JesterArts MicroTutorial: Using Blender 3d’s Video Sequence Editor. Create Movie from Png Files

UFO -- Leo Blanchette, JesterArts

UFO -- Leo Blanchette, JesterArts

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A little known fact is that Blender 3d has an awesome video sequencer built into it. You don’t even have to be a 3d artist to use it! In my animation, I usually save out my animation frames as individual picture files for greater editing ability. I’m no expert in animation, so this happens to be a method I enjoy.

Please feel free to use this model for anything you wish! Credit ClipArtIllustration.com whenever possible. Note that this file takes a while to render an animation. Turn off Raytracing for faster (lower quality) results.

In this tutorial we are going to create this animation:

[wpvideo LjqI8mVk]

This tutorial assumes your an average level Blender 3d user. If you are not familiar with Blender 3d or its workings, please see blender3d.org

1. Download the above file and render an animation in PNG files. This is done going to your render buttons (f10) and choosing your “save as” type to Png or Jpeg. When you render an animation (ctrl f12) your animation will render as a series of Png files which can thereafter be found in your tmp folder in windows.

2_Png

2. When that has been accomplished (and assuming you are using the Blender Animation set-up found in your downloaded file),  go to your right-most window and be sure you are looking at your video sequence editor.

3_Sequence_Editor

3. Now choose “Add/Images” through the buttons or push the space bar and choose the option through there.When you’ve done that, navigate to your tmp folder in windows where you will find your series of PNG files (which probably took you overnight to render!). Select them all and place them in the editor.

4_Images

5_Select_Images

4. Notice the little block you have to work with. That is the string of Png files you have loaded.

6_Sequence5. Lets note that in your sequence editor you can also preview your animation. In that window simply click the little box to the left of “strip” and choose “image”.

7_Image_Preview

6. Want to preview your animation? In that image mode, simply push play in your animation options. Video below:

[wpvideo e4GofykZ]

7. To save your animation, go to your animation buttons (f10) and choose “do sequence” and push “anim” to output your animation. It will save to your tmp folder by Blender’s default.

9_Sequence_

10_Anim

This has been another JesterArts Design Tip. If you want to see more Tutorials, join me on Twitter or Facebook! For more of my work, see JesterArts Illustrations.

JesterArts Tutorial: What the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know–How to Model a UFO Model in Blender 3d.

Put on your tin foil hats and stock up on canned foods — Its time to learn Blender 3d and create a convincing and scary UFO hoax.

So your passion of creating arcane designs in corn fields is not as lucrative as you had thought? When a very pissed off Farmer Brown is chasing you with his pitch fork, it’s definitely time to think of a career change. Why don’t you add Blender 3d to arsenal of foolery and then you can send wonder into the minds of a much greater gullible audience via the internet, and not merely the local hicks. (disclaimer — please do not take these opening lines seriously).

First, Obtain Blender 3d. Go over the basics of function/navigation here: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

In this tutorial we are going to model a UFO from a simple primitive shape, since the classic UFO design is very basic.

Part One: Model Your UFO Shape.

1. Open blender 3d and right click/delete the little annoying cube that is there by default. Then hover over the viewport area and push Number Pad 1 to go into frontal view. Below should be what you see, roughly — Empty viewport space.

1_Empty_Space

2. Now, hover over the viewport and push your space bar. Then choose Add/Mesh/UV Sphere. When the options window for the UV Sphere comes up, input the values shown below.

2_Add_UV_Sphere

3_UV_Sphere_Details

4_Sphere

3. The sphere should be highlighted as shown above with a pink outline. This simply means its selected. Push TAB so you may enter edit mode for this object. All of the vertices should be selected, but if they are not push A once or twice until they all turn yellow. You will see that pushing A (Select All) simply selects/deselects all vertices.

5_Edit_Mode

4. Scaling. We now must “scrunch” it a bit to a more UFO-like shape. We are going to do this by Scaling it on the Z Axis. Push S for “Scale” then immediately push ZZ Axis” and then imput the value .35 (amount to be scaled) then press enter or click. You should end up with this shape:

6_Scaled_Shape

5. Widening the Sphere. Now hold down Alt and Right Click one of the vertices across the horizontal center vertice loop. That will “loop select” your vertices. You may have to try a few times until it selects the entire horizontal loop. (Sometimes it will select a vertice path of vertices).

7_Loop_Select

6. Now we are going to mess with a little thing called proportional editing. This allows your editing to effect unselected vertices depending on where they exist in your field area of editing. Click this button off to an ON state like here: on. This is found just below your viewport window since you are in edit mode. If you cannot find it, see picture below:

8_Proportional_Editing

7. Proportional Editing Field: Hopefully your vertice loop is still selected. Now push S and with your mouse wheel adjust the radius of influence downward until it’s boundary is just barely below the mesh. Right click again to cancel the action. Although you’ve canceled scaling, you’ve set the size of the circle before making changes to the mesh. Examples below:

9_Proportional_Editing_Activated

10_Proportional_Editing_Radius_Downsize

8. Creating the Saucer Shape: Again push S and immediately after push 1.4 on the number pad then click or press enter. This will scale the loop selected to this size shown below:

11_Scale_1.49. Subsurf. Cute, but still too angular. UFO’s are smooth and sleek. Go to your buttons in edit mode (F8 if you are not already there) and select from the menue “Subsurf“. Watch as your mesh smooths out with a subdivided surface (hence the word SubSurf). The mesh you are editing now appears as a cage which the subsurfed shape now follows.

12_Modifiers

13_Subsurf

14_Applied_Subsurf

10. Define the Dome. Pay attention to how Subsurf interacts with your base mesh. We are going to define the entire dome now in step ten. This will involve a few operations, so pay close attention. First push A to deselect all vertices. Now push B (Box) and drag a down from the top of the UFO selecting vertices about a quarter down the aircraft as shown below:

15_Selected_Vertices

10a. Now we are going to extrude the dome upward. But before we do that, lets explain some things ahead of time. Extruding simply creates new geometry and elevates to desired lengths/directions. Since we are using subsurf, we must extrude in such a way that we keep the UFO properly defined. So follow the following directions very closely.

10b. Extrude Upward: Press E and select “region” then drag the mouse UP and type on the keypad .02 then click. (Don’t forget decimal points).

16_Extrude_Region

17_Extrude_Region_02

10c. Extrude Upward Again: Press E and select “region” then drag the mouse UP and type on the keypad .05 then click. That will elevate it a bit higher. (Do you really need another screenshot?) It should be higher.

10d. Select a Ring of Faces. Push down the “face select button” Vertice,_Edge,_Face which can be found just below the viewport above the editing buttons.Now Alt Click that tiny loop you had created by extruding upward .02 blender units then click. Screenshot below.

18_Face_Loop_Select10e. Scale Inward, Move Upward. To properly define the dome and the flow of our craft’s shell, we will do a few more operations here: Push S and move the mouse toward the craft and type in .98 on the keypad and click. After that you will find the area has shrunk a bit. Then push G (Grab) and move your mouse upward then type in .01 on the keypad. Click or press enter. Results shown below.

19_Scale_97

20_Grab_Z_01

…now if you push TAB you will toggle in and out of edit mode. You can see the overall shape such as shown below:

21_UFO

Having Come This Far…Now that you are familiar with some basic functions such as extruding, scaling, etc, I will not be providing a screenshot for every step, but I will go through a number of operations and simply provide a screenshot to verify that you are on the right track. I know it seems hard, but UFO hoaxes must be created by intelligent people which no doubt you are!

11. Begin Creating Plasma Core. Yes, thats right, I called it a plasma core because its geekish and sounds cool. Enter back into edit mode by pushing TAB (do I really have to tell you?) and now choose “face select” and push down the “occlude background geometry” button. Shown here: Occlude_Geometry Now on the keypad push “2” a few times while your mouse is over the viewport thus allowing you to see other angles of the craft. Select the center-most faces and delete them. When you push delete a window will pop up. You must select “faces” to be deleted.

22_Delete_Faces

12. Once those faces are gone (creating a hole in the bottom of the craft) we want to select the edges only (push edges button) Edge_Select and then Alt Click an inner edge defining the hole thus allowing you to loop select the hole edges. Then push E (extrude) then push Z (Z axis) move the mouse UP and type in .1 on numpad then click.Try it a few times till it matches below screenshot:

23_Extrude_Z_.01

13. TAB out of edit mode and in your edit buttons and select “Set Smooth” in your edit buttons, allowing the craft to become…you guessed it…smoother!

Set_Smooth

This should be what your resulting UFO craft should look like:

Resulting_Craft

Now you have a completed UFO! Well, sort of. Typical UFO’s are just what they are traditionally called: Flying Saucers. We have the saucer shape, but who can be satisfied with just that! This is year 1009 man! We’ll call this tutorial complete for you, but I’ll add some things so you can download and play with a more developed UFO in our next tutorial.

Never Trust a Graphic Designer’s Claim of Spotting a UFO (especially if he provides pictures)

I’ve since moved out of this house…its hard to get a good night’s sleep when a tractor beam is shining through your window at night. With all of the observatories here in Hawaii, I’m amazed nobody can back up a legitimate UFO sighting. What, you guys didn’t spot them from the Mauna Kea Observatories? What do you mean you think I “edited” the photograph?

Alien Attack

Actually, the UFOs came to this island in part to search for intelligent life, but mostly to get caught up on their knowledge of exotic foods. They were also able to restock on spam and rice enough to feed their entire planet.

Anyway, if you are unable to make legitimate UFO sightings, you can always generate a pretty good one in Blender 3d, and use Gimp to impose it into your photograph, as I have on occassion.