five files in there. Technically, you can get by with just the "egg_1.blend" and "basicgrid.png" files. The other two .png texture files are just there for reference (I made both of them for my own diagnostics) and the .obj file is there if you want to try to import the egg into some other 3D package. (The .obj file is a direct export from the Ringer-provided 3DS Max egg from years past. It's just the UV-mapped egg, though, so the camera and edge renderer aren't included.)

Anyway, once you start up Blender and open the "egg_1.blend" file, you should see something like this:



Again, just looking at the basics, you'll want to be able to move the view around a bit and render the image. The default navigation option for Blender has you rotating the 3D view by dragging around with the middle mouse button. Shift-Middle Mouse Drag to slide around the view. Zoom with the scroll wheel.



Speaking of your texture, though, you should be looking at that bit in the lower right there, the Texture slot. Click the button I've circled in green there and navigate to your texture like you would in any Windows program, and that should swap your texture in for the one I've set up as the default.

NOTE: For whatever reason, Blender doesn't show the texture in the active 3D window. YOU HAVE TO RENDER the egg to see your texture applied. F12 is the Render shortcut, so hit that to see your egg as rendered from the in-scene camera. This is NOT the Ringers' camera, it's just one I've put in the scene to give a medium range view of the egg, along with a few lights.

The Render screen should look like this...



...and from there, just click on the Return to Scene button (circled in green in the upper left there) to go back to the main Blender interface.

It's an iterative process, going back and forth making changes to your design, slotting in the texture (though you shouldn't have to change it in the main interface if you're saving over the same file name) and rendering it to see it on the egg mesh... but it's at least a tool to use to see if your design is doing what you want it to. The 256x256 square texture mapped to the egg shape creates some quirky distortions, so it's a good idea to tinker a bit and make your submission as good as it can be.

Oh, and if you want to render the egg at a different angle, either rotate the egg or move and re-angle the camera (the little pyramidal box thing floating in the sky). Select them with a left click and the move handles should pop up automatically. Rotation is a bit squonky, though. The "r" key is a shortcut to start rotation, which should then be visually evident. It's a bit of a hassle to really line it up, but with enough tinkering it's possible.

I'll try to keep an eye on this thread to answer questions, though again, I'm far from a Blender expert. Max questions are easier. Apologies if I can't answer quickly, though. Life is a bit busy lately.

Thanks for reading, and an early Happy Easter to all!
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by Apollo at Feb 22, 2011 1:52:10 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
It's not jumping the gun by much at all actually! <3

Posted by Ezmerelda_M at Feb 22, 2011 2:59:43 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Ooo yay! EGGS! =D
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~~~ Adrielle, Ezzleart and Enfyz ~~~
... (& @AmazinAdrielle on Twitter) ...

Posted by Dexla at Feb 22, 2011 6:03:05 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
This is terrific! I'm glad that you've found an alternative to 3DMax because I was running out of PC's to load the trial version on!
Thank you very much for the tutorial as well!

I was wondering though - is there a way to "reverse" the process? Is it possible to draw (or roughly sketch) on the 3-d egg, and then have that texture removed from the frame and reshaped flat/square-ish?

Please don't get too technical with me - 3-d programs are a foreign language to this old Mac user, whose world has always revolved around Photoshop and Illustrator :D

*edit to add --- sweet! It actually works on a Mac!... /tinkers
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Dexla d'Midnight

Posted by SilveRansom at Feb 22, 2011 7:39:37 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
 
I was wondering though - is there a way to "reverse" the process? Is it possible to draw (or roughly sketch) on the 3-d egg, and then have that texture removed from the frame and reshaped flat/square-ish?


In theory, yes. In practice, just setting this much up took me about ten hours more than I wanted it to... the documentation for the program is... cryptic. I'll dig into it, though and see what comes up. In the meantime, maybe someone with better Blender chops will write up something better. :)

The program is definitely powerful, and experts can produce some cool stuff like Sintel , but man, the UI and workflow are arcane.
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by Dexla at Feb 22, 2011 8:02:22 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
No worries! I'm glad to have the grid in place so I can always guess somewhat where things will fall and how they are distorted when they are rendered. The Mac version is a little bit behind and I'm currently stuck at getting the skin on the egg... I can't find a button that will actually bring the skin in - or, I'm having trouble finding the windows that you show in your screen shots. (In my world, I should be able to find my skin, click on it, and hit "apply to shape" but that would be too easy I suppose.)
Tonight, I get home to my PC so, I still have high hopes :D
Thank you again!
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Dexla d'Midnight

Posted by SilveRansom at Feb 22, 2011 8:20:16 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
I was afraid of that. It seems to save the window layout for me, but that's no indicator of real offsite testing. Sorry!

What you should be looking for is a panel on the bottom there where you can click on one of a row of icons, specifically a little white and red checkerboard icon (the Texture panel) next to a little sphere icon (the Materials panel). They should be close to the active window; you can see them in the screenshots along the top of the bottom third of the UI; the Texture panel button is third from the right end, the Materials panel is to the left of that; both are active in the UI of that screenshot (the default is one such panel open, but you can drag the UI around to get two open... but it's not necessary, all you need is the Texture panel).

With the egg selected, and the Texture panel open down there, you should be able to scroll left and right to find the Image part of the Texture panel. That's where those buttons should be.

Oh, and I would *love* a "click and apply to shape" process, but Blender apparently hates the idea of such simplicity and user friendliness. That's really all I wanted here, just a "here's the egg, here's the place to slot in the texture, click to apply, render, readygodesign". This is about as close as I could get. :)
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by Dexla at Feb 22, 2011 8:39:03 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Got it!!

Thank you thank you thank you!
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Dexla d'Midnight

Posted by Snowpixie at Mar 1, 2011 3:46:43 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Right. Being able to play around with it myself instead of asking others to do it just saved me about 3 days and a whole lot of work for others.

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!!!!!!!!

<3

Eep! uh... now that I've managed to negotiate and save a blender file, how do I save as or convert it to png?

Feeling rather techno-illiterate x.x
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Imp, totally sane mermaid-siren of Meridian.
Superdoodle avatar by Budclare =D

Posted by anchovygirl at Mar 1, 2011 4:05:03 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
I'm assuming you're using Windows, but when you're at the Render screen hit F3.

Or, click Image at the bottom whilst on the Render screen and you'll see Save As..., click that and on the left you can change it to .png.
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Anchovia

Posted by Snowpixie at Mar 1, 2011 10:32:38 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
wonderful, thanks <3
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Imp, totally sane mermaid-siren of Meridian.
Superdoodle avatar by Budclare =D

Posted by Xeitgeist at Mar 3, 2011 9:18:40 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Yo Silve,

I've been trying to get Max up and running again for rendering but my Illustrate! plug-in has expired and so I uninstalled it... I now can't see any materials in my Material Editor and although I can change the file, I can't see the material change and when I render, it's all just black.

Any ideas on how to fix this?


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xeitgeist of purdywinkle oshun iz tired
i tumble around heer

Posted by SilveRansom at Mar 4, 2011 6:50:49 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Hmm... I'm not sure, to be honest. Did you try to download the file again? You could also reset all the material slots and just start over with a new material on the egg. (There's a Reset option in one of those dropdown menus in the Material Editor... I just don't know exactly where off the top of my head... I'll check when I get to Max, which isn't on this machine.)

Beyond that, I'm not sure, but I'll keep thinking about it.
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by SilveRansom at Mar 10, 2011 11:18:54 AM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
OK, under the Utilities menu (in the Material Editor there), there should be an option called "Reset Material Editor Slots". That should force a reset of the Material Editor. From there, you can just make a new material and apply it to the egg.

You might also check to make sure you didn't delete or turn off the lights in the scene. That can affect renders.

...not sure what else might be going on. :(
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by Patetch at Mar 23, 2011 8:30:20 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
I can't get Blender to install - keep getting an error message:
 
The instruction at "0x75152de5" referenced memory at "0x90909142" the memory could not be "read."

Any clue what that might mean?
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Pletoo of Sage

Posted by SilveRansom at Mar 25, 2011 7:53:09 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
No, I'm not sure what that means. :( It almost looks like a RAM glitch, though. Have you had trouble installing other programs?

Edited to add: There are other people asking about this online, and this conversation thread suggested it might be something with the computer's OS; maybe run virus scanners, system checking tools, that sort of thing...

http://www.garagegames.com/community/forums/viewthread/82097

Also, you might need to get the latest Python installation separately from Blender, just to see if that makes a difference. (Blender runs on Python scripting.)

http://www.python.org/

Sorry, wish I knew more about how to help!
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Silveransom
makes art like this or this &
Blender Eggs!

Posted by Patetch at Mar 25, 2011 10:58:43 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
Thanks, and no worries - I was trying to put it on the computer that had all the art and stuff from previous egg contests so that it was all in one place but that computer is pretty old so I am not really surprised it didn't work. Maybe next year I'll put it on the newer computer but don't really have time to mess with it this year.
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Pletoo of Sage

Posted by riku743 at Mar 26, 2011 10:57:48 PM
Re: Silveransom's Blender Easter Egg Tutorial
A little late, but i figure I should post anyway. I saw a few people complaining about the shiny factor on blender, and here's how to get rid of it.
Click the button right to the left of the Texture, you want the one that says Material.


Scroll to the right a bit until you get to the Specular section.


Click in the Intensity bar, type in 0, and hit enter.




Edit: If it still looks too shiny, scroll a bit left from the Specular section and try lowering to Diffuse from anywhere from 0.8 to about 0.4. Depending on the colors of your egg, this should make it work better.
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Nil used to play Mala.
Lurking on the forums.


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