This week we did some basic modelling in Blender. Blender is a very powerful 3D graphics package that is free and open-source. It is supported across all major desktop platforms.
Blender is so large and fully featured that it can be quite intimidating to learn. Knowledge of a few shortcut keys for common operations can really improve the experience of working with the program. We were indebted to Giuliano D’Angelo’s wonderful Blender shortcut infographic for providing us with some quick reference in this regard:
Moving About and Zooming
The first thing we covered in Blender was moving about. Practically speaking, Blender requires a three button mouse to operate. In Blender the middle mouse button (MMB) is used to control the view. Used on its own, it tilts the camera. When used with the SHIFT key, it pans the camera instead. CTRL and the MMB are use to zoom, but this is also more often achieved by scrolling the mouse wheel.
Object Mode and Edit Mode
We used Blender in two modes: Object Mode and Edit Mode. The TAB key can be used to switch between these. In Object Mode we can create, select and reposition objects but we cannot do any detailed editing on them. In Edit Mode, we can do any detailed editing we require on the currently selected object. Note that selecting items in Blender is done with the right mouse button (RMB).
Last Saturday, we had a fantastic time creating very simple stop motion videos in scratch by taking pictures of small figurines in sequence and then uploading the pictures from cameras and phones to the computer. We then started Scratch and added the very first picture as a SPRITE from a file. All the subsequent pictures were then added as new costumes to this sprite!
We did have to do a very simple code for the sprite – when the GREEN FLAG is pressed the sprite FOREVER uses the NEXT COSTUME command and WAITS .1 seconds. The computer then moves from the first costume down to the last, very quickly, but not so quickly that we can’t see it happen! The result looks like we have taken a video. Check out the scratch.mit.edu website for the demo that I used – Julie Animation. Search the site for cdathenry1516 games.
Next week, we will take a look at Paint.net,which is a drawing program. I will quickly go through the menus but the best way to learn a program like this is to use it and experiment with it. We will use it to try to delete the backdrop from some of our pictures that were taken last week to see if we can make it transparent. When we do, we will be able to see our own backdrops in behind our characters.
Please download the Paint.net program from www.getpaint.net/download.html. Please be careful of ADS. Only download from the recommended site. I will bring a copy on a belt.
Next week, the Moms and Dads should bring along a camera or phone along with the lead to download the pictures to your laptop.
I would like a nice new game for Christmas.
I would like it to be a Christmas game where you have to catch the presents in the fireplace
Just to make it easier, here are some more things that I would like it to do.
- It needs to look like my living room with a nice window and lovely fire place.
- At Christmas, when you look out the window it is normally snowing.
- We normally have our tree in the corner, with a nice set of lights on it.
- Santa normally flies across the top of the house and drops the presents down the chimney, lately he has not had a good aim, so we will need to be able to move the fireplace left and right.
- If we catch the presents, we can move them to under the tree.
- I don’t want the game to last more than two minutes.
- And when it ends I want to know what all the Presents are.
So you might need to think about the following:
- What to put on the Stage and what to use Sprites for.
- Whether one Sprite should be in front of another Sprite. This is something that we have not done before.
- How many costumes each Sprite needs
- Do you want to use one Sprite for all the Presents and just change the size and colour.
- Stamping could be used to get the Presents under the Tree.
- How to do the Snow and the Flashing Lights on the Tree.
These are the notes from our seventh challenge in Season 2 of Scratch Beginners, CoderDojo Athenry.
The challenge this week was to work on your own game. The coding concepts for this challenge are:
- Using the Scratch skills you have acquired for your own games
- Creativity and imagination
- Designing your own program.
A key point in developing your own game is to start simple, get the first idea tested and working, and then start adding more. We also spoke about the usefulness of planning on paper, rather than jumping straight into coding (which can be a tough one to sell!)
Here are the notes from the day (PDF): CDA-S2-Challenge07-YourGame.pdf
If you want to check how we did things in previous challenges, you can find the programs here: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/183379
We will continue to work on our own games next week, and I will post a link to a gallery of games that ninjas have produced.