3D Modelling with Blender
Time 6.5 hrs

Difficulty Intermediate
Prerequisites Multimedia Basics
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Karim Chong
Groupings Individual
Pairs
Threes
Fours
Fives
Minimum Year Group None

Blurb

You may have heard of 3D printing before, but to 3D print you first need a 3D model. This unit will teach you how to use a professional and powerful 3D modelling software.

Outline

Resources
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Cross-Curricular Links
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Teacher Reflection
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Credits
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100 mins
The Basics
Following a Tutorial
  • Go to the Blender website and download the latest release of Blender. Open it up and just randomly press buttons and try it out.
  • If you're on a Chromebook, activate Linux from the settings menu and install Blender with the following command:
    • sudo apt install blender
  • Once you're done downloading Blender, watch this YouTube tutorial (which is the first part of a playlist) and follow the tutorial in Blender:

  • This unit may overlap a few things from the tutorial; treat them as a reminder
45 mins
Materials and Textures
Giving meshes colour and reflections

The colors on a 3D model are called materials and they have different types.

  • Diffuse - Does not reflect light and gives the object a flat color. 
  • Emission - Makes the mesh emit its own light
  • Glossy - Reflects light
  • Principle - Basically Everything.
  • Mix Shader - Mixes shaders together.


Go to the Shading tab and you should see this.

Delete the Principled Shader by clicking the node and pressing X (X is the delete key for Blender). We will want to try to make the nodes from scratch.

Using Shift + A (Keyboard Shortcut for Generating Something) and select Shader > Diffuse BSDF and drag the Node so it is near the Material Output. On the Diffuse Node, you’ll see on the right there is a Green Dot. The Material Output also has a Green Dot next to Surface. Don’t connect it to the Volume dot as the diffuse node is related to Surface, not Volume. 


Now if you look at your model, it should look completely flat, but still slightly fake. That is because every object in the world has a slight bit of reflection. So you need to add reflection on it. The Glossy Shader is the shader that makes meshes reflect light. BUT, objects in the real world usually don’t fully reflect everything so we need to find a middle ground. That is why we use Mix Shader. As the name suggests, it mixes shaders. Create a mix shader, and make a Glossy Shader in case you have not yet.

Place the nodes in this way. Fac is the tool to adjust the percentage of how dominant is one shader over the other. You can now mess around with shaders a bit.

15 mins
Principled Shader: The Ultimate Shader
Shade it!

Now that you know the different shaders, let me introduce the Principled Shader. Or what I call, the “ultimate” shader. You may recognize it as the shader which you start with. On the shader, you may recognize some settings like base color and some settings you can easily tell what it does like roughness. 

Now, try messing with some of the controls and see what you get at the end.

10 mins
Using the Viewport
Realtime Rendering

As said in the last part, there are different settings when setting the viewport shader, by pressing Z.

  • Solid - Uses the Workbench render engine, no special color, just a plain old render engine.
  • Rendered - Tries to realtime render the image. If you don’t have a fast computer, it WILL slow down your computer.
  • Wireframe - This mode will show only the edges(lines) of the mesh and will make it translucent.
  • Material Preview - This will allow you to preview the materials. Aka, lighting will not render but the materials will.

You will need to use them according to the problem you are trying to do.

30 mins
Extension
Using Image Textures
  • This is slightly more advanced than the rest of the things done in this course.
  • If you play video games, you may have heard of Physically Based Rendering Materials/Textures or PBR. This means the material accurately shows how light reflects off it. So a rocky material would scatter light everywhere while a mirror would reflect light evenly.

PBR materials are created by using different Texture Maps. Here are the main examples.

Name

Purpose

Example

Albedo/Diffuse

Gives the material color.

Ambient Occlusion(AO)

Ambient Occlusion(AO) is that dark shadow when 2 objects are next to each other because light couldn’t escape that area. This map simulates shadows.

Roughness

Makes the surface rough by altering reflections.

Specular

Similar to Roughness but just inverted.

Normal

Gives the mesh fake bumps by adding fake shadows.

Displacement

Gives the mesh REAL bumps.

Final Result

 

  • You have already read lots of text so here is a diagram for you guys to know the node setup. Search online if you need help.

190 mins
Final Project
Making your scene

This is going to be your final project. Now, you may feel like you lack information and I would totally agree but the thing about modeling in Blender is that you learn over time. The fun of using Blender is learning what YOU are interested in. So, go on YouTube and learn what you want to learn! VFX, Video Game Models, Photorealistic Scenes, Animations. Whatever! Go online and learn what interests YOU.

Click here to watch the whole Blender tutorial playlist.

Here are the requirements :

  • Must contain different materials which are not just colors(contain reflections)
  • Meshes which are not just cubes and spheres
  • Must be rendered with Cycles
  • Must be original

Now, make your first render!

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Unit Students

Prisha
Shared on 09/02/2021
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