Meet Jesse W.! He works with instructor Russell as part of Game-U’s New York Accelerate program. Jesse caught (or inspired) the spirit behind Game-U’s latest curriculum module – Take Flight! He recreated one the United States Navy’s Blue Angels aircraft in the 3D modeling software, Blender. Check it out!
When artists put pencil to paper, they look at all the simple shapes that come together into a complex one. Modelers do the same – but they work in three dimensions rather than two. Jesse began his model by researching Blue Angels reference images. He studied the aircraft to identify its simple shapes, like cylinders, cubes, and cones, and used Blender’s create and transform tools to assemble those shapes (“primitives”) in his workspace. That’s enough for a basic model, but the real thing needs a little more work. So Jesse, with Russell’s help, next modified the primitives’ geometry to match the Blue Angels reference images.
Modifying geometry usually involves adding, removing, or reshaping edges, vertices, and faces. A cube with its height scaled down to a few millimeters’ worth of screen and one of its faces extruded out to three times its original width might roughly resemble a plane wing, but it’s still lacking key features – curved edges, a 20-30 degree upward angle, and a tapered tip, for instance. That’s where more advanced geometry comes into play. Jesse used the bevel tool to give the wing sides a graduated surface, and the R hotkey allowed him to rotate the wing on the appropriate axis. Finally, to add taper, Jesse scaled down the wing geometry on the side furthest from the plane’s main body. These modifications and many others eventually created a realistic aircraft shape!
But since the Blue Angels aircraft are more than just shape, Jesse didn’t stop at geometry. He proceeded to “unwrap” the 3D model into 2D so that the surfaces could receive texture. Using Blender’s painting tools, he added color to the 2D surfaces and applied them to the model. Since the unwrapped 2D surfaces often don’t look like the 3D object, texturing can be a tricky process that requires a lot of patience. Jesse overcame this challenge by working slowly but surely, ultimately producing the (nearly) finished product – a recognizable Blue Angels aircraft.
Well done, Jesse! Your model looks amazing. Russell’s proud of how much you’ve learned and we’re all excited to see where your skills will take you. Keep up the good work!