Learning more about Blender and Poser


This past week has been about learning more about Blender and Poser software.  Blender is what I use to create all my 3D models, and the more I learn about it the more I love it.  Its surprisingly powerful and the documentation is improving.  Add resources like Blender Cookie and the variety of tutorial videos available on Youtube and you’ve got a pretty decent amount of educational support for anyone wanting to learn.   I’ll be the first to admit I still have a lot to learn.

This week, the main thing I’ve been focusing on in Blender has been learning to bake normal maps and displacement maps from high poly models to low poly models.  Its an important skill to have since gaming resources must be low poly and some things for Poser need to be kept low poly as well.  Poser is a bit peculiar in that its 3D engine does not use normal maps, so I can only use displacement and bump maps to add detail to otherwise low poly models.   So, this week I’ve been looking at various tutorials and resources.  In particular I found a couple very helpful.  The first is a course on Creating a Sci-Fi Wall Panel by Porter Nielsen over at Blender Cookie, note you may need to have an account there to view it (the basic account is free).   Another was this tutorial video by Rod Watson on baking displacement maps in Blender, Create Displacement Maps in Blender.

I’m currently working on my own project using what I’ve learned, nothing too fancy, just making some “crates” using a basic cube and displacement maps so that they look more detailed than they actually are.  I’m hoping to have a finished set I can give away as a freebie for Poser along with the source object files and maps which people can use however they wish.

Along with learning to bake textures and maps in Blender, I’ve been learning a bit more about Poser.  How it uses displacement maps and the limits to that have been one important goal.  But I’ve also started to learn the basics of rigging figures and objects in Poser.  Turns out Poser’s Setup Room, where rigging is done, is similar to Blender so its proving to be an easy transition.  In particular I found this tutorial video really helpful for showing how to rig a prop so that it has moveable parts, Simple Figure Setup in Poser.

Again, I’ve got a practice project underway that when I finish I’ll probably give away as another freebie, this one including a prop with moving parts.

All of this is working towards bigger and better things.  As I mention, my table and chair sets haven’t sold very well.  I’m not hugely disappointed by this as part of the point of putting them out for sale was to test the market and see what sells.  Part of what I’ve learned from the feedback I’ve gotten is that people using Poser want complete scene sets.  I’ve got some ideas but, as you might guess, some of them would look far better if I used good displacement maps and could set up moveable parts.  You knew there was a method to my madness, right?

So, that’s about it for this week.  Don’t forget to check out my latest art piece, Cat’s Eyes.  Got some more art on the way and hopefully some freebies too.   See you next weekend readers.

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. ~ Henri Bergson




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