Last modified on 10 May 2011, at 07:42

Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Modeling a picture

Modeling a pictureEdit

Ever seen an awesome looking picture you wanted to turn into a 3D model? Like a logo or a symbol? Well, it's actually pretty easy... it just takes some time to do.

  • First off, you're going to need a picture to trace. I'm currently doing a project for a friend to do with devils and demons, so I chose a demonic looking face for this tutorial: Demonic Face
  • Now open Blender and start a new project. Delete the default cube. Before you start tracing the face, you need to set the face as the background image. To do this, click 'view', then 'Background Image'. A box should pop up with only one button in it (Use Background Image), click it. Now some settings appear, we're only interested in one of them for this tutorial. Click the small button with a picture of a miniature folder on it (it looks kind of like a feather pen). It's the first one under the Use Background Image button. From there, select the picture you want to trace. Like this: Background Selection
  • OK, now for the long part. Zoom in to the new background image just a little bit. Now, add a Bézier curve, and size it down a little. Hit F9 and, in Curve Tools, find and click the Poly button. Now there should be a few more vertices to work with and the curve should be just a bunch of joined lines. Select one point at a time and using the GKEY move it to a point along the background image(or face in this case). Do the same for all of the rest of the vertices, making sure you only have one vertex selected at a time or you'll move more than just the vertex you want to. Once this is done, select one of the end vertices of the curve (it doesn't matter which end) and use SHIFT+DKEY to copy that vertex. Move the newly copied vertex to a point along the edge of the face a small ways away from the vertex you copied it from. Continue doing this until you have a complete outline (of the whole face or just one part, like the ear). Here's what it should look like (I did the left ear): Tracing. You can't see it in the picture, but six of the points on the right side of the ear are connected, while the rest aren't. In order to get the effect we're looking for here, we need to connect all of the points around the edge to make an outline (make sure not to connect the points across the picture or you'll have a messed up outline).

(user note: hitting CTRL-LMB instead of SHIFT-DKEY will add a vertex that is already connected.)

  • To get the outline for the whole face, just do exactly the same thing around all of the edges. We still have a problem though: most of the points aren't joined by a line, so all we have is a bunch of dots. This is easily solvable. Using the BKEY or the right click of the mouse, we select a bunch of vertices at a time (somewhere between 5 and 10), and hit the FKEY a few times. Every time you hit the FKEY it should connect two of the points. Do this until all of the selected points are connected, then deselect them and select another group and use FKEY to join them. Keep doing this until all of your points are connected. To connect the last two points, select all the points and press the CKEY, to close the polygon.

[edit: A better option would be to select a vertex on one of the ends of the whole line, hold down the CTRL and left-click on a certain point on the image. This will create a new vertex, immediately connected to the vertex you selected.]

  • Now that we've got the entire face traced (or outlined if you want to call it that), we can make it 3D. Hit F9 again and find the Ext1 and Ext2 properties, shown here: Ext1 & Ext2. Change the values and see what happens. They correspond to the depth of the outline. Try changing them around until you find what looks good. Now, you'll notice that the lines just stick out straight. I'm still investigating how to actually model a head from the outlined face ... so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to add them to this page.
  • In order to make it have depth you should make the outline out of mesh points instead of a curve. Add a primitive mesh and delete all the vertices in edit mode, then ctrl click to all point outline. Add depth to the surface in a side view (split views so you can see what you're moving). It helps to have 2 or more reference images, but you can wing it. Usually the final result has to be subsurfed.

(USER EDIT: I accidentally started it with mesh instead of curve. You can do the same thing with extrude, but I have no idea how to go on after that) (USER EDIT LATER: If you subsurf it, it creates a relatively 3D looking image. Its really cool)

(Another user, even later: If you want to turn your curve into a mesh, hit Alt-C while in Object Mode. Note that this is NOT reversible.)

(user edit: You can delete one vertex of a plane, in order to get a line. You may find easier to outline the picture extruding and moving points of the line you created.)

(user edit: you can use this tracing technique to make solid and symmetric models, else, you would really have to use normal modelling)

Printing a Rendered ImageEdit

Render your image. Exit or minimize the "Blender:Render" window. In blender, go to File -> Save Image... Then save your image. Then you can print it as you would print any other picture, using The Gimp, Paint, Microsoft's Photo Editor, or many others.