Modellers – Week 3

After mostly doing a review of the basic functions of Blender in Weeks 1 and 2, we started our first real project this week; a diorama of a room populated with low-poly props, rended by an orthographic camera from an isometric perspective.

A screenshot of Blender showing the diorama as a work-in-progress.

Most of the time we use perspective cameras. With perspective cameras, like in the real world, things appear smaller the further away they are. An orthographic camera does not have that effect; things stay the same size no matter how far away they are. In the image above the right-hand pane shows the view from the orthographic camera while the left-land shows a standard perspective view. You can see how the cube shape is emphasised using the orthographic camera; it’s a stylistic choice.

We are also using an isometric view point. This is one where the camera is positioned approximately the same distance along each axis and looking back towards the origin. It’s a style of presentation that has been made popular in many games down the ages and again is a stylistic choice. Search Google Images for “game isometric” to see examples.

We learned how to split the Blender view by dragging from the bottom left corner with the mouse. This split view allows us to maintain the camera view on one screen while we actively edit on the other.

Blender Viewport Shading Options

We set some options for Viewport Shading to help understand the model as we build it. These are shown above. Shadow and cavity help emphasise edges and geometry. Switching “Color” to “Random” helps us quickly visually distinguish distinct object while we still don’t have separate materials assigned to them.

All the objects were built with the following techniques:

  1. Loop-cuts
  2. Edge and face loop selection, movement and scaling
  3. Inset
  4. Face duplication and separation (to create new objects)
  5. Bridge edge-loops

The first three of these are very familiar, but we can talk about the other two. A few places, such as around the hole in the wall cut for the window, we had a set of existing faces that could be repurposed to form the basis of another object, in that case the window itself. Duplication of faces is accomplished with the keystroke shift-d, followed by enter to confirm. The duplicates, already selected, can then be separated by pressing p and choosing “Selection”.

Bridging edge loops we used in two ways. In the first, we had faces on opposite sides of a box. Selecting them both and choosing “Bridge Edge Loops” from the “Edge” menu causes a hole to be punched out between these faces,. The original faces are removed and the internal edges of the new hole are filled in.

The second way we used it was to join two faces opposing each other across a gap. In this case the faces are again themselves removed and a solid connection between the faces original locations is created across the gap.

Next we are going to continue to model props within the room and, time permitting, assign materials and render a final image.

Files for this weeks work-in-progress model can be found on our Sharepoint site.

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