Essential Blender- P8

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Essential Blender- P8

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Essential Blender- P8: You may copy and distribute exact replicas of the OpenContent (OC) as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the OC a copy of this License along with the OC.

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  1. Figure MMT2.23: The Ambient Occlusion panel in the World buttons. Press F12 to render and get a good look at your work so far.
  2. Figure MMT2.24: A render of the panel you've created. From that render, I'm thinking that the two borders stick out a little too much. It's easy enough to fix. If you're happy with yours, just leave it alone, but if you'd like to make an adjustment, just enter Face select mode, select the front faces of the borders, and G-key then Y-key to move them back a bit along the Y axis. The Loop Cut Tool I'd like to make that inner border a little more detailed. From an off-axis view, hover the mouse over the diagonal corner edge of that inner border and press Ctrl-R. Ctrl-R is the hotkey for the Loop Cut tool, which will add an edge along an edge ring and subdivide the faces that it crosses. Ctrl-R places you into a mode where purple lines will pop up with every edge you move your mouse over, showing you where the loop would be cut if you clicked the LMB. In fact, try moving the mouse around over the model right now and see how the loops appear and disappear. When you're done with that, bring the mouse back to the corner edge, so the purple loop looks like this:
  3. Figure MMT2.27: The loop cut tool preparing to cut. Press the LMB to start the cut. The loop cut begins its life in Edge Slide mode, which you're already familiar with. Move the loop about a third of the way toward the outer edge of the border and press the LMB to confirm. Now, make another loop cut, just inside the first, so that when you're done, the border is divided into three parallel sections. In face select mode, select the central row of faces.
  4. Figure MMT2.28: Faces selected for another extrude. Use the E-key to extrude that selection back into the main face of the pillar, which, when viewed in solid mode, should look something like this:
  5. Figure MMT2.29: The result of extruding the faces back into the panel. You've now finished the main modeling on a single face of your pillar. In the next part, you'll learn how to use the Array modifier to make offset and rotated copies of a mesh. The Array Modifier Just like the mirror modifier created a mirrored virtual copy of your mesh, the Array modifier makes non-mirrored duplicates, with versatile options for arranging them. Go back to the Edit buttons and find the Modifiers panel. Add a new modifier, this time choosing Array. The array modifier will appear below the two mirror modifiers, and will most likely fall off the bottom of the screen. You can MMB drag the buttons window to show the whole thing. Or, to make some more space in the buttons window, you could click the triangle in the upper left side of the mirror modifiers to collapse them. When the array modifier is created, you will see a copy of your mesh appear to the right of the original.
  6. Figure MMT2.31: An array modifier. Because we want you to have your array form a nice rectangular pillar, you need some way to have it rotate the copies. Although there don't seem to be any settings in the modifier for causing a rotation, it can be done with the "Object Offset" controls. Object Offset uses the coordinates of an external object, like an Empty, as a guide for creating offsets - this includes any scaling or rotations the Empty might have. Before you use Object Offset, turn off Relative Offset by un-clicking its button. Let's create an Empty object to use. First, use the Tab key to get out of edit mode on the pillar. We'd like to create the Empty at the center of the Blender world, and as it will be born where the 3D cursor currently is, you need to move the 3D cursor to the origin. You could place the 3D cursor close to the origin by using the LMB, then selecting "Cursor-> Grid" from the Shift-S snap menu, or you can just use the Shift-C hotkey. Shift-C returns the 3D cursor to the origin. In a top view, use the toolbox to add an Empty. RMB select the pillar, and type the new Empty's name "Empty" in the Object Offset box in the array modifier (names in Blender are case-sensitive, so make sure to type a capital "E"). Click the "Object Offset" button to turn it on. Nothing happens. RMB select the Empty, and do some kind of transform on it: Grab, Rotate, Scale... it doesn't matter. You'll see a copy of the mesh begin to move around. RMB to cancel that translation.
  7. Try transforming the Empty again, this time using the R-key for rotation, and holding down the Ctrl key so that you snap exactly onto 90 degrees. Figure MMT2.32: The mesh is duplicated, offset and rotated 90 degrees. Nice, but if you look at the corner where they meet, the instances overlap. You don't want that. Of course, fixing it is as simple as selecting the Empty and G-key moving it until the edges seem to meet.
  8. Figure MMT2.33: The vertices in the lower right now meet. There are two more things to adjust. Set the "Count" spinner up to 4, so you have four sides on your pillar. Make sure that the "Merge" and "FirstLast" buttons at the bottom of the modifier are turned on. These two buttons determine whether Blender treats joints like the corner you just fixed as separate items, or if it joins matching edges and vertices, creating a single larger piece. You want the corners to be joined, so we've turned these options on.
  9. Figure MMT2.34: The array modifier, with Merge and FirstLast enabled and Count set to 4. Array Power The array modifier is powerful. Using several array modifiers with different objects can quickly create hundreds or even thousands of mesh instances. While it is very fast, always be sure not to crank things too high too quickly, or you might find yourself with a sluggish Blender session. As a demonstration of how using the array modifier beats simply duplicating parts of a mesh by hand, take a look at this illustration:
  10. Figure MMT2.33.1: The same pillar panel with the array count set to 10. Here, the exact same model is used, but the array count has been set to ten, and the Empty has been rotated and moved slightly so that everything lines up correctly. This sort of change and rearrangement would be very difficult with more traditional modeling techniques. Turning Modifier Instances Into Real Geometry At some point, you might need to do something to the mesh that won't necessarily work with modifiers in place. For example, you may have been using the mirror modifier to create a symmetrical human face, but now would like to start making it more realistic by adding asymmetric details. To convert a modifier's virtual copies of a mesh into real geometry, press the Apply button on the right side of the modifier. Modifiers can only be applied in object mode, and if you try to do it in edit mode, Blender will warn you that it's not possible. So, go into object mode and press the Apply button on all three modifiers (two mirror and one array), starting with the top-most, and working your way down. When you've finished and the Modifiers panel is empty, go into edit mode and take a look at the full, selectable geometry of the pillar. A render at this point should give you something like this:
  11. Figure MMT2.35: A render with all four sides on the pillar. Closing the Top One last trick to learn: with Alt-RMB, select the upper edge of the pillar.
  12. Figure MMT2.37: The upper edge selected. Click the E-key to extrude, and then, before you use LMB to accept the extrusion, press the S- key. The transform mode after extrude doesn't limit you to just translation - all the transform modes are accessible. Once the S-key is pressed, scale the new edge inward a bit, then confirm with the LMB.
  13. Figure MMT2.38: The upper edge has been extruded and scaled inward. With that new extruded edge still selected, press the W-key for the specials menu and choose "Merge". A popup will ask you if you want "At Center", "At Cursor" or "Collapse". Choose "At Center". All of the vertices along that edge are averaged, then joined into a single vertex - effectively joining all of the associated edges and making a solid top. The Merge menu can be accessed directly by pressing Alt-M.
  14. Figure MMT2.39: The Merge menu. A new render shows the finished pillar.
  15. Figure MMT2.40 At this point, you're going to finish the bridge, but only using tools that you've already learned in this tutorial, with one exception. That being the case, we're not going to give you every shortcut or explain every single detail of each step. See if you can follow along. Create a new Empty (probably called "Empty.001") at the location of pillar. Add an array modifier to the pillar. Give a decently high count (I used 8, but you don't have to), change the Relative Offset X value to 3.0, and enable Object Offset. Put the name of the new Empty in the Object Offset text field. Select the Empty and rotate until your array of pillars looks something like this illustration:
  16. Figure MMT2.41: The array modifier with settings, and the result in the 3D view. Go back into Edit mode on the pillar and select all of the edges that make up the top. Using the K-key knife tool, choose Knife (Midpoint) and draw the cut line in a full circle around the center. Pressing Enter to accept the cut should show this:
  17. Figure MMT2.42: The top of the pillar after the Knife cut. Select this new cut (Alt-RMB Edge Loop select will work), then extrude it upward.
  18. Figure MMT2.43 With the top extruded edge still selected, use the Shift-S snap menu to bring up the "Cursor- >Selection". In top view, use the toolbox to add a mesh plane to the existing mesh (Add- >Mesh->Plane). Using either the scaling or grab tools, change the plane to look like this:
  19. Figure MMT2.44: Top view of the pillar, with a plane added to begin the bridge deck. Notice how the other arrayed instances started scooting out of the way as you made the plane larger? That's because you were using "Relative Offset", and as the spacing was relative to the size of the mesh, it changed as the mesh's size changed. That's not going to work, so turn off Relative Offset in the array modifier, and turn on Constant Offset. The next part will take some fine tuning, but I'm sure you can handle it by now. Start by setting the X value of the Constant Offset controls to somewhere around 18.0. The edges of the planes on each array instance should be fairly close to one another. Work with that offset setting until the lower corners are as close as you can get them. There's no need to be exact, just get it as close as you can with the offset value. Then, with the plane still selected, use the rotation and scaling tools to try to get the lower corners to meet exactly.
  20. Figure MMT2.45 Now, adjust each of those two corner vertices individually so that they match the left edge of the arrayed instance.
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