02. Reference Images

In the creation of a hand you may have already encountered reference images, if not, I’m going to show you what they’re all about in the first part of this tutorial.

A reference image essentially helps you align edges, vertices and faces in the right 3D space. It’s not always necessary to do this, particularly if you’re freestyle modelling, but if you require precision, then a reference image (or set of reference images) can be of benefit.

Sackboy References
Sony themselves held a competition to create the best alteration of Sackboy to be incorporated into the game. They released a really good set of reference images for use by the community, so we’re going to use that as our basis:

  • Download Sony’s original reference image from here
  • Download my already cut up individual images from here

The next step is to put those images into Blender so they’re aligned in each view and in the correct proportions.

Since we’re starting a new Blender project, create a folder where we can store the model itself as well as all the assets you’ll require. Then open Blender, delete the starting mesh and save your project in the appropriate place, i.e.:

Notice I’ve named my blender file with a numeric extension? This will be my simple method of version control throughout the tutorial. I suggest you do something similar in case you make a change that leads you down the wrong path, I might also be willing to upload my versions at the appropriate places in the tutorial later down the track.

Okay, now we want to set up our interface to have the front view of Sackboy in one window and the side view in another.┬áIn order to do this, we won’t need the Tools panel so press “T” to hide that, we do need the Properties panel though so press “N” to show that. I like to minimise all the options in each panel until I need something within it, i.e.:

The area we’re interested in is the “Background Images” subfolder. Go in there and add the “sackboy_front.png” file so it has these properties:

  1. Only visible in Front view (Try the “Axis” option)
  2. Size of 1.000
  3. Opacity of 0.300

When you go to front view (Numpad1) you may not initially see your image, this is because they are only visible in orthographic mode, so change to orthographic view (Numpad5) and you should see your background image slightly faded out.

Repeat this process for the side image and the back image and you will have your reference images ready for us to begin modelling.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The side image Axis does not make any sense. When you look at the image it is clearly the right side of Sackboy but in Blender you need to have it set as the Left viewport. This is important because if you have it in the wrong viewport your model will end up incorrect so while it’s counter-intuitive, you will just have to comply!

Once your views are set up, split your viewport by left-clicking the resize button in the top right corner of the properties panel and if you drag that to the left you should create a second window. Hide your properties panels and your view should look something like this:

With our reference images in place, it’s time to consider how we go about modelling the little guy…

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