Author Topic: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation  (Read 20588 times)

Scion

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Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« on: January 14, 2007, 11:44:25 AM »
Blender

Blender is a very powerful piece of software for 3D graphical purposes. It`s also free. Many beginners are scared away because of it`s different user interface; a UI that over time will probably be second hand to you and make your modelling fast as light. With some practice you will notice that Blender is a beautiful piece of software that has nearly everything you need: things it doesn`t have but that you need have possibly been made by others as a Plug-in, or you can optionally make it yourself using the Python language which Blender supports fully.

Personally I`m no stranger to 3D Studio MAX, and I find Blender much more intuitive and efficient.


News: SMD import & export scripts by Hellequin
(Import of skeletal animated models.)


Pros for M&B modding:
  • Supports everything you need for all M&B modelling. Very feature rich.
  • .obj import/export
  • Good UV Unwrapping support. (Press 'U' in UV-Unwrapping mode to get different unwrapping methods.)
  • Uses a small amount of memory, making test runs of M&B suitable while Blender is running.
  • Easy and exact rigging of models for animation.
  • Easy to make a beautiful preview with photo realistic rendering.
  • You learn a free, powerful program to use for any 3D modelling purpose.
Cons for M&B modding:
  • Steep learning curve for new users because of different user interface

Start here:
Blender3d.org - Main site
Features
Video Tutorials
Blender Noob to Pro
Blender 2.3 User guide

Important sites:
BlenderBuilds - Newest unstable build of Blender to get the freshest features.
Blender Nation - Large community sites with news, tutorials and resources.
Yafray - Superb renderer fully integrated in Blender after it is installed. Requires some experience to use properly, but it is worth it.

Best ways to learn Blender:
Blender 3D Forum
BlenderArtists.org Forum
« Last Edit: February 09, 2007, 03:39:02 AM by Scion »

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2007, 02:45:55 PM »
(All I can say to that is that I'll second the praises for Blender as a program, and will offer free scripting to anyone who does write a working Blender SMD export script.  Also, Scion, I assume you've found a decent SMD import script - should post the link.  I found one which appears half-broken, and would rather see a better one.)

Scion

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2007, 03:03:00 PM »
Unfortunately no. What I have made that I want to export has been made from scratch or been imported as an .obj-file (no skeleton, no weight). I used gMax for rigging. But I would largely prefer to use Blender because I have much more control in it.

Milkshape have a good support for different formats, but my trial has unfortunately expired. It might be use as a converter. Alternatively there might be a working MD3 importer for Blender, but I have not gotten any of the ones I`ve found to work though. In particular, the SMD format seems to support a large variety of different properties. Many importers/exporters for other games support only features for that game; and might therefore not support M&B. As far as I understand, that is.

Yoshiboy

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2007, 03:13:00 PM »
Well because it was the main animated model format in half life one its very popular for other games working around the HL1 engine I would imagine.

jlgx50

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2007, 10:52:16 PM »
dose Blender work with OBJ format ?

-JLGX50

Scion

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 04:32:23 AM »
Absolutely.

Reaper

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2007, 11:06:47 PM »
there are currently 2 .SMD Exporters for Blender with a third in development, all can be found at Valves Source SDK wiki which can be found at the following link:

http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Blender

I cannot say how they work as I've switched to XSI Softimage's free Mod tool 4.2, seeing that Valve created all the 3d art for Half Life 2 with XSI SoftImage, and the fact that it has an excellent .SMD importer/Exporter, and full support for Half Life 1/Half Life 2 character rigging and animation, how can I go wrong......

How did I find this? :) I was planning on modelling for a Source mod, but downloaded the new version of M&B and fell in love with M&B all over again........

Scion

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2007, 06:00:40 AM »
One of them is a dead link, the other one I have tried out before. I could not get it to work. It looks like the most promising though.

http://forum.moddb.com/thread/13334/?page=1

Anybody successful with this one?

Reaper

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 07:39:03 PM »
I've had another thought. I was perplexed when I started using XSI, because with just the free version I cannot export anything but the .xsi format. With the Half Life 2 Plug-in I'm able to export both SMD Skeletal animations and SMD Mesh, but also I'm able to export .VMF textures also(plus weight a weight map).

Anyways I got off subject, I thought I remembered Blender being able to import the .XSI format, but it doesn't. Yet it does Export to .XSI. You could of course model everything in Blender(if thats what your comfy with) import it into XSI and convert it to SMD that way.

You might try giving XSI a chance though, I've used almost all the major 3D Apps out there; 3ds max, Blender, Wings, Milkshape, even tried the free version of Maya. I've never gotten any models completed because I couldn't find an App I was comfortable with, but XSI just feels right to me. While I'm just getting into highly detailed modeling, I have done alot of animating; spaceships, airplanes, creatures and all that. With XSI I've finally found an Animation/3d App that I might actually invest 2K in(with my nice fat $20,000 re-enlistment bonus from the Army, of course)Though the free tool is great, I'm looking for more rigid/soft body animations, physics, cloth, and the awesome Ultimapper that Softimage has, which generates normal-maps and effects maps for you.

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2007, 12:32:47 PM »
Found this today when I had a sec: decimate isn't gone.  Apparently it's gone from a 'tool' to a 'mesh modifier' (akin to subsurf).  Here's a v2.4 doc page about the modifier and how it works.  Haven't checked it in Blender yet but the documentation looks current.

Non-Blender users, this is a tool which simply reduces your poly count.  At 100% it turns quads into tris (needed for it to work) and nothing else; at 10% it has eliminated 90% of your poly count and your model probably doesn't look right anymore.  But at the in-between values, you can play around with this tool and potentially save yourself some serious polycount.  I've found that lots of my stuff ended up looking basically identical at 50-75% polycount, compared with the original.

As far as I know, only Blender does this; one more reason why we should work to support this program far more for M&B than has historically been the case.

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 02:06:56 AM »
The first and only working Blender .SMD import script is now operational and has been uploaded to the repository.

Imports both the skeleton and the mesh, with all the texture/UVmap and bone weight information intact.  Lightly tested only; please do report bugs, but only after following the instructions on the Repository page exactly.

This was surprisingly easy. Well, it took hours and hours, but not days and days - and I knew zero BlenderPython scripting, and precious little basic Python, before beginning it starting from a busted and non-functional importer from 3D2Toy.com.  But it leaves me feeling that it should be no real problem to get an exporter working as well.  Here's to Blender power...

Cheers!
- Hellequin

Scion

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2007, 03:27:09 AM »
Hurray for Hellequin!!!  :D

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2007, 12:34:51 PM »
You thought that was impressive?  Hah.  (Well, okay, so did I.)

A dedicated exporter script turned out to be even easier.  This one only works with the M&B 0.8xx human skeleton, so for armour and so forth; one for horses will be an easy change, though, and if anyone wants/needs that variant please contact me.  Once we have custom skeletons that will be only slightly harder to set up, at which point we'll just have a universal exporter.  I'm 100% confident that that will take me less than a day from the point at which BRFEdit/M&B support for custom skeletons exists.

Both import and (human) export scripts now bundled together and available, as ever, at the M&B repository.

Nothing can stop us now!
- Hellequin

Scion

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2007, 12:53:38 PM »
Crap, that`s simply awesome. No more 3D Studio max/gMax fumbling. Well done

Offline Hellequin

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Re: Blender - Open Source Graphics 3D Creation
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2007, 01:05:32 PM »
Scripts updated (same Repository link)... horse skeleton now supported using a parallel script.  Choose the script which corresponds to the rigging type you're doing, it won't do it for you.

Note that the horse .SMDs exported by BRFEdit 0.8.1 will not load properly in Blender using the script.  Thorgrim's recently released 0.8.2 version fixes this error and they load fine from there.

Cheers!