Learning the ropes

Hey All, newbie Blender user here! I haven’t used blender before, but I finally decided to learn this wonderful tool. As i’m really taking baby steps here comments and crits are really welcome! please be brutal, i wont mind.

I have some background in 3d, but quite frankly I’m feeling a bit lost using Blender, but that’s where this thread is for, learning the ropes as they say :slight_smile: I have been noodling with Blender for a few evenings reading the tutorials and banging my head against the wall, the UI seemed a bit frightening at the very beginning, but by using it and familiriazing myself with it it seems a bit less intimidating now. (btw. I’ve been reading the "from Noob to pro wiki, is that a good place to start?)

For my very first project I decided to do a basic human head, and maybe use it as a basemesh for future projects, I modeled a simple quad base(took about 2 hours, heh) and started to sculpt it. To my surprise my computer choked on multires lvl 7 I kinda hoped that i could get to level 8 or further and i found out i couldn’t quite sculpt the detail i wanted (most apparent on the eyes and especially the ears, ugh) i should have added the geometry to the base, but oh well, next time :slight_smile:

Does the smooth-brush add polygons to the meshor does it align the normals more smoothly? Or do you have some suggestions on how i could add some polys to the areas that need it without starting from scratch?

Below is a screengrab from blender (couldn’t quite grasp the camera&rendering yet), quite wip still, eyes and ears need much more work

Below is a quick concept for my next procject, that i’m planning to start after i’ve finished my Head sculpt, a monster face…

Edit: tried a render with a basic skyligth

The best way i’ve found is to flesh out the basic forms and then do a retopo of the mesh to get the polys where you need them.
2.5 will work differently as multires is a modifier and you can add geometry to an already sculpted mesh if you need more resolution in a certain area, at least that’s my understanding.

None of the sculpt brushes modify geometry. If you want to start by sculpting, not just sculpt details to a finished base, you have to prepare to retopo.

One thing you may want to study is materials and rendering with (approximate) AO. The default material and settings in blender are not very nice, as you can see from your blown out highlights there. The render is fast though, unless you use raytracing or SSS. Some of the materials even work in the viewport via GLSL.

Instead of reading books/wiki, video tutorials may be better for getting used to the UI.

Handlebar: Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to give the retopo tools a go, the new improvements seem quite useful in 2.5

ElAkiemein: Thanks for clearing the smooth tool functions, kinda makes sense to me now :slight_smile: I did some test renders today, it’s quite tricky, but the tutorials really help (and tooltips too)

Do you have some suggestions for good video tutorials?

I did some test renders today, with varying degrees of succes (baby steps for sure :P) I started with the monkey head and tried to do some nice renders of that. The renderer used was Yafray (I already love it)

The first batch, playing around with a basic rock kinda shader 3 area lights

Then I tried to try what i learned about the little render tests to rendering the head scene
here are some toughts on what i did

a few questions:

-are the FG-samples the best way to reduce the grainy noise in the picture?
-I used the settings form the Yafray tutorials as a base, but i tweaked them a bit, do the adjustments seem rational, or am i way off? (http://www.yafaray.org/documentation/tutorials/studiolighting)
-how can I best determine what size arealights i should use or is it just trial and error?
-instead combining the the clay render with removed groundplane with previous render is it more rational/efficient to tweak the groundplane material so it doesn’t mess with the lighting so much?

Thanks for reading, and sorry about the lenghty post :slight_smile:

Looking good. I have not played with yafaray at all really, myself.

Internal blender and GLSL shading is important to tweak with when sculpting fine detail, since shading is the only depth cue with a non-stereoscopic monitor.

As far as video tutorials, I found Creature Factory by @ndy to be a good value for money. It is classified as “advanced”, so it does not delve on GUI details much. There are loads of free video tutorials as well (and you can also download/torrent the blender foundation dvds legally).