Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/What Blender Can Do
In this module, you'll learn what Blender does, both in terms of the product (images) and the process (3D modeling).
Blender is a free software package for authoring "three-dimensional" (3D) graphics, including still images, games, and video.
While the end-product of most Blender projects is a two-dimensional (2D) raster image on a flat surface (be it a monitor, movie screen, or sheet of paper), the images are said to be "3D" because they exhibit the illusion of depth. In other words, someone looking at the image can easily tell which parts are meant to be closer and which are farther away.
Here's a realistic still image that was authored with Blender.
Look closely at the building.
- Because it is obscured by the building, you can tell that the tree-lined hillside is behind the building instead of vice versa.
- The way the top and bottom edges of the front wall appear to converge toward the base of the tree allow you to judge the angle between the front wall and your viewpoint.
- Your brain interprets dark portions of the wall as shadows, allowing you to estimate where the light is coming from, even though the sun is outside the frame of the image.
While an illusion of depth can be authored by hand with 2D graphics software (or a paintbrush!), Blender provides a much easier way.
It's likely that the lonely house never existed outside of the artist's mind. Instead of building a big set on a rural lot in Germany, waiting for the right light, and photographing it, the author built a scene in a virtual 3D world—one contained inside a computer. He or she then used Blender to render the scene (convert it into a 2D image). You can view more of what Blender can do at the Blender gallery: http://www.blender.org/features-gallery/
Steps in the Modeling Process
In 3D computer graphics, a model is an abstract version of an object or scene that is suitable for rendering. Modeling is the process of making models.
Authoring the 3D scene for “A Lonely House” probably involved:
- Object modeling — describing the shapes of objects, such as birds and trees, in three dimensions
- Shading — applying patterns of color and texture to each object
- Lighting — describing the intensity, color, direction and so on of the light source
If “A Lonely House” were made into a video, there would be additional steps of animating the scene (describing how it changes over time):
- Rigging — describing how parts of a creature, such as the birds' wings, can move relative to other parts
- Posing — choreographing the positions of the objects and their parts in the 3D scene over time
Blender is a capable tool for each and all of these steps.