Learning Blender – Week 2

After learning the basics of blender the previous week, I started delving into some of the really cool aspects of the blender; Rigging and animation. This was a particularly long section that involved numerous new concepts, such as creating an armature to build a relationship between the different limbs of an object, in this case, a lamp:

A lamp consisting of a base, a stem, 2 arms, and a lamp-shade.

The lamp is designed with different pieces in mind so that when it comes time to animate, we can utilize Blender’s IK (Inverse Kinematic) feature to automatically pose for us.

Lamp, with a timeline below to show motion

The section also explored the shader models, which allowed for complex representations of an object. In this case, a gem was added including a glass-like, translucent property.

Using the node editor to create complex shaders
Using the node editor to create complex shaders

All of these things together create a scene that was photo-realistic, with the correct lighting and reflections. This was achieved using a method called Ray-Tracing, which is computationally very expensive, but produced very good results.

Rendered Scene. Note the reflections of the light on the plastic base of the lamp, as well as the diffusion of the light through the back of the gem and the mirrored look of the front.

Creating that frame took my GTX960 GPU about 2.5 minutes to compute. Combining the animation feature with the render enables someone to make short films using this method. I created a 6 Second Video of Lamp and Gem , which ended up taking about 7 hours for the computer to create (I put the computer to work overnight to crank this out). It is possible for it to be faster using multiple computers or a better GPU, but for something simple like this, it’s good enough. It was a joy to see the finished product as I woke up the next day!

There’s definitely a lot of fun to be had with 3D modeling using Blender. Although the tool took a little to get used to, once I understood the quirks I was able to make things happen very easily. I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in 3D modeling to take the course that I took (Search Ben Tristem and Blender on Udemy).


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