Metric & Imperial Units In Blender

Blender provides three distinct types of unit that can be used to measure objects (distance) in a Scene; “None“, “Imperial” and “Metric“. Although relatively self explanatory in terms of what they represent, their use does come with some caveats the user needs to be aware of, which depends particularly upon the version of Blender being used. (Read more)

A Thought on Digital Modeling

The thing with digital modelling is that there are some hurdles and obstacles to get over. First, it’s the software that you’re using. Secondly, the theory and fundamentals of digital modelling (topology for example). These things can really hold you down if you’re the analytical type that wants to know the ins and outs before you even begin to do anything. With digital sculpting, you don’t have to worry too much about all that, but the downside is that you need a fast computer to really have a smooth and fun experience or experimentation.

Poly modelling is a lot easier in that you can look at topology references and get straight into it, following the muscle flows right from the start and tweaking your way outward (like a ripple effect).

Box modelling on the other hand requires a different mindset, and can be challenging for some. You’ll have to learn how to manipulate flows with spin edge, multi-cut and so on. I like Box because it bends and twists my mind in a lot of ways. It’s the modelling method that I started out with, and it’s a habit that is very difficult to break, but I must learn to break this habit and try other modelling methods in order to grow and expand as a modeller.

Some people find that Box modelling got easier after they did a lot of Poly modelling. I guess one of the reasons for this is that while poly modelling, you’re forced to look at topologies and your mind makes a record of all the flows. So when it comes to Box, you can immediately see how things ought to flow, and from there all you need is just some good techniques to change/manipulate flows.

Blocking out

Form practicing in Blender using 2d model sheets as references. Blender has all the necessary tools for Box and character modelling.


Digital Sculpting in Blender

I personally have no sculpting experience (traditional or digital), but last month of this year I decided to just play around with it. For the first time, it finally clicked (one of those Eureka moments)! Overall, I really enjoyed it and the image below is the result of that first experiment with a Wacom tablet. I’ll talk more about sculpting in Blender later on with some thoughts and pointers for those that want to get into digital sculpting.

Viewport’s References

A lot of people find the human hand to be challenging to model or block out (form) in a way that looks realistic. There are many ways to bring an image into Blender but when it comes to modelling the hand, this is the only method that I know of that can help and the good thing about it is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the viewport. In the example below, I zoomed into the hand from that angle and placed an empty object (Shift + A –> Empty –> Image). From there you can drag and drop the image into the border of that empty object or manually load the image in the properties window.

Don’t forget to check “Align to View” immediately after you placed the Empty

If you have some basic drawing skill, what you can do is sketch out the form/shape of the hand and use it as a guide. This same steps can be repeated for the foot.

Base Mesh and 3D Scan

  • Post published:February 23, 2016
  • Post category:Blog Post

There are a lot of resources out there and we just need to think outside the box to put them to good use. Besides collecting good references (images) I also collect base meshes and 3d scan obj files for study purposes. With meshes that have been triangulated (game models for example), you can use them as model sheets (see image below for example) or practice re-topologizing.

For demonstration purposes, I used ManuelLab character creation

Professionals use references…

  • Post published:February 23, 2016
  • Post category:Blog Post

William Vaughan in his “[digital] Modeling” book has this to say to those that would ask “How do I make my work look like what the pros are doing?”:

[Use as much reference material as possible and hone your observational skills].

Not exactly what you were expecting, huh? But yes, that is the mind-blowingly simple trade secret of the pros. It’s what separates a hobbyist from a professional. Remember that the sooner you come to the realization that there is no magic “Do My Job” button, the sooner you can start down the road of creating professional CG work.

The biggest problem I see for new artists is a lack of reference and observation. It immediately shows up in their work. Not only is it obvious to me, but most importantly, it’s obvious to those doing the hiring.

And I agree wholeheartedly! You can never have too much of it, so I suggest you get into the habit of collecting good references and store them in a digital morgue file. Using references is a skill and it doesn’t make you inferior, but will only make you a better artist in the long run. The more realism you want to see in your artworks, the more you’ll have to consult references.


When Comparing Yourself Is a Good Thing

  • Post published:December 24, 2015
  • Post category:Theology

Every one of the articles I read talked about comparison as if it were the worst thing you could ever do. Quotes were pulled from famous men and women alike. “Comparison kills.” “To compare is to despair.” “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And, yes, comparing our lives to others has lots of negative aspects to it, and we certainly shouldn’t always be measuring our accomplishments against everyone around us. But sometimes, it seems to me, comparing our lives to others—in balance, of course—can help us. (Read more)

Dark Patterns

  • Post published:December 18, 2015
  • Post category:Blog Post

A Dark Pattern is a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.

Normally when you think of “bad design”, you think of the creator as being sloppy or lazy but with no ill intent. This type of bad design is known as a “UI anti-pattern”. Dark Patterns are different – they are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind. We as designers, founders, UX & UI professionals and creators need to take a stance against Dark Patterns. — Source

Goethe on the Psychology of Color and Emotion

  • Post published:December 15, 2015
  • Post category:Blog Post

Color is an essential part of how we experience the world, both biologically and culturally. One of the earliest formal explorations of color theory came from an unlikely source — the German poet, artist, and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (Read more)

Do I Own My Art? On Intellectual Property Rights

  • Post published:December 10, 2015
  • Post category:Blog Post

Question: “I’ve been thinking a lot about copyright and often wondered how copyright fits with Scripture. I am a video content creator and sometimes the copyright laws matter deeply to me, other times not. How should believers view intellectual property rights?” (Read more)

Four Productivity Lies

  • Post published:December 9, 2015
  • Post category:Blog Post

A look at productivity from a biblical perspective.

I have invested a lot of effort in understanding productivity and emphasizing it in my life. Eventually I came to peace with it. But I only did so after addressing some of the prevailing lies about it. (Read more)

Where do ideas come from?

  • Post published:December 6, 2015
  • Post category:Blog Post

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” — David Bowie

“Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” — Steve Jobs

“If you have one person you’re influenced by, everyone will say you’re the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you’re so original!” — Gary Panter

Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist)

The Psychology of Cryptomnesia: How We Unconsciously Plagiarize Existing Ideas

YouTube: Copying vs. Stealing in Web Design

Theme Recycling: There Are No Fresh Movie Posters