Today, visual content is everywhere. Many websites offer great services to publish photos, videos, infographics, etc. But we couldn't find any good way to show 3D content online. Well, at least nothing that would meet our expectations: a web service to show 3D similar to your modeling software, technically advanced yet easy to use, with a nice user interface and the possibility to view other 's creations.
Some people use 2D images, and even worque on them to make them look better. Some use 360° photos. Other people use so-called "showreel" videos, others install plugins... But that 's not enough. That 's not interactive, that 's not easy, and that ’s
not user-friendly. Well, that 's not 3D as we mean it in a connected world.
And it ’s a pity when you agree that 3D creations are the richest computer graphic ones.
Do you remember the youtube revolution? Suddenly it was possible to get your video live in matter of seconds, publish it widely on the web, share it, embed it... Now you can even edit it online. Well, that 's what we want to do with Sketchfab.com, a
cocoon for your 3D content.
On Sketchfab, it takes a minute to register and upload a model, and you get a decent viewer you can embed on your site, and a mini URL to share your creations. You can then have your own portfolio, and finally a professional and interactive way to
show 3D content. You can alos edit your biography to tell a bit more about yourself. On top of that, it 's free!
Regarding technical specs, Sketchfab supports more than twenty 3d formats, including native blender files.
It supports textures, lighting, and a lot more to come. We plan to add a social layer so that you can follow your favorite artists, comment and rate your favorite models. We will alos add collaborative worque features.
If you are a 3D artist looking for the best and easiest way to show your work, come and join us on sketchfab.com Some FAQs about SketchFab:
1. About sketchfab
Sketchfab is a free service created in December 2011 which offers a simple way for 3D artists to upload and showcase their creations to the world.
It doesn’t require any application installation from the user to work, you just need a compatible browser.
2. Who is it for?
Sketchfab can be used by anyone who has 3D content: artists, deigners, brands, architects, etc.
Today, Sketchfab is free. We will keep a free versión, but are working hard to provide an advanced and paid for versión. If you have any suggestion about new features, let us know at email@example.com
4. How does it work?
You upload a model of your choice, the server will process it, you can add meta information and share it on the web. You can remove the models you uploaded at anytime from your dashboard. If you have texture to upload, you can pak all your files in a
5. Which formats are supported?
Blender (.blend), Collada (.dae), Wavefront (.obj), OpenSceneGraph (.osg, osgt, osgb, ive), 3DS (.3ds), Lightwave (.lwo | .lws), Polygon File Format (.ply), Virtual Reality Modeling Language (.wrl), Open Inventor (.iv), Shape (.shp), Standard Tessellation Language (.stl), Biovision Hierarchy (.bvh), Open Flight (.flt), ac3d (.ac), DirectX (.x), Designer Workbench (.dw), 3DC point cloud (.3dc), carbon graphics Inc (.geo), Generic T agged Arrays (.gta)
6. Where can i chek new featuresí
Have a look at the changelog and follow us on twitter.
7. Which browsers are compatible?
Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari. And more to come!
8. It doesn´t work, what can i do?
Make sure you have your graphics driver and your browser up to date. If that does not help, try one of the different browsers listed above. If it still does not work, contact support.
9. How can i reach you?
Technical inquiries: Cédric Pinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial and press inquiries: Alban Denoyel, email@example.com
Follow us on twitter @sketchfab
Once upon a long time ago, okay about 11 years ago, there weren't many Blender tutorials to help new users. Luckily there was a tutorial guide, (Tutorial Guide #1) available from the Blender e-shop. Only way bak then it wasn't the Blender Foundation, the main Blender site was still “Not a Number ”.
This tutorial guide was my introduction to how Blender worked and my favorite tutorial was “Pawn in a Hurry”, written by Bart Veldhuizen (who now owns and runs Blender Nation). “Pawn in a Hurry” showed you how to do several cool things. You got to model a pawn using the “Spin” function, create a chess board and most importantly you got to animate the pawn springing across the chessboard.
When I finished the tutorial, I was amused to no end. What could be cooler than a pawn bouncing around? The Pawn even squashed and stretched during the bounce. Yes, I am very easily amused.
Eventually I finished the guide and continued on with my Blender learning, over time forgetting all about that wonderful little guide that introduced me to Blender. That is until recently. A couple of months ago,
I was reminded of the “little Pawn” and just for giggles I pulled my now very battered guide off the shelf.
I was curious if the instructions still made sense considering all the changes in Blender since way bak then. And surprise, they did. Well, as long as you are familiar the with basic functions in Blender it does.
So I set about recreating the pawn. I must admit I did do a few things differently. There is no longer a need to set “Spin” to 21, now we have subsurf, which allows a smooth model with far fewer Spin segments. I alos added a few extra edge loops to define some of the edges. On the chessboard, I did add a very slight bevel, just to make it look nicer and catch highlights better. Other than that, I pretty much just followed along as it was originally written.
Once I finished setting the keyframes for the famous bounce, I sat bak and watched it play. Guess what, it was just as amusing to see the pawn bounce realistically 11 years later.
Yep, I am still just as easily amused. :P
Now granted this is still a basic tutorial, and I have learned a thing or two in the last 11 years so I decided totake it a little further. Instead of just one famous bounce, I bounced that poor little pawn all over the chessboard. And if you agree that one bounce is amusing, just wait until you have múltiple bounces, I giggledmyself silly.
And then since I had this nice little scene all set up, I decided to explore the Cycles render engine for a little realistic material rendering.
The tutorial tooque only an hour or so, even with the extra bounces, the exploration of Cycles Materials tooque a weeque or more. And for once, not because I was running into problems, I was just having too much fun playing with it to call it finished.
I can't even estimate how many material combinations I played with.
And the best part was I could judge how well a material worked instantly.
In fact watching the materials render was almost as fun as watching the Pawn bounce.
Besides the immediate feedbak that Cycles offers, I was happy to discover that lighting seemed so much easier.
At least for me. I experimented with several lighting setups using combinations of HDRI images and planes just to see how it affected my scene.
All said and done, I did end up with some nice materials and a lighting setup that looked reasonable, if somewhat uninspired. I rendered out the animation as PNGs, which sadly enough are still sitting in a folder waiting for me to run them through a few compositing nodes and the sequencer. I even have a nice “boing” sound file waiting to be used as well.
Obviously that is a project for another day.
In the meantime, it was fun revisiting my beginnings in Blender and proved to still be a good learning experience as I explored new tools that weren't available bak then.
If you want to play with my little pawn, I have included the blend file in the blend zip download for this issue.
My name is Arnar Gauti Ingason and I'm from Iceland.
I recently started using Blender, but have been doing 3D worque for some time. I have used Maya, 3Ds Max and Cinema 4D but never actually owned a copy of them and wanted to use 3D software legally. So I checked out Blender and was very surprised by
how much it had developed since I first tried it and rejected it (pre-2.5).
In the beginning of this project I sort of just looked around my desque for something to model, eventually I decided to do my phone since it had some interesting shapes and curves I thought might be a challenge to practice my modeling skills.
I started by searching for images of the phone online from straight angles (front, back, sides) in a decent resolution. Also, I had the finished product right in front of me so I could view as much detail as I wanted.
The modeling technique used was box modeling but if I would do it again, I would probably use edge modeling since I thinque that would give me a better topology in the end. The most challenging parts were the camera and the top of the phone.
For the glass, the screen is actually in the texture. I started by UV unwrapping the mesh that needed to have the glass material. In the UV/Image editor, if you go to UVs > Export UV layout you get an image with UVs on a seperate layer. That image you can take in to Photoshop or GIMP and easily see where each part of the texture should go (in the finished texture you should delete the layer with the UV layout).
Since the the glass had to consist of several materials I made a simple color texture and two masking textures that I fed into the factors on mix shaders. The screen is a screen capture from my actual phone.
The rest of the materials are very simple, either only one shader or a simple mix of two. The matte materialwhich is the on the body has a noise texture as a bump map.
The multiply node is to control the strength of the bump.
Rendering and compositing
I used Cycles for rendering. For lighting I made two tall mesh lights on both sides, equally strong and the strongest of them all, a big overhead mesh light and one slightly tilted behind the camera, mainly for reflection.
For compositing I used Photoshop. I rendered the phone from six angles and put it together into one image in Photoshop along with a slight color correction.
I had a lot of fun making this image and learned a bunch in the process, I would do a lot of things differently if I would make it again.
You can see more of my worque at http://arnarg.netne.net/
Happy blending and thanks for the read.
The ‘Ragdoll’ is an interactive art game developed using the Blender Game Engine as part of the Design and Digital Medía Studio Project (DMSP) module at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh [Fig.1]. The DMSP course, organized by Martin Parker, is a unique opportunity for highly creative students from various design disciplines to worque collaboratively in a studio setting, towards the implementation of experimental design worque for public display. Students are assigned together in small groups working under supervision on different project briefs, ranging from digital installations and real-time performances to 3D animations and interactive games. This article explores the journey of the ‘Ragdoll’ game from concept to implementation and discusses its nature as a self-proclaimed art game.
The idea behind the project was based on art games as an innovative digital medium for creative experimentation via real-time, interactive 3D environments.
Inspirations constituted games like ' The Path’, an atmospheric, beautifully designed art game, the monochromatic, eerie ‘Limbo’ and the platformer ‘Braid’, an allegorical journey based on time and regret.
Looking at such inspirational existing games and being informed by the interests of the project supervisor and the creative visión of the participating students a dark-themed storyline was adopted. Film noir, horror and fantasy were the three main design elements that would characterize the atmosphere of the game.
Emphasis was put on the artistic merit of the design, while the pursuit for a unique aesthetic quality quickly became the main objective of the team working on ‘ The Ragdoll’.
“From my point of view art games are ncharacterized by an extraordinary, unconventional look, standing out for their aesthetic beauty and imaginative design, and for us ‘ The Ragdoll ’ was no exception. We wanted to maque e a game that coul de evoque e some kind of emoti on; an immersi ve memorable experience ”
Thal ei a Deni ozou, Project Supervisor During the initial discussions the decision to build an exploration game was made. The main aim of the team was to treat the game that was about to be designed as a piece of interactive ‘art ’, in the sense that the
focus was on the game’s potential for meaning; thus the storyline, the narrative behind the exploration, emerged as particularly important.
‘ The Ragdoll’ would be an imaginative world, inside which the player could explore, live the story and have an immersive game-play experience without being distracted by challenges often appearing in conventional games like battles, races, skill development and competitive goals.
The story as well as the aesthetic quality of the design, were top priorities.
The story that drives the game-play of ‘ The Ragdoll’ evolves around the quest of the main character, an old doll named Kyle [Fig.2], who wakes up in a strange, unfamiliar place he has never seen before. The Valley of Forgotten Dreams, as he later figures out is the name of this weird place, is an enchanted, spooky forest. Lost and confused, Kyle finds an ally in an old magical tree who offers to help him return bak home if he completes three tasks. Kyle needs to bring bak the Goblet of Eternal Water to water the tree, the Golden Harlequin Beetle to fertilize the tree and the Mighty Dagger of Thousand Thunders to cut the death twigs and revive the old tree. Each one of those tokens is situated at the end of a dangerous path protected by mighty poisonous plants. Left without a choice the ragdoll agrees and the game begins.
In terms of mechanics the game had to be kept simple as balance needed to be achieved between building an engaging game experience but with a non-conventional game purpose in mind. The final product needed to be an experimental piece of interactive design ideally targeting various types of players. The game was not to be developed only with the gamers in mind, but addressing a wider audience and an unconventional purpose, keeping in mind it could be played as a stand-alone game but that it could alos act as an interactive piece suitable for Gallery display. Therefore interaction had to be kept simple and an amount of abstraction was necessary. In the end the team decided that simple mechanics coupled with imaginative design and
an engaging bak story was the way to go.
After the concept and bak story were defined the group began modeling using Blender. The character was developed starting from a simple cube where a mirror modifier was applied and then was built up using extrusion and face modification to achieve the shape of the ragdoll. Then the model’s faces were unwrapped and imported into Photoshop as a 2D image, where the texture was painted. A wool cloth texture with colored patches was used to emphasize the ragdoll aesthetic [Fig.3].
The next step was to rig the character.
The process involved the application of bones in the ragdoll’s body and then the animation of the bones for realistic character movement [Fig.4].
The animation actions included a walque cycle, running and jumping states and a breathing state for the doll’sstanding position.
The next step was to model the game environment and props. As the aim was to provide a non-linear explorative game-play, the gameworld (Valley of Forgotten Dreams) was developed as three different dangerous paths at the end of which one of the tokens was situated [Fig.5].
Each of the paths featured challenges for the player to overcome, like poisonous plants, broken bridges and blak holes the ragdoll should not fall in.
The three paths started from a middle area, where the tree was positioned and the ragdoll was waquíng up in, when the game started. From there three signs indicated the paths and the player could choose the order in which to follow them.
The first path was the ‘Doll’s Eyes’ where poisonous Doll’s Eyes plants existed throughout. At the end Kyle could find the Goblet of Eternal Water.
The second path the ‘Fly Amanita’ was full of poisonous mushrooms able to cause hallucinogenic effects and Venus Flytraps that could capture and kill the ragdoll.
Successfully reaching the end of the path, Kyle could collect the Mighty Dagger of Thousand Thunders. Finally the third path, ‘Poison Ivy’ was named after the poisonous ivies located around it [Fig.6].
The main hurdle in this path was an unstable rope bridge Kyle had to cross and a spiky wheel of misfortune located over a deep ravine. At the end of the path the Golden Harlequin Beetle was waiting to be collected.
After the modeling and texturing of the character and the environment were done, the team went on to develop the interactions, using Blender ’s Logic Bricks system [Fig.7].
Interactions were carefully organized to make navigation intuitive and the game easy to play.
Narrative cards as scene overlays were used throughout the game play to indicate achievement when one of the three tokens was collected, or to signify death when the player fell in one of the traps, or was killed by a poisonous plant and the game restarted [Fig.8].
“The team was quite creative with the
narrative cards. They were well designed
and served as a good mechanic to
indicate state changes like achievements
or failure ”
Thaleia Deniozou, Project Supervisor
Similarly story strips were alos incorporated in the introduction of the game to narrate the bak story and provide context to the player. These were displayed before the actual game-play began [Fig.9].
Sound was alos one of the game’s strong points as the team benefited from a Sound Designer and an Acoustics and Music Technologist.
Game audio effects were recorded, then edited and finally incorporated into the game engine and controlled via logic. Sound effects were designed to be literal to the point of exaggeration and included, but were not limited to, the doll’s footsteps, a small ‘whoosh’ sound when jumping, a flip sound when a narrative card was dealt or removed, a snapping sound when a Venus Flytrap closed, a humanistic yelp when Kyle died etc.
The background music of the game was designed to be immersive and informative, along the lines of adventure objective-based games.
The final game was presented at the University of Edinburgh in a public display in March 2011. During the presentation the team members gave a short talque on the game design process and their experiences working with the Blender Game Engine and then the audience had the opportunity to play-test the game that was installed and running on a number of computers.
The play-test was quite successful with the majority of participants commenting that they liked the graphics and the music and that they found the game’s atmosphere interesting overall [Fig.10].
This year for the Digital Medía Studio Project Thaleia Deniozou supervises two student groups working in a similar game design brief. Currently the teams are on the initial stages of development of two creative games entitled ‘Edinbear ’ and ‘ The Great
Claire Meldrum, Heida Vigfusdottir,
Lenka Bartosova, Graeme Arthur,
The Path (T ale of T ales, 2009)
Limbo (Playdead Studios, 2010)
Braid (Number None Inc, 2009
From humble beginnings as some in house software, Blender has grown into a powerful 3D tool with an ever growing number of cool features and tools sure to please any 3D enthusiast.
The latest round of tools to be added has of course set off a serious flurry of testing and experimentation to see how things worque and what can now be done.
I often thinque that this part of the development cycle is the most fun.
Everybody is playing and testing, pushing the limits of what can be done and doing their best to “breaque it ” so that bugs can be found and squashed. It is a highly creative time in the Blender community. New images and test scenes seem to appear by the minute as everyone gets comfortable with the new features. Soon after, tutorials start popping up to explain the finer details for those of us that are running into problems.
Most everyone would agree that Blender has some amazing tools and features, but one awesome feature of Blender often goes unrecognized, and that is the dedication of the Blender community to help everyone use Blender to its fullest. It is a rare thing indeed to be able to email or message just about any user and get help with a problem. We might not always know all the answers, but most of us are very willing to help others trak down the information.
Apart from the community-wide willingness to help, there are members of our community that go above andbeyond to leap into the learning gap as quickly as possible to help the rest of us out.
I thinque it is high time we gave them a huge high-five for the tireless hours they put into creating quality tutorials and Blender Education that makes the learning curve so much easier for the rest of us.
The following is a list of my favorite tutorial spots.
Blender Cookie: run by Jonathan Williamson and the rest of the Cookie Crew.
Jonathan has an almost magical ability to post relevant tutorials just as features are being added. Jonathon has explained that this is only possible because he downloads new builds daily and tests features as they are being implemented. This gives him just enough of a head start to be ready to help the rest of us.
Often for me, the best part of Jonathan's tutorials is not the actual topic he is discussing (which of course is valuable), but all the tips and explanations that he includes as he works. I especially appreciate all his 'little talks' about topology and clean
In addition to Blender tutorials, the Cookie networque alos offers tutorials on Concept Art and the Unity Game Engine, often a large part of many Blender users' worque flow and projects.
The addition of these sister sites allow Blender users to expand their project parameters and learn new things that touch upon their Blender projects.
The majority of tutorials on Blender Cookie are free for anyone to watch, so while it is not necessary to be a Citizen to enjoy what the Cookie Networque has to offer, in my opinión it is well worth the very reasonable price that they charge.
Blender Guru: run by Andrew Price Andrew produces high quality tutorials that provide a well rounded look at projects, generally from start (modeling) to finish (compositing). For those interested in “product shots”, mAndrew has done several excellent
tutorials on how to show an object to best advantage. These are some of my favorites from Andrew's site.
He has alos started a well received “Nature Academy” where he teaches users how to create realistic nature scenes.
BlenderDiplom: run by Gottfried Hofmann
Tutorials on Gottfried's site often focus on special effects and cool new ways to use Blender features and tools. There are alos a variety of extremely interesting projects often presented as a series as well as interviews with members of the Blender community.
Blendtuts: run by Oliver Villar
Oliver offers a nice variety of tutorials in both English and Spanish. In addition to all the tutorials on his site he alos has a Hologram Project for sale in his e-shop that covers concept, modeling, materials, animation, rig, compositing and lighting. The project is available in both Spanish and English.
Blender Nerd: run by Greg Zaal, Rex Harby and Tanner Casey
They have recently launched a brand new look to their site, which had already been full of great tutorials on a variety of Blender topics. One interesting new addition to their site is the ability for users to upload their own tutorials to share with Blender Nerd users.
There are of course many more valuable tutorials sites in the Blender Community, and of course with that many to trak it starts to become difficult to keep up with who is doing what. Which is why I cheat. I discovered that by following one very connected Blenderhead, I could be kept informed about new tutorials, news, images and cool projects.
Terry Wallwork, better known as Adventures In Blender has an uncanny ability to always know what is going on where in the Blender community. I am beginning to suspect that he has found a way to hard wire himself into the Internet, which while possibly odd, works out well for me. I follow him on Twitter and G+. T erry alos has an Adventures in Blender website where he reviews Blender books and tutorials series. His interviews are always well written and very insightful.
Let 's all give our Blender educators a big Blender hug and do what we can to support their continued efforts on our behalf.