Thursday, August 28, 2008

Logic Bricks

My latest lesson was just released today, it is called Logic Bricks. In it I cover the fundamentals of doing interactive 3d in Blender. No programming is required! Learn about Blender's visual programming using Logic Bricks. Quickly create complex interactions. Detect keyboard input, changes scenes, move objects, use the physics engine for gravity and collisions, use properties, sound, animate in real-time using IPOs and Actions, also learn about linking files (as opposed to appending) and the Discombobulator script. And the Blender Basics mouse makes a return (but this time in real-time)!

Prerequisite knowledge
Having worked through the Blender Basics Package or equivalent experience.

I got a question from one of my students regarding versions of Blender. The Logic Bricks lesson was created using version 2.46. Version 2.47 of Blender was just released as well, should you upgrade? With a lesson, I think it is always best to work in the same version. I just got a look at version 2.47 and it looks like they added functionality to the Logic Bricks. To avoid confusion, it would be best to stick with 2.46 for the lesson.

Thanks to Mitch Lopata for letting me use his space ship to illustrate linking (and having a cool example).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Facebook Security Bug?

Here's a potentially disturbing security bug. Let's say you've posted some photos for your friends to see. I'm not on your Facebook friends list, but I am friends with one of your friends. Our mutual friend posts a comment on one of your pics. That comment and a thumbnail of that pic will show up on my Facebook home page. I can click it (entering your album) and see the full picture as well as all the comments. But it doesn't end there. Once I'm into your album, I can walk through all the photos in that album as well as comments.

Hey Facebook... I hope that's not a feature. Hopefully it is a bug you're working on fixing. In the meantime, I'd be careful about what you say and post on Facebook. Of course, that's probably good advice for the web in general :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bits of Blender #34 - Ambient Occlusion

After problems with YouTube (see earlier posts), several crazy weeks at work, the release of my Materials and Textures video, and the production of my forthcoming Logic Bricks video... Richard and I are back in the swing of things with Bits of Blender. We just release episode #34 featuring ambient occlusion. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Materials and Textures

My latest video for, Materials and Textures, launched on July 31st. I've been so busy I neglected to post on it. It slipped my mind when I was blogging on Friday, I was so excited about the Acrobat 3d stuff and Blender (sorry!).

This video uses Blender 2.46 and is a gentle introduction to the subject matter. It stands separate from my first 3 videos and can be viewed by anyone with basic Blender skills (like what you'd get from Blender Basics 1). The video covers:
  • Materials
  • Textures
  • Image Mapping
  • Procedural Textures
  • UV Mapping
  • Color Ramps
  • Outliner Window
  • Oops Schematic
  • Transparency
  • Reflection
  • Multiple Materials
  • Multiple Textures
  • Projecting an Image
  • Creating Strands (hair or grass)
  • And more!
It is over 2 hours long and is recorded in the same manner as the others, compressed using the H.264 codec at Best quality, Millions, 1024x768. The audio is AAC 44.100kHz. Just as we did for Blender Basics 1, 2, & 3. I continue to support the Blender Foundation and recently (two months ago) became a sponsor for Apricot.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Blender to Acrobat 3D

A co-worked was talking about Acrobat 3d yesterday. It sounded cool so I had to try it!

The first thing I found out was Acrobat imports the Universal 3D (U3D) format. Looking at my export options in Blender, I did not see an option for that. So a quick Google brought me to the open source MeshLab. With MeshLab I was able to export the BLEND to OBJ and then convert U3D. That worked on a simple model (a cube with a UV), but crashed repeatedly when I tried a more complicated model.

Searching further, I found out the free (but not open source) DAZ Studio exported U3D. I use DAZ and I like it. So I brought my OBJ into DAZ (no problem) and exported the U3D. DAZ exported a large file very fast!

Then I went into Acrobat Profession 8, opened a document, went to Tool=>Advanced Editing=>3D Tool. With the 3D Tool, draw a box into which you will import your U3D.

You can see a quick test of the Blender Basics mouse in Acrobat here. I didn't do any tweaking to the lighting or materials after bringing it into DAZ via the OBJ format, it is just a straight import/export with no finessing: Blender=>OBJ=>DAZ=>U3D=>Acrobat.