Blender 3D magic

OK, so this is the last book on the subject of creating images (in one form or another) that i wanted to share with you folks. Unless i buy another book (which does happen on occasion, honest!) this will be the last book review for a while.

Blender is open source (meaning free) 3D software for budding graphic artists and professionals. Actually it is touted as a viable alternative to commercially available software and although i am but a novice and have no training as a 3D or graphic artist of any kind all i can say is that Blender certainly has the 'feel' of a very professional piece of kit.

This means that it 'feels' complicated and yes, it is, but that doesn't mean it's not for beginners. It just means, like me, you have to be methodical and take your time to learn all it's innumerable variations.

If you look at the book reviews on amazon (c
lick the image below this post and it will take you to the page) you will notice that, for the most part, the main complaint regarding this book is the very poor quality greyscale images that accompany the lessons and tutorials. This is true. The images are next to useless and although it detracts from the book design it should not put you off teaching yourself how to use Blender like a Pro.

To explain: this is not the kind of book you would (generally) read in bed or on a train without your computer screen right in front of you. If you are serious about learning Blender and dedicated then the fact that the image previews are so ve
ry bad won't make any difference as you will have the book propped up in front of your computer screen (with a fizzy drinks can and a jar of marmite if you are like me) whilst you are learning and when the book says move "x" here or press button "y" there, you will see the result on the screen in front of you.
Then the poor quality images in the book that is trying to show you the same result will be evident (and of course not needed because you just did the
same move on the screen!)

My advice after playing around with Blender for a
couple of months last year is to take things very slowly and don't bite off too much too soon. As you learn a new keyboard shortcut (those shortcuts are essential by the way if you eventually want to work at a fairly good pace) then write it down on a large piece of paper and pin it up next your computer. Each day learn a little bit more.. and i emphasise a little bit more.

Once you have learnt something new don't simply move on but go over what you have learnt. Each day, learn something new even if it's just pressing a couple of buttons and moving the mouse slightly. But once you have that in your head and you sit down the following day for an hour or so then go through (again) what you learnt the previous days. (Remembering to write down each new method on your piece of paper that's pinned up on the wall in a short and concise sentence.) Eventually this repetition will start to sink in and you will no longer need to look at the book but will do it all by yourself.

Start with the simple basic stuff like this cube i made with a star background for instance:

Once you are confident you know exactly why the cube is that shape (instead of a sphere), how to re-size it, move it and change aspects like colour and shading then (and only then) move on to something a little more complicated.

Also, don't forget to make the most of what the internet has to offer
including tutorials on youtube (some are better than others) and any other resource to help you learn a little bit more each and every day. The blender site itself should be your first port of call though:

Blender has real potential in the right hands to create amazing images or just subtle images that look very natural like grass for instance:

Yes i know, my grass needs cutting as well as some lawn feed to make it thicker. I'm working on it! ;)

I realise i haven't really talked about the Blender book specifically like chapter titles and content etc but really there are plenty of reviews on amazon about what the book contains and my thoughts in writing this post were not to go into that which has already been covered by others
but to hopefully reassure those that may have been put off by the concerns regarding the book images that you shouldn't worry too much about the lack of pretty pictures in "The Essential Blender Guide" but go for it regardless. If you want to learn 3D software and are willing to put a little effort in each day even for just half an hour then you will progress and who knows what you will one day create.

You probably have more knowledge about graphic design/art than i have but i managed to start creating more complicated images following this book and a few tutorials online. Like this guy for instance:

Yes he needs work too and a professional 3D artist might have a lot to say to me about anatomy but I'm still learning and hopefully i will have a decent looking guy in his own 3D world that i made for him.

So why i am looking at 3D more than 2D these days? Because 3D seems to be more and more popular on the microstock sites. At least that's what it looks like to me. Also, once you have created your 3D image you can move it around or adjust it's colour or texture, take a jpeg and upload it for approval a lot faster than 2D. Maybe you think otherwise and that's OK if it works for you as you might be (probably are) more competent than I at getting those 2D images via inkscape or another platform churned out.

For me though i struggle to get 10-15 images ready for adding to my microstock portfolio a month and that is just too slow for my liking. That's why i am looking more closely at sometime in the near future at producing high quality and saleable images via a better understanding of Blender. I'll keep you posted on any progress made.

In the mean time i hope this post has made you think more about the potential of Blender in relation to image creation and microstock possibilities and that although initially it may seem a daunting prospect (it was to me) that with a little patience and methodical work you can learn what at first glance seems a complicated program.

Don't forget to check out these useful tutorials which really helped me progress much faster than i otherwise would have:

Good luck and enjoy!

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