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Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:52 pm

Blender is a program for creating 3 dimensional images and animations. It is an extremely powerful tool, but it's not the easiest to learn. There are many very good tutorials available on line, and this topic will be a combination of references to those tutorials along with discussions and models relating to hang gliding. It is anticipated that Blender will be very useful for producing our on-line hang gliding training manual, so anyone interested in helping with the training manual is encouraged to learn Blender.

Blender is a free program and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX at http://blender.org. There are lots of good tutorials and help available at http://blenderartists.org/ and http://www.blendernation.com/, and http://cgcookie.com/blender/.

To get the topic started, here's an animation I did as a visualization of Bill Cummings' description of how to put a submerged glider back on its floats:

flip_all_c.gif
flip_all_c.gif (737.08 KiB) Viewed 1316 times

This process of making this animation basically involved 2 steps:

    1. Building the glider itself
    2. Animating the glider in the scene

So it will be helpful to have people who know how to do one or the other or both. I could easily imagine people who work on building stuff (like gliders and pilots and mountains and landing fields) and others who work on animating stuff (landing approaches, thermalling techniques, right of way rules).

Blender is challenging to learn, but it's also very fun and rewarding when you've mastered it. I'm far from an expert, but I can help anyone in this forum who's willing to give it a try. Here's a good place to get started:

    http://cgcookie.com/blender/cgc-courses/blender-basics-introduction-for-beginners/

And here's a user's manual that covers lots of details:

    http://www.blender.org/manual/
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby SamKellner » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:44 pm

bobk wrote:    1. Building the glider itself
    2. Animating the glider in the scene


Bob,

You did a great job on the animations.

I like Blender and just started to learn a little about it.

Once #1 is accomplished, "building the glider itself",..................................

That's what seems to me would be the difficult part.

But we should be able to use the same glider over and over in different animations.

.....KEEP THE NOSE INTO THE WIND...... That is really stressed in the first day agenda instruction.

A similar animation could be created to show how to avoid this situation and acceptable ways to rite a glider if it is blown over on land.
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby wingspan33 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:30 pm

I'll have to look into this Blender program. About ten years ago I started to learn another 3D design program. I got just so far and then . . . the motivation faded.

I'm good at thinking in 3D with no challenge necessary (printing out the images is tricky though. lol) That can make a "not easy to learn" 3D design program particularly frustrating. But I'll take a look and see how this one works. Could be the writer(s) think(s) like me. :lolno: :geek:
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:55 pm

If you've got pretty high speed internet, there's a nice series of tutorials by Jonathan Williamson (thanks Jonathan!!) at:

    http://cgcookie.com/blender/cgc-courses/blender-basics-introduction-for-beginners/

The latest version of Blender (about to be released) is 2.73. But Jonathan's tutorials use Blender 2.66a, so that's what I'd recommend you use to follow along. Unfortunately, his instructions for downloading assumed you were getting the latest version at that time, but if you follow those instructions today, you'll get a different version than he uses in the video. But you can still find the version he used at:

    http://download.blender.org/release/Blender2.66/

You'll see two different versions (2.66 and 2.66a) built for different platforms (for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux) and different processors (32 or 64 bit).

Choose the one that looks like it will match your machine and your operating system, and then you can follow his installation steps in this first video:

  1. Downloading and Installing: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/downloading-and-installing/

Once you've gotten past that hurtle, you should be able to just follow along with the rest of his tutorials

  2. Interface and Navigation: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/interface-and-navigation/
  3. Modeling: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/3-modeling/
  4. Animation: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/4-animation/
  5. Shading and Lighting: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/5-shading-and-lighting/
  6. Rendering with Cycles: http://cgcookie.com/blender/lessons/6-rendering-with-cycles/

Note that at some point, it may ask you to register with your email address. You're welcome to do that, but if you look around, you can continue without providing that if you don't want (look for the "skip" in the lower right corner).

You can also find some great tutorials at LittleWebHut:

  http://www.littlewebhut.com/blender/

Here's a toy bear that I made from one of the LittleWebHut tutorials:

bear.jpg
bear.jpg (67.41 KiB) Viewed 1287 times


Here's a napkin draped into a glass bowl:

cloth.jpg
cloth.jpg (43.28 KiB) Viewed 1287 times


And here are a couple billiard balls:

pool_balls_flourescent.jpg
pool_balls_flourescent.jpg (47.58 KiB) Viewed 1287 times


Blender is amazing!!!
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:08 am

SamKellner wrote:You did a great job on the animations.

Thanks Sam. It's frustrating at first, but with a bit of patience, it's not too bad.

SamKellner wrote:Once #1 is accomplished, "building the glider itself",..................................
That's what seems to me would be the difficult part.
But we should be able to use the same glider over and over in different animations.

Yes, and I'll be happy to share the ones I've been working on. I wrote a Blender plug-in program (they're called "add ons" in Blender) that lets you generate a simple wing shape with different chord, sweep, and taper parameters. Then it's not to hard to make them different colors, and that's enough to build a small hang gliding air force. :)

I've been working on the animation, and it's not as easy as it might seem. You basically move the time line and then position the model where you expect it to be at that time. Blender fills in between those "key" frames for you. But getting those key frames right - so that it looks natural - is more difficult than it might seem. Here's an animation that I built tonight. All of the turns are yaw only - no roll at all - and it needs a bunch of work to make it "right". But it gives you a sense of what we might be able to accomplish.

landing_001_640_size.gif
landing_001_640_size.gif (5.01 MiB) Viewed 1275 times

Note that this is a 5 megabyte animated GIF, so depending on your browser and internet speed, the animation might not start until it's been downloaded. It should make a downwind, base, and final landing approach ending up on the grassy LZ.
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby SamKellner » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:07 pm

That's great :clap: downwind, base leg, and final. Maybe later we can have the girl run out with a beer. :D

Really, the animation can help a bunch even though it is all yaw. It can be used to help describe first flight plans when using tow launch.

I'm thinking one of these simple, for BobK, animations that demonstrates a glider climbing on winch tow would be helpful.

How the pitch will vary with pulling on a bit of speed prior to release to reduce tow forces and keep the nose from popping up.

If the weather is bad tomorrow I might give Blender a try. :lolno:
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:27 pm

SamKellner wrote:That's great :clap: downwind, base leg, and final. Maybe later we can have the girl run out with a beer. :D

Actually, it's a lot easier to find Blender models of girls and beers ... than of hang gliders!!

Here's the beer:

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?340447-Beer-Final
beer_final_xxx1.jpg
beer_final_xxx1.jpg (99.75 KiB) Viewed 1262 times


And here's the girl:

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?357090
Maria_357090_waira_co2.png
Maria_357090_waira_co2.png (300.87 KiB) Viewed 1262 times


If she's not to your liking, try this one. It's really amazing what these artists can do!!

SamKellner wrote:Really, the animation can help a bunch even though it is all yaw. It can be used to help describe first flight plans when using tow launch.

The missing roll is just because I was too tired to do the work on that animation. In Blender, you can control pitch, roll, yaw, position and more. It just takes time and work.

SamKellner wrote:I'm thinking one of these simple, for BobK, animations that demonstrates a glider climbing on winch tow would be helpful. How the pitch will vary with pulling on a bit of speed prior to release to reduce tow forces and keep the nose from popping up.

This sounds like a good idea for the training manual. Do you remember the winch I posted with the variable lever arm as the line went out? That was done in Blender also.

SamKellner wrote:If the weather is bad tomorrow I might give Blender a try. :lolno:

It's not very easy to learn, so we might want to start a support group here to help each other out.    :thumbup:
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby SamKellner » Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:29 am

bobk wrote:It's not very easy to learn, so we might want to start a support group here to help each other out.    :thumbup:


That sounds good to me.

The weather is mucky today. I could set here all day at the PC, or I could go up to the hangar and work on the HG racks and shelving.
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:17 am

SamKellner wrote:The weather is mucky today. I could set here all day at the PC, or I could go up to the hangar and work on the HG racks and shelving.

I think the racks and shelving will be more rewarding. It will take some time for me to put together the materials for a Blender course, so my recommendation is to go have some fun at the hangar!!
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Re: Blender 3D Creation Software

Postby wingspan33 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:42 pm

AirNut,

Time to get involved with the new US Hawks Technology Forum ! ! !

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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