Monday, March 27, 2017

My 1951 Chevy Blender 3D Pickup Truck Is Completed!

After a couple of marathon sessions on Blender over the past few days I am happy to report that I've completed my 1951 Chevy pickup truck model that I have been working on.  The truck alone took 58 hours to complete and would have taken even longer if I had put in the time to model the interior.  Something to think about at a later date.  But for now here is how it all turned out.

I had to do research online to find the 90 plus photos I needed for the modeling of the truck.  This included photos of everything from tires to windshield wipers.  I then had to work out all the little details that I wanted that I had never worked on before in making a vehicle like this.  One thing that comes to mind was the tire sidewalls.  It turned out to be one of the simpler tasks I needed for this model but in the long run makes it just that much more detailed and I learned some new along the way for future vehicles.

With all of my vehicle models I play around with the lighting a great deal and this one was no exception. With the truck I had two ways to go with the how I also wanted to model it.  I could have made it in stock form as well as a custom hot rod.  With it being a custom it made things simpler as I could do whatever I wanted with the truck as far as wheels, paint or even the tail end as you see here.  Also if I want to put in the interior that it could be anything I like and want to dream up.  So it just made things simpler in the long run.

Here is another image that I had in mind when I started modeling the truck.   Weeks back I made a tutorial on how to put people into Blender 3D using Makehuman software.  So this is my first attempt at doing just that to tell a bit of a story rather than just showing off the truck. I knew I wanted the lady in the picture and then I had to figure out if I wanted a guy along with her and then how would I pose them?  I thought about it a while and came up with this image of a guy taking a photo of his lady friend sitting on the running board of his truck.  The tough part in the image for me was getting the grass put in and then matching it to the background.  After that I continued tweaking the lighting until I was happy with the final picture. 

I'm not sure if I am done with this image yet or not.  It took me an additional 8 hours to create the outdoor scene picture and I'm still thinking of ways to improve upon it.  Maybe a picnic blanket, cooler, pop cans etc. to fill the story of the picture in a little more for the viewer.  For now I am happy to have gotten this far along with the truck to show you how it all turned out. Another vehicle on my wish list that I probably will never own other than in my artwork.  No matter what it is far cheaper than the real thing and I have already many hours of enjoyment in creating the images you see here. I also still have bragging rights when people see it.  So it's a win-win in my book once again. Enjoy the images.

Friday, March 17, 2017

1951 Chevy Blender 3D Pickup Progress

Over the past week I have managed to squeeze in a few more hours on my 1951 Chevy Blender pickup model that I've started.  I thought all of you would like to see how it's progressing and find out some of the plans I have for this project.

As you can see from this first image the truck has really started to take shape.  I'm very pleased with how I managed to get the body looking pretty proper in shape and proportion.  I played around with several different colors and thought the green was the order of the day.  I had originally thought of a red truck but I have already done way more red vehicles lately so it was time to create something just that much different.  Besides the truck in green seemed to be just the ticket.

There is a lot of work to do yet with the model but the body is pretty well dialed in.  I got the tires and rims put together this morning but still have to work on tread and sidewalls if I am going to use the image (or something like it) that you see pictured above.  I like to experiment with different looks when it comes to backgrounds and lighting so I cannot promise you that the final render of this truck will be anything like what you see here.

I do like the lighting that I have here but like all of my Blender vehicle models or any Blender model that I work on I am constantly tweaking the things here and there until I feel it is just right.  This is a good start and so I will keep moving forward with the project and refining it.  I think the back wheels need to be wider especially being that this is supposed to be a street rod. I did lower the body just a bit as the stock version stood a bit higher than what I have here.  The look was improved greatly because of this small change.

A lot of little details will still be needed to complete the model not even considering putting an interior into the vehicle.  This in itself is a lot of hours work to get just right.  I have collected a large amount of reference images from the net to figure out these little details.  That is what makes a big difference in modeling a vehicle like this.  The little details add a great deal to the overall look of any vehicle so it is worth the effort.

I was asked this past week why I create what I create on Blender.  The best explanation I could give this person was that to me working with Blender is like putting together a puzzle on your table.  Piece by piece you put it together until you have the finished picture that you want to see.  But in my case instead of the puzzle being in cardboard and the finished image being a 2D image I am working in the computer and creating something that is 3D to make that final image.  Add in all the other factors like color, texture, lighting and such bring the complexity of this 100+ hour puzzle up many more notches compared to a table top 2D puzzle.  Plus the fact that at the end you have the distinct honor of saying " I made this myself on my computer and it's not a photograph. "  This makes this kind of project very rewarding and gives me hours of enjoyment that cost me nothing but some of my free time.  Worth every hour in my book to be able to create something like this and enjoy it all at the same time. 

I'll post more on my Blender Chevy pickup as I progress to it's completion. Total hours in the project so far is close to 21.5 hours and I'm loving every minute creating it as I do with all of the projects that I work on.  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

1951 Chevy Pickup Truck Blender Model Project

In this posting today I want to show you a new Blender vehicle model that I have had on my mind for some time. This being a 1951 Chevy pickup truck.  Another favorite vehicle that makes me drool every time I see one either in photos of at car shows.  So I thought it was just the right time to model the truck in Blender 3D. 

If you have been following my blog over the years you have seen my progression with Blender 3D and what I have managed to create with this great free software.  My goal from my early days of trying to learn Blender was to be able to model cars.  I am very happy with what I can create now but am still learning new things and this is the case with this truck model.  I have picked up a lot of pointers over the years but I still consider myself to be an intermediate modeler in Blender. 

Recently I received from Christopher Plush at CGMasters a copy of his latest training DVD on how to model a Jeep Wrangler.  This is his second training DVD. This first version he taught how to model a Chevy Camaro in great detail.  This helped me a great deal in learning the proper way to model a vehicle and with the second version he has stepped his training up a few more steps already and I am no where near completing the training that he shows in the new DVD.   I will supply a link to his site later on in this posting so you can find out where to get it and check it out for yourself.

So back to the new project of the truck here are a few images of what I have started to create so far.

This first image of my Blender work screen shows the front of the 1951 Chevy ready for modeling.  Through the training DVD I was able to get the truck put in by itself without any background around it which actually makes things a bit easier when laying out the various parts of the truck.

This time the side view which is scaled to match the front, top and back of the truck as well. 

Working with the views of the truck I started laying out the different parts as shown above.  This is where the DVD training has helped out greatly to get everything looking right and to scale. 

For this Blender model I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how long it will take to complete the model.  So I have a stopwatch on my desk to keep track of the hours that I put into the modeling of the truck. So far with what you see here with the front end, fenders and cab the tally is up to 8.5 hours.  Sounds like a lot of time but this is just the start as most of my other vehicles that I have created like the VW Bug or Triumph GT6 the hours ran up to 100 hours plus depending on if I decided to also add a complete interior to the vehicle.  All fun stuff and that is the point for me in using Blender in the first place. Being retired I have all the free time I could ever wish for so why do something that is not fun right? 

I will post more on the Chevy pickup Blender model as I progress further.  In the mean time check out Chis Plush's latest car modeling and texturing DVD for sale at the link below.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"Fast Glasses" For My Motorcycle Helmet

This past week I have been able to make some really nice progress with my motorcycle helmet eyeglasses mounts project.  Let me first explain a bit about what this project is and why I am at this point very focused on getting it right.  As many of you already know I drive a motorcycle and have done so for many years.  With those years I now have aged to the point where I need to wear glasses. I cannot wear contacts and do not want to get Lasik eye surgery.  The problem I have with wearing glasses especially when I wear my helmet is putting the glasses on or taking them off once I have my helmet on.  To say that this simple task is a pain is no understatement in either the literal or figurative sense. So I've decided to create magnetic mounts for my glasses that will attach to the inside of the helmet and eliminate this hassle and speed up the process of putting my glasses on or taking them off when I want to ride my bike.

Here is where I started as you may have already seen in my last post.  I created the image shown above of a guy wearing glasses that are mounted to the inside of a motorcycle helmet.  A nice picture but not a lot of details were learned from this image at this point as to how to make this idea even possible to work.  This entire past week or more has been spent working out some of the bugs to the idea and I think I have it pretty well ironed out.

I started with my every day glasses and took careful measurements to get just the frame where the lenses are installed into my computer design software.  This was the simplest part of the project.

Next I laid out a simple framework that would be mounted to my motorcycle helmet.  Again a simple step but no real answers at this point.  More brainstorming was needed.

The first version of the magnetic glasses looked pretty good.  I had found some small magnets in my workshop and again went to work on the project using my design software. After some research online I pretty much gave up on the idea of 3D printing the frame that holds the lenses. It would be far simpler just to make a design that used the existing frames with mounts that attached to them. This design idea started to look doable at this point.  The square blocks at the rear of the frame would be mounted to the interior of the motorcycle helmet using Velcro straps which would be fed through the blocks to secure them.  Magnets would be also mounted on the face of the blocks to hold the glasses mounts. The glasses mounts that you see above have a round magnet in them and a slot that allows the glasses to be adjusted in or out so the glasses are the right distance from my eyes. Not to close or not to far away.  A key feature that needed to be addressed.  This looked good but I wanted the entire assembly to be more streamlined and lighter looking. To bulky looking at this point.

I continued on and took the design to the next version by removing some of the material at the face of the glasses mounts.  This again looked pretty good but being me I was not yet happy with the look of the design.

In the next version I changed the magnets to be smaller and be about the size of a watch battery. There would be two magnets in each of the red helmet mounts and another two in each of the now corner shaped glasses mounts. The streamlining was starting to take shape at this point.

Here you can see the magnet layout for the assembly in the two red helmet mounts. I also removed the  corner brace that I had in the now "L" shaped glasses mounts.  Also in the photo you can see the screws that would hold the glasses to the "L" shaped mounts and the Velcro straps that hold the helmet mounts in place.

Having found different magnets I came up with this similar design that uses not eight tiny round magnets but only four rectangular ones instead. This made the "L" shaped glasses mounts a little bit longer in the process but eliminated parts along the way. This layout was also rejected as it did not fit well within the area that I could use inside of the helmet.

This is version number six. I got rid of the "L" shaped glasses mount and turned the section that holds the magnet in place to a vertical orientation. This in turn allowed more room in the helmet and the red mounts only needed to have the matching orientation set up to have the assembly work properly.

At this point I was able to start 3D printing parts and testing out the placement and installation into my motorcycle helmet.  Here you can see the helmet mounts that are held in place using Velcro strips. The Velcro strip worked perfectly to hold the mounts securely in place. The photos show the 3D printed parts being kind of shiny.  The magnets were held in place using clear tape at this point. This is only because I did not want to permanently mount the magnets into the 3D printed parts until everything was designed and working properly.

This is the way the assembly looks with my glasses magnetically clicked into place. The screws that hold the glasses to their mounts were replaced with simple wire clips that I modified from paperclips. The paperclips I used have a red plastic coating on them.  I removed some of the coating to allow the wire to easily be installed through the mounts as well as the screw holes where the arms for the glasses would normally be.  (The arms were removed as the were not needed in the assembly).

I took the eyeglass assembly out of the helmet and then put it on.  I then grabbed the middle of the eyeglass frame between the lenses and brought the assembly to my face.  With one single click the glasses popped into place perfectly.  Comfortable and secure my idea worked! I was tickled with the results as I knew that I had the answer to my motorcycle glasses problem.  But as before I continued to tweak the design to iron out one last little bug.

The eyeglasses mounts and helmet mounts worked like a charm but they were still a bit to bulky for my taste. I wanted something a bit more refined, lighter, and smaller. Also I did not like how the setup partially  blocked my side views while wearing them in my helmet. Not that the side views were like wearing blinders but they still restricted my views enough to be a distraction.  On to design number seven.

With this latest and hopefully final design I once again cleaned up the look of the project. The glasses and helmet mounts would still use the small rectangular magnets but instead would keep the glasses mounts at only 1/2 inch thick instead of one inch from earlier concepts.  The magnets would be mounted to the outer face of the yellow mounts and the blue helmet mounts would hold the mating magnets on the inner face so the glasses could once again be clicked into place quickly and easily.  These changes allowed for the square area of the helmet mounts to be thinner at the rear and still keep the helmet mounts the same 1/2" thickness as the glasses mounts.

Here's a good shot of the new mounts in my helmet.  With the square block at the rear of the mounts being thinner than before they are no longer visible out of the side views when I put my helmet on.  I only see the 1/2" tall magnet mounts sticking out on each side of the helmet.  This is a much cleaner assembly and does not block my side view as it did with the larger mounts that I had in an earlier version.

This is how the assembly will look once I get it ready to be installed into my helmet.  It is a nice clean design that I now will look forward to use when I put my glasses on or taking them off when I want to ride my bike.  Total time to put my regular glasses on while wearing my helmet took me at least a minute or more. Way longer than it should ever take.  With this new setup my glasses now go on in about a second.  Click and their on and I'm ready to ride!  Works for me. 

I am due to get new glasses in the next week or so.  Perfect timing for this project to be sure. I will use my old frames for this project and get new ones with my new glasses and new lenses for my new motorcycle "Fast Glasses". (Catchy name don't you think?) Once I get the new glasses I will make final tweaks to the fast glasses mounts and I should be good to go. I'll post another update when I get the final assembly put together.  But at this point I see no real issues with the design that would cause a problem with completing this project.  Stay tuned for further developments. 😀