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The bubble making machine, the making of.

Modeling and texturing tutorial
Giampiero Moioli
In this tutorial I will use Blender to model a lighting sculpture, then I will give it a material. I' m used to work in virtual reality and realize my projects in the real life, then back to Blender to animate the object and to give it interactivity. Stefania Albertini and me started with some sketches and freehand drawings to define our basic idea, then I have designed all the project in Blender. In this case it' s a bubble making machine, a self illuminating sculpture made with iron, transparent plastic and Leds. We liked to give the idea of bubbles so we used Red Green and Blue Leds with light automatic changing to simulate something untouchable. Then I have animated it in Blender and here -in the Blender world- the bubbles are real and they incorporate the structure.

Creating the sculpture in Blender The structural part in iron Start from the default cube in Blender Click N and open the Transform Properties panel. You can now modify the dimensions of the sculpture. Click link scale and digit 3.3 in the DimX. I assumed 1 Blender unit was 10 centimetres, then in the reality the central box of the sculpture will be 33 centimetres.

Now import the drawing of the sculpture (view – background image) and load the picture from your hard drive.

Tab Z key and change size, X and Y offset until the central box of the drawing is the same dimension of the box.

Now select the box, tab to Edit Mode, select all the faces, press W Key and subdivide multi, type 5 in the number of cuts

Then go on extruding (Ekey) the faces and moving (Gkey), scaling (Skey) and rotating (Rkey) vertices following the background image. You can use Ctrl Tab to choose to select vertices, edges or faces. In this fase is very interesting make the transformations with the combo (Ctrl spacebar).

Turn the grid off with View – View Properties panel. Now you can see better your model.

You can also show in the 3D Viewport the length of the edges selecting the edges you want and clicking Edge length in the Mesh tool more panel. This is very good for architecture and industrial design.

When you finish your model select the four bottom faces and scale them to 0 on the Z axe (S key – Zkey – 0) and you will have a planar base for your sculpture. Then, with the faces still selected click Shift S and then Cursor – Selection and in the Mesh tools click Centre Cursor. You will have the pivot point of your form at the bottom of it.

Now I want to unwrap the model for a better application of the UV texture of the material. I open the UV Image Editor on the right window of my interface and in the 3D viewport I go to Edit Mode and select the edges where I want to subdivide the texture. In this case it is easy because I want to subdivide the sculpture in faces. With Ctrl E and mark seam I mark the edges where I want Blender to subdivide the shape; I select all the faces and click the Ukey and choose Unwrap.

Blender make the bigger part of the work and you have only to move (Gkey), scale (Skey) and rotate (Rkey) the shapes on the UV Image editor.

Blender also help you: when you select a face in the 3D viewport you can see it in the UV image editor, then go in the UV image editor, press Akey and select it and, back to the 3D viewport A key and select all, so you can see your face selected and all the other faces deselected.

Save your image on your hard disk (in the UV Image Editor UVs - Scripts – Save UV Face Layout OK, choose the directory and save the UV image as tga) Add a material in the material panel, create a new texture and assign UV in Map Input and click Col and Nor in Map to. In Gimp on the base of your exported tga image load your image following the lines of the UV texture and charge your finished image in the Texture Buttons (Add new – Image - Load). Charge the modified image also on the UV Image Editor (Arrows up and down). In the 3D viewport, if you choose the textured Draw Type you can view the texture and you will see it on the rendering.

UV Face Layout

Final Texture

The transparent plastic bubbles Create the bubble' s shapes in Inkscape or Gimp and save them in PNG, then import them in Blender (view – background image and load the picture from the hard drive) and you have the profiles for your modelling. You can also import de Inkscape format (Scalable Vector Graphics file .svg) directly into Blender with a very good result.

I create five spheres, apply subsurf (1 level and 2 render levels) and I model (in Edit Mode) the

vertices and faces of the shape (press Ctrl – Tab and choose the element you want to edit) with Grab, Scale and Rotate, turning the proportional edit falloff on and off. Then I make the last refinements in Sculpt Mode which is perfectly integrated in the Blender modelling workflow.

Then I make the last refinements in Sculpt Mode which is perfectly integrated in the Blender modelling workflow.

Then I link some transparent Materials (File – Append or link and choose the material). You can find a lot of Blender materials on the Internet and slightly modify them following your idea. Press Shift and P and see in the 3D viewport your material

I copy the bubbles and put them on the same layer of the structure (press M and select the layer yuo want) and I put them in place and I assign the right materialschoose (link to object of the links and pipeline window).

I change the Ray Mirror trasp from Fade to sky color to Fade to material and I change the world color in light green (in the world buttons) and I try a rendering This is enough for the construction in the reality because my virtual model has real measures and I can rendering orthogonal views, put them as image in QCAd and prepare technical drawings and models.

The final rendering with Ambient Occlusion and somo more material.