Blender

Freeform discussion about anything related to modding Transcendence.
Post Reply
User avatar
Darth Saber
Militia Commander
Militia Commander
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:53 pm
Location: Korriban

Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:11 pm

I recently aquired the image creation software know as "Blender," but I cannot figure out how to create the detailed ships which others, utilizing the same program have. Also, I am still having trouble creating facings and bitmasks/maps. I can write the *.xml codes fairly well for the mods, but the picture part still haunts me. If anyone can render assistance to me in this regard, I would be grateful.

:|

darksider
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:59 am
Location: CSC Asia

Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:09 am

I'd like to hear about it too, especially the "rotate and render" part - at first I thought the animation feature would be useful but actually wasn't (with my poor understanding, at least) and I'm doing it manually, though I have a few more useful applications for this kind of manual work.

Honestly, Blender is way too complicated for me.
(But I also heard that trueSpace is no easier than Blender, so I guess I'd better stick to Blender for now, anyway.)
It's so difficult that I do not use Blender as my primary modeller software and use "3DACE" for basic modelling - it's a very simple (but still a bit difficult, I guess) and low-capacity freeware, but unfortunately it I think is only available in Japanese. (I wonder if Metasequoia is easier than Blender, but I haven't tried it)

Maybe you could read tutorials for blender which you can find at blender.org and the Blender Model Repository, and then download some models from there and see what is behind.
In fact I'm a bit shocked to find that simple models there usually have more than ten thousand vertices, even if most of them being automatically generated. (actually, my ships on Xelerus consist of only about 500 vertices)
And then you can do some typical trial-and-errors, if you are serious enough.

I'm sorry I can't help you much since I too have great difficulty in modelling just another nondescript barrel.


Ah, but just one thing... I can make the bitmask for a pitch-black ship by pressing the "a" key on the render window of Blender, and then using some screen capture software (there may be a better way to do the same thing, though).

User avatar
digdug
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2614
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:23 pm
Location: Decoding hieroglyphics on Tan-Ru-Dorem

Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:46 am

Blender is a tool made by professionals for professionals.
Even the Tutorials go into an unnecessary depth of details for beginners that try to use the software for the first time.

Recently this Tutorial has been suggested to me:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

I'm slowly going through it to learn, and I want to learn, because even if somewhat difficult at the beginning I understand that Blender is extremely powerful. (and it's free!)

User avatar
Atarlost
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2391
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:02 am

Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:35 am

For rotate and render go http://www.neurohack.com/transcendence/ ... c.php?t=30. There George gives the correct camera and lighting angle. The lighting angle is equivalent to something like a sun lamp rotated 30 degrees about the z axis and 45 about the x or maybe y axis. second link in the first post is to another forum where you can get both a python script for autogenerating rotated renders in Blender, and a java applet for assembling the renders into a single file the way Transcendence wants them.

For Blender I can only reccomend reading the tutorials and playing around. Oh, and if you ever want to do any boolean operations download the megabool script. The built in boolean function is widely acknowledged to be trash.

darksider
Commonwealth Pilot
Commonwealth Pilot
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:59 am
Location: CSC Asia

Sun Nov 16, 2008 7:10 am

Wow, the script sure is useful (and it's set to 9 degrees per image by default!), even though it took me another half an hour to figure out how to use it (and I don't understand how it works at all). I'm sure I definetely couldn't have understood a thing were it not for the tutorial video on YouTube.

One thing I must remember is that many keyboard shortcuts in Blender are "polymorphic" and governed by the type of the window targeted by the mouse pointer.

OddBob
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 505
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:05 pm

Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:08 am

I use the animation feature for rendering, it's fairly easy (despite what the length of this post may suggest)

I'll assume you have already made the model for this, and that you are using the default screen layouts.


So first off EITHER, group everything that composes the ship together, or just the lights/camera - you can rotate either one, but whichever it is, you want it all to turn as a unit. (select the things you want and CTRL+G ----> add to new group - shift g to select everything in the same group, unless you have a whole lot of objects it's easier just to do it this way)

Alternately join all your meshes together (ctrl J)

Now go here:

Image

at the bottom of the 3d view window. Change the circled menu to "3d cursor" instead of "median point".

This will change how things rotate and scale - before, they pivoted around the median center point of the object which may not be where you want your ship to pivot - the option you just selected makes it pivot around the 3d cursor.

to place the cursor just click on the 3d window with the left mouse. Look at it from another angle afterwards to make sure the cursor is positioned correctly along all 3 axes. if you have your ship selected it's likely there is a big pointy arrow axes indicator thing in the center. clicking there will just let you move the object around, which you probably don't want to do so you can turn that off by clicking on the button with the finger (see pic above it's just to the right of the circled area). alternately you can just deselect the object.

If stuff doesn't rotate or scale like you expected always go here first.

Refer to this picture for the next parts:

http://img145.imageshack.us/my.php?image=instr2ni1.png

Okay the next thing you need to do is make sure the area marked with fig 1 says what it says in the picture. Don't worry that the rest of the screen doesn't match yours, this option is what will make it match (it might look a little different but don't worry unless you don't have the marked parts)

This is the animation screen. technically it is the same as the screen you were just on because those little buttons on the lower left of all the windows can make them be whatever you want - you could have done all this stuff from the default screen if you really wanted. (btw right click on the border between to window to split off or recombine subwindows - as you can see there are quite a few here, don't fret though because you won't need most of them)

Note that from here on this may not be the most efficient or correct way (like all the previous stuff was.. :D) , this is just stuff I figured out from playing around but it works well, so:

Now press the button marked as fig. 2. Now select your ship and hit G and then enter. don't touch the mouse, we're not looking to move it, just make sure it shows up on the window to the right. You should now see a bunch of lines, look at the numbers and legend and see how the graph works. (this button starts recording your actions in the 3d window - everything you move will get it's position updated for that frame. don't forget you left this on)

The line you're interested in is probably RotZ. click on it in the legend will select it. You can also select points on it like it was a normal object. (you also move it like one, by pressing G). Since the thing only has one point at this point moving that point around results in moving the whole line. Don't do it.

now, direct your eyes to figure 3. That is what frame you are on. if you are not DONE with your ship don't mess with this since you will encounter problems later on. the arrow keys control this value but it's also a text field so just write in there "39"

(or how ever many facings you want minus 1)

now if you joined all your meshes together you can take a shortcut, just hit N and in the rotZ type 351 (which is 360 minus one facing, 9). I'm not sure if you can do this for entire groups or not, if you grouped them, find out now.

get it rotated somehow 351 degrees (hold shift to fine tune if you did it manually cause you had a group, also move the cursor farther from the object to get more "leverage")

okay so now you have set a new position for this object in frame 39. go back a few frames (arrow keys) and you'll see it move around. But it's not moving right, because you did it wrong.

Make sure your mouse is over the window with the lines (that's the IPO curve editor but don't call it that to it's face) and hit A, this will just select all the points which is overkill but we dont' really care since we are just rotating one thing. Now go into the menu indicated by figure 4 and in the topmost submenu it says "interpolation mode". Click that over to "linear". Note how the graph changes. Now all the facings should line up, give it a quick run through and see if they don't. If they happen to not line up you can add in new frames to correct it using the same method as before.

You're almost done, in figure 5 change that to 39 otherwise it will render 250 frames, 211 of which will be the same.

now CTRL 12 renders animations. You can also select it from the render menu up top. It puts the images in a folder. you will have to stitch them together yourself. You can change where it puts the images in render settings, press f10 and it will show up in the buttons window (that the big ol scary window at the bottom with all the, you know buttons) under output.

That's it! I'm sure you could write a script to do all this fairly easily.


this post brought to you by INSOMNIA, side effects include typos, lack of capitalization, erroneous information, diagrams made in MS paint and long, rambling explanations about things barely relevant

User avatar
Darth Saber
Militia Commander
Militia Commander
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:53 pm
Location: Korriban

Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:20 pm

On rotating and redering: go to "< Shipyards ~ Tyrian Conversion ! Interested ?" and scroll down to Bobby's post. He gives a link to a download site for a program called EZ Image Rotater. I downloaded and tried the program, and it is great! It makes bitmaps and masks easily. I used it in conjunction with Windows Paint, and GIMP (which I downloaded Friday from www.gimp.org). Using these three, I was able to create a ship image, its bitmap, and bit mask. Gimp for rendering, EZ Image Rotater for the map and mask, and Windows Paint for the saving and modifying in *.bmp format.
So far the only trouble that I am having is in getting the ship mod that I am working on to appear in the ship selection window, but I think that that is only a matter of code, and not of imagery. 8)

User avatar
Atarlost
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2391
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:02 am

Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:10 pm

Darth Saber, that's a 2D image rotater. Because Trancscendence uses a fixed light source and a camera angle that is not the axis of rotation it requires actual 3D models to be rotated. Anything else will create inferior graphics. Image rotation may get you from 20 facings to 40 satisfactorily, but it won't work for a new graphic.

User avatar
Darth Saber
Militia Commander
Militia Commander
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:53 pm
Location: Korriban

Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:22 pm

Okay Artalost, but is there such a program for 3D image rotation? Also the Alcurean fleet seems to be 2D, and rendered im Windows Paint; if this is the case, then can an image created through the means I described above, work? :?

User avatar
Atarlost
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Posts: 2391
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:02 am

Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:57 pm

Darth Saber wrote:Okay Artalost, but is there such a program for 3D image rotation? Also the Alcurean fleet seems to be 2D, and rendered im Windows Paint; if this is the case, then can an image created through the means I described above, work? :?
Yes. It can be done in Blender either with the script in thread I linked to above or with the animation system as described by OddBob. It can probably be done in at least some other 3d products as well, but you'd need to ask a product specific guru how.

Yes, if the image is flat 2d to start with your image rotater is as good as it gets. Anything like that will look like crap next to Transcendence's other graphics, though.

It's also fine for any self-illuminated shot graphics like those needed for the Tyrrian Conversion's energy weapons.

Post Reply