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Grady Pruitt
Learn how to create 3D images using Blender
Blender Canvas 011 — Finding Inspiration
In one of my earlier podcasts, I talked about finding inspiration in other artwork.  At the time, I was meaning more in terms of taking what we learn in one art form and applying it to how we work in Blender.   Today, I want to talk about places and th...
Sep 1, 2014
40 min
Blender Canvas 010 — 10 Tools for 3D Modeling
Quite often in the Blender communities I'm in, I see a lot of discussion on tools needed to do 3d modeling.  Quite often, the focus is on the components of the computer used.  I'll give my thoughts on this discussion, but there are other tools that are...
Aug 19, 2014
45 min
Blender Canvas 009 — How I Get the Most from Tutorials
I love Bartek Skorupa's tutorials on CG Cookie.  They are so full of great tips and tricks I often don't hear mentioned anywhere else.  He had a great one this last week on creating a procedural wood texture as part of the Shader Forge tutorial series on CG Cookie.  But his tutorials are not the easiest to follow nor are they for the faint of heart.  I've learned to do 5 steps with his, in particular, and other tutorials that help me get the most out of them. While I'm going to be mentioning video tutorials a lot in this episode (and post), the same techniques work just as well for written tutorials and books.  And not just for learning Blender, either.  I've used these same 5 steps to help improve my drawing over the last couple of weeks (something I didn't mention in the podcast). Believe it or not, these steps are very simple, but if you apply them, you'll find yourself getting even more out of the tutorials  you watch. 1.  Watch the tutorial all the way through. The temptation is to jump right away into trying to do the tutorial.    Unless you are refreshing your knowledge on a particular area or seeing how someone else does something you already know how to do so that  you can see the difference to what you do, I would highly recommend NOT doing this the first time you watch the tutorial.  Instead, the first time you watch a tutorial, try to get a feel for what techniques and tricks you're going to learn by watching the tutorial.  Write down any questions you might have.  Take notes if you want.  But don't start trying to work through the steps.  Not yet. There's a number of reasons for this.  It can be easy to assume that you know what is coming next and wind up doing something completely wrong.  (Ask my wife about the first time she made cheese enchiladas.)  By watching the video all the way through, you can see all the steps in the order they happen. After having watched a number of Bartek's tutorials in the past, I knew I needed to watch it all the way through before trying to copy him.  When I came across the wood tutorial, I watched it completely before I moved on. 2.  Watch the tutorial again, pausing and reviewing any parts as necessary. Bartek's videos are chocked full of explanations and tips.  To fully appreciate them takes several viewings.  You can't just get it all by watching it once unless you already have a solid grasp of much of what he talks about. He goes through the material so fast at time that I had to pause the video several time so that I could catch up my work to what he just did.  A number of times, I missed what he just did in trying to do things as he did it in the video without pausing and had to replay what he did so I could get it right.  A few times, I had to replay it 3 or 4 times (or more) before I figured out what it was he did and why. And it's not just Bartek's tutorials I do this with.  I do it with almost all the tutorials I watch.  Sometimes, they do something quickly because it is something that is covered in another tutorial.  Sometimes, they're trying to get things done in a certain time frame, so they have to keep moving to fit in all they have to fit in within the time allowed.  That's why pausing and rewinding can be helpful. 3.  Ask questions. If you tried to do Bartek's wood texture tutorial, you may have encountered the same problem that I did.  Partway through the tutorial, I had done everything exactly as he had done and had all my settings similar (if not exact) to what he had.  But I wasn't getting anything close to the same result.  No matter what I tried, I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting the results he got. What did I do?  I went to the comments section and asked a question.  It turns out that he had started out with a default cube that was scaled 50% in both the X and Y directions and then had that scale applied.  Now, I'm not sure exactly what my dimensions or scale were on the "block" I was trying to texture,
Aug 5, 2014
32 min
Blender Canvas 008 — Are You Using References?
When I first started with Blender, I had trouble with a number of areas.  Like most people, I started out not using references very often. We think we "know" what something looks like, but when we try to recreate it, it comes off flat and we can't figure out why. Then, almost 2 years ago, I took the Mastering Modeling in Blender course.  That was where I first started understanding the power of using references.  It was some time before it really sunk in, though. Why References are important As I mentioned, we often think we know what something looks like.  But when we study it for doing 3D work, we begin to notice many things we may not have even noticed before.  For example, you might have a table sitting in your living room that you have looked at for years.  But if you start looking at it as a reference and making measurements, you might notice that the legs are not square, but really taper on the inside but remains straight.  You might look at a glass and see that it is transparent, letting light through it, but you might never notice the minute little warble in it that affects the way light passes through it.    You might work with a marble table top every day, but until you start using it for a reference, you might never notice the streaks that run through it or the little variations in the glossiness from where it has been wiped down. References are important because we are trying to recreate real objects.  Even if we are "making something up", it is based, in some way, on something we have seen before.  References help us to catch the nuances that we might otherwise miss if we rely solely on our remembering. Today, we're going to look at the 4 main types of references and the 4 stages where references can really improve your results. Types of References References fall into 4 main categories.  Photos and Videos, modeling sheets, mirrors, and in person references each have their advantages and disadvantages.  When using references, using as many of these as you can will help you make a more realistic image. Photos/Videos This would seem obvious.  After all, we are trying to "mimic" what we see in real life.  What better way to do so than to observe what we see in pictures and videos.  However, judging from the many pictures I see on a daily basis and my own experiences with my own projects, I can tell you that many of us, particularly those of us who are newer to the 3D world or are finding our works lacking.  While in some cases, it's a matter of learning what works well artistically, more often than not, the biggest failures are in not getting the details of an object right.  By studying photographs and videos, we can begin to match these details more closely. Modeling Sheet I never really discovered or heard about modeling sheets until I took the Mastering Modeling in Blender course at CG Cookie.  But in that course, I learned just how valuable they can be.  A modeling sheet is a "sketch" of the character, creature, or object that you want to model.  These usually have 3 to 5 pictures on them.  There are almost always one shot from the front and one from the side.  A top and/or a bottom view may also be provided.  Each of these is typically done in a more "orthographic" view.  The last type of shot that might be included is a "beauty" shot, which is what the character, creature, or object might look like from an "off angle" perspective mode shot.  The biggest difference between a modeling sheet and a photo is that this is a "drawn" version instead of a picture of something taken with a camera. When a humanoid  character is modeled, they are usually modeled in one of 2 poses for all but the beauty shot.  The A pose is with the arms down, but slightly away from the side, like the angle in the letter A.  This is considered a more relax pose to model from.  The other common pose is the T pose, where the arms of the character stick straight out to the side like the letter T.  Both poses,
Jul 22, 2014
30 min
Blender Canvas 007 — It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect
Blender Canvas Podcast RSS Feed First of all, I want to apologize for last week's episode.  It had been some time since I had tried to record a podcast episode, and I wasn't as ready as I could have been with what I wanted to say.  That, plus the fact I was nervous, was part of why I kept "um-ing" and "ah-ing". But that leads into today's topic -- it doesn't have to be perfect.  In fact, it most likely won't be.  But that is how we learn. If you are brand new to Blender, you'll feel keenly just how rough your image is.  As you get better, you'll show some work to your friends which will amaze them, but to those who are in 3D, they might think it's not that great.  Just remember that even those "experts" at modeling, texturing, posing, animating, and rendering had to start somewhere.  Don't be afraid to share an image.  While some may give you a hard time, there are those of us out there who still remember what it was like to be new and are willing to share tips and advice and hopefully at least a few of us won't make you feel like your question, or your artwork, is beneath our notice. So why might we want to release an imperfect image?  It's a great idea to get some feedback from someone, particularly if you are feeling something is off.  Sometimes, we get so close to our own material and we intuitively can tell that something is off, but we can't quite figure out what it is.  Often, taking that step of sharing it for feedback can be just what we need to push an average image into a great one.  When I did my wine glasses on a rack image, I went through 3 or 4 versions before I settled on the final image, mainly from checking out the feedback I got on things that I could do to improve it.  And that last image I did is way better than the first, with just a few changes! Regardless of how you do on a project, when it is finished, it can be helpful to review how things went and how they turned out.  As a server, I learned to do a 3 step analysis of how things went with a given table, particularly when things didn't go as well as I would like.  Though I first discovered this process to help me improve when I found myself starting to consistently get low tips, after some time, I realized that this same 3 step process would help not only my serving results, but just about any other area I wanted to improve as well. The first step in the process is to ask What could have gone better?  It doesn't matter what went wrong.  Sometimes it was things I could control.  Sometimes it wasn't.  At this point, it doesn't matter.  I'm just trying to find anything that could have gone better.  When it comes to waiting tables, it might be something like the kitchen took 30 minutes to cook something that normally takes them 10 minutes because of a large party on the other side of the restaurant or it could be because a table asked me for multiple refills and had to flag me down several times for something I kept forgetting to bring them.  For our 3D work, perhaps it is a capability deficiency on the part of Blender or perhaps  we had too much glossiness in the shader mix.  At this stage, it's only important to note what could have gone better, what ever that might be. The second step is to ask Which of these do I have control over?  I often find that most of the time, things that could have gone better are things that I have at least some degree of control over.  For instance, with my serving, I don't have any control over how long it took to cook the food, but I do have some influence of being aware of a large party and reassuring the guest that their food is coming.  I also have control over noticing the drinks need refilling before they ask and remembering to bring things they've asked for.  In our 3D work, while we don't have control over the capabilities of Blender (at least... not "in the moment"), perhaps we do have control on finding a "work around" hack or solution that will do what we want,
Jul 13, 2014
23 min
Blender Canvas 006 — My Biggest Mistake (And What I Did About It)
Blender Canvas Podcast RSS Feed In today's podcast episode, I talked about my biggest mistake with this podcast and my artwork. My biggest mistake isn't some technical thing.  It's not in how I use Blender (or in how I record the podcast).  My biggest mistake boils down to one word: PROCRASTINATION With the podcast, I had recorded several episodes and had decided to move forward in producing it, in spite of the fact that a more famous person in the Blender community was also launching a podcast.  My thinking was that I would take mine along a different path or come at it from a different angle.  He was a more "advanced" user and took his show along a more "professional" route (ie those working in a studio) whether they used Blender in their day to day work or not and in talking about things going in Blender development.  My plan (at the time, and, really, still is) was to share my own insights with what I have learned in using Blender, particularly topics that are important, but don't necessarily get talked about in tutorials and are things that don't require "watching" to understand, as well as conducting interviews with the artists who use Blender to create their works of art. I even had several episodes recorded and in my stream.  But then I went on a vacation and right after that, my kids started back to school.  I was busy with those things for a few weeks.  As things settled down, instead of sitting down to record more episodes and get some interviews lined up (like I intended), I wasted away my time doing things that were relatively unimportant.  I also put off the interviews because I lacked one piece of equipment I wanted to complete my set up the way I wanted to do it.  I could easily have done interviews with what I had before, but I told myself that I really needed this piece of equipment. Well, I now have this piece of equipment (actually, I have had it for a while) so I'm out of excuses other than overcoming my own procrastination. Which leads me to my 3D work. While I have been a Blender user since the 2.43 days, I still consider myself more of an intermediate user.  I feel that there is much about Blender and 3d modeling, rendering, and animation that I still have to learn.  I know I will always be this way (for there is a LOT to Blender), but the biggest reason why I feel this way isn't because of all there is in Blender. It's because I DIDN'T TAKE ACTION. That's right.  The biggest reason why I"m still an intermediate user after using blender for at least 7 years (I know it's at least this long, because one project I did in Blender I did before my youngest son, who is now 6, was born and I had been using Blender for at least a few months to a year before that at a minimum) is because I failed to take action in at least 4 ways:  opening Blender, starting projects, trying something new, and studying Blender. I Didn't Open Blender One of the biggest challenges I have had in trying to learn Blender is going long periods of time without even opening the program.  When the program is gathering dust on your hard drive, it's hard to learn.  Part of this was because of other interests and goals that I was trying to accomplish.  But more often than not, it was merely because I wasn't putting forth the effort to open the program.  Oh, I'd open it occasionally and dabble for a few days trying to get some project done.  But then I'd go for weeks without even touching the program again. I Didn't Start Projects I had a number of ideas for projects that I wanted to do, but I never started them.  I felt my skills needed lots of improvement to get to where I could do those scenes.  I eventually came to understand that to do the scenes I wanted to do, all I really needed to do was a bunch of "smaller" items and put them together.  But I wasn't coming up with ideas of things I felt I could do, or even if I did, I would procrastinate on sitting down to do it. I Didn't Try Something New Over the years,
Jul 7, 2014
36 min
Blender Canvas 005 — Telling Stories in 3D
Many people seem to struggle with the concept of telling stories with their images. In this episode, I share my thoughts on coming up with a compelling story for your image.
Aug 12, 2013
24 min
Blender Canvas 004 — Patient Persistence
I take a break from talking about 3D specifically in this episode to focus on mindset and the need for patient persistence in working on your projects.
Aug 6, 2013
24 min
Blender Canvas Podcast — Episode 3 — Drawing Inspiration from Other Arts
In episode 3 of the Blender Canvas Podcast, I show how drawing inspiration from different sources can help with learning to create 3d images.
Jul 22, 2013
20 min
Blender Canvas Podcast — Episode 2 — Experimenting with Blender
In episode 2 of the Blender Canvas podcast, I talk about how beneficial experimentation can be to learning Blender and figuring out how to achieve the look you want.
Jul 22, 2013
20 min
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