Holiday home

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jun 30 2012

As the weather during my holidays in France wasn’t very good I got some extra time to model our holiday home in Blender and Sketchup. It is very easy to create some non-photo realistic renders in Sketchup, but I still find modelling in Sketchup a bit awkward. Often other things happen than you would expect if you move vertices around. Therefore I started modelling in Blender – using some photo reference – and then imported the model into Sketchup.


I always like to use some kind of sketch rendering to make it clear that it was never intended to be a photo realistic render.sketch holiday home

In the last render I added some trees and the block of holiday homes next to ours.


Alessi thermos with solidThinking

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Apr 17 2011

The Alessi thermos jug, that I modelled earlier in Moi3D and in Blender, proved to be an interesting introduction to solidThinking.


The thermos jug consists of a body with the shape of a large sphere, four rectangular feet to support it, a circular handle and a simple cylindrical top.


Most of the shape could be modelled very easy. To model the feet I created an additional sphere to be used in a boolean operation with the extruded rectangular shape of the feet.

The most challenging part proved to be the top. This is the intended shape as modelled in Moi 3D.


I started with the outer shell. A simple cylinder (extruded circle) and an extruded triangle.


By selecting the lower control points of the extruded triangle and moving them inwards I created the following shape.


Then I trimmed the inner parts of the extruded triangle using the intersect CT function



The top and bottom of the surface where closed by selecting the edges and using the FillPath function.



The three surfaces (top, side and bottom) where then combined


into a single solid. With the Shell function


the inner part of the solid was removed.


The end-result was then rendered using one of the standard studio environments.



The method of first creating an outer shell for the top part of the thermos jug, then creating a solid, looks complicated but works. One would expect that it would be easier to extrude the circle and the triangle into two solids (with top and bottom caps) and then apply a boolean union on the two parts. However, as the screenshot below shows, the boolean function still leaves a seam between the two parts. This is probably the reason that the shell function does not work.


Alessi thermos jug

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Apr 09 2011

alessi thermos jug-1 Last week I was reading the book “Sketching” by Koos Eissen and Roselien Steur. Somehow it inspired me to have another go at modelling some small items. I decided to start with a design of a thermos jug for Alessi. I used a trial version of Moi3D to create the model, then rendered it in Cinema 4D and Blender.

It proved to be more difficult than I thought. The main problem was the export of the model. As I was not sure if Blender would handle Ngons correctly I exported in ‘quads and tri’s’. However, this prevented both Blender and Cinema 4D to create nice smooth surfaces. So I manually corrected the geometry before rendering the object.

Here are two renders, both done with Blender 2.5 (2.57 RC). The second render was set up in the kitchen environment that I built earlier for my model of the Francis espresso machine.  



Fly-by of Mont Ventoux revisited

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Jan 09 2011

Some days ago I found a tutorial by pwnisher explaining how to use Cinema 4D and After Effects to create a jet fly-by. I own an older version of Cinema 4D but apart from the rendering I was able to use the same procedure as described in the tutorial. The compositing part was a little bit harder to reproduce. I do not own After Effects so I tried to achieve the same result with Sony Vegas Studio. I learned the following things:

  • Always start with the correct settings for the movie you want to produce. The image that I made earlier (see Fly-by of Mont Ventoux) had the resolution 768×1024 (w x h) which is not practical as a movie format.
  • In Cinema 4D you have to select the output format Quicktime Movie with straight alpha.render-settings
  • Create a foreground if objects are supposed to pass behind another object. You can use the Gimp to create this. In my case, as the sky was almost cloud free, the sky could be erased simply by selecting all pixels with the colour of the sky.
  • background-tut
  • In Vegas it is important to adapt the properties of the imported Quicktime movie. The alpha channel has to be set to ‘premultiplied’.

vegas settings

This is the result. Note that I used the Mirage 2000 model by Anders Lejczak from


Sketch of company building

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Jan 07 2011

Just a quick experiment to draw a sketch of a company building. Very easy to produce with Google Sketchup. But as it was a long time ago that I used Sketchup it took some time to figure out how to create the array of beams. The sketch style is just one of the standard available styles.

combined sketch

Glass mesh

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Nov 29 2010

Inspired by a small animation and tutorial by GreyScaleGorilla I wanted to create the same model in Blender. Here is the end-result using the Blender internal renderer:


It proved to be much more difficult than I expected at first. But that is possibly because I couldn’t find an easier way to model this. Here is an outliner-view of the ball that explains how I build it.

Step #1: Add Icosphere (parent-spheres)
I started this model with a simple icosphere. In the center of this icosphere I added a sphere and set the icosphere as a parent. Using the duplication in the mesh data submenu of the icosphere mesh I duplicated the   sphere on each vertex of this mesh. The sphere is very rough but through the application of a subsurf modifier they appear as perfect little balls.

Step #2: Add glass (glas)

It seems that using a mesh as a parent to duplicated shapes causes this mesh to be invisible during rendering. Therefore I made a copy of the icosphere and applied a glass material to it.

Step #3: Add mesh (raamwerk-bevel)

The mesh or framework was the most difficult part. I tried to model a long and thin cylinder and duplicate this on the edges of the icosphere. However, it seems that Blender does not support this. My attempts to duplicate the cylinder on the vertices and then scale and rotate it to fit the icosphere failed. Using a mesh material worked but resulted in very thin lines between the vertices. Therefore I used a different technique: I started by copying the icosphere and slightly increasing the size of this icosphere. I then applied the bevel modifier a number of times. Finally I extruded the mesh inwards and then removed the largest faces.



For the render I used a skysphere and a reflecting ground plane. I started with ambient occlusion, environment lighting and indirect lighting enabled, but as the render times were very long I started to disable these options one by one. In the render above all these options are turned off.

Deforming the glass mesh

I was curious if it would be possible to copy the glass mesh and deform it. This was relatively easy. I just made a copy and scaled it in two directions.


Depth of field

Finally I added a depth of field to the render result. In Blender this involves a lot of guessing. I used the node setup as explained by BlenderGuru. This method involves using a defocus-node.


I also tried a blur filter using the values of the z-buffer as an input. Neither method is very user friendly as it is guess-work what the settings should be. Adding an indicator to the camera in the 3D view, just as the near and far clipping range, would be much easier.


Here is a render in Cinema 4D 6CE:


Ibanez JEM guitar body

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 23 2010

In a recent thread at Blenderartist a user called jake6644 wanted to model an Ibanez JEM guitar but couldn’t figure out how to model a highly detailed hole into the guitar body. This guitar has a typical cut-out in the top of the body to give room for the tremolo. My first idea was to start modelling the geometry of the cut-out and then move the vertices to model the shape of the guitar body.


But I was also intrigued by jake6644 original idea to use curves to model the guitar body. I found that this was indeed a very good way to model this, including the handgrip that is typical for the Ibanez JEM. So I figured, why not combine the two techniques. Well, one reason is that to combine the smooth body with the detailed cut-out, the extruded curve has to be converted to a mesh. The following image shows the mesh resulting from this conversion.


So I deleted the upper faces of the guitar body and rebuild the faces.


Then I inserted the detailed model of the cut-out. Here is the result. I am not completely satisfied as the mesh contains a lot of triangles around the seams between the cut-out and the guitar body. But as this is not visible in the final render it is probably not worth the time to correct this.


Metal logo type

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Nov 23 2010

Recently I saw a tutorial by greyscalegorilla titled “How to make a metal logo type in Cinema 4D and Photoshop”. As it seemed relatively simple I tried to reproduce the effect in Cinema 4D 6CE. It proved to be a little bit more difficult in this older version of Cinema 4D. In the tutorial the text, created as so-called MoText is bend with a modifier. This modifier is also available in the 6CE version, but it requires a mesh topology. This can be achieved simply by converting the extruded curve into a mesh.


The old Cinema 4D 6CE has no global illumination or ambient occlusion. Therefore I also rendered the same shape in the demo version of Cinema 4D r11. Note that both Cinema 4D renders contain depth of field.


I was curious if I could achieve the same results in Blender. This involved even more steps than required in Cinema 4D. I created the text using the an extruded and bevelled text curve and converting this into a mesh. However, the resulting mesh was so irregular that applying the ‘curve’ modifier – which operates very similar to the ‘bend’ modifier of Cinema 4D – produced ugly results. Therefore I had to use the ‘knife’ tool to create some additional vertices. This is the result.


The rays of light as well as the lens flares were not added separately but were already present in the picture projected on the skydome. 

Here is a view of the outliner. The steps used to create the logo can be deduced from the object names. screenshot-logotype-i03




Frozen logo

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Dec 27 2009

A new wallpaper for the winter time! That would be a good idea. So I started with a logo that I like, the logo of Air Traffic Control The Netherlands. I already modelled this logo several times, but this time I decided to try the SVG import into Blender. I imported a gif file of the logo into Inkscape and then modelled the outline of the logo. I saved the Inkscape drawing as an SVG file and imported it into Blender. As Blender 2.5 at this moment does not support the Inkscape SVG format I had to revert to the previous version of Blender, version 2.49. But the blender file could be read by the 2.5 version of Blender without a problem. So the rest of the modelling, texturing and rendering was done with Blender 2.5.

Here is the end result:


There are two interesting materials in this model namely the procedural clouds in the background and the ice material. Many examples of ice materials can be found on the internet, but none of them really worked for my model. Therefore I created a new one myself, using features that I found in the examples.

Here are the material set-ups for the procedural clouds and the ice:

clouds ice-material

Milk carton

Comments Off | This entry was posted on Nov 17 2009

As an exercise in UV mapping I wanted to model a milk carton. I started out modelling the milk carton with Google Sketchup. I exported this model as a Collada DAE model and imported it into Blender.

tetrapack sketch comb

However, as it turned out this imported model was not very suited for UV-mapping. So I modelled the milk carton again using the imported model as a reference.

I cut open an old milk carton and tried to make a clear photograph to texture the milk carton.


But after UV mapping the first four sides of the milk carton and rendering it I was a bit disappointed with the result. It did not look very natural as the edges were too sharp. Then I remembered reading a tutorial titled “Making of magic bullet” by Enrico Cerica. In this tutorial he starts out with a flat mesh, then UV-maps the texture on this flat mesh and folds this mesh into a box. So I decided to use the same approach. Using the photograph of the milk carton I created a mesh that more or less fit on the photograph and also satisfied the dimensions of my earlier Sketchup drawing. As the milk carton in the photograph was not completely flat I had to tweak it here and there to make it fit. Then I created the milk carton by giving the mesh some thickness and folding it into the required shape.

This is the result. The text was created by tracing the characters in Inkscape, importing the path in svg format into Blender and then adding some thickness and bevel to the path.


And after all these efforts I emptied a carton (I really like “milk&fruit”) and crushed the empty carton.