Tutorial: How to make units in blender

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Elefant
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Posts: 134
Joined: Sat May 28, 2022 3:55 am

Tutorial: How to make units in blender

Post by Elefant »

Tutorial: How to make units in blender.

This tutorial will give you some tips and tricks, as well as a basic workflow, for making unit graphics in blender.

You will need: Blender, GIMP

Keyboard shortcuts
Scale: s
Move: g
Rotate: r
Merge: m
Inset: i
Extrude: e
Add ring: r
X axis: x
Y axis: y
Z axis: z
Select more: Ctrl +

First, you should plan the unit. Get some reference art, which can be anything from a amplio graphic to a 3D model. (Of course, if the 3d model in question is public domain, or GPL, you should just render that, instead of making a new one.)
A good reference image can usually be found by googling <unit> blueprints, and looking through the images that come up.
Once you have your reference art, open a new general file in blender. Now you should look at your reference and choose a basic shape. Go to Add->Mesh for a list of shapes. The basic shape should be similar to the main body of the unit you want to make. Now, scale your basic shape to about the right size. you can scale a object by selecting it, pressing the "s" key, and optionally, pressing the axis you want to scale.
Once your basic shape is about the right proportions, select the editing mode from the click-down menu. Add rings and shape and scale them so that the shape is like the one in your reference art. Once your main shape is finished, add the peripheral shapes. These would be stuff like wings on an airplane, or the turret and gun on a tank. Do these in the same way as the main body, starting with a basic shape and working on from there.
When your unit's shape is in place, add details. Stuff like rockets, guns, tank treads, and wheels fall into this category. I recommend looking at my tank models to see how to make tank treads easily.
Finally, add materials. You have two options, image textures and node materials. Image textures add more detail, but node textures are easier. To make a material, go to the shading tab, select the object you want to colour, and click add new material. For a camo texture, add a noise texture node, send it's FAC to the input fac of a Converter->ColorRamp, and send the colour of the colourramp to the base colour of the material.
For an image texture, add an image texture node, and send it's colour to the base colour of the material. Then go to the UV editing tab and make a uv. I recommend using the UV->project from view to make your uv. Once you have your uv, export it. Using gimp, open the exported uv, create a new layer in the image, and send it to bottom. Fill the new layer with an outrageous colour. Then set the uv layout as the active layer, Shift O, select the faces, and set the base layer as active. Grow the selection by one pixel and delete it. Fill the selected area with the main colour of the unit, and draw details. you can draw the details in GIMP, but I prefer to use MS Paint. To export your texture, hide the uv layout and export as.
When your texture is done, go to blender and open it in the image texture node.
When your unit is done render it as in the tutorial on how to render Cimpletoon units. When you render it, the unit should be pointing down in the first frame. If you click on the camera icon at the side of the screen, your view will be locked to the camera. If you want an amplio unit, you can use the 0008.png for this purpose.
Elefant
Veteran
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat May 28, 2022 3:55 am

Re: Tutorial: How to make units in blender

Post by Elefant »

A few things to remember. The final rendering is very small, so even if your model looks crude, the final product can be fine. Also, models tend to look better if they don't have big flat spaces. If your model has big flat spaces, consider adding details there. If you have any questions, please post them below, and I will try to answer them.
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