Repeat after me: You must learn a program before you master the skill it is made for!

Just a quick update here to remind myself in the future, and anyone else ready to hop into working with blender for second life – learning the program is mandatory! I’m intensely glad I didn’t just hop into Blender and set off to make my first item of clothing for second life. I’m sure something would have been made but a) I’m sure it would have been countless frustrated hours doing things I could have done in 2 minutes and b) the items would have just been plain bad.

I’m 10 lessons into BornCG’s video’s on YouTube. This man is amazing! The videos move quickly and I’ve learned so much in these past four days I can’t even imagine what I was thinking before. I even made a bunny!

Right now there are 49 lessons in the series, and he keeps them coming! The last one was uploaded 2 weeks ago. I am beyond thrilled to basically have an ongoing class to keep up my skill.

Many of these lessons don’t directly apply to what I’m trying to do. Adding fonts to the scene right now are not really that important. But I may need them someday (hopefully for a virtual storefront!) and learning more about the program as a whole is helping a ton. Imagine a world where we know what all of the buttons in blender do! eeee.

I’m very tempted, with all of my new knowledge, to just put it to the test. But I see lessons 35+ are about rigging and bones, which I know is going to be important to what I want to do. Those videos are based around minecraft, but I hope they’ll be useful for second life – we shall see!

I’m going to keep plugging away and maybe make some noob items to fill my little world before I head mouse first into clothing.

The fire is lit! Now I just have to keep it going long enough to complete the first item I’m proud of.

Here’s a link again to the videos! 

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Big differences from Blender 2.48 to 2.70! (Hindsight Duh)

The main recommendation here for getting started in Blender for Second Life is downloading Avatar Workbench. So that’s just what I set out to do, but when I got there I realized there were quite a few versions to line up with Blender versions. As we discussed in the last post, we want to stick with Classic Rigging instead of Fitted Mesh Rigging for the time being. The furthest back that avatar workbench offers is for Blender 2.49, which likely would have worked with 2.48, but it made me a little weary.

Learning on old technology may be easier, because the technology is simpler. It just gets more advanced as the versions go along. But there’s no use in learning how to play the guitar on a ukulele when a guitar is just as readily available – even if it is a little more cumbersome.

So, I deleted the old Blender and downloaded 2.72. I then downloaded the newest Avatar Workbench (which was for 2.71, but still works) and opened it up.

Wow.

Its like we opened a whole new program. Some of the basic features are available here, that we learned in CannedMushroom’s videos. But the vast majority of what I see on my screen is simply terrifying. So without hesitation I bolted to YouTube to find an updated blender tutorial. And thank goodness it exists.

BornCG on youtube has a new series for fully new users to understand the Blender 2.7 series. While I’ve only listened to his ‘course’ introduction, I think this is going to be a good place to start for learning blender at our current version.

There are 34 lovely new videos that I can’t wait to start on! Thennnn I’ll be able to hop back to the Avatar Workbench and understand it a bit better – and hopefully be able to touch it!

34 Videos will take me a while (especially this time of year), so if I don’t see you before then, Happy Holidays and a Merry 2015!

Learning Blender : The First 10 Lessons

Don’t worry, I’m still at it. Slowly as ever with the holidays knocking on my door – but I’ve got 10 lessons down. A million more to go? I have to say, I have made a few attempts before at learning Blender. About 6 years ago I even bought a book, but it wasn’t the right kind of instruction. I just jumped right into Clothing Mesh and failed. Or, lost motivation. I can safely say I have learned more in these 10 videos about the practice than ever before.

But I do have to say it gets a bit boring. I came across this issue when I was learning to play the guitar as a kid. The music teachers books can be sooo mundane. I nearly dropped the lessons, but it saved my passion to start learning songs that I actually liked.

SO. While I still obviously don’t know everything of what blender has to offer, I might as well get started on learning how to set up Blender for second life clothing creation, which means finding a skeleton. I need to keep the fire alive!!

Clothing in Second Life has evolved drastically. Those prims that float around everywhere, can’t stand them. And those were even more advanced than the dawn of SL clothing with the painted on looks. I know about mesh clothing. But I thought there might be more to it. What is fitted mesh? What are the standard sizes (s,m,l,xl ect) that are in some clothing packages. What should I be making?

I hopped onto the SL Forums and asked my question here.

As I posted for clarification.. it seems as though fitted mesh (one mesh that resizes to fit all avatar shapes when put on) is the ‘newest thing’ but its very hard to get right. So it may be wise to start with standard sizes (which means just making many different size meshes, so that “all” avatars are accounted for). I’m not sure. I think I need to just worry about making ANYTHING on an avatar skeleton at this point, and going from there. I may be getting ahead of myself.

So that’s where I need to start. Downloading skeletons, importing them. Nothing seems right yet. But that’st what I’m up to. When I figure out the perfect recipe to get things started, you know where to find it.

Learning Blender : Installing Old Software is a Hassle

I’m terribly eager to start my first Second Life object or outfit, but there’s no use in that if I don’t know how to use blender. Yes, blender is the program I’m using. Its free and seems to have a good following and a lot of options. There are a ton of different versions however, and I anticipate this being a bit of an issue when it comes to following tutorials. But we shall see!

I want to be incredibly thorough in this learning process because I really do want this knowledge to stick, and I want to make sure I have all of the tools to make great clothing instead of just average clothing when the time comes.

Well, i was just about ready to jump into sl clothing tutorials when I just searched google for a tutorial leading me to this page.

As Maeve Balfour says:

The reason I ask is that if you are totally new to mesh creation, you really MUST learn the overall workflow involved with mesh creation in general before you even consider creating mesh clothing. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t, and setting yourself up for a world of frustration.

Alright Maeve, I’m sold. I followed her link to Canned Mushrooms. This guy has HUNDREDS of videos on how to work with modeling software, so naturally – overwhelmed. But obviously, we’re sticking with the Blender ones.

Think of this process as taking a full semester class on JUST BLENDER. It really doesn’t matter which blender videos you watch, the point is to just absorb all of the information you can, and once we feel like we can make a pretty good object, we’ll dig into the clothing stuff.

Here’s the playlist I’m tackling first: Blender 29 videos. (Starting at the bottom with 0001)

So today I’m starting, just picking the software and installing. Easy. Well, unfortunately these videos were made in 2009, which is quite a few releases back. To make things simpler, I decided to follow with the exact same software he is using in the videos. Then I can go back later and adapt to the new technology.

I could see in the video that he was using Version 2.48a, but he was on a mac. I’m on windows, no big deal. Version 2.48 can be downloaded Here.

I downloaded blender-2.48a-windows64.zip first. It was just a folder of files, no installing needed. But when I clicked on Blender it said I needed Python on my computer and closed. I figured there was another version that didn’t require this.

I uninstalled and then downloaded blender-2.48a-windows.exe, which installed fine – but still said I needed python. Ugh. I downloaded version 2.7.8, still didn’t work. Then I downloaded the version blender was nagging me about, 2.5.2, still no go.

What am I doing wrong?

A quick google search suggested I was mixing 32 bit and 64 bit programs. Python was definitely AMD64, so I realized my second download of blender was 32. I went back to the 64 file and bam, we’re finally rolling.

I still have a pesky command prompt looking window that stays open and lets me know that python is working, and when i click out of it the program closes. I’m not going to worry about that right now, but I’ll eventually figure out why that’s happening.

Now on to the blending!