A Good Tachikoma is Hard to Find…

Best I can find (for free) is on the Google 3d Warehouse site. It’s by ALM Modelling, and is absolutely beautiful. Really nicely detailed. Getting it into Blender was a pain – the Collada formatted file imported as a billion emptys and no geometry data at all. Had to use the online sketchup convertor to get it into 3ds. Importing it into Blender results in a scary list of errors, but the model itself imports okay. Except for:

  • It’s huge! It comes in as a zillion individual meshes all named “node####” and bogs down both machines I’ve put it on (neither of which are powerhouses, but should be able to handle a model of this caliber better)
  • Many more mesh/parts than are needed. Many should be consolidated. This is probably a result of the conversion from sketchup -> 3ds -> blender conversion
  • Triangles. ‘Cause triangles are _bad_, mmmkay?
  • Some things are a bit misaligned. Not much, but enough to be asymmetric. Needs fixin’.
  • Nothing is parented to anything.
  • It renders just horribly, due to (I think) a desperate need of retopo.

    .3ds version renders like this. ewww

  • Not rigged. Sure, I knew it wouldn’t be, but I want a rigged tachikoma.

So let the conversion begin!

  1. name the blenderfile I imported the .3ds into something like tachikomaRetopoAttempt01.blend.
  2. create a new .blend called tachikomaRetopoDest01.blend.
  3. (in the “source” file)
    • a – create a new scene Scene02
    • b – in main scene, select one part to be converted, and move it from layer1 to layer3, and also Object/make links to Scene02
    • c – save source .blendfile
  4. (in “destination” file)
    • a – File/Append sourcefile’s Scene02 into destination file
    • b – in scene02, Object/make links to scene01
    • c – remake/retop/remodel the part. When finished, move new version to layer2 and delete original from layer1. Also delete scene02.
    • d – save
  5. 4 – open “source file” and
    • a – move from (in main scene) layer3 to layer2
    • b – delete object from scene02
    • c – go to main scene, pick another part and repeat the procedure.

As I’m not a terrifically good or fast modeller, this is going to take me a while. My plan is to do a few pieces each night, and hopefully I’ll end up with a good, blender-native tachikoma which I will then upload to blendswap.com.

Really good blender tutorials and tips

(none by me)
Blender resources:
-tutorial sites
http://www.blendercookie.com – (recently renamed to cgcookie.com) Oodles of good tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced. David Ward’s are my personal favorites, though Jonathan Williamson’s aren’t bad either. My “goto” site for tutorials.
http://www.blendtuts.com – Best overall intro to the blender interface I’ve seen. I’m not sure what sort of accent Oliver has, but it isn’t too difficult once you get used to it.
http://www.blendernerd.com – These are both by Aussies, FWIW. Good tutorials for specific topics.
http://www.youtube.com/user/ward7299 – David Ward’s Youtube channel – his Johnny Blender 2 and 3 series are pretty great stuff – complete projects from beginning to end without assuming _too_ much knowledge on the part of the viewer. Each series totals in the neighborhood of 10 hours all told.

wiki.blender.org – the most “official” documentation that exists. caveat: Not all docs have been converted to cover the 2.5 interface. 2.4 methodology is _mostly_ the same, but not always, and the interface layout differences can be confounding at times. (and many hotkey sequences aren’t the same)
It’s a vital resource, but more of a reference than a tutorial site, though there _are_ some tutorials there.

oh yeah, there is a decent blender 2.5 hotkey cheatsheet at http://www.blenderguru.com/blender-2-5-cheat-sheet

http://www.blenderartists.org – biggest blender-community I know of. Good place to search around on. Plus: lots of inspiring/humbling stuff in the artwork galleries.

-texture sites
http://www.cgtextures.com – this is my “goto” site when I need to find a texture for something. Some are really great, some are less so. The site wants you to register in order to download the hi-res versions. They’ve never spammed me, FWIW, and the preview-versions are useable for most purposes anyway, so right-click/save-image is our friend :^) .

-materials sites
http://matrep.parastudios.de/ – this is the Open Material Repository. Not something I use often, but it’s handy when looking for something sort of specific and can’t get the settings right yourself. Materials download as .blend files. “File/Append” into your own file and enjoy.

-reference images (gimp is _totally_ your friend for prepping [aligning, scaling, etc] references before using in blender)
http://www.the-blueprints.com – not bad, not great, but useful. Sorta heavy on cars.
http://www.3dreference.org – useful sometimes

-model sites
There are very many free model sites out there. When I’m looking for something I usually start with google ex:(helicopter model free 3d) and see where it takes me.
various formats:
http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/ – I don’t generally care for the models here, but they _do_ have a lot. Sketchup native format is not useful to blender, but (most?) can be downloaded in a blender-importable format.
blender format only:
http://www.blendswap.com/ – Everything is already in blender format, and has many pre-rigged characters. Some really nice stuff that’s ready to use.

other programs:
Gimp, of course
Makehuman http://makehuman.blogspot.com/ – really great program, but it is currently in alpha and _very_ fluid. May require some tweaking for Blender-native export to work right.

How to Rig a Spider Leg in Blender 2.5

TSA’s intimidation campaign intensifies

$11,000 fine, arrest possible for some who refuse airport scans and pat downs

TSA is shaking in their jackboots over the Thanksgiving “Opt-Out Day” protest campaign.

TSA airport screeners gone wild in San Diego- again

2010/11/20 San Diego Airport:

Sam Wolanyk stripped down to calvin Kleins and got arrested.

Ronald Powell, director of communications, also stated that there was another arrest of a woman who was allegedly illegally filming the x-ray, and TSA screening process with a video camera. The young woman’s camera was confiscated and she was given a citation and released from Harbor Police custody.

TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

2010/11/20 Detroit Metropolitan Airport

After going through the screener, bladder cancer was told he needed an “enhanced patdown.” The patient tried to inform TSA screeners of his urostomy equipment, they didn’t want to hear it. TSA needlessly ruptured the seal, which left the patient humiliated and soaked in his own urine. TSA “officers” unfazed and unapologetic.

Georgia on my mind…

  • Ukraine urges Russia to move its warships out of Ukrainian ports
    The Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, back from a visit to Georgia to offer support in its confrontation with Moscow, has introduced tougher regulations on the movements of Russian warships based in his ex-Soviet state. Long at odds with Moscow over its campaign to seek NATO membership, Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership has issued statements backing Georgia’s position and urging Russia to withdraw from the country’s territory. The Foreign Ministry this week reserved the right to prevent ships from the Black Sea fleet returning to base in Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula if they had taken part in military action.
  • Georgian President grateful for Poland’s help
  • U.S. disputes Moscow claim that Georgian pullout complete
  • US demands Russia return seized HumveesThe United States has formally demanded the return of five US military vehicles seized by Russian forces in Georgia but Moscow has not indicated it will do so, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.”The United States did demarche the government of Russia with respect to the handful of Humvees,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, referring to the military’s all-purpose, four wheel vehicles.
  • US warship heads to Georgian port with humanitarian aidOne of three US ships carrying relief supplies to Georgia cleared Turkish straits and headed for the Black Sea Friday, where it was due to arrive in the Georgian port of Poti in a few days.The two other ships — the Coast Guard cutter Dallas and the Mount Whitney, currently being loaded up in an Italian port — are also bound for Georgia with humanitarian aid.