Blender Beginner - Project 1

As I published my Beginner's Coffee Cup tutorial yesterday I was reflecting on my first days in Blender. I had NO idea what I was doing, why a texture wouldn't appear on a mesh object once in world, why things were so damn big when they arrived *wink* etc.

I also believe that the only way to get "better" content into OS is to educate from within. Sure, a few creators will make their way over lured by adventure and cheap land, but for the most part they will stay with what they know and what works for them - especially monetarily.

So to that end and my way of paying it forward, I am going to make a few REALLY BASIC tutorials that will hopefully give those that want to learn Blender a starting spot. 

The first project is a crate!

Now don't faint from excitement. We all know how to make a crate from prims and there is indeed NO advantage to use mesh. But, in the making of the crate there are many lessons learned AND students actually get something uploaded and useful.   So here we go.

FIRST be sure that you have a working knowledge of the Blender interface. I suggest the tutorials at BlenderCookie.com  (http://cgcookie.com/blender/cgc-courses/blender-basics-introduction-for-beginners/)

Find a crate texture to use. I am using Cargo0092 from http://cgtextures.com (free).


Photo 1 is the Blender Default scene in 2.73. Your screen should looks similar as I have made only a few changes.

This project is to turn the default cube into a crate; start to finish and SLOWLY :D.


Rotate your middle mouse button away from you in order to zoom into the box. Notice that over in the top right area you see that CUBE is in bold when the cube is selected.

We don't need to make any changes to the cube as our crate will have the same exact shape. We do however need to MAP the cube so that it will take a texture inworld. Before mapping the cube will only take ONE color tint no matter what texture you try to put on it.


Find the materials button in the Properties Area (right side - red star in photo). Click on the NEW button. Change the name of the material slot to "crate".


Click on the NEW button. Navigate to the texture you are going to use on your crate and then choose "open image" (far right side top).

It is important to note that we will ACTUALLY be placing our texture on the cube inworld, but in order to see how it will appear in world, we need to do this step.  


In order to see the texture on your model you need to have "Textured Solid" checked in the 3D Space Area (red star).


In this next photo I have closed the 3D Space toolbar (N-key) and made a new window by dragging the top right corner of the window to the right (see those interface videos listed above if you get stuck here).

Change the window type from 3DView to UVimage editor (far left bottom). You can now move between windows by clicking in the appropriate pane.
Click in the right window (3D View) and scroll your mouse wheel back to zoom out a bit and see the complete cube.


Change from Object View to Edit View (red star area or tab_key). Your crate when selected will now be orange. You can select and deselect by using the A_key. That will select and deselect the WHOLE object. All we need to worry about with the crate :D. 


With the crate selected in the right pane, press the U_key to open the unwrap options and choose "unwrap".

In the left hand pane (UV Image Editing window) find the "Image" text (in blue here at the bottom) and choose "Open Image". Navigate to your graphic in the explorer and choose open image. You should see the texture you are using in BOTH right and left panes. The pane on the right represents you mesh object. The pane on the left represents the TEXTURE you will be using.

Now in the best of all possible worlds the texture would be clean and square and tiling etc. AND you can definitely do that in your graphics program. But, let's see how well we can do just using the unedited graphic.


In the UV Image Editor pane (left) select all the faces of the object. Remember the A_key toggles the select all on and off.  In this case there are six square texture areas stacked on top of each other, each one representing one face of the object.
With all faces selected, hold down the S_key and move your mouse inward to shrink the defined texture area.
Alternately use the G_key to grab and move the texture squares around the graphic so that they end up looking like my example.
Note that in this example graphic the texture pane and the actual object are not aligned the same. They are flipped in orientation. The unwrap function in Blender was changed between my older 2.64 version and this version. I personally am not happy with the changes :D. 

You COULD rotate the whole square so that the UVimage and the mesh example were oriented the same, but really it doesn't matter.  So onward.


Save your blend file. Actually it would have been good to save as you were working. So gold stars if you did that.
Export your crate as a dae file. (File - Export).



Log in to your grid. Choose Build - Upload - Mesh Model.

 

In the Uploader (IN THIS CASE ONLY - important) change the upload options to full (Use LOD above). This is because we are basically uploading a cube :D. Nothing complex.  

In the Upload Options tab you may choose to set the size of your crate to 1 meter instead of 2 (the size of the default cube we used) or you can resize inworld.

Choose the "Calculate weights and fees". In most OS grids this will all be 0. Once the Upload button appears, hit upload.

Upload the texture and apply the texture to your crate. It will have only ONE texture face where a prim cube would have six. My aim was to keep this simple and still give you something you could use :D.
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2015-03-07
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