Category Archives: Vehicle Modeling Series

Vehicle Modeling Series, Done

Yep! In fact it has been done for a while – I said on the previous VMS post that I should be done around now, but after that I went on a spree and finished the thing in just a couple of days :) But… I was planning to do something special with it, since I thought it was too cool to just take a few still shots and post them up. So in the last couple of days I worked on a little something. And here it is (watch it in HD in Vimeo for best effect):

Since the model is not textured and only has simple materials it was a challenge to think of an as-simple scenario, but I think this does it. Quickly accomplished, but quite a lot of fun and learning to do!

So now that it’s over, and to avoid repeating myself, a final verdict of the thing as a product: 98%! I’ve already told you how much of a great catch this is and how I feel working on it has boosted my modeling skills and confidence, so no news there. I nitpickingly took 2% away because I was expecting a clean-up in the end (renaming objects, maybe linking some, and closing a couple of holes that we ended up forgetting about), but that’s kind of unfair because a) you can’t really blame Jonathan for letting those slip after 15 hours of extreme modeling and teaching, and b) fixing those things is easy-peasy and can be left as an exercise for the reader :)

And that’s it! Or is it? No, I still have at least a couple of plans for this baby. Stay tuned ;)

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Previous post on the series: Part V (Detailing the Wings)

Vehicle Modeling Series, Part V

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

Part V, Detailing the Wings

Getting really close to the end now! This part had moooore modeling experience and quite impressively still new things to teach.

That’s right, I thought by now we’d just be using all we’d learned and racking up experience but the Series had at least one new thing to teach me: Lattices! I’d been spotting these on and off on videos on the web but never really caught an introduction to them and their capabilities. Now it’s clear to me that no tutorial on modeling would be complete without explaining this feature. We also revisited constraints to reinforce their utility.

As for the model itself, whereas in the blocking stages I made sure my mesh was coherent with Jonathan’s (but not being paranoid about it), now that we’re detailing I’m giving myself more room to do my own thing. Before it was important that I could follow along, now we’re just doing things and “never going back to them”, so I might as well shape them to my own liking. Overall the design is the same, but some details are more “me” (like the lower top and the wing insertions in the back). Here’s how it’s looking:

That tail fin's lack of details is really standing out now.

Only the tail and the cockpit remain, at this rhythm I may be able to have this finished by the end of next week. Stay tuned!

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Done (Detailing the Tail and Cockpit, bonus Video)
Previous post on the series: Part IV (Detailing the Mid-Section)

Vehicle Modeling Series, Part IV

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

Part IV, Detailing the Mid-Section

More modeling practice! Really getting second-nature now. As expected there was a lot of detailing going on, as we moved on to the central paneling and the engine.

That's where most of the work went. Keep scrolling for a few close-ups.

Again all the techniques we previously learned were reinforced and we learned a few more tricks. It introduced using curves to model the tubing and proceeded to help master it by throwing in lots of tubing to model. The usual: practice practice practice! It also emphasized the utility of mixing edge-loops and creasing, and taught how to use balance that mix in different ways for different situations.

The copter is really coming together. Next up will be the wings, but I need a pause from all this modeling. So I’ll be doing what I said I’d be doing a couple of posts back: dedicating a chunk of my time to learn texturing. Hopefully that will let me post more often too!

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with some close-ups ;)

Click for hi-res

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Part V (Detailing the Wings)
Previous post on the series: Part III (Detailing the Front)

Vehicle Modeling Series, Part III

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

Part III, Detailing the Front

The front is done! Between the windshield, the paneling, the grill and lights and especially the landing gear, this was a lot of modeling work, although peeking into Part IV (the engine) reveals that we’ve been pretty much just warming up so far.

Aside from the new techniques I learned (like creasing) and the valuable insights Jonathan gives on his workflow, I’m racking up modeling experience like crazy. I thought this was a good project to upgrade my basic modeling skills (and I was right), but I didn’t expect the project itself to provide so much work to do. It not only teaches the technique but also makes you become good at it by means of practice practice practice. And the results are showing – out of curiosity I decided to re-tackle an old and fairly simple modeling project from scratch (my watch, should be posting about it soon); I had so much more clarity in making decisions and the modeling itself was so much better it’s just unfair to compare it with the previous attempt. Good stuff.

Enough words. Already wrote 180, and a picture is worth a thousand. And I’ve got two!

Click for hi-res. This is what was worked on.

And an overview of the ever-more-awesome thing this is.

So next up is the mid section, with all those engine details. Wish me luck. It will take a while, but if you follow me on twitter (or just keep checking back here and watch the twitter updates on the right) you’ll see some progress updates before the next post. Buh-bye!

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Part IV (Detailing the Mid-Section)
Previous post on the series: Part II (Blocking in the Shapes)

Vehicle Modeling Series, Part II

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

Part II, Blocking in the Shapes

Don’t worry – it didn’t take me this long to work through Part II. Other stuff came in the way. But, but, I won’t lie: this was a LOT of work! And long too. It takes me a few hours to go through 45 minutes of these video tutorials, pausing, rewinding, doing, redoing, tweaking. If you’re sitting through these having popcorn and thinking Jonathan is the man, well he is, but you’re missing out big time. I’m really confident I’ll come out of this a good modeler, even if it’s just out of experience.

This part was still not considered detailing (ha!) – we were just blocking in the shapes to work as the base for the actual details. Believe it or not:

I know I don't.

So like I said this was a lot of work and therefore a lot of experience. I also started to realise the best way to do things. Before I always wondered, looking at things and thinking how to model them, whether I should start with some solid and extrude stuff out of it, or if I should add geometry, how to look at the topology… Now I feel I’m more armed to know what’s best where. Then a few applications of things like empties, arrays and spins and your modeling toolkit really starts getting together. Great stuff.

Ah, one last thing: don’t be afraid to do your own thing. The only thing I’m really being religious about is matching Johnathan’s topology, meaning I make sure I have the same polygons he does, although they may be shaped or placed somewhat differently. This is to ensure that if later along the road I realize his way was better for doing whatever it is I’m doing by then, I’ll just need to do some tweaking and approximate my design to his. Other than that I feel free to shape things differently. It’s my own rendition of the Gyrocopter anyway ;)

Next up we’ll actually start detailing the vehicle. But before I head into that I want to get back to the Blender Foundations book and actually do some animation. To pause from all this vertex pushing craziness :) Stay tuned, I’m back!

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Part III (Detailing the Front)
Previous post on the series: Part I (The Silhouette)

Vehicle Modeling Series, Part I

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

Part I, The Silhouette

It is out! Well it has been for almost a week, but I’ve been busy doing other things :) This series amounts to a total 15 hours of video, and the end result looks incredibly awesome. But I’m not planning to just sit back and watch. You know me better than that by now. I’m doing it. And you’re going to read about it here ;)

First of all, a note on who I think this series is for. I read somewhere, I think in the middle of comments at BlenderCookie’s website, that this series was aimed at intermediate users. Although it does assume you have a very basic understanding of how the UI works, in my opinion this is awesome for what I call an Eager Beginner. Here’s why: if you are willing to pay attention, to pause the video a lot  and to try things for yourself (possibly even taking notes), this will teach you modeling from the ground up. Along with the “meta-technique” (workflow), all the technique is there: selection methods, extrusion, loop-cutting, edge sliding, splitting, merging, filling faces – and then of course I’m sure it will evolve to more advanced techniques as we start detailing -, all presented and explained in a clear albeit quick way (hence your necessary willingness to pause the video a lot) as you go along.

If like me you’ve already been presented to these foundation topics, you can do it like I’m doing it at least so far: watch a video part once to get a feel for what we’re doing in that specific part and to pay attention to what is said, and then watch it again and follow along actually doing the things in Blender.

And so far so good! We used David Revoy’s modeling sheets to define (and refine) the silhouette of the gyrocopter, and here is the result so far:

Can't say it's awesome yet, or I'll run out of adjectives for later.

Next up we’ll block the forms in the whole vehicle, so that we can then start detailing. You gotta be looking forward to that!

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This post is part of a series on BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: Part II (Blocking in the Shapes)

BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series

First of all, let me just report that the feed for this blog has been added to Planet Blender! Hopefully I’ll be able to reach out to more newbies like me with its help. If by the way you just got here for the first time through the Planet, hey ya and welcome! This is where I’m documenting my learning process with Blender, feel free to hang out and share experiences :)

Now, as you (newcomers and oldtimers) can see we’ve been covering a lot of ground following the Blender Foundations book, and quickly doing so! But clue is in the title – this is a foundational body of knowledge. We have to get out there and suck more info from wherever in order to learn more than just the basics.

After chapter 6 of the book, we were practically done with learning to model as far as the book is concerned. Here I started to realize two things: first, that it helps a lot to keep practicing on the side, trying to model objects from your environment using the tools you’ve learned, to keep them fresh and gain experience; second, that that toolset is not enough when you want to add intricacies to your designs, or it may very well be enough but I just have no idea how to come up with those details.

So I decided to invest in what seems to be an awesome and extended modeling tutorial, BlenderCookie’s Vehicle Modeling Series!

That level of detail is just the kind of thing I want to learn to do, and I’m confident this will be the definitive modeling course for me, at least until I decide to tackle more organic shapes. Obviously, you can count on an extensive review by yours truly :)

The series is currently in pre-order and you save 50% if you get it now, but the latest news is that the release is imminent, so hurry up! (Wow, listen to me. They should be paying me for this kind of publicity! (and no, of course they’re not :P))

Speaking of investments in learning Blender, this is just one in the series I intend to make. I’m currently looking at books about lighting and texturing, and taking advantage of the fact that my girlfriend is currently in the US I asked her for a (much cheaper than we can get here in Europe) copy of a book on 3D short films! None of these are Blender-specific, which is good: I want to learn the art, and then worry about the tools. But don’t worry, contrary to what this shopping spree may indicate I don’t have the X000$ to get Maya or 3ds, so you can totally expect me to apply everything I learn to Blender :)

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Here are direct links to the posts on the series: