Dototot https://dototot.com/ Engaging education Wed, 06 Feb 2019 22:17:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation https://dototot.com/how-to-model-and-animate-a-robot-key-frame-a-blender-animation/ https://dototot.com/how-to-model-and-animate-a-robot-key-frame-a-blender-animation/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:31:51 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=3127 How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

In this chapter, you will learn how to key frame a Blender animation by adding an audio file to your project and syncing your robot’s movements to the sound. you’re just joining us, you will want to start …

The post How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation appeared first on Dototot.

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How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

In this chapter, you will learn how to key frame a Blender animation by adding an audio file to your project and syncing your robot’s movements to the sound.

you’re just joining us, you will want to start with Part 1, Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation
How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

In the Properties panel under Render, set the Frame Rate to 29.97.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

In the Timeline panel, select and switch to the Video Sequence Editor.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

From the Video Sequence Editor menu, click Add and select Sound. This will prompt you to open a sound file. Select ‘hello_world.wav’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Position the cursor at the end of the sound clip.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Then switch back from the Video Sequence Editor to the Timeline.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Change the length of the animation to match the position of the cursor (66).

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Shift + LEFT to move the cursor to the beginning of the Timeline. In the Timeline, click the Playback menu and check Audio Scrubbing and AV Sync.

Press ALT + A to play. Hello World!

Key Frame a Blender Animation

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

RMB to select the robot mesh. In the Properties panel, select Object Data.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Press RIGHT until you hear the first bite of audio (11). Then move back one frame (10). Under Shape Keys, select Mouth. Hover your mouse over the Value slider and press I to insert a key frame.
How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

RIGHT to find end of first syllable (‘hell’, 17), and hover your mouse in the Value field and press I, then skip back to find the ‘peak’ of ‘hell’ (13).

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Set Value slider to 1, and press I to insert a key frame.
How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Press UP to jump to the last key frame, then RIGHT to find end of ‘hello’ (39). Press I to insert a key frame.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

LEFT to find ‘peak’ of ‘o’ (30), set Value to 1 and press I to insert a key frame.

Press UP to jump to the last key frame and RIGHT to the end of ‘World’ (52). Press I to insert a key frame.

Press LEFT to find the ‘peak’ of ‘World!’ (45), set the Value to 1 and insert a key frame with I.

SHIFT + LEFT to jump to the beginning of the Timeline. Then press ALT + A to play. Hello World!

Press ALT + A to pause.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Switch to Quad View with CTRL + ALT + Q.

If you’re not already at the beginning of the Timeline, press SHIFT + LEFT to get there.
How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Our robot is a bit stiff with its arms out. To start our animation, let’s put the arms in a more relaxed position. RMB HandIK.L, then press G to Grab and move it around. Use the different views as needed to position it as above. The press I and select Location.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Alternatively, you can hover the mouse of the Location in the Transform panel, and press I.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

RMB HandIK.R and press G to Grab it and move its position. Press I and select Location.
How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

Move the Timeline to 30. Press G to Grab and move the arm up. Press I and select Location.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Key Frame a Blender Animation

RMB HandIK.L Press I and select Location, then move to frame 50 in the Timeline. Press G to Grab and move the arm up. Then press I and select Location.

Press SHIFT + LEFT to jump to the beginning of the Timeline and ALT + A to play.

Hello World!

 

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How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures https://dototot.com/how-to-model-and-animate-a-robot-rigging-blender-armatures/ Thu, 08 Sep 2016 22:26:31 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=3094 How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Let’s bring our robot to life! We will do so with bones. Yes, bones. And bones are what make up armatures. In Blender, rigging is the process of connecting an armature to a mesh to make it move. …

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How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Let’s bring our robot to life! We will do so with bones. Yes, bones. And bones are what make up armatures. In Blender, rigging is the process of connecting an armature to a mesh to make it move. In this tutorial, you will be rigging Blender armatures to animate your robot.

If you’re just joining us, you will want to start with Part 1, Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot.

Rigging Blender Armatures

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Before we create our first bone, make sure the 3D cursor is at the center of the 3D View. SHIFT + S  and select Cursor to Center.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Now Z to wireframe and add a bone with SHIFT + A and select Armature, Single Bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB. Select the bone tab in Properties panel.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename ‘Bone’ to ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB to Edit Mode. Use RMB to select the bottom of ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press G to Grab and Z to move it only on the Z-axis, then enter -1, and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Now select the top, or head, of  ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab with G, constrain to Z,  and move it down -.35. Press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

With the top of ‘Spine’ still selected, press E to extrude a new bone, and Z to constrain it to the Z-axis, then enter 1.35 and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename the new bone to ‘Neck’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the top of ‘Spine’ again.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press E to Extrude a new bone and X to constrain it to the X-axis. Enter .9 and press ENTER. Rename this bone ‘Shoulder.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the head of ‘Shoulder.L’ and Extrude it 2 Blender units on the X-axis. E, X, 2, ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename this bone to ‘Arm’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select ‘Arm’ bone and in the Tools panel click Subdivide three times.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

This will divide ‘Arm’ into eight bones. Don’t worry about renaming them.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the last bone, and rename it ‘Hand.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Zoom in with the scroll wheel if you need and select the head of ‘Hand.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Extrude a new bone, E, X, .5, ENTER. Rename the new bone ‘HandIK.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select HandIK.L and in the Properties panel, under the Bone tab, under Relations, click the ‘x’ next to its name in the Parent field.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab HandIK.L with G and move it on the X-axis .25: X, .25, ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB to Object Mode and from the Object Interaction Toggle, select Pose Mode.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select Hand.L, and in the Properties panel, select the Bone Constraints tab.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Click the big ‘Add Bone Constraint’ button and select ‘Add Tracking: Inverse Kinematics’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the IK panel, in the Target field, select ‘Armature’ and in the Bone field select ‘HandIK.L’. Set the Chain Length to 8 (because we made eight bones when we subdivide ‘Arm’ and we need the chain to connect back to the body).

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select HandIK.L and grab it with G to move it around and see that it works properly. Press ALT + G to reset the pose.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the Properties panel, select the Armature Object Data tab. Under Display, select B-Bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press A until the entire Armature is selected, then press CTRL + ALT +S to scale the bones and enter .5, then press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select ‘HandIK.L’ and scale it up with CTRL + ALT + S and enter 4. Then press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB into Edit Mode. Press SHIFT + S and select Cursor to Center. Be sure the Pivot Point toggle is set to 3D cursor. Holding SHIFT, select Shoulder, Arms, Hand and IK bones. Don’t select Spine or Neck.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press SHIFT + D to Duplicate, then press ENTER. Now we’re going to invite our duplicated arm by scaling it 100% backwards on the X-axis. Press S, X, enter -1 and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Under Armature, select Flip Names

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In Object Mode, select the Robot mesh.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Holding SHIFT, select any bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press CTRL + P and select Armature Deform, With Automatic Weights.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab the HandIKs and move them around to see that everything works properly. Then press ALT + G to return them to their original position.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the next chapter, we will pose and key frame a Blender animation our robot to audio an track. Sound good?

 

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How to Model and Animate a Robot, Part 2: Blender Materials & Shape Keys https://dototot.com/how-to-model-and-animate-a-robot-blender-materials-shape-keys/ Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:32:27 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=3023 How to Model and Animate a Robot, Part 2: Blender Materials & Shape Keys

Your robot is looking good, but that default gray is a bit drab. In this chapter you will learn how to apply Blender materials and shape keys to brighten up your robot. If you’re just joining us, you …

The post How to Model and Animate a Robot, Part 2: Blender Materials & Shape Keys appeared first on Dototot.

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How to Model and Animate a Robot, Part 2: Blender Materials & Shape Keys

Your robot is looking good, but that default gray is a bit drab. In this chapter you will learn how to apply Blender materials and shape keys to brighten up your robot. If you’re just joining us, you will want to start with Part 1, Beginner Blender Tutorial: Modeling and Animating a Robot.

Blender Materials

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Blender has two built-in renderers, the original internal renderer and Cycles. Rendering is the process by which Blender converts the 3D scene to a 2D image or video. At the top of the 3D viewport, toggle from Blender Render to Cycles Render.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Now let’s add a Material. In Blender, materials create the illusion that an object is made of a specific substance, like wood or concrete, or is simply a way to apply a color. Select the Materials tab from the Properties panel, then click the New button.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Click in the Color field to open a color picker menu.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Change the color to a pretty blue. Or pink. Or violet. Or orange. It’s up to you! Then, open the Settings dropdown and drag the blue Color field into the Viewport Color field. Your robot will now appear blue in the 3D viewport.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB to edit, the press L to select the eyes, neck, arms and hands

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

In the Materials panel, click the + sign to add a new material to your robot. The click the New button.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Select a dark grey from the color picker in the Color field. Click Assign to assign the new material to the selected faces. Lastly, drag the new color from the Color field to the Viewport Color field under Settings.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Zoom in if you need, and select the eye circles. In the Materials panel, click the + again, and click New. Keep the default white and click Assign. Again, drag the Color to Viewport Color.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Hold ALT + SHIFT and click RMB to select the neck collar and base. Click + in the Materials panel and then click New. Select a light grey and Assign. Drag the new Color to Viewport Color.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB to object mode. Looking good!

Shape Keys

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

We’re now going to add shape keys to animate the movements of the mouth and neck. Shape keys are use the vertices of an object to deform its shape. Select the Object Data tab from the Properties panel.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Under Shape Keys, press +. This creates a new Shape Key called Basis.  We’re going to leave that alone and create another shape key by pressing + again.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

This creates a new shape key, titled Key 1.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Rename Key 1 to Mouth.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB to Edit mode and press Z. CTRL + TAB and select Edge. Holding the scroll wheel, move your mouse around until you have a ¾ perspective of the mesh. Then use RMB to select the top, rear edge of mouth.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Press NUM3 to switch to side view. Then press SHIFT + S and select ‘Cursor to selected’, to move the cursor to the highlighted edge.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

At the bottom of the 3D View panel is a Pivot Point menu. Select 3D Cursor.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Press L to select the entire mouth.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Then rotate the mouth on the 3D cursor by pressing R for Rotate and X to constrain it to the X-axis and enter 20, then press ENTER to confirm.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB to Object mode and press Z to switch to solid mode. Try out the new shape key by sliding the Value bar under Shape Keys.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Select Basis, then click + to add a new shape key. Rename it to ‘Head’.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB to Edit mode and press L to select the head, neck, mouth and eyes.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

Press G to grab the selection and Z to constrain it to the Z-axis, then enter .2, and press ENTER to confirm.

How to Model and Animate a Robotl: Materials and Shape Keys

TAB back to Object mode and slide the Value up and down to see the head move up and down. Cool, right? In the next chapter we will rig an armature to move the arms.

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Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot https://dototot.com/beginner-blender-tutorial-how-to-model-and-animate-a-robot/ Tue, 06 Sep 2016 16:00:50 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2911 Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot

The best way to learn Blender is by getting your hands dirty and working on a project. In this Beginner Blender tutorial series, you will model and animate a robot, create a simple scene and render a final …

The post Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot appeared first on Dototot.

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Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot

The best way to learn Blender is by getting your hands dirty and working on a project. In this Beginner Blender tutorial series, you will model and animate a robot, create a simple scene and render a final video. You’ll be creating a simplified version of Invalid ID, the CG robot starring in the final episode of The Hello World Program.

And this is the robot, scene and animation you will be creating in this series:

Let’s begin!

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot

To use Blender, you will need a keyboard with a numeric pad and a 3-button mouse with a scrolling wheel. If you haven’t already, download Blender. This tutorial was created using version 2.77, but you should be okay with the latest release. After you start Blender, you will see the default setup below. The interface can be a bit intimidating at first, but don’t worry, it will all make sense in the end. The main panel is the 3D View. At the bottom is the Timeline. On the right are the Outliner and Properties.

When possible, I’ll be teaching you keyboard shortcuts, rather than selecting actions via menus. To get good and fast at Blender, you will want to know all the shortcuts, so why not start now? In this tutorial, keyboard and mouse actions will be displayed in BOLD. Shortcuts that read NUM1, NUM2, NUM3, etc. refer to the keys on the numeric pad. LMB and RMB refer to the Left Mouse Button and the Right Mouse Button. In a nutshell, the LMB is used to click buttons and the RMB is used to select objects. This will make sense later.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

With your cursor in the 3D view panel, press N to open the Transform tab. This provides you information on, and allows you to enter values for, the position, rotation and scale of objects in your scene. We’ll be using it a lot later.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Now press NUM1 to switch to front view and NUM5 to switch to orthographic perspective.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

See how the Cube is highlighted in orange? That means it’s the object currently selected.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press X to delete the Cube. A popup menu will ask you to confirm. Click with the LMB or press ENTER.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s build our robot. Press SHIFT+A to access the Add menu. Under Mesh, select Cylinder.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Zoom in with scroll wheel and press Tab to enter Edit Mode. In Edit Mode, you can see the points and lines that compose the Cylinder highlighted in orange. These points and lines are called vertices and edges and 3D objects composed of vertices and edges are called meshes.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

With your mouse hovering over the Cylinder, press CTRL+R to access the Loop Cut and Slide tool. You will see a violet line appear around the center of the Cylinder.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press 2 to create two loops, and hit ENTER twice, once to confirm two loops and twice to confirm placement.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

CTRL + TAB opens the Mesh Select Mode menu. Select Edge.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

ALT + SHIFT + RMB to select the lower loop.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale and type 1.1, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Select an edge on the upper loop and press ALT + SHIFT + RMB to select all of the edges in the loop.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

With the edge loop selected, press G to Grab it, Z to move it only on the Z-axis and type in .5. Press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

CTRL + TAB and select Face.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

ALT + SHIFT + RMB to select the upper loop of faces.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale and enter .9, then press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM7 to switch to top view and RMB to select the circular face.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press E for Extrude, then ENTER. This creates a new face on top of the old face.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale and enter .5, then press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM1 to switch to front view.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Then E to extrude a new face, ENTER to confirm and G to Grab, Z to constrain it the move to the Z-axis and enter .2. Then press ENTER.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Switch back to top view with NUM7. Press K to access the Knife tool.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Slice the circle in half by hovering the cursor over the ‘top’ vertex. Click LMB to start the cut, then move the cursor to the ‘bottom’ vertex. Click LMB to place another point, then press ENTER to finalize the cut.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

NUM1 to front view, then press NUM2 six times to rotate to the bottom of the mesh.

Select the bottom face.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Using the Knife tool again, with K, slice the circle in half, pressing ENTER to finalize the cut.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

That’s the body. Now let’s add a head. Press NUM1 to return to front view, then press Z for wireframe view.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Add a Cube with SHIFT + A.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Scale it down .8 with S. Press ENTER to confirm.
Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press G to Grace, Z to constrain the move to the Z-axis, and 2, to move it two Blender units. Press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Scale the Cube on the Z-axis by pressing S, then Z and .6, followed by ENTER. Press Z to return to solid view. Then select the front face of Cube.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press E to Extrude a new face and scale it down with S and enter .8, followed by ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM3 to switch to side view and press E again to Extrude a new face. Then G to Grab it, Y to constrain it to the Y-axis and enter .1 to move, followed by ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Add a Cylinder with SHIFT + A.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press R to Rotate and X to do so on the X-axis and enter 90 to rotate it 90 degrees. Press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale and enter .25, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press G to Grab and, Z to constrain to the Z-axis and enter 2, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press G to Grab, Y to constrain to the Y-axis, enter -.7, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM1 to switch to front view, then G, X, .325 and press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press Z to switch back to solid view and select the front face of the Cylinder.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Zoom in if you need, using the scroll wheel. Then Press E to Extrude and ENTER. Scale the new face down with S and enter .75, press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press Z to switch back to wireframe view and NUM3 to switch to side view.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press E to extrude a new face, then G to Grab it, Y to move it on the Y-axis, and enter .02, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Switch back to front view with NUM1, and back to solid view with Z. Create a loop cut vertically around the head with CTRL + R. Click LMB or press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

That’s the head. Now let’s connect it to the body. Z back to wireframe, then add a new Cylinder with SHIFT + A.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Scale the Cylinder down on the X & Y axes by pressing S and SHIFT + Z to exclude the Z-axis. Enter .15, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Move the Cylinder up by grabbing it with G, pressing Z and enter 1. Then press ENTER. Next create a series of loop cuts with CTRL + R. Be sure that you mouse is hovered over the neck and that the purple line is horizontal, then enter 32 and hit ENTER twice.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Z back to solid view. While holding ALT + SHIFT, select a vertical edge with the RMB.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Under the Select menu in the 3D View panel, select Checker Deselect.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

While holding ALT + SHIFT select any horizontal edge with the RMB.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Under the Select menu again, select Edge Ring.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

CTRL + TAB and select Face.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Extrude all the faces with E and press ENTER. Press S to scale the selected faces and press SHIFT + Z to do so only on the X and Y axes, then enter 1.1 followed by ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

With the cursor hovering over the neck, press L to select the entire Cylinder.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

And SHIFT + H to hide everything else.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Hold the scroll wheel down on your mouse, and move it about in the 3D View to change your perspective. Select the top and bottom faces of the neck (hold SHIFT to do so together).

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

And press X to Delete and choose Faces.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM1 to return to front view and ALT + H to unhide the hidden faces.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Now for the arms. Select a face on the neck, and press L to select the entire neck again.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Toggle to wireframe view with Z and duplicate the neck with SHIFT + D. Press ENTER or LMB to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Rotate the new Cylinder on the Y-axis with R, Y and type in 90, then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale the new Cylinder and SHIFT + X to exclude the X-axis, then type in .75. Press ENTER to confirm.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Grab the arm, G, and move it on the X-axis, X, 1.75. Press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Move the arm down with G, Z, and enter -.35. Press ENTER. Press SHIFT + S to access the Cursor menu and choose Cursor to selected.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Add another Cylinder with SHIFT + A.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Rotate it 90 degress on the Y axis. R, Y, 90 and press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Then scale it down, S, .15, ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Move it to the end of the arm with G, X, 1, ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press A to deselect the Cylinder.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Now we’re going to cut the mesh in half. Press B to access the Box tool. Click and hold the LMB to draw a box around the left half of the robot.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press X and Delete Faces.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Our goal is to have a smooth edge down the middle of the mesh. You might need to clean up leftover faces. Use B for the Box tool to select them and X to delete.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Tab to Object mode. In the Properties panel, select the Modifier tab.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Click the Add Modifier button and select Mirror from the menu. The click Apply.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Tab to edit mode.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press SHIFT + S and select Cursor to Center.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Now let’s add a mouth. Z to wireframe mode. Then add a Cube, SHIFT + A.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to scale the Cube, and enter .6, followed by ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press S to Scale again, this time on the Z-axis, by pressing Z, and enter .1, then press ENTER. Move the cube up with G, Z, 1.5 and press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press NUM3 to switch to side view, then press S, Y, .5 and ENTER to scale the Cube .5 on the Y-axis.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press G to Grab, Y to constrain the movement, and enter -.25 followed by ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press SHIFT + H to hide everything else.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press Z to switch to solid view and NUM7 to switch to top view. Select the top face. Press E to extrude a new face, then ENTER. Scale the new face down with S, .9, and press ENTER.

And scale it again with S, Y, .9 and press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Switch to side view with NUM3. And back to wireframe with Z. Extrude a new face with E and press ENTER. Grab the new face and move it down on the Z-axis -.07: G, Z, -.07.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Press ALT + H to reveal the hidden faces and press A to deselect everything. Press NUM1 to switch to front view. Now, using L, select the head, eyes and mouth, but not the neck. Press NUM3 to switch back to sideview. Move the head forward slightly by grabbing with G, constraining to Y, and entering -.25. Then press ENTER.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Tab to Object mode and rename the mesh from Cylinder to Robot. Press Z.

Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model and Animate a Robot

Hello World! Be sure to save your work, with CTRL + S. In Part 2: Blender Materials and Shape Keys, we will add color and simple motion to our robot. See you there!

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How to Build a Cityscape with Blender and Inkscape https://dototot.com/build-cityscape-blender-inkscape/ Sun, 03 Jul 2016 14:17:22 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2859 How to Build a Cityscape with Blender and Inkscape

In a collaboration with Two Bit Circus, we designed, fabricated and installed a scale model, artistic interpretation of the future of Washington, DC featuring 3D printed buildings and vehicles in the newly opened LocalMotors storefront in National Harbor, …

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How to Build a Cityscape with Blender and Inkscape

In a collaboration with Two Bit Circus, we designed, fabricated and installed a scale model, artistic interpretation of the future of Washington, DC featuring 3D printed buildings and vehicles in the newly opened LocalMotors storefront in National Harbor, MD. We used two of our favorite free, open source software tools to design and build this cityscape: Blender to plan the cityscape and model the 3D printed buildings and drones; and Inkscape to design the laser cut roads, platforms, stanchions, generic buildings and the Capital Wheel.

We used a Lulzbot TAZ 6 to print prototypes, but ultimately outsourced the full production to a local service via 3Dhubs in order to meet our deadline. With the exception of the cardboard buildings, which were made in Los Angeles, all of the laser cut components were fabricated at the FabLab in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Library in Washington, DC. The roadways are ¼” cast acrylic sheets and the stanchions and plywood buildings are ⅛” birch, assembled with screws and glue, respectively. The generic buildings are MakerCase files modified with “windows”.

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

The “water” constituting the Potomac and Anacostia rivers was constructed from four layers of 12×12” cast acrylic sheets, the bottom layer being mirrored and the upper layers a random combination of fluorescent blue and clear.

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

The terrain is hand-cut, stacked and glued sheets of MDF, as are the historical landmarks and monuments: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, US Capitol, Pentagon and White House.

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

Dototot DC Cityscape

 

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How We Make Flying Code Monkeys with Blender & Tinfoil https://dototot.com/made-flying-code-monkeys-blender-tinfoil/ Fri, 06 May 2016 23:44:35 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2852 How We Make Flying Code Monkeys with Blender & Tinfoil

We grew up with a VCR and a stack of film classics on magnetic tape viewed so many times no amount of tracking would cure the noise. One of those VHS cassettes was the 1939 adaptation of L. …

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How We Make Flying Code Monkeys with Blender & Tinfoil

We grew up with a VCR and a stack of film classics on magnetic tape viewed so many times no amount of tracking would cure the noise. One of those VHS cassettes was the 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, which we used as inspiration for the Hello World Program episode, “What’s an Operating System?”. If you recall from the book or the film, the Wicked Witch of the West sends a flock of flying monkeys to interrupt the course of Dorothy and her traveling companions. For us, as kids, the flying monkeys were frightening. We wanted to achieve the same effect with our flying code monkeys in this episode, but not spend too much time crafting characters that would only make a brief appearance on screen. We struck gold in tinfoil. Eureka!

I moonlight at the Fablab at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of the DC Public Library, which, in addition to a laser cutter and 3D printers, provides me access to a 3D scanning station. One afternoon in January, we took up residency in the Fablab and brought our flying code monkey to life.

Making Flying Code Monkeys

First, we sculpted the monkey from tinfoil.

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

The we scanned it, using the NextEngine scanner, and exported the scan as an .stl.

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkey: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender
I then imported the .stl into Blender and added a simple armature for rigging. All of the above steps were relatively quick and easy. What I didn’t anticipate taking so long was weight painting, but in retrospect it makes sense. There are a lot of faces on this monkey. The crinkled texture of the tinfoil created an inordinate number of polygons, even after several iterations of simplification in NextEngine.

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender

Flying Code Monkeys: Tinfoil & Blender
Once the weight painting was complete, I animated the wings flapping and a simple ‘walk cycle’. I then made a few dozen copies, randomly offset their keyframes so they wouldn’t be flapping in unison, and “Voila!” A flock of flying code monkeys. See them in action in the video below…

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Introduction to Lightworks Video Editor https://dototot.com/introduction-lightworks-video-editor/ Tue, 03 May 2016 21:14:00 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2815 Introduction to Lightworks Video Editor

While Lightworks has only been available to the general public for a few short years, this award-winning editing suite has been servicing film industry professionals since the early 1990s. Being at the forefront of the digital film editing …

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Introduction to Lightworks Video Editor

While Lightworks has only been available to the general public for a few short years, this award-winning editing suite has been servicing film industry professionals since the early 1990s. Being at the forefront of the digital film editing revolution, much of the terminology and techniques used throughout the application honor the tradition of hand-cut films. Lightworks was made with film industry veterans in mind; enhancing the inherently linear workflow with non-destructive tools. You’ll often hear video editing software referred to as “non-linear editors” (NLEs), which is just a fancy way of saying that video clips can be cut, trimmed, and spliced out of order while preserving the integrity of the source material. It’s a redundant term in regards to editing software, as all digital video editors are non-linear by nature. Because Lightworks is so steeped in film editing history, it’s interface and workflow can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. The Lightworks way of editing can be daunting even for those familiar with other modern NLEs, but I guarantee you’ll be a better, more efficient editor once you master it. In this introductory lesson, we’ll create our first project and take a high-level tour of the Lightworks toolset.

If you haven’t already done so, visit www.lwks.com to download and install Lightworks. Open up the application and inhale deeply as you gaze into the calming, blue interface. Now exhale. Ahhh, that’s nice. Because Lightworks was initially distributed as a turnkey solution for production studios, the interface dominates your entire screen, obscuring the underlying operating system. If you’d like it to look and act more like a native application, click on “System Settings” in the bottom left corner and set “Fullscreen window” to “No”.

fullscreen window

From the System Settings menu, you may also customize various aspects of the user interface. I prefer a neutrally colored work environment, so I’ve modified my window colors to be a dark gray instead of the standard blue.

user interface appearance

Before we can get started, Lightworks needs to know the name and frame rate of your project. Frame rate is also referred to as frames per second, or fps for short. It’s very important that you know the frame rate of your video because Lightworks won’t let you mix frame rates. The frame rate is the speed at which a video displays unique, consecutive images called frames. Think of videos as a series of still images played back to back really fast so that it looks like the picture is moving, much like a flip book! I won’t bore you with the history and differences of frame rates right now, but I will say that most home videos are probably 30 or 60 fps, and you’d only see 24 fps if you were making a film. If you have no idea what frame rate your video is, you can choose “auto”, or open up one of your source clips in VLC and click on Tools->Codec Information. This will likely tell you that your video is some crazy frame rate like 29.970030.

vlc media information

Don’t freak out! There’s nothing wrong with your video, but explaining this unusual frame rate is beyond the scope of this tutorial. For now, just round up and choose the corresponding frame rate in Lightworks. Enter a name for your project, then click the “Create” button.

enter project name and framerate

Lets first take a look at our project settings by clicking on the name of the project in the top left corner of the application.

project details

Here we see a few basic details about our project, including the location where all of our assets and project files are stored. While you should never manually modify any of the Lightworks project files, it is useful to know that all of your projects, edits, and media are organized in folders found within the “Lightworks” folder under your home directory. The project destination folder can only be modified with a Lightworks Pro license.

Hop on down to the video tab and make sure the output format matches your source material. Our project will be 720p 29.97fps.

project video settings

It’s unlikely that you will need to edit any other project settings, but there are a few noteworthy sections we should take a peek at while we’re here. The media tab lists your available storage devices and where your media is located. You can use this menu to move your assets to an external drive to conserve disk space. Keep in mind that this will only move your imported assets. Your project files will still reside in the default projects folder.

media settings

The bottom-most tab, “Tasks”, is used for monitoring and killing background processes such as importing, exporting, and rendering effects. Directly to the right of your project title in the top left corner is a drop down menu for “rooms”. You might use rooms as “scenes” of a movie or “episodes” of a series, or maybe you prefer a certain layouts when mixing audio, color correcting, or editing. You could set up a room for each of these cases. Each room will save the position of any open windows and tools.

choose a room

The tool bar, found along the left hand side of the Lightworks editor, contains several carry-overs from ye olde tape-based editing days. As such, only a few of them are relevant in a digital world, but we’ll run down each one from top to bottom so you know what they do.

  • Record: This tool captures video from a tape-based device, such as a mini-DV camcorder.
  • Import: The import tool is used for ingesting all of your digital assets including videos, still images, and audio.
  • Create New Edit: Opens a new destination monitor with an attached, empty timeline.
  • Browse Project Contents: The project contents browser is where all of your imported media is found and organized in folders known as “bins”.
  • Search: The search tool is a carry over from Lightworks’ old, clunky asset management system. The revised project browser has search functionality built in, and in fact the search tool will simply launch the project contents browser.
  • Play An Edit Out To Tape: Another carry-over from tape-based editing. This is used for exporting your edit back to a tape-based device.
  • Export Edits, Clips, and Bins: Not only used for exporting edited video, but can also output complete backups of your project.
  • Editor Preferences: Here you can save and restore the layout/position of your open tools. While this doesn’t save the position of everything you have opened, it is useful for tidying up your work area. You can also turn on global, on-screen console controls for video playback and basic editing functions, however I recommend leaving them off and focusing on learning the keyboard commands.
  • Lucy: Happily swimming below the toolbar is the Lightworks’ mascot, Lucy. You can use her to “eat” any open windows.

We can’t do much else without some videos to work with, so grab the course materials at gumroad.com/l/lwks and I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Who Is Your Audience? https://dototot.com/who-is-your-audience/ Wed, 06 Apr 2016 00:06:53 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2806 Who Is Your Audience?

One of the more difficult, yet more important, tasks as a creative producer is finding your audience. “Who is your audience?” Answer this question and making things people want to buy will be easy. In this post, I’ll …

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Who Is Your Audience?

One of the more difficult, yet more important, tasks as a creative producer is finding your audience. “Who is your audience?” Answer this question and making things people want to buy will be easy. In this post, I’ll outline the first, easy steps you can take towards building your tribe.

Who Is Your Audience?

Every artist has an audience, real or imagined. Consider: when you’re making something, who are you thinking about? Who is the peanut gallery in the back of your head? Whether it’s your parents, your peer group, your future self, collectors, or ‘God’, your goal is to communicate something to someone. Nobody honestly makes work for themselves (unless they are psychopaths, robots or narcissists par excellence). I come from a fine arts background and I was trained that my audience was myself, my peers, and collectors, though you’re supposed to pretend that you’re too good for money and what collectors think isn’t important.

As Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis say in How Dare You:

Build your audience with people you’d want to hang out with.

If you’re a creative producer and you don’t know who your audience is, start with yourself. Would you buy your work? If no, you need to re-evaluate your efforts. If you wouldn’t shell out some clams for your wares, how can you expect anyone else to do so? I wouldn’t buy our videos and e-books. Unfortunately, that’s where we sink a lot of our time. I would however, buy our puppet patterns. They’re some of the best on the market and a better price than the competition. Unfortunately, there’s not a big market for puppet patterns.

Find Your Niche

You can’t sell to everyone. And you can’t compete with the big shots. What do you do? Niche down. The trick is to find the balance between what you want to do and what someone is willing to pay for. In The $100 StartUp, Chris Guillebeau outlines a Venn diagram of potential success.

Guillebeau Venn Diagram

Unless you’re creating something no one has ever seen before, it should be easy to get an idea of similar work that people are willing to pay for. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you can’t too. That’s why finding your niche is so important.

Learn From Experience

Finding and defining your audience is an ongoing process. Not everyone in your audience today will be there tomorrow. You will change. They will change. That’s life. Here’s what Jeff Goins has to say about it:

We don’t find our voices writing for ourselves. We find our voice when we hear it resonating with others.

When we set out to create The Hello World Program, we didn’t have a clear picture of our audience. We followed The Field of Dreams approach and attracted crickets. It turns out the audience for The Hello World Program is our childhood selves and they aren’t buying. We’ve learned a few things along the way. Whether or not you’ve answered the question “Who is Your Audience?”, these are simple steps you can take now to help you define, build and retain audience.

Get Your Name Out There

People need to know who you are. You need to establish trust and authority. Sell first, then build. This is especially important if you’re planning to build time-consuming products.

  • Share one thing everyday
    • This is Austin Kleon’s secret to success. And it works. It’s not slimy. It’s not spammy. Share one thing everyday, whether it’s a finished product or a work in progress. The criteria: it must be something you’re excited about and that you think your audience will want to see, too. Pick your channels, but don’t spread yourself thin. Five max.
  • Talk to people
    • Whether it’s IRL or IRC, get out there and meet people. Start conversations, ask and answer questions on forums, share the work of your peers. The criteria: be sincere and aim to be helpful, even if you’re asking a question, ask one that will generate answers that will be useful to others. This should be fun. If it’s not, you probably won’t do it which means you’re probably working in the wrong niche.
  • Build your platform
    • If you don’t have one yet, you need a website. Buy a domain, find cheap hosting, and install WordPress. Use a simple stock theme to get started. Don’t get sucked into design yet. Allow the design of your site to emerge alongside your voice. Prioritize content production. Your website is like a gallery. It’s more important for you to make the paintings you want to hang on the walls than it is to paint the walls themselves.

Get Analytical

Take advantage of the free tools that simultaneously help you acquire audience, retain audience, and inform the definition of your audience.

  • Install an analytics service like Google Analytics or Piwik on your site so you can gather information about the traffic you’re generating.
  • Use the built-in analytics social media channels provide. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest have great tools, freely available. Why? They want you to succeed so they can succeed. See how it works? You are their audience. They are giving you something you want. Periodically check your stats and see what people are responding to your work.

Get Organized

The ultimate secret to success online? Consistent quality content. The only way to accomplish this is by getting organized: create an editorial calendar, make realistic to-do lists and actually use them, and, most importantly prioritize your time. In the words of productivity guru James Clear:

To serve an audience long term you’ve got to figure out what’s important to you, what your voice is. It can take a while to discover what those things are and that voice is.

I hope this post helped you answer the question of “Who is your audience?” Got more questions? Got it figured out? Let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, stay tuned as we dive deeper into these questions in future posts.

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Free and Open Source Software for Creatives https://dototot.com/free-and-open-source-software-for-creatives/ Tue, 08 Mar 2016 16:10:48 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2796 Free and Open Source Software for Creatives

With the astonishing growth of Linux and the explosion of quality free and open source software, the barrier to entry for media production has never been lower. Anyone of any age or background with any budget can make …

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Free and Open Source Software for Creatives

With the astonishing growth of Linux and the explosion of quality free and open source software, the barrier to entry for media production has never been lower. Anyone of any age or background with any budget can make professional grade media using free and open source tools. This shifts the media conversation away from corporate interests and puts the power to create in the hands of the people.

Perhaps more important than being free as in (root)beer, FOSS is free as in freedom. Anyone may use, copy, study, and modify it in any way. It differs from “freeware” in that the source code is openly shared with the community, often with encouragement for users to contribute to and improve upon the design. Generally speaking, this means you end up with a much more secure software suite, even if it is a little rough around the edges. Furthermore, FOSS eliminates the licensing headaches associated with proprietary applications. You are free to use FOSS whenever, wherever, and with whatever hardware you want. No permission necessary.

Hardware Requirements

While we will discuss entirely free software-based methods for making media, the truth is that media production will always have some cost associated with it. Below is a list of the essential hardware to consider if you intend on doing any video production or stop-motion animation.

  • Camera: Consider picking up a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. These offer greater flexibility over video cameras, as they can be used for video, stop-motion animation, and still photography. Interchangeable lenses also provide greater quality and control than most video cameras. Older models are often heavily discounted, and most Canon cameras can be given a bit of a performance boost with Magic Lantern (www.magiclantern.fm), a free software add-on that runs from the SD/CF card and adds a host of new features that weren’t included from the factory.
  • Tripod: Invest in the best tripod you can afford without breaking the bank. Tripods are critically important for video and an absolute necessity for stop-motion animation.
  • Lights: If you have the budget for a professional light kit, by all means go for it. Lighting is possibly the most important tool in your video production kit. If you don’t have the budget for it, pick up a set of shop lights or a handful of clip lights and the brightest daylight-balanced fluorescent or LED light bulbs you can find.
  • Scanner: There’s a good chance you already have a decent flatbed scanner built into your printer, so don’t worry about seeking out something better. Scanners are great for capturing textures and drawings for use in digital animations, and can even be repurposed for stop-motion animation.
  • Computer: Building a PC from parts is easier than it sounds and is often cheaper than buying a pre-built system. Plus you’ll end up with higher-quality components and specs that are perfectly attuned to your needs. If you are ready to try Linux, you’ll even save a bit by skipping the Windows license.

FOSS Toolkit

Most everything we will cover is available on Windows and/or Mac OS, but more importantly, everything mentioned runs on Linux. Linux is a completely free and open-source computer operating system. The massive, talented development communities behind the Linux kernel and its staggering variety of distributions (often called distros) collaborate to provide a highly secure, stable alternative to Windows and Mac OS that respects your privacy. Linux Mint (www.linuxmint.com) is the most popular distribution according to DistroWatch, and is an excellent starting point for beginners. Ubuntu, another long-standing community favorite, may resonate with former Mac OS users, and KDE is making strides to provide a unique, modern desktop computing experience. The beauty of Linux is the abundance of choices and freedom to modify and adapt what doesn’t fit with your workflow.

linux logos

Graphic Design

Inkscape (www.inkscape.org) provides a user-friendly vector graphics editor for a variety of design situations from print media to websites and animations. It is similar to Adobe Illustrator, only free and open source.

Photo Editing

GIMP (www.gimp.org) is easily the most popular FOSS image manipulation program. It is every bit as powerful as Photoshop, but generally requires a few extra steps to achieve the same results Photoshop users can with the click of a button. It can be used as a digital painting canvas, but the excellent Krita (www.krita.org) is better suited for that.

If you are a RAW photographer, you’ll be happy to know there are several great FOSS tools for editing RAW images. Darktable (www.darktable.org) can be a bit confusing at first, but is loaded with features and even supports remote shooting. It is available for Linux and Mac. Windows users may try Rawtherapee as an alternative (www.rawtherapee.com).

dototot glamour shots

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation, sometimes called clay animation, is the process of animating physical objects by changing their pose between each frame. It’s a decidedly niche art form, so it should come as no surprise that there aren’t any professional-grade stop motion animation suites that are free and open source. It is possible to hack together your own stop motion studio with a handful of free and open source tools. Because the illusion of motion is created by playing a series of still photos in rapid succession, all we need is a method for capturing images from a camera connected to a computer and a way to compile those images into a video. Usually DSLR cameras ship with remote-shooting software for Windows and Mac, but Linux users get to use the excellent FOSS application Entangle (www.entanglephoto.org). Using GIMP to determine how to crop the resultant images, the video can then be compiled with avconv.

Traditional 2D Animation

Much like stop-motion animation, traditional 2D animation creates the illusion of motion by staging each frame of a scene. While the final product is usually a conglomeration of transparent layers called cels, most animations begin as a rough pencil test, in which each frame of the animation is roughly sketched by hand. With nothing more than a scanner and a stack of printer paper, you can very easily create pencil test animations and compile them with avconv.

quickfox

Traditional 2D animation featured in The Quick Brown Fox Rocks Audio and Video with HTML.

Digital 2D Animation

Digital 2D animation software eliminates the need to create animations frame-by-frame with the use of keyframes to automatically modify elements over time. This style of animation was popularized by Adobe Flash, and indeed many animators still use Flash and After Effects today. Synfig (www.synfig.org) is a cross-platform, FOSS animation studio not unlike Flash and After Effects. Its primary function is aiding creation of cutout style animations (a la Terry Gilliam), but it can also be useful for some post-production compositing effects.

3D Animation

Blender (www.blender.org) is a remarkably powerful, free and open-source 3D modeling and animation program. It can also be used as a video editor and compositor, and even comes equipped with its own game engine. It rivals proprietary 3D animation applications in terms of capabilities, but has a notoriously steep learning curve.

Media Conversion and Image Sequence Compiling

For all your video and audio conversion needs, look no further than avconv (www.libav.org). This powerful command-line utility runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and can be used to quickly batch convert videos and image sequences to a wide variety of codecs. There are GUI front-ends for avconv, but the command line syntax is not hard to learn, and you will come to appreciate the amount of control it offers.

avconv -i input.mov -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -c:a libvorbis -q:a 10 output.mkv

Batch Image Processing & Gif Creation

Imagemagick (www.imagemagick.org) is for still images what the aforementioned avconv is for video. This cross-platform command-line interface can convert images to numerous formats, perform batch operations, and even output animated gifs. The command-line syntax is intuitive, but the amount of options can be overwhelming at first.

convert -delay 2 -loop 0 *.png -scale 650 out.gif

Audio Editing

For most simple audio recording and editing projects, Audacity (www.audacityteam.org) will more than suffice. For more complex projects, Ardour (www.ardour.org) is a feature-rich digital audio workstation that can even be used as a midi sequencer.

Digital music production can become incredibly complicated with Ardour, so check out LMMS (www.lmms.io) for a more streamlined midi sequencer. LMMS is often considered the free and open source alternative to FL Studio, and indeed borrows many user interface elements.

Video Editing

Lightworks (www.lwks.com), the academy and emmy award-winning video editor, is professional-grade freemium software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The free version is nearly the same as the pro version, but with severe limitations on the exporter. Lightworks is supposedly on track to become free and also open source, but EditShare has yet to live up to that promise. Windows and Mac users may want to try Davinci Resolve (www.blackmagicdesign.com) as an alternative. There are a number of free and open source video editors on Linux, but none of them offer the necessary features to make them viable competition. Kdenlive, Flowblade, and Pitivi are promising up-and-comers to keep an eye on.

Get Animated!

There’s never been a better time to jump into creative media production with Linux and free software. With nothing more than a computer, you can bring your ideas to life as animations, videos, music, or illustrations. So what are you waiting for?

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The Best Blender Short Films https://dototot.com/best-blender-short-films/ Sun, 28 Feb 2016 17:00:15 +0000 https://dototot.com/?p=2785 The Best Blender Short Films

It’s Oscar season, and everyone is abuzz about The Best This-and-That and The Best So-and-So. But nobody is talking about The Best Blender Short Films. I work with Blender nearly every day and I realized that, outside of …

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The Best Blender Short Films

It’s Oscar season, and everyone is abuzz about The Best This-and-That and The Best So-and-So. But nobody is talking about The Best Blender Short Films. I work with Blender nearly every day and I realized that, outside of Blender Institute projects, I didn’t really know what other Blender-heads were making. So I searched the tubes. I admit, the superlative ‘best’ is purely SEO click-bait. The following are some of my favorite Blender short films discovered during my research.

Blender Institute Open Projects

The Blender Institute is the elephant in the room, pun intended. When it comes to Blender short films, they have a corner on the market.

Here are their projects, in order of release, not preference.

All of the Blender Institute’s short films are impressive, but my favorite is the Caminandes series. They’re pure fun, and most important, really show off the software. I was familiar with everything on this list except Elephants Dream, and while it’s beginning to show its age, it’s still remarkable. Many of the short films above, including Caminandes, traffic in slapstick tropes and Disney/Pixar cliches. Elephants Dream explores the surreal potential of CG with nuance. I recommend downloading it, rather than streaming, to see it as it was intended.

Independent Blender Short Films

Outside the Blender Institute, there are countless independent animators and small team studios producing excellent work. Here are a few of my favorite Blender short films:

The Globe

Monkaa

Charged

Hammer, Nails & Wood

Lighthouse

Whole

One final video, not necessarily a short film, but perfect for it’s self-reflexive nerdery:

What did I miss? What are your favorite Blender short films? Are you working on one now? Share below in the comments. Here’s a link to the YouTube playlist featuring most of the videos mentioned above: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI1OSb2DpHivBNUAKdxiUpHerycc9_U73

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