Donnerstag, 15. November 2012

Mesh tutorial: Preparing blender

Hello again!

This tutorial is written because I started to mesh simple objects for my projects and I think it is a good idea to show people how I did them. I also planned to release packs containing a quite number of meshes. I will also give tutorials how I made that meshes, so you can only make one or two if you not need a pack, or make a bit different meshes.

1. Download and installation

So, all meshes are made with blender, which is free, and once you got it you can make simple objects fast and easy. The new versions of blender are also easier to learn, although still not perfectly intuitive. This is also why my tutorials – to help learn blender.  I am using the blender 2.64 by now, and hence write tutorials for this version. Gab it here:

The installation should be familiar to all who had installed something, so I skip explaining it. After installation you can start blender, after it load the workbench it opens splash screen. If you close it you see the blender screen like this:

2. Adjusting preferences

The first thing to adapt is the blender preferences. Actually it is a big field of settings, but I myself changed just one. My mouse has only two buttons and a wheel which works pretty well as wheel and pretends being a middle button – I can click it, but using it as a button is quite a pain. If your mouse has a middle button, than you can skip this section.

Blender uses the middle mouse button very, very widely. Fortunately blender also allows emulating it, and this is what we activate now: Press [Ctrl+Alt+U] and then scroll to the Input page, then you can select the check box Emulate 3 Button Mouse:

Now if the [Alt] key is held the left mouse button turns to the middle mouse button. However, this may have unexpected side effects in windows itself: If you use multiple keyboard layouts, please check that you cannot change them via combination of [Ctrl], [Alt] and [Shift] keys: With the activated button emulation you will press a combination of this keys very often and make windows to select keyboard layout.

3. Adjusting screen

Next thing is to change the set of editors, blender displays on start, the screen. The lowest section takes the Timeline editor, needed only to render an animation. I am not planning to do so, so I replaced this editor by UVMap editor which I need more often and which sometimes needs a full screen width. Here how I put it here and now I suggest doing the same:

At the left lower edge of the timeline editor you can find a selector. Hit it please and you’ll see a menu, in this menu select please the UVMap editor, called ‘UV/Image Editor’ in blender.

The Timeline editor is now replaced by UVMap editor. Now, since there is space you can make it a bit larger, and at left and right borders you can find tiny ‘+’ buttons, hit them to open additional panels, we will need them some times, at least the left panel with coordinate editors .

The UV Map editor is not always in use, if not needed, you can close the editor by moving down the lower border of the 3D view panel. Here I’d suggest enlarging the scene tree a bit and hiding camera and light – meshing for SL not needs them (I think).

You surely noticed the tiny plus near the scene tree.  Please hit it, it opens a properties panel where we need a settings at lower end: The ‘Backface Culing’ is under Display category, please check it active:

This option is very useful (or even important) for SL meshes: If activated, blender displays faces the same way SL displays them, i.e. the back sides of faces are not shown. Otherwise your meshes could look good in blender but bad in SL after upload.

Finally we delete the initial cube. We need mostly something else and will have to remove the cube than. Just put the mouse over the cube and hit [Del] key, than Delete button in menu.

Almost ready. Blender allows saving the current screen layout and select it from list of predefined layouts, so we must not prepare the blender workbench every time we want mesh something for SL doing the steps above. Here how to do that:

First, we add a new screen layout that will take the layout definition – simply hit the plus symbol near the screen list. The new screen is called ‘Default.001’, because we copied the default screen. Than we rename the screen to something appropriate, say ‘Second Life’:

If we close blender now and open again, the screen layout and the name is lost. In order blender keeps it we have to save the screen by pressing [Ctrl+U].

That’s all . Now we can switch to the SL screen by selecting the name in the screen list, also if we start blender it appears in this screen.

Thank you for reading. However, I am not a blender expert. If you find errors, feel free to comment or send an IM inworld. I wil edit the post to add something important for next projects, too.


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