03 June 2012

Blender 3D Architecture, Buildings and Scenery - Chapter 3 of 14 Review

This chapter goes on to describing some of the different classes of object types that are supported within Blender and gives a limited description of how they work and what they can be used for. Obviously given that it is an architecture based modelling book, the book goes into more explanations of Mesh Primitives, describing most of the Mesh types. The Mesh Tools panel is highlighted for particular attention. Here is where I started to notice the problem of the author calling things menus when he really means panels. Also they should really be describing GUI areas in terms of Context > SubContext > Panel. But this does not seem to happen consistently.

Transformations are covered, but more importantly, Transforming with Precision is covered. All very important for architectural modelling. My only complaint here is that using direct numerical entry with the keyboard and the Transform Properties window is not mentioned. This is a fairly big omission as a really good way to speed up precision modelling is to use the keyboard and Transform Properties window.

The various manipulations of edges and vertices are covered with things such as selecting and creating edge loops described. With this information the reader is guided through buidling a side wall. It's just a shame that these individual objects that we do build are not brought together for us to form a complete whole of something.

One mistake I did notice that seems particularly important was in the New Edges and Faces section of page 51, where it is stated that Make Edge/Faces tool requires the user to be in Vertex mode, this is not the case.

Another minor annoyance was that page 59 gives a layout view of a floor plan you can build but doesn't give the dimension for it so you left guessing. Not very good.

I notice that some of the pictures around this section of the book are switched and showing the wrong things, this really should of been spotted, pages 63 and 64 the "proofreaders" must of been on a go slow.

The section on Modifiers covers only the modifiers that will really be useful to an Architectural Modeller. The Array Modifier is covered in some detail, though some of it's usage descriptions are a little unclear/off. For example the Fix Length option in the Array Modifier is not explained very well and could be done better. It would of helped if an example of each option had been displayed and used to show exactly what they do. Though it does take the floor plan (that you were trying to build for the flats, but they didn't give the dimensions to), and use the Array Modifier to create the other floors.

How to position and align specific vertices is covered though strangely the Magnetic Snap icon usage on the header bar is not explained and the book constantly states that it's method for aligning objects and vertices is the fastest method when sometimes the magnetic snap tool would be much easier and quicker.

One thing that I was pleased about is that Groups were given a reasonably good covering, though unfortunately once they are covered here they are never used in the book on any of the modelled items the book has you build (and those are few and far between anyways).

And lastly Proportional Editing is covered along with it's various settings and uses and some examples of it's affects are given.

Not a great chapter there should of been more examples and more actual building of models should of been carried out. Though it covered some of the basics to get you started.