June 28th, 2012
A couple months ago I was invited by Packt Publishing to review some early drafts of their new Blender manual, Blender 3D Basics by Gordon Fisher. I can’t say I was a huge amount of help (to be honest, I forgot one of the chapters I was supposed to work on and totally missed the deadline) but still it was an honor to be recognized as a Blender authority. I can’t say I ever expected to be seen as such, but I guess years of practice and community involvement have got to pay off somehow. (Kidding, of course…Blender skills are their own reward.)
So anyway, the book is in print and it’s got my name on the contributor’s page and I’m pretty excited about that. That is all.
March 26th, 2012
I’ve been making some vector icons for a client and one of them involved a slide carousel… not exactly something easy to draw in SVG! However, I took a quick shortcut through 3D which I’m now going to share with you. Take a look:
- I started by modeling a simple slide carousel in Blender, which took only a few minutes. I only needed the shapes, not the lighting, so I rendered it with some shadeless materials, thusly:
- I then used Illustrator’s auto-tracing function to get the shapes from the render. Since the source image was very high-contrast, the tracer did a great job for once. At this stage I also drew in many of the simpler shapes, primarily circles.
- Finally, I imported the Illustrator file into Inkscape to apply gradient fills, because Illustrator’s gradient tools are a leading cause of brain cancer in graphic designers. (It’s true!) The slide dividers benefit nicely from some clever banded circular gradients, to give this final result:
Not bad! Had I tried to draw this from scratch in Illustrator, I’d probably still be working… instead it took less than half an hour, and is about as photoreal as vector graphics can be.
October 10th, 2011
Perspective is always a challenge. This is doubly true when working with scenes that don’t exist. Some of the first scenes in Sunrise Issue 10 take place in an enormous hangar containing an airship. What’s an artist to do in this situation? Well, why not build an airship hangar?
Not a real hangar, obviously… a couple hours in Blender and I’ve thrown together this lovely digital hangar which has already saved me endless frustration. For those of you unfamiliar with the technology, this is a digital 3D model which the computer can render from any angle. Of course, the excitement doesn’t end with accurate perspective, because this is also a lit model! Take a gander:
My “people” are made of blocks, yes, but still, it’s nice to know where all the shadows fall.
With this in hand, I can go back to my paper and ultimately produce this:
Accurate perspective and realistic lighting, with no cursing or sobbing required. Computers, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s give them a big hand.