by Lindsey Serio
In our 3D Animation Camp campers have been learning how to add color and texture to their 3D models. A texture is an image added to the face of a 3D model. It can give life to an object or character by giving them light, color and depth. Check out a video of another one of our students animations here.
Adding Color to Models
First, campers learned how to add color to their 3D Model by coloring individual faces on the model. A face is any flat surface on a 3D model, typically the outside surface of the object. Campers had the option to use either the monkey object or just a plain sphere.
The campers had already learned how to add solid color by utilizing the materials tab located on the right side of the screen. Under the materials tab was a list of paints the monkey was using. Teacher Joe explained the process of coloring as adding paint to a palette. They chose the option “+” in the dropdown menu and typed in the name of their new color. The default name for the new material is “material” so Joe re-named it “red”. He clicked the white box located below the material list to bring up the color wheel and selected a red. He added another material and named it “green.” The campers then added their own two colors.
Teacher Joe explained that by default Blender pulls the first color on the material list and ignores the rest. He had the campers go into Edit Mode and then Free Select Mode. They deslected everything and then he clicked a face on the monkey’s eye. He pressed shift and right click to choose multiple faces at once. He selected the Monkey’s entire eye. He then left clicked the Green material and left clicked the option Assign that was right under the materials list. This created a laser green-eyed monkey! The campers then had a great time adding more colors to their models; some had bloodshot monkey eyes, some monkeys had unicorn horns, etc. Teacher Joe reminded them that they can use subdivision surfaces to put more colors on their models. Subdivision surface is a modifier within blender the multiplies the number of faces on a model.
Adding Texture to 3D Models
To introduce the concept of adding textures to models Teacher Joe had to first explained what the process is actually called; UV Mapping. It means to take a 2D image and wrap it around a 3D model to give it shape and texture. He showed a jpeg file of a Minecraft skin as an example.
If you cut the minecraft skin out and folded it on certain edges it would turn into a 3d Minecraft character, kind of like paper dolls. The camp then opened a new file and inserted a cylinder object into their file. Joe showed them the textures that they would be working with, five different images of unwrapped barrels. These 2D images were going to be wrapped around their cylinder objects in Blender. Teacher Joe urged the class to think about what the cuts on the texture would look like. The camp explained the cuts as two rectangular cuts for the sides of the barrel and two circle cuts for the top and bottom of the barrel.
Back in Edit Mode the campers moused over to the Sharing/UV tabs on the bar on the left side of the screen. They then marked the seams that would indicate to Blender where to cut and where to flatten the 2D barrel image that they were going to import onto the cylinder. They selected the cylinder’s circle as a flat edge by using ALT plus right click on the mouse. They then clicked “marked seam” on the left bar to bring up a red line around the edge of the top and bottom circles on the cylinders.
Teacher Joe then brought up the point that if we imagined the cylinder’s circles coming off the model and flattened the remaining piece, what would the issue be? A camper pointed out that the ends of the cylinder are still stuck together. It would have to be cut so that it is not a closed loop or we can’t apply the texture. The campers then selected one edge on the cylinder to unwrap and then selected the “edge select” icon at the bottom of the screen. They selected “mark seams” plus the A button to bring up a red indicating line. Now that the cylinder was properly marked the texture would cut and flatten properly to it.
Now the campers had to flatten and put the texture onto the cylinder. They split the screen into a 3D view of the cylinder on the left and a 2D view of the texture on the right. Each camper chose between five barrel textures: a dark wooden barrel, a light wooden barrel, two barrels with “explosion” markings and a barrel marked “dino oil.” The students then uploaded their chosen texture to the 2D side of the screen. After that was done they pressed A to select the whole texture and U to unwrap it. White lines appeared to indicate one the texture where it had been cut and unwrapped.
Campers then went to left hand side of the screen to apply the texture. They simply selected their texture from a dropdown menu. They could now all see their texture on their 3D model.
INSERT 3D MODEL W/ TEXTURE
The white lines on the left side of the screen indicated where it pulled the texture from.
The campers then realized they couldn’t really see their 3d object very well. Teacher Joe showed the campers how to duplicate the one light the existed on the 3d model into a bunch of lights placed all around the model like a constellation of stars. Once the object was lit up it was obvious that the texture wasn’t lined up properly on the cylinder. The campers went into island select mode so that they could grab the white outlines on the texture and move them to the appropriate areas. They also scaled on the x and y axis to make the indicating lines bigger or smaller depending on what they wanted to show up on the barrel. Teacher Joe informed them that only what was inside the white indicating lines was what was going to be used. Lastly, they scaled the textures containing text along the x-axis in order to flip the image over and make it readable.