Blender Python: WrapTo Projector

* Updated 6-28-09: Script was in need of cleanup, as well as better documentation, a thanks for the heads up goes to a user named Denver *

A python script for Blender that I have long wanted to perfect, but lacked the time. Also the function it performs is difficult to explain, it is similar to the current shrinkwrap modifier but it keeps the normal based displacement from destination surface roughly equivalent to the source. Meaning, with shrinkwrap, a pipe will be flattened, but with this script it still will be a pipe. I believe the image below is a perfect example for its usage, using it to align some “pipes” to a generated terrain.

Since this script is kind of difficult to use, the following is a quick tutorial on basic usage:

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Project DASER: Introduction

I finally get to my current project: Dave’s Laser Scanner, or DASER for short. It is a very simple handcranked camera-trackable platform with a spinning mirror laser that will hopefully be able to bring all types of 3D object from real life into blender to be cleaned and animated. I started a few months ago, and designed and built an automated version that synced itself with pulsating light and auto movement turntables. It was a masterpiece, that ended up being too over-engineered, and misuse of time…But a refresh of the idea was to build the platform you see in the image out of foamboard in a couple of days from pattern to reality, and taking the laser system and placing it in a fixed holder.

daser_device Click to see the rest of this post…

Electronics: Popsicle Stick Circuits


While in a crafts store recently I realized something that should have been obvious, and I’m not sure that I am the first to think of this, but you can make excellent prototype and simple circuits using popsicle sticks they sell in boxes (1000 for a couple of dollars) and self sticking copper foil they sell in rolls at the “stained glass” sections. It is much easier than anything I have tried, those generic IC boards, wire wrapping, or even breadboards. Simply wrap around the stick (don’t overlap) solder closed working on the other side, and you can now stick components and wires securely. It might use more solder than you want, but there is rarely waste. You can see how I used it to make a tiny LM317 voltage regulator circuit that was its own heatsink.


Gallery: Miniature

This will be the last of my reminiscence posts for a while, I am going to stick to current stuff for the immediate future. However I wanted you all to see what led me to my current personal project, and that was my intention to make a short movie using live miniature sets and animated characters. However getting everything to work was a nightmare. I built the one set shown in a weekend, and working on the character models to make them look like they belong in that environment did not work well at all. This was before the Blender had composition nodes, and working on personal time caused the project to stretch into forever, before eventually being shelved because I lost the original spark that drove me to the project in the first place. A couple of years later (now) I decided that the answer was building the characters and sets in real life then animating them in Blender. So I devised a laser scanner system that I could build at home for a couple of (dozen)bucks and a simple application that will clean the result, more on that in my next post, for now please enjoy another of my probably abandoned projects.

In the scene is a penny for size reference, for our non-American viewers that’s about a 2cm diameter coin. And yes that is a hand sculpted tree to the left…

I say probably abandoned because I may continue this project reusing some assets, so what you see is some of the cooler WIP images but definitely not close to the final polished product. Below you can see the three main characters, a girl, a boy, and a cyborg (who may or may not look a bit like Peter Weller from Robocop). After the jump there is a simple scene with all three characters, and getting a better render was out of the question because the boy’s mesh has weird normal flipping issues causing the raytracer to skip some faces, go figure…


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Gallery: Flatmesh Girls

One often overlooked great method to using a 3D modeling package, is not to build fully three dimensional meshes at all. This is also a great method for building displacement bitmaps. However there are current problems to rendering properly since you have to add details in layers that do not light up correctly when rendering, and orthographic camera alignment is a bit of a pain. I had a solution in the works for a while (and may actually have time to complete it now) based on my old Neg3D RTK which I will have a working version up *soon* (note don’t hold your breath on this). In the meantime I have two great examples of what I’m talking about.

A word of caution there is nudity in the post after the jump, or at least a resemblance of it ;)
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3D Models: Claymore’s Claire

A while back in 2008 had a Comicon contest to model your favorite comic hero/villan. I thought long and hard, in my mind it became a choice of Claymore’s Caire, Witchblade, or Poison Ivy (from Batman). Looking back now, I wish that I had instead done one of the others, but nevertheless I think that this model turned out very well. My goal from the begining was to use an entirely open-source pipeline, Blender (GLSL new at the time), GIMP, and Inkscape only. Limiting myself did hold back some of the polish, but I believe that it was a fair result. However for some strange reason when time came to render the result nothing worked like I wanted. I had the normal mapping pipeline incorrect and some work had to be redone, and it was a huge frustration because I had nothing but computer issues at the time, but I pulled through and posted my work.
Here is the official entry page from the contest.

Exhausted, I backed up my work and forgot about the model (and to be honest haven’t visited the forums since…shame on me), but now I give it to you in the hopes that it will be useful.

claymore_example Click to see the rest of this post…

Blender Python: Vertex Color Toolkit

This is a python script for blender that has tools to properly control vertex coloring, it support live updates from edit mode. Simply install into the scripts directory, then inside Blender split off a scripts window, and run from the Wizards menu. All the tools are self explanitory, if there is still confusion from the names simply play on a simple model like a sphere to learn the results. The operations are performed on any of the verts, edges, or faces you select, and it will work either at the vertex or face limits. Using GLSL you can see the results live and lit.


3D Models: The Strongman

One of my proudest modeling sessions, the intention was to achieve great anatomy with just “subsurf modeling” techniques (no sculpting!). And although exaggerated proportions are in play here, it was done with intent. I had a grand image in mind when modeling, that I may still get to finish one day. In the meantime I thought that some people might learn from the topology of this model to make maybe even grander models.

strongman_example Click to see the rest of this post…

3D Models: Drawing Helper Manikins

Often when you want to draw something (on paper) or even create a scene in 3d there is a need to make a layout in order to perfect the idea before adding detail. Blender is very good for this task but most of the time if your idea involves humans it can be difficult to build a rough shape quickly. That is why in this package there are 5 files containing quick shaped manikins from my early ones hierarchically jointed, to the simple rigged unimesh approach. Browse through and use what you need but the latest version is in SingleHumanBase.blend, with a morph target that controls the amount of “manliness”.


Updated Site Officialy (re)Launched

planetfall_sunriseRecently I decided to rebuild this site that was often ignored by me, and today the site is stable and runs great on almost all browsers (on IE things still don’t render correctly). Although I have had this domain since 2000, it was first used to market my old web design business during high school (hence the name). For the last few years I would often feel guilty that the was very little here and updates were rare at best. However recently being unable to find work like before, I decided to use the time to focus more on my graphics hobby. Luckily the blender foundation guys are having a new open film project, and I decided to apply (fingers crossed), and as a result, digging through backup CDs, I re-discovered a lot of my old programs and content that I will upload here for you to enjoy under open source licenses. Ahhh…I am finally a blogger… :?

Please enjoy the site and never hesitate to contact me or comment while here.

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