01. Intro to Blender

Like Anim8or, Blender is a free, open source, 3D content creation suite. Unlike Anim8or though, Blender is on the verge of (if not already) being industry standard and skills learned in this program are easily transferable to popular 3D environments like 3DS MAX, Maya, Cinema4D, ZBrush or Mudbox.

So let’s start by downloading and installing Blender. My tutorial is written using version 2.65 which was the most recent version as I was writing this. If you look around the ‘net you will see a lot of tutorials and advice regarding older versions of Blender but there is no point in clinging to the past. Even if it takes longer to learn the latest iteration of a program, keeping current is a crucial skill in the IT industry so bite the bullet and just grab whatever the most recent version of Blender is.

Once you’ve found the appropriate version of Blender for you and the system you’re working on, install it, open it and make a hand…just kidding :-) I’ll give you a little more support than that.

Why a Hand?
Building a hand is a common 3D modelling task because it’s a readily available, asymmetrical object you can view from all angles while modelling. It’s also easy to create a low-poly version or to spend time detailing a high-poly one. Here are a list of tutorials/resources that will help you go about creating a 3D model of a hand:

  • This tutorial from ThinkLabs is outstanding. It’s in a fairly current version of Blender and written at an introductory level, no point me reinventing the wheel when these guys have done such an awesome job of explaining the process already!
  • This video goes through how to create a hand, but it moves much quicker than the previous link and makes a few assumptions. If you like visual tutorials over written ones then you might like this one.

The main purpose of you doing this exercise is to make sure you have a level of confidence and familiarity in navigating around the Blender interface and transforming 3D objects. If everything about 3D modelling is unfamiliar to you then it is at this point you should stop and do my Basic 3D Modelling tutorial.

As the title of this tutorial states, this is an advanced 3D modelling tutorial. Take some time to get some familiarity with Blender and then come back to take part in the creation of Sackboy.

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