Wednesday, October 12, 2011

getting started with Blender

A few days ago I had done a trial with the Starball file from Weber U's Ott Planetarium. Rendering a single frame at 2k, 2048x2048, took around 2-3 minutes on my machine, running AMD X2 Dual core at 1.9 Mhz with Win XP 32 bit. When that was warped and projected on our dome, it looked pretty good.

Today, I dove a bit deeper, to take the first baby steps towards making our own fulldome show. Printed out the cheat sheet from qubodup and went through the first few getting started tutorials again to refresh my memory.
  • Right-click to select an object.
  • Middle-click and drag to move around in the view-port, with Shift and Ctrl as modifiers for pan and zoom respectively.
  • Shift+A to add an object
  • N to numerically adjust location and size
  • S R and G for Scale, Rotate and Grab, with X Y Z for constrained motion along those axes.
  • TAB to toggle Edit mode and Object mode
  • Shift+F10 Image Editor (where rendered output is seen)
  • Shift+F5 3D viewport
  • Numpad 7 1 3 for Top Front Right views, 4 6 8 2 for rotate, 5 for toggling perspective and orthogonal views.
  • Numpad . for Zoom to object.  
Also learnt from this video texture guide to use Emit=1 and Specular = 0 for a video texture. And from this tutorial, learnt to use Projection = Cube instead of Flat - or else the rendered surface may be only on the Z axis, and you may not see it! Rendering with a video texture to 1080p HD - 1920x1080 - went at around 10 seconds per frame.

Problems faced:
  • Extrude tool seems to Extrude only along the natural face of the object - some sort of constraint somewhere.
  • When I change dimensions of an object using N and then render using F12, it is going back to its original dimensions!

Next steps:

Would probably want to make a set of stills or videos move around the dome as in the IBEX show.

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