Grant R. Brown - Sketchbook

I’ve been learning blender for a month or so now, thought this would be a useful place to put notes, ideas, tutorial images etc.

Today I finished the blenderguru “Anvil” tutorial. I am pretty happy with this - I could have added chips and dents via normal mapping, but my main interest was in the modelling and texture painting for now. I realise now a lot of issues I had with UV mapping of older meshes were simply due to poor topology, so definitely something to look out for in future.

#edit apparently I need this here to edit thumbnail:


An older image for safekeeping. I like the painterly style here, reminds me of old oil paintings.

The mesh itself uses spider legs from a genus of Money spider, and the head of Walckenaeria acuminata. The abdomen and other sections are based generally on spiders and pycnogonids. The legs were rigged to allow posing.

The idea was for a stationary creature that lured organisms in via the “head” ornament, before dispatching them with one of the legs. The rotting prey would then be absorbed by the creature via the “egg” base. The egg itself is based on Drosophila egg cases with softbody deform.

More product type stuff here. Also started working with animations and mucking about with shaders.


Procedural stone blocks:

To make, I used a 20x20x40cm cube and subsdivided to 600 faces. UV unwrap. I then added a displace modifier (global, 0.05) using a distorted noise (voronoi crackle, voronoi crackle, 10, 2, 0.1). Duplicating each block results in a new unique block. For smaller blocks I subdivided proportionally less and copied the material/modifiers across.

This scene has ca. 620 blocks, 277,000 faces in total and renders in less than 1min.

More furniture practice - “Kyle lounge Chair” this time.

The cushions could do with more pre-shaping before using the cloth simulation, but these are good enough for “quick” works.

Also mucked about with some shaders - have to say, I prefer the painted ones, especially the light blue one.

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Just some simple screws and nuts.

Another quick scene, just wanted to make some wicker garden furniture. Not as hard as I imagined with the tissue plugin.

Been experimenting with fabrics on furniture lately, specifically quilted patterns.

Was hitting a wall with modelling a couch, so decided to do something different. Galileo thermometer.

Cheated in this one, the IOR is near 1 instead of 1.45 for real glass. Otherwise it refracts too much and everything is distorted. I don’t have one of these myself, so I think I made the walls too thick.

Just more practise items here - and some revisits to older renders.

(I know the lamp is unplugged yet the bulb still bright…frogot to edit the material before rendering lol).

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I think I’m becoming obsessed with the bevel tool. Here are some knurl patterns shaded with a toon shader and non-metallic metal palette.

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Feeling a bit worn down lately. Tried something simpler - hacksaw. Still not happy with lighting, but meh.

Another “daily” work - Claw Hammer. I’m starting to see that the denoiser creates some issues, although the 1000 sample image took 1hr to render so…for now denoising stays…

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Didn’t actually intend to make a scene from this. Was feeling a little burned out, and for a while I wanted to make a realistic Shambler from Quake.

This isn’t it, but maybe one day when I have Zbrush and the like I can sculpt a high def version.
I made this from the original Quake mesh (see photo), smoothing it out and sculpting in some basic detail. I don’t have a stylus so this is hard going with a mouse. If I did this properly I’d spent a lot more time on that than a single afternoon.

There is apparently controversy over whether Shamblers were furry or not. I always thought they were furry.

I was trying to make this look like a flash photo on a polaroid. Not so easy to set up in Blender it would seem.



Some old machine parts, just modelling practice. Turns out pentagons with cylinders at the corners are harder than they appear.

I really like these old cast iron type machine parts. No idea what the originals did, but that sort of organic/machine look they had was something I always found more pleasing than more modern “all of the panels” designs.

I’d like to properly texturepaint these with oil slicks, grime etc. I have been looking into quixel mixer for this, but I still feel limited by not having a graphics tablet. Oh well. I’d need to do a better job at UV unwrapping anyway.

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I’ve been grinding on some larger more awkward projects (that are stalling a little), so I wanted to render something a little quicker and easier as a palette cleanser.

This is just a rework of an older robotic drone design I made, albeit with the modelling redone, new textures, etc.


I have not been so active with blender lately, but below are some recent little projects I worked on.

A 40K bolt (based on various threads where people tried to make it more in proportion/function etc.). I want to make a bolter at some point, and then also a rigged space marine.

Some 'diesel priest work for a poster idea I had. I am going to simplify it down, so the poster will probably not appear in its current form. The helmets were for a crowd - the ‘rims’ were standarised so that I could use geometry nodes to randomise helmets across different bodies to make it look more interesting. I made about 20 different designs but have not textured them all yet.

One of the crowd models:


I finally tried some lineart, after following this great tutorial.

I had zero idea how to do this style beforehand, so I copied the tutorial to start with and produced this in about an hour:

I then tried going solo, although I didn’t have a clear idea for an image. I mostly just googled kawaii appliances until some nugget of an idea emerged. For some reason I wanted to involve a spovepot coffee pot, so here we are. Doing this sort of low poly modelling is a nice chance from photorealism.

It’s a bit rough, but I want to explore this style further and in conjunction with my previous attempts at NPR work. I do wish I had a pen however, drawing some of the lines with a mouse is a bit tedious. Getting nice colours is harder than it looks, I have a lot of respect to those folks making this sort of art that you see on notebooks, phone cases, etc.


More line art / solidify work. I’m trying out different looks, but I still feel I haven’t found what I am looking for yet. I want to start experimenting with a more brushed look, but I need the right scene.

Also the first time I have ever modelled a tank. It was not based on any real life model, just vaguely inspired by WW2 tank hunters.

I tried camouflage, but these images are a little too busy I think.

A more complex scene test. Revisiting my ‘spider-plants’, at night. It’s the slowest blend file I have ever made, despite being about 65mb in size. Most of the scene uses the inverted normals solidify trick, with only a few objects using the lineart modifier. Despite this, it’s unbearable to work without the modifiers hidden.

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