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 Tutorial 2: Blender 3D Modelling Basic Skills 
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Post Tutorial 2: Blender 3D Modelling Basic Skills
Today's lesson is in how to make stuff, we will cover a bunch of basic shapes and complex shapes which will force you to learn to use and practice with all the various techniques and hotkeys. In addition we will also cover material values in the shader buttons(F5). and the editing buttons (F9) !

In Game design or even in animation, I am a Game Developer, that means I have to specialize in everything and know everything so I can teach people and help people with any aspect of game design to get the project done. You however should know a little of everything so you can know what others in the team will expect from you so they can do thier part with as few problems as possible or no problems at all. Over all you should specialize, and you can change up your specialization from project to project, but you should start with one aspect you are really good at or find the most interesting and get better at it and use your skills in a project.

I hope by the end of these tutorials to put together an open project, so we can all test out our abilities and share resources. and make FH's first blender Game. So, by the end of this tutorial, start to think if 3D modelling is what you want to specialize in.

(this post is a work in progress)

Table of contents:

0: Object Mode Vs. Edit Mode (buttons menus and hotkeys)
1: Making Basic shapes
2: making advanced shapes
3: Introduction to texturing and materials
4: what will be expected of your work as a 3D modeller by other parts of a team?

hotkeys:
w = the w menu, it contains options modifying a mesh in various ways, including some options which cannot be found anywhere else. i.e. "subdivide multi-fractal" and "merge" and "remove doubles"
e = the extrude menu, this menu is for what to extrude, if you select a face and hit e, it'll ask "region, individual faces, only edges, only vertexes".
b = box selection tool, holding Alt while drawing this box will deselect the stuff inside the box.
bb = while in the box selection tool pressing b again gets you an adjustable circle slection tool, you can controll the circle size with "-", "+" or the middle mouse wheel. right click exits this selection mode. left click selects stuff while in this mode and Alt+left click deselects stuff while in this mode!
v = split selected faces allong the selected edge, only works if you selected a single face or a string of edges or a single vertex.
n = opens the transformation subwindow to allow you to see/set the exact location of a selection of stuff.
Alt + j = join the triangle faces into one 4 sided polygon.
Ctrl+t = split a 4 sided face into 2 triangles.
Ctrl+Shift+f = flip the 2 triangles next to eachother and selected to the other corners of what would be the 4 sided polygon they occupy. [/] Ctrl+Shift+f = [\]
p = separate the selected stuff to another object.
x = delete shit
a = select or deselect all
g = grab stuff
s = scale stuff
r = rotate stuff
Shift +D = duplicate stuff
Ctrl+f = open the "Face Specials" menu, this allows you to flip the normals if they are accidentally invisible in game or showing funky black lines between them and other faces. as well as other things.
u = Unwrap menu, select how to unwrap the selected faces to a UV in the UV image editor.
i = insert a shape key into the shape key's menu or add a shape basis if there are no keys
right click = select/cancel
left click = place the 3D cursor at the mouse location.


0: Object Mode Vs. Edit Mode (buttons menus and hotkeys)
As a modeller you will need to switch between object mode and edit mode a lot, Tab is the hotkey to do so. In fact tab will switch between any other mode and edit mode as well. So if you are in weight paint mode and hit tab, it'll take you back to edit mode and from edit mode back to weight paint mode (what ever other mode you recently switched between).

Lets talk a bit about your object's "center", this is the point that is used as a reference for motion and rotation as well as game object hitbox/bounds and physics, in object mode you can move the object by it's center. you are going to want to keep the Transformation window open the hotkey is n. In edit mode however the object's center means close to nothing, imagine edit mode as a universe within another universe, you can modify and move shit around and rotate and scale shit without changing the actual placement or rotation etc. in Object mode.. so yeah you can have an object centered at [0,0,0] on [X,Y,Z] and accidentally have the graphic moved to [20, 40, 10] way the fuck off center. this would cause problems if it's a moving object in your game or animation, unless you intend the graphic to spin around a given point.

there are several ways to center a graphic, you can select everything in edit mode with a and then use the transformation window to set it all to [0,0,0], OR you can use the buttons in the Editing buttons (F9) to reassign the center.

Lets begin talking about the buttons, in Object Mode open the editing buttons in the buttons window by either clicking the button at the top of the buttons window that has a square with 4 dots on the corners or pressing F9 not F+9! just the actual F key "F9" at the top of your keyboard you have Esc then F1 through F12, that F9.

right lets take a look, if what you are seeing looks different than below you got it wrong moron! on the plus side you can now guess what you did wrong and correct it and not be a moron. if you are seeing something similar to below but it's all dark and rounded and theres other stuff, then you are using a newer version of blender fucknut!, get 2.49b! it's an old version. the new version sux and they screwed up all the helpful hotkeys to make it more like fuckin maya or 3DStudios Max - retards..

Image

OK lets go over what we have here.
Panels, this menu is for alignment of the panels and size of the panels and to give you a menu to pick what buttons window to open. Alternatively you can use your mouse to grab a panel and move it to reorder them to your desired order, you can also scale the whole window and all the panels with Ctrl+Alt, or move all the panels together (to see things above or below or to the side which are off the screen) with Shift+Alt , Standard hotkeys for the same in other windows.

In the last tutorial we went through the buttons, those are the buttons for the different Buttons windows. we are in the editing buttons now.

Next at the top is your frame number. you should remember you can change it with the arrow keys, and shift.

lets finally get into the panels;

Links and Materials,
ME: is your MESH name, your mesh can have a unique name, it's important to name it if you will be editing it in code!.. I almost never do this, I've seen it done in game (you can make or modify a mesh live from code) but I've never really had a use for it. it would be a unique way to hide your models though! to keep dumb shits from stealin' yo shit. or a way to download a model from a server and display it (such as for an online game where the H is not available till you unlock it and then the server sends you the picture or in this case the mesh and textures).
OB: is your Object name, you can also change this in the transformation window! (the n hotkey window). you kinda want to always give Objects a clear and easy to remember name. please do remember the Case, names are case sensitive! so "Pingas" is different than "pingas" if you are identifying an object in code by name (which is VERY common) if you object is called "Pingas" and you type "pingas" in your code, it'll give you a Key error meaning the given name is not found in the list of objects.
Vertex Groups, New, Delete, Copy Group etc. these allow you to select any number of vertexes in edit mode and assign a name to that specific selection, it can be used to select that group in a hurry rather than having to reselect it one thing at a time. it can also be used to apply weight to a bone by that group, when doing weight painting it will automatically make vertex groups for you! we'll touch more on this in another tutorial on weight painting/rigging.
AutoTexSpace I have never messed with this, I put my mouse over it to see what it says it does, but even after messing with it to see if it's really modifying texture space or not I cannot determine what it's actually doing or if it even works. just leave it active I guess. if you can figure out what it does reply here and tell me, I'd be interested.

Material the number and arros here allow you to browse through your various materials which are on the object. the window to the left shows the color of the material and clicking it will give you a color selector to change the color. the question mark button will automatically change the material number to the material of whatever face/vertex/(es) etc. you have selected on the model.
new adds a new material, handy if you want to add a material to a model in a quick pinch.
delete deletes a material from a model
select will select all faces or vertexes etc. with the specified material on them. handy for when you need to select all the clothes or hair or something.
deselect deselects alll faces/ediges/vertexes with the given material
Assign, quickly applies this material to the selected faces/vertexes etc. very handy to quickly slap some color on something or quickly change the looks of part of a model.

Setsmooth, this button will attempt to make the rendering engine ignore hard edges on your mesh and draw over them as though they largely were not there and it was just a round smooth surface. think skin or soft stuff.

Set Solid, takes any faces you set as smooth and gives them visually distinct edges, thing hard metal things with clean cut edges.


Mesh,
theres alot of stuff here, most of it you will rarely use.
here are those mesh centering buttons we talked about earlier.
Center, take the given mesh and move it in edit space so it's volume is centered at the object center [0,0,0]
Center New, move the object center to wherever the mesh volume center is in edit space!
Center Cursor, leave the mesh where it is and put it's object center at the place where the 3D cursor is.

UV texture: you can make more than one UV layout, but only one of them can be active at any given time per groups of faces, so in game you cannot have more than 1 UV layout. changing the UV layout does not seem to work in game (or if it does it'd take a lot of work). still if you are going to mess with it you'll need to give it a name you can remember easily here.

Vertex Color, N64 models used this alot every vertex can have it's own set color shading to modify the color of the texture or surfaces from vertex to vertex. in N64 games this was used for lighting and shading of surfaces, this is automatic in blender so.. you could still do it if you like but you can use real lighting in blender instead. or both.

Multires, Ignore this this just subdivides your model and adds a shit ton of polygons in an uncontrolled manner to make it more round. we do this manually with subsurfs on purpose to give ourselves more control over the final outcome!

Modifiers, Shapes,
Modifiers are very important for modelling,
a subsurf is a modifier which allows you to have a low poly base object and merely visually make it look high poly. it's great for screenshots and main characters. however it will make your game hella slow just as if you had a high poly model, however the neat thing is you can just delete the modifier at you have your low poly model unaltered.
Mirror, a mirror modifier is an important modelling tool, so for example you can make half of your character's body and so long as the middle of the body is on X 0 you can then mirror on the X axis and bam a whole character! you can apply your mirror when you are done modelling it so that you can have a completee model.

Lattice: this modifier works in the game engine partially. What it does: When you have a lattice object edited in it's edit mode into a different shape and then put it's name in this modifier on a mesh object, it will change the shape of the mesh in object mode based on the lattice's shape! (while leaving the edit mode shape of the mesh alone! (you can change this int he modifier's settings so that it does effect the edit mode shape!)). So in example you can take a sphere (like an eyeball) and force it to stay inside a pyramid, so that when you animate the eyeball it conforms to the shape of the pyramid as it rotates!
1: It does not work for game rotation or movement or scale of the object, so if you have a lattice applied which is meant to keep an eyeball in a cartoon/anime eyesocket (as is the typical use) but then give that eyeball game object motion or rotation (I don't know why you would anyways) the shape of the mesh object WILL NOT change no matter how you rotate or how far you move it around in the game world! it will just stay stuck in the initial shape of it's default position based on the lattice.
2: It DOES WORK when you animate the mesh with shape keys OR an Armature! so if you have an eyeball rigged/weightpainted to a bone of an armature so you can rotate the eyeball with the bone during character animations (as is typical) during said animation the lattice modifier will be taken into consideration! and the object will attampt to follow the shape of the lattice as it rotates (thus staying in your anime eye socket).
Here have an example:
http://www.filedropper.com/latticearmatureexample
this shows a basic high poly eyeball that bends and smushes with the lattice as it rotates with the armature's animation. open in blender 2.49b press P to play, press Space to cause the eyeball to play it's rotate animation.

Armature: this is ONLY used for animations not for games! if you want to use an armature in a game (look at the example above) it should be a "Virtual" "Armature Parent Deform" modifier with no options and a "Make Real" button next to it (which you must never press or it'll make it a normal armature modifier and WILL NOT work in the game engine!!!
To make a "Virtual" armature parent deform modifier, select your mesh object in object mode, hold Shift + select your armature, release shift, press Ctrl+P and select "Armature" fromt he list that comes up. it will then ask you if you wish for blender to automatically make groups, always select "do not make groups"! congrats you have a virtual armature modifier on your mesh object. you'll then have to weight paint the mesh while the armature is in Pose Mode and you have a bone selected. then the mesh will follow the bone when it's animated.
Oh also, a virtual armature modifier also works in animations, so it's largely useless to have a real armature modifier!

There are a few more which could probably be useful for modelling or animation, feel free to mess around with them to see what they do. but in truth I never really end up using any of them other than the ones specified.

Shapes,
Shape Keys, these are shape animations where you can modify the shape of the mesh and save that shape to play back or tween between that and another shape later. you make a mesh, bend it into a shape you want it in, make a key, then bend it into another shape and make a key, then in the shapes window you'll see a slider from 0.0 to 1.0 this determines the effectiveness of the key on any given frame. so if set a shape key to 0.0 on frame 1 and and 1.0 on frame 11 it will slowly go from the default shape (called the "Basis") to the recorded key shape over the course of 10 frames!


Edit Mode Buttons:

Finally here. these will be the things you use the most when doing 3D modelling! to be continued.

Take a moment to see whats new. after we switch from object mode to edit mode we get some changes in the editing buttons.
Image

vertex groups have the buttons for select/deselect by vertex group and assign to vertex group, a new one is "remove" this removes the selected from the vertex group. it does not delete them just removes them from the list. so if you go to rotate the right leg and for some reason the left eyeball starts to rotate, select the vertex in the eyeball and see what bones have weight on it, then set the weight to 0 on that vertex and remove that vertex from the "Leg_R" group in exmple. this was a very short explanation you'll understand it better in the rigging tutorial.

in mesh

the retopo button, I never use it. it's hard to use. it allows you to draw 3D stuff, but... it's unweildy.

Mesh Tools, this is your main panel for editing! all the buttons work to allow you to modify a mesh, either to add geometry to it or multiply or get rid of geometry.
Beauty, why is she here? it's as it says it selectively divides half the edges of any given face selected. and short kinda desides to flip the edges divided this way. just ignore Beauty and short. to be honest we don't need them and they are hard to control.

Subdivide, this means to take a line and split it in 2 adding a new point in the middle. if this line is connected to a face it will also split that face. when subdividing you have to think about where you want there to be lines on the object. usually for bending during animation an up and down line does not bend up and down, but a horizontal line can be bended over in an up to down direction. think about this like the Japanese art of folding paper Origami, you need edges where you want it to be able to bend. now there are exceptions to this rule such as when modelling a living creature you'll find joints have muscles which make squishy edges which expand and contract as you bend, in example the back of the knee, or the armpit have lines like this on their sides. really, just think about what it should look like and what lines you'll need to make that shape.

Innervert Fan and Path subdividing modifications, I never use them I leave it as innervert. but Path could be handy. to see what they do, turn on beauty and subdivide then undo the n change to path and subdivide, you'll see it's different. Innervert tends to split a corner by adding an extra vertex, Path does not.

there really are a lot of buttons for all sorts of cool tricks, but many of them lack the control we need. We will be using:
Fractal, this button allows you to subdivide an edge or face while making the new points randomly offset in XYZ by a set amount of randomness that you give it. This is great for making stone textures, and ripples for water textures!

Rem Doubl, Remove doubles. so if there are 2 anything exactly in the same place this will remove them. Next door is a threshold blender will use to determine if something occupies the same space. so if the threshold is 0.001 then anything as close as 0.001 to somethign is considered to be at the same place and will be combined with the other linking them together.

Extrude, this allows you to select what part of your selection to extend from the current placement, region (extend the selection as a whole thing), Individual faces (extend each face separately from others), only edges (this means the faces will not be extended outwards or inwards only the lines at their edges, the lines will form new faces extending outwards or inwards as you decide), and only verts (this will extend lines from the selected vertexes).

The buttons here have a lot of options to be sure, but we can always get even more options in the Editing Specials menu, to get the Editing Specials Menu, in the 3D window in edit mode press w. this gives you such options as;
Image
subdivide (already covered),

Subdivide Multi, more than one subdivision of the selected edges or faces, you get to select how many "cuts" it evenly splits the line or face into.

Subdivide Multi Fractal, yeah you get to decide how many divisions of your line or face it makes and a random factor for the placement of all the new points again for making stone textures.

Merge, a very useful one, if you want to points to connect but they are not right on top of eachother and you don't want to use the magnet button for snapping, this is a good way to selectively merge vertexes, keep in mind any vertex selected will merge into a single vertex based on either "First" the first one selected, "last" the last one selected, or "Center" in the exact middle of all the points you are selecting.

Remove doubles, (already covered)

We also have the extrude menu that we can summon with e in edit mode in the 3D view.

Image

we have already covered these options.

UV calculation, it's a new tab, it has features for automatic UV face layout generation (a default the game works off of when you go to unwrap the model) it's really unnecessary to mess with it.

Mesh Tools More, because sometimes you need more... yeah. ok so theres useful things here such as show edge lengths, show face area, show edge angles, and Draw Normals.
Edge lengths, if you want to create a perfectly equilateral triangle and don't want to maths, this will help.
Edge Angles, same sorta thing for when it'd be handy to know weather the 2 different edges are both the same angle or when you need them to be some exact angle.
Face area, handy for when you need to know volume.
Draw Normals, very important sometimes a newly extruded face will flip backwards in a way you did not want, this draws a line from the center of the face outwards in the direction of the face's normal. if it's not right you can flip the normal with Ctrl+f "flip normals".

all these mesh tools are great for figuring out the best UV map distribution.

and with that we are done with this stuff you don't understand. now lets try using it.

1: Making Basic shapes
You should be able to make absolutely anything out of a Mesh Cube or Mesh Plane. With Practice! but for starters lets start with a Mesh Empty! today you are going to make your own Mesh Plane and you own Mesh Cube. Ha!. the following is an exercise.

In 3D view, delete the cube that is already in view with x.

Space>Add>Mesh>Empty right-click to set it

open the Transformation window with n move the object to 0,0,0 in object mode.

enter edit mode with Tab.

hold Ctrl and left click anywhere. bang, you now have your first vertex! with the vertex selected (should automatically be, but if you want to check you can press a and see if it deselects it, it'll be yellow if it's selected, if it's deselected it'll be pink. using the select deselect all key "a" is very handy before starting new selections on the mesh it ensures you did not forget to deselect something, in example you forgot to deselect the ear when you go to extrude the foot. yeah someone is going to have one funky swollen ear and it will be a nightmare to fix! so yeah before taking next steps ensure you have only selected what you intend to work with!

you should be looking at something like this

Image

in the transformation window move the vertex to X:1.0, Y:1.0, Z:0

Image

it should be on 1 of the corners of the grid, why not change your perspective now to see if you can get the view close to my view?

Try to rotate the view by holding Alt+Left-click and moving your mouse around. it might take several goes.
if you need to, Pan the view to center everything with Shift+Alt+Left-Click and moving your mouse around. it should take 1 try.
If you think you are zoomed out too far to see what you are doing or zoomed in to close to see everything, try to adjust your Zoom with Ctrl+Alt+Left-Click and moving your mouse around.

I mean lets be comfortable with our view! no reason to gouge your eyes out because you can't see things from the right angle etc.! right, where were we?
ah yes, a plane, well first we need an edge.

lets deselect the vertex we have, make sure it's pink. you can now select it in a variety of ways, lets try the right-click method right click the vertex.

cool lets extrude it into a line! hit "e" to extrude, there is only a vertex selected so we get no extrude menu, I mean.. what are your options? extrude the vertex or extrude the fucking vertex? ok so you did that you'll see a new point is now made and is connected to the other point by a line(edge) and the new point will follow your mouse wherever it will go. kinda unwieldy, I mean if you left clicked it'd set that vertex wherever your mouse is pointing that could be at a very strange place like [1.023, 1000.304, 10000], I kid you not.. instead tell that newly extruded vertex.. wait, you left clicked didn't you? Ctrl+z undo it. now re-extrude like before move your mouse somewhere and tell the vertex "GET THE FUCK OFF MAH MOUSE YOU HO-ASS-BITCH!" by Right-clicking!

Right click is the cancel button, see whenever you extrude anything it automatically grabs it or scales it or rotates it based on what edit tool(s) you have active. right-clicking cancels these tools and sets it to the exact same way as the thing you extruded it from. handy, now we know we have ONLY our new vertex selected and we know it's exactly at the same place as the previous vertex [1,1,0] so lets try to carefully control our movement of it.

Hold Ctrl and left click the green arrow now move your mouse. you'll see the new point will move in whole grid spaces on the Y axis (green) lets move it 2 whole spaces (Blender Units) across the X axis. you should be looking at this:

Image

OK great work so far, lets finish our plane, deselect everything, and then reselect everything. hint "a" then "a".

before we go any further, because we will be extruding again, we don;t want to accidentally extrude more than we intended to because of a bum verticie that we accidentally didn't undo the creation of, so hit "w" to open the Editing Specials and select "Remove Doubles" a little message should come up saying "removed # verticies" you can left click this message to get it to go away. if everything was done right it should say "Removed 0 verticies" if you fucked up a bit, it'll say "removed 1 verticies" or more..

this time we are going to extrude an edge, so we will have the extrude menu pop up with limited options. extrude only verticies or only edges, we want to make a face. so which do you think you want to do? if you said only verticies you are WRONG! doing that will just make more lines! we need a face. something solid, something to look at, a "polygon". So if you did "only verticies" undo that shit a couple of times and reselect your edge, wait! deselect Everything "a" lets teach you to select by edge, down at the bottom of the 3D view you have buttons one has 4 yellow dots and is selected, next to it is a button with a yellow line on it, select that! now you'll be like "the vertexes are missing it's just a line!!!" right, now right click the line. congrats you selected the edge (both vertexes!) now hit "e" , wow look at that no extrude menu, why? because you are in edge select mode and there is only an edge no faces, so you can only extrude an edge, not a vertex. you now have a face, and the edge you just made will follow your mouse like before with the new extruded vertex. "GTF off meh Biatch!" right-click.

now we could move it like before witch CTRL. but what if you know exactly on X,Y,Z where you want to move it? thats right, the transformation window! bright idea lets just type where we should move it to! in the transformation window, we made a line(edge) on the Y axis last time, this time we need to use another axis, lets do X, currently it's at 1.000 on X. lets move it to -1.000 on X.

you should be looking at a successful and precise flat "plane". like this; for those of you who did not succeed, this picture is here to taunt you, until you can remake this image in blender, stop and try again..

Image

if your 3D Cursor is not centered like in the pic, for the most part you don't need to worry about it, it just means any new objects you add will appear at that spot and will need to be moved to where you want them via the transformation window. but if it's annoying you that the 3D cursor seems to be at some obscene place like [-10000.000, 1345.010, 404.040] and you can't even see where it is because it's so far out of view, you can fix that.

Lets practice moving our 3D cursor. In the menus at the bottom of the 3D view, there's a menu called "View" lets click that, now click the "View Properties"

Image

do I need to point out what you should do? there's a spot that says "3D Cursor" underneath which is an X,Y,Z coordinate, input. do the math if you want it at 0X, 0Y, 0Z, what should you set it to? damn right [0.000, 0.000, 0.000]!

Ok, you aint done yet! you still gotta make that cube!

Ok remember how we did edge selection mode? where was that button? can you see a button next to it with a triangle? click that, thats face selection mode! now you'll see there's a square in the middle of your polygon, right click that square! BAM you have selected a whole face! it should looks like this:

Image

Now we are going to move it. a cube is kinda 3D.. so having it standing on top of the object center would be.. kinda strange, it'd hover if you made it a dynamic object in the logic buttons and gave it a box bounds and started the game engine with a plane underneath it. it'd float over any ground by the same amount each time, about 1 blender unit. in fact exactly 1 blender unit. so in order to rectify that you'll need to move it down by 1 blender unit! so go ahead and change your face's location to -1 on Z in the transformation window. (we just screwed up a bit on purpose. If you can figure out how I made you screw up you have a solid understanding of blender modelling basics for games and you should be saluted! if not, keep learning).

right so our cube, extrude the face, "e" , hey look at that no extrude menu again, because we are in face select mode and we only have one face, that means you cannot extrude edges or vertexes in this selection mode only faces. regardless, now you'll notice there's faces on the sides of your new top face! so if you move that top face up 2 Blender Units with Ctrl+right-click on the blue arrow (Z) or by placing it at 1.000 on the Z axis you will have a cube!

Congrats on your first 3D model, a Ms. Cube. you'll be seeing a lot of her. a lot, a lot. you'll basically go to her at the beginning of every new idea you have.

but there's a problem with Ms. Cube. go ahead and "Show Normals" in the "Mesh Tools More" panel in the buttons window. if you followed my orders you should be like "I thought he told me that button made lines point out from the faces.. wheres the lines?" hmmm, yeah there's something wrong there, before you do anything else, lets try something.

Return to Object mode with Tab.

Press P to start your game. "what in the actual fuck?! is the cube inside out? where are the faces that are towards the screen? why can I only see the faces that are inside the object?"

Image

press Esc to end the game. Because.. if you were to go to "view" and select Perspective and pan and zoom the camera inside of Ms Cube you'd see your missing normals defining the direction of the faces.

Image

"oh! there's the normal lines!"

Now if you were making, say a room inside a building or a test stage for some physics tests where you don't want the player to leave the box, your current cube is fine, just make it a little bigger like 10 times as big. and leave it as a static type game object in the logic buttons and do not assign it a bounds (default).

but if this is going to be a graphic or a player or something like that. we messed up. we need to reverse those normals.

select all faces in edit mode, press Ctrl+f, flip normals. go back to object mode and press p now it's right!

Image

So, now that you've made a Cube all on your own, it's time for advanced shapes right? lol, no. Next we need to change our cube into a cylinder and a sphere and a cone and a pyramid and a donut(torus). we'll probably not do that in that order. Advanced shapes will have us learning to make a basic character! and, trust me, you're close but you're not there yet.

Before we go any further, in object mode select the cube you made which is called "EmptyMesh" and press Shift+d then right click to cancel the grab and move it off to the side somewhere either with the green, red or blue arrows and Ctrl+leftclick or in the transofrmation window by telling it where to bugger off to. make like 6 copies or more please and shove them each to a location you can easily get them from later.

Pyramid:
This one is probably the easiest, it'll take maybe 2 or 3 actions from our cube (one of your cubes should be in the center at [0,0,0]). but We'll mess around a bit before that to make some basic shapes.
3D triangle (think triforce or the roof of a building etc.)
In edit mode (tab) rotate your view with Alt+leftclick to look down at any 2 corners which are next to eachother of the top of your cube. you can see through the entire structure in edit mode so it can be kinda disorienting when trying to carefully select 2 vertexes.. for this we have a special button to the right of the face select mode button, it has a cube on it (and is called the "Occlude Background Geometry" Button), click it! now you see what I mean! so yeah that button blocks out vertexes, edges and faces from view and selection if you cannot see them from that angle! much easier on the eyes! feel free to toggle it off an on as you need.

ok in vertex selection mode (four yellow dots) press "b" and left click then drag the mouse around 2 corners of the top on one side. "w">Merge>At Center, do the same to the other side of the top. you now know how to use the box selection tool "b". and know that when using it you'll have to take care to allign things in a more or less straight line, or at least as striaght as is necessary to get the vertexes you want to select in the box selection tool's range without accidentally selecting vertexes you don't want to select in the process.
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so you have a 3D triangle, go ahead make a triforce if you want by Shift+d the triangle a couple times to make 2 more doubles and arranging them in the classic shape.. I'll wait.
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right, so take your top triforce and press "b" then "b" again. you now have the circle select tool, try to select the top 2 vertexes of the top triangle only. if you select any more than that you can right click, then "b" then "b" then Alt+leftclick to deselect the ones you did not want.

right with the top two selected, again "w">Merge>at Center. congrats you have a pyramid on top of your triforce.
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pyramid = get.


Cylinder:
While you could just do space>Add>Mesh>Cylinder that may rotate the cylinder in some strange angle and leave you guessing what angle it is only to find later that no matter how hard you try it just wont rotate so any of the points of the cylinder are symetrically accurate on any 1 or 2 axies.

Fix - : make your own damn cylinder the way YOU want it.

ok exit edit mode and put the pyramid-force off to the side somewhere. Grab one of your spare cubes we copied earlier and put it at [0,0,0].

Enter edit mode in the new cube.

now we have to return to Top view. to do so go to the View menu and select "Top".

If you want symmetry on all 3 axies, we need to make sure we are able to select all edges even if they are hidden underneath something, so we need to turn off the "Occlude Background Geometry" button which is next to face select mode and has a cube on it. with that deselected, switch to Edge select mode! then use your box selection tool "b" and select the edges on the left and right from a top view careful not to select the corners!!!, now top and bottom edges again do not select the corners! you should now rotate your view with Alt+left-click to make sure you selected the top and bottom faces ONLY.

Now you have a choice, in the edit buttons you can press the Subdivide button, or you can do "w">Subdivide

Congrats you have a christmas present, with some string tied up around it. it just lacks a bow. (actually these lines are invisible in object mode)

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well, whatever it is it's about to be a lot less of itself than it is now. Deselect all with "a" switch to vertex selection mode (button with 4 dots). use the selection tools ("b" or "bb") to select all the corners and 3 of the middle vertexes of the edges, but leave 1 set of vertexes on 1 side top and bottom unselected, and leave the center vertexes unselected.

press "x">Vertices
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you should now be looking at kinda a standing C shape of lines. select all "a".


now in the view properties window make sure the 3D cursor is directly in the center of our object's center (we set our object at [0,0,0] so we should set the 3D cursor to the same.) we are now going to change our pivot! next to the vertex selection button there are a few other bottons, one has a hand on it, 2 buttons to the hand's left is our pivot drop down menu, right now it's on "median point". go ahead and set it to "3D Cursor".

now to the right of the hand you should have the triangle selected, well, instead I want you to select the circle! now look out 3d arrows on the object turned to circles for X(Red), Y(Green), and Z(Blue).

Next extrude our selection of edges "e">Only Edges. right click as always to cancel the grab. Now we are going to rotate around the 3D cursor point on the Z axis, but not yet! you need to think about this step, in order to have a cylinder that is symetrical on all 3 axies, we need to rotate in groups of 90 degrees. but if we just rotated in 90 degrees now it'd just end up ad a cube rotated to 90 degrees not a cylinder. so we need to decide how round we want our cylinder? first of all we kinda want to work in even numbers of sides; 6,8,10,12,14,16 etc. but sometimes in a game you have to save polygons to save memory so you can add other stuff to the scene.

let me give you a hint, 8 sides around a cylinder is the minimum amount of sides while being symmetrical on all 3 axies and having mid points on all 3 axies. This is also a good starting point for a waist for your character (later) or an arm really, thats the minimum sides I'd do when making any appendage, even a low poly third leg.. when would I use more? = Graphics, say I want a smooth looking thread or rope or pole, I might go to 10 or more sides. in fact for graphics that I'm going to render as an image and slap onto objects as a picture, round things there will be as smooth as they need to be to look smoothly round, I recently made an image of fabric this way by weaving cylinders and then rendering them to an image, those cylinders had 3 faces per 90 degrees, so 30 degrees per face, with a total of 12 faces. we probably wont ever need 90 faces per 90 degrees, thats overkill and just going to give you headaches and suck up memory and slow us down.

Today just for illustration we are going to rotate in groups of 30 degrees or 10 degrees, your choice.

now you can either leftclick the blue ring and hold Ctrl or Ctrl+Shift and rotate OR press "r">"z"> and type "30" or "10" as you wish (you'll have to do 10 every time if you select 10, and you'll have to do 30 every time if you select 30) then hit "enter" or leftclick to set it.
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ok, what are you waiting for? lets wash rinse repeat, this time lets do it ALL from hotkeys (NO RIGHT CLICK TO CANCEL!!! and do not touch the mouse!!) as follows:"e">"enter">"r">"z">("30" or "10" based on what you decided before, keep it the same for uniform roundness)>"enter"

repeat till you have 90 degrees!,

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Kinda a pain in the butt to do it so often right? ok lets cheat! select all "a" to deselect then "a" to select, now Shift+d>"enter">"r">"z">"90">"enter" Trust me on this! now you have half a cylinder. "a" then "a", then, Shift+d>"r">"z">"180">"enter". it's done!? not yet, it looks done but it's made of separate 90 degree sections, we need to make them whole; "a">"a">"w">"Remove Doubles">"enter"
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congrats you have a cylinder!, now why don't we make it look smooth? select everything except the caps (the top and bottom or ends of a cylinder can be called "caps") in your edit buttons click "Set Smooth" now it's smooth. is it still not perfectly smooth? in the top menu bar! go to "Game">"Blender GLSL Materials" left click. now exit edit mode, to the right of the menu at the bottom of the 3D view where it says "Object Mode" we find our draw type menu, change it from "Solid" to "Textured". If it is still not smooth, thats because GLSL shading only works on meshes with at least 1 material. so go to the shading buttons (F5) and add a material. you may now start the game with "p" to take a look at that smoothness.
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Behold yonder Smoothness! (we only have to do this step once, you can set it back to solid later if the shadows bother your view while editing shit, just remmeber to put it back to textured before starting your game or taking those lovely smooth screenshots!)

Also, remeber, if faces of it disappear in game (when you press "p" in object mode, exit game with "Esc") it means the normals are not flipped right! this can happen when doing rotations of extruded faces! if it happens, just select the offending faces and do Ctrl+f>flip normals.

Cylinder = Get!


Cone:
For speed, you could actually copy your cylinder in object mode Shift+D, rightclick, then go into edit mode on the copy, select the top cap of the cylinder only with "b" or "bb" box or circle select. then w>Merge>at center. however, we should practice starting with a cube. It'll be simple and many of the same steps as a cylinder. The only difference is after subdividing the cube into a "chirstmas present" and deleting everything except a C shape of verticies and edges, you'll select the top corner then the bottom corner of the C and do w>Merge>At Last. then do the rotations and such. Simple? the only difference is that because we used the top of the cylinder it was not set to smooth!, so select those faces and click the "Set Smooth" button in the editing buttons. and then you're done.

I will be attempting to add some pictures for the cylinder and cone tuts later today. I will remove this comment later.

long version of cone:
Spoiler: show
in object mode move the cylinder out of the way somewhere. grab one of the copies of the cube and move it to [0,0,0]

From a cube from the top view (view menu at the bottom left of the 3D view window>Top) enter edit mode select the 4 sides of the cube in edge select mode. Subdivide them.

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Select all but the center and the points in the middle of one side in vertex selection mode, x(delete)>verticies.
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Take the top outer corner of what was a cube and is now just 3 edges and Shift+Rightclick the bottom corner. press "w">merge>at last. You should now be looking at this:
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again decide how round you want it and extrude, rightclick, rotate (make sure your pivot is set to 3D cursor!!). I'm going to do 10 degress each extrusion with "e">"enter">"r">"z">10>"enter" repeatedly till I get 90 Degrees (I actually did 10 3 times then copied that 2 more times to get 90). then select all "a", then Shift+d and rightclick, then r>z>90>enter. then select all again, duplicate and rotate with 180. then select all "w">remove doubles.
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now select everything except the bottom cap.

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and Set Smooth, then switch to textured draw type again. then go to object mode.

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Again! remeber, if faces of it disappear in game (when you press "p" in object mode, exit game with "Esc") it means the normals are not flipped right! this can happen when doing rotations of extruded faces! if it happens, just select the offending faces and do Ctrl+f>flip normals.

congrats j00 nao has teh cone making skillz


Sphere:

Now move your cone to the side somewhere. and get another of your cube copies. and put it at the grid center [0,0,0].

Ok lead-in info; you could just do "Space">Add>Mesh>UV Sphere. and infact you'll notice there are 2 types, Icosphere (triangle based) and UVSphere (square face based (mostly)). Icospheres are... kinda useless, I mean I'm sure they have some use, but it's very rare to need a part of a sphere made of triangles with no real clean symmetry.... I guess if you just need a ball and wont be doing anything to it then this might save you some polygons in a pinch. But for most uses we'll make a UVsphere because it has symmetry on all axies X, Y and Z well, it does depending on the settings, just like with a cylinder or cone there are settings to just go and quickly get one added into the scene. but again you have little control, if you make a 6 sided cylinder or a six sided ring on your UVSphere, it might be rotated funny. and fixing that is a challenge. I can fix it but at your current level you are not there yet.

Anyways, for practice we are going to make a sphere from a cube. because often times you'll only have a flat or cube like object at the end of a neck or on the chest to work with when adding semi round structures like a head or boobs etc. but yeah a ball head is just.. "no" unless it's a helmet and he's a space man. starting with a sphereish shape is good but it'd take some modifications to look right like a head or breasts etc.

We need a bit more lead-in info here, a typical UVsphere has 2 "ends" after the last "rings" where all the faces merge to the center. observe:
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kinda like caps on a cylinder or a cone, except they are not flat and follow a perfectly circular curve. this sphere here has 12 "Rings" and 12 "Segments" a segment is how many lines make up each ring 12 segments? then each ring has 12 edges. technically it does not count rings of edges here, but instead rings of faces! so each ring has 12 faces. Yes the ends are counted as rings!
We could actually make a sphere with "ends" on every axis! it would take a lot of figuring and work, but it can be done. We will not be doing that today. when would that be useful? when you would want to have a clean cut ring on multiple axis so you could make a clean and symmetrical X or + engraving on the sphere (such as when modelling a screw cap) or when you want to put a picture on multiple sides of a sphere cleanly with a clean ring edge ending it (imagine an eyeball of a boss monster that has like 6 pupils) so as you get further in, you might run into a situation where you want to do such a thing..

But today we will do a simple 2 ended UVsphere.

As always, lets figure out how smooth we want it. I am not doing 40 segments per ring that would be crazy! lets do..24 segments per ring, so 6 per 90 degrees. ok

with your spare cube in edit mode, select all
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subdivide all
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next we only want the middle of the sides we want to be the ends of our sphere deselected, so for reference lets use to top middle vertex on Z and the bottom middle on Z.
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Delete all verticies of this cube except the top and bottom centers.
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select the 2 verticies left over and pick an Axis, either X or Y, whatever you pick you use every time in the next steps. I will be using X as it's first in alphabetic order just for reference. but at this point it really doesn't matter what axis you use so long as it's not the axis your ends are on (Z). Now make sure your pivot is set to "3D cursor" cause we are again going to rotate around that spot. also make sure your 3D cursor is at [0,0,0] in grid space. lets rotate on X by 15 degrees, so extrude "e">"r">"x">15>"enter". you can do it again to get 30 degrees, then select all and copy all (shift+d) and rotate on X 30 more degrees., then copy that 30 degree segment and rotate that copy 30 on X. we should be looking at 2 90 degree parts of a circle.
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select all, duplicate (Shift+d) rotate on X 90 degrees. You now have a circle! thats the start of a UV sphere.
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OK lets select all and remove doubles, we kinda want to do that right now or our sphere is gonna look hella funky. at this moment if you wanted to you could make the ends on either the X axis or the Z axis. based on what rotation we do with our next extrusion. We will next be rotating on Z to keep with our original Idea of having the ends of the sphere pointing up and down. also at this point if we wanted we could do a different number of degrees of rotation if we wanted. so for example an eyeball in game might have 8 rings and 12 or 24 segments per ring to give an appearence of being mega smooth without doing a full 24 ring by 24 segment sphere saving hundreds of polygons! today lets adjust to 12 segments. we have 24 rings ready to be made. it will become clear in a moment.

with the whole circle selected, do "e" (only edges)>"r">"z">30>"enter"
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Do it again. and again. you now have 2 90 degree segments of the sphere.
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select all, duplicate, rotate 90 degrees on Z. behold your sphere! now select all remove doubles and set smooth.
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then apply a material to it and enter object mode. WTF? yeah.. theres some messed up normals.
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so press "p" in object mode, see which faces have thier normals wrong (they'll be invisible for the angle they should be visible and visible from angles where we normally would not see them) and exit game with "Esc" then go into edit mode and select the offending "invisible" faces and Ctrl+f>flip normals. Dont forget you can toggle "occulde background geometry" on and off with the cube button at the bottom of the 3D view. and that you can select by face with the button with a triangle on it to make things easier.
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When done you should be looking at something like this:
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You have a smooth ball. in edit mode duplicate the whole thing and move them both to one side. congrats you have smooth balls! it just felt wrong without the S.
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keep in mind as you can see they are not perfectly spherical. they would have looked better if we did 24x24. so 15 degree segment rotations the whole way. it would have looked something like this:
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but would have cost us an additional 144 faces! given that the sphere we made in this tutorial is exactly 144 faces, that would mean doubling the entire polycount for roughly the same shit.

Congrats soldier, you are now trained in some of the basic arts. we are going to get more complicated. But assume you have done well!


Torus:
A Torus, or "donut shape" is really not that much harder than a sphere. However it does include one more function to make it; Scaling. in addition to scaling you will also have to do some basic maths to figure size and placement, upto this point we have barely touched on this subject. so far we've been using the red triangle button to move stuff and the green circle button to rotate stuff, or we've been using hotkeys and typing where we want to move stuff the Blue Square button is for scaling. we don't need it yet.

While we could just do "Space">Add>Mesh>Torus that would limit us on a variety of factors for the design of our torus and as usual add it at an odd angle. so let's make our own.

so actually the first steps of making a torus are the same as a sphere, so you will make a circle. you could do "Space">add>mesh>Circle. but again rotation of the circle may not be symmetrical. so as before in this tutorial we are showing you how to make anything from a cube you could probably just as easily make anything from a plane, or even from an empty mesh. but we'll use a cube because it has geometry in all axis directions.

First we need to do our figuring. as with all our shapes, so far our modelling methods have kept them within a 2x2x2 size, meaning the furthest any vertex of any model we made goes to 1, or -1 on any axis (with 1 + -1 in grid space beaing a total of 2 blender units). you can take a moment in exit mode on any object so see that the furthest points from object center are exactly at 1 or -1. this is because of our careful controls during the process. we are going to continue that, our torus will be kept within this same sorta area, except, there is no hotkey combination which will automatically maintain that proportion for us this time! we'll have to do a bit of simple math. so first we need to figure;
how big do we want our torus? 2x2x? so it'll be a ring, 2 on X by 2 on Y, but how thick do we want the ring?

at the biggest we could do a thickness of 1.000 otherwise our donut shape will either be messed up in the middle or over the edge of our desired area. but lets assume this torus was made for a reason, we'll assume then that something has to be able to go through this torus. a starship maybe, or an arm or a leg or a neck maybe. or a penis, something round. so in that case we'll need the thickness of that object lets say our object we want to fit through the ring is 1x1 (and set to a sphere bounds in the game engine) that means our leftover space for ring thickness is 1 which we need to divide into 2 because we have 2 sides of the ring are within our desired space in all directions. so we have a donut thickness of 0.5.

just a note, I did a space shooter and getting a ship to fit through a ring which is exactly the right size for the ship.. would probably be something for "Expert Legend Mode", if we were making this ring for a starship or player controlled object to move through, we would add additional "buffer space" around the size of our object. but we wont do that today, this is just how to make a torus we don't really need it for anything..

so we'll start with a ring thickness of 0.5 and we'll get to that later, first we need a ring!

Right so move your spheres off to the side somewhere and move one of your spare cubes in the centre as usual.

in edit mode in vertex selection mode, select all and subdivide.
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now deselect 2 sides middles. for this example we will use the Z axis sides of the cube as before.
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delete the selected
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now, as with our sphere we have to decide how round and smooth we want it. for this lets just do an 8 edge circle. 45 degrees of rotation 2 times per 90 degrees, copy and rotate 90.

Make sure your 3D cursor is at 0. Extrude and rotate 45 degrees "e">"r">"x">45>"enter". then do that again.
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Select all and duplicate Shift+d. rotate on X 90. a finished 8 sided circle. "w">Remove doubles.
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Now we need to scale it. remember scale is based on a percent of the current size, where whatever the current size is it is 100% and 100% is 1.000 in scale! and we need to tell it for scale how much of the current size to scale to. if we want a thickness of 0.5 and our current thickness is 2.0 (100%), then 0.5 is 25%, with 1.000 being 100%; 0.25 is 25%. so if we are using a hotkey to do the scaling thats what we'll type.

You may be wondering, "when I use hotkeys to do movement or rotation or scaling and I type the number of whatever I want to do, how do I know if I typed it right? what if there was a typo? simple you can find this info in the bottom left of the 3D view window. if it's not right you can hit "Backspace" and retype it.

right you have 2 choices, "Manually" using your mouse and the Scale mode [blue square button] and dragging your mouse towards or away from the object to scale it's size on any given axis. or "Auto" using hotkeys to do it numerically. or "Mixed" using some hotkeys and some menual mouse control. whatever you do watch the number of scale, we want it telling us the scale is exactly 0.25 on Y and Z but X is redundant because it's flatter than a loli at this point! 200% of 0 is still 0! 25% of 0 is still 0!.

remember we can see the rotation/scale etc. in the bottom left of the 3D view regardless if it's by hotkey or mouse! heres 3 examples of different scale types:
All axis scale: hot key "s"
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2 axis scale: here we scale on Y and Z so we Mute X but the hotkey "s">Shift+x
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Single axis: type the axis of choice, hotkey "s">"y" in this example
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We want to scale on Y and Z in our torus tutorial now. you could also scale on X (so all axis) because all the vertices on X are "flat" (they all have exactly the same Y location!) so the X thickness will not change.

Before we do that, switch your Pivot to Median Point!!! (the center of our circle)
Now:
Manual: in scale mode (blue square button) Hold Shift+leftclick the X axis (red block line) to scale on Y and Z only. next Hold Ctrl and drag your mouse towards the circle's center till you see we are scaled to 0.2, do not release your left click! then Hold Ctrl+Shift and drag away from the circle center till it's scaled to 0.25 release your left click.. see we can do it manually in a controlled way. if this sounded like too much work theres always the Auto method:

Auto: type: "s">"Shift"+"x">0.25>"enter". see wasn't that much easier?

you should now be looking at this:
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now, we need to move our circle off of object center... but by how much? and in what direction?, direction is easy, we want to move it on the Y axis. positive or negative. I'll be moving it positive. By how much... thats a harder question, for that we need maths. because we need to make sure the outer most point of the circle is exactly on Y 1.000. so our circle width was 2.0 right? we have 25% of that right? then thats 0.5 right? we have to move it by the center point of the selection, so that means in order to get it RIGHT at the edge, half of our selection will be inbetween it's center and the edge, half of 0.5 is 0.25 right? so now we know how much to subtract from Y1.000. 1 - 0.25 = 0.75 so we will move it on Y to 0.75!

lets do that in the transformation window.. it's just going to be easier! "n" opens and closes the transformation window, we need it open and we will then move the selected to 0.75 on Y. do so.
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OK the hard part is done! now there is no more figuring we are clear to just use hotkeys. we just need to extrude and rotate but lets change our pivot back to 3D cursor and make sure the 3D cursor is at 0,0,0. lets make it nice and smooth because we sacrificed the roundness of it to begin with, so lets extrude and rotate by increments of 10 degrees. again you can see this number in the bottom left of the 3D view as you rotate and type.

so type: "e">"enter"(only edges)>"r">"z">10, do that 2 more times.
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Select all "aa", duplicate "Shift+d", "r">"z">30. then Duplicate your current selection again and rotate 30 on z again, "Shift+d">"r">"z">30 you now have 90 degrees of a torus.
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Select all "aa", duplicate "Shift+d", "r">"z">90. you now half half a torus.
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select all "aa", duplicate "shift+d", "r">"z">180. congrats it's finished. almost.
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select all"aa", "w">remove doubles. now set smooth (in the edit buttons) there might be bad normals, fix them just like with the sphere by seeing which faces are invisible in game "p" in object mode, then "Esc" to exit the game and go into edit mode and select the faces that were invisible in game (with "b" or "bb" selection tools and careful use of the "occlude background geometry" button "cube button" at the bottom of the 3D view), it may take several tries to get them all, and do Ctrl+f>flip normals, and then add a material in the material buttons. enter object mode. you should be looking at this:
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It was't that hard was it?


Spiral:
when would I need a spiral? maybe if you are making a rope or thread or curly hair or spinning beam weapon graphics in a double helix, you can probably think of many more, I used a spiral for example when I made Zone-tan's ponytail on my zone-tan model, though looking back at it I probably could have done better.

Any shape can become a spiral, and before we make our spiral we need to know why we are making it cause that may define the initial angle of our starting shape. thats what makes spirals hard. it is as simple as extruding and rotating around a 3D cursor placed at the center of your desired spiral and moving each new extrusion a little bit higher than the last. of course we have to know our initial shape's width so we know how much change we should make before we get a full 360 degrees. so if our shape is 2x2x2 we know that we need to at a minimum move +2 on the spiral's axis at 360degrees. this will make a kind of tight fitting spiral. but if you add in extra space each part of the spiral will have a gap from the last. this is probably confusing to think about so we'll just do a spiral and you can see what happens as we do it and that way you can know if you change some of the sequences we will do, you can make a different spiral.

what if I want a spiral that goes up at a certain degree? thats trigonometry.
Spoiler: show
if you wanted 45 degrees for example, the width accross the spiral will have to match the hight of each wrap of the spiral. what if I'm lazy and I don't want to do trigonometry or an idiot and don't know how to or what shit does on a calculator? I'm sorry, you can't be helped... without some cheats. this is where we will use the "show angles" and "edge lengths" buttons in the editing buttons. and make a face then rotate a line to the desired angle and scale it till it gets the right length to give us a right triangle with the proportions we wanted to know. it's a cheat, you need a simple ability to know where vertexes are and set rotation angles and scale to the desired length.

we'll do this first.
Lets do "Space">add>mesh>plane in object mode and move our torus out of the way. and put the plane at [0,0,0] if it isn't already. When working on any new model it really is imperative to put it at [0,0,0] otherwise things get more complicated, you end up doing more math to place the 3D cursor at the center of rotation or scale. and you end up with potential scale offsets which could mess you up.. so yeah, start at 0. in all honesty our tutorial file right about now is getting kinda crowded with all the shapes we've put to the side. usually I suggest making each graphic in it's own file. You can always add them into another file (your main game) later.

ok with your plane,

in edit mode, go ahead and in the edit buttons under "mesh tools more" click "Edge Length" and "Edge Angles" now with the plane selected it should tell you the sides are all 2.000 long and the angles in the corners are all 90.000

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it's a square face, but in order to get a corner to corner angle we are going to want to Triangualte it. hint the hot key is Ctrl+t. in my file this spawned a corner to corner edge from -Y,-X to +Y,+X..
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but I kinda feel thats japanese, you know "reading right to left" and in this case up to down. so to feel comfortable I want to switch which corners our triangles are split by, the hotkey to do that is VERY important to know! it's Ctrl+Shift+f. What if I were done with these triangles and decided I wanted to cut down my polycount by reducing them back to a square face? theres a hotkey for that too Alt+j. we'll use these a lot more in character design to define bends in the geometry around joints. for now leave them triangualted and flip them.
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Now we need to know how to get a specific angle (you should know the basics of how), because our middle edge (hypotenuse) is at 45 degrees, thats fine if you want to know where the vertexes will be on X and Y if you want 45 degrees (all sides equal). but what if the angle of the spring you want to make is something else? what if it's 12.345 degrees. well thats where this short subtutorial comes in, it's a cheat. Select only the 2 corners connected to the middle edge, remember we can select with "b" or "bb" select tools or by right-clicking the vertexes and holding shift, remember we can deselect by any of these methods if we hold Alt while doing them!
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Now change the pivot to "3D cursor" if it's not already. but hold on, we don't want to rotate from 0,0,0! instead we're going to want to rotate from the location of one of our corners connected to this line/edge this is why we start with our object at 0, because now the verticies locations are all the same as in object mode space so we can easily set the 3D cursor to thier location. For me I'm going to rotate from the corner from [1(x), -1(y), 0(z)] cause my line points to it. cool so I set my 3D cursor to [1,-1,0].
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Now we are at 45 degrees we want our edge to be at a 12.345 angle from the bottom line (+Y) so 45 - 12.345 = 32.655 rotate on Z 32.655 degrees ("r">"z">32.655).
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it's not a sqare any more! select the whole thing and you will see the inner angle we just rotated from is now exactly 12.345 degrees. but theres a problem, it's not a square or a rectangle and we kind need to know what it will be unless we know the length we want it to be. in this case we are flying blind so we have to calculate a bit more.
Image

Now we need to know scaling math! why? well our triangle is no longer a right triangle, and if we want to keep the spiral centered we kinda have to know "at what length does our rotated line intersect the X location of the corner of the square?" in this case we know the point below it is at 1 on X. cause it was a square. but our rotated point is at 1.763 on X. it's 0.763 longer than we want. so scaling to the desired length is the fix. but we need to calculate what percent of change that actually would be (because sclaing is by percent of the whole). For that we have a golden rule of scaling anything, if you scale one edge of a shape by a given percent all other edges must be scaled by the same percent to maintain proportions! that means the percent that for example the bottom line of our triangle (which conveniently follows a strict X axis) would have to travel to be parallel to the new point (forming a right angle with it) is then the percent of change we need to scale down by. the total length of the bottom line would be 2.763 (1.763 is the distance past 0 on X in the grid but we have a known length of exactly 1.000 on the negative side of the grid so we have to add that) to scale up to the given point's location, so simple math: 2.763/ 100 = 0.02763(1%). Now we need to find out how many 1%'s fit into our desired length of 2.000 for the bottom length. giving us the exact percent to scale by. get your calculator out: 2 / 0.02763 = 72.385088671733622873688020267825% we have our scaling percent. remember when scaling 100% is 1.000 so 72.385088...% is written as 0.72385088... just move the decimal place. So with our Hypotenuse selected and the 3D Cursor at the point we rotated from -1,1,0, scale the line on all axies to 0.72385088. while doing this, remember blender only really modifies something to a minimum of 0.001 blender units. so you'll see the scaling stop after typing "s">0.72385088>"enter".
Image
the point should be at [ 1, 0.562, 0] check your angle by selecting the whole thing again. angle is? 12.345 degrees just as planned. and we now know that blender tells us the width of this part of the spiral (2.000) and the height of the end of that wrap exactly (0.438). only one problem because blender only moves verticies at the smallest amount by 0.001 the triangle is not exactly perfect, you'll notice the 90 degree corner is actually 90.002 degrees, whilst maintaining our angle of 12.345 it will not be possible to fix this in blender.
Image
Bet you feel like some crazy kinda genius. Ok pythagoras get your head out of that shape. yes I realize a circle has inifinite sides and you find it impossible to calculate it's volume because of that, just look at it this way, a circle with infinite sides has infinite triangles and can be adjsted to the number of triangles necessary to fit the accuracy desired based on the purpose of the circle. Oops forgot he died before he figured that one out. beyond that we still use Pi today, seems people still have not figured out this truth. Primitives!

Right where were we? so we finished figuring out how to calculate a specific angle and that can tell us what intervals to move things to up and down it's central axis while making a spiral. Keep in mind if you change thickness of the section of spiral or height, then you have to calculate the angular grid coordinates for that section based on the proportion changes.

Q: how do I know what angle to make it at if I'm modelling a spiral from a picture?
A: open that picture on a plane to it's original proportions so if the picture is 325 pixels by 425 pixels the width of your plane should be 4.25 blender units and the height should be 3.25 blender units. make it so the picture fits on the whole face in the UV image editor. And then merely start another mesh and just place a point at close enough to the center of each central end of a loop of the curve and get the angles from blender itself by putting faces in the middle of the zigzag no math required. thats easy street!

Right finally to our spirals!


I have decided we will do 4 spirals and then end with 1 real project applying this. 1:simple twist(easy), 2:spring flat, 3:Spring 45 degrees, 4: Spring 90 degrees, real project: Zonetan's ponytail.(more to come tomorrow)
1: simple twist. Being perfect for making threads of fabric and ropes to bake to an image or a drill bit, this is really just a shape with a bunch of extrusions each one twisted x number of degrees. where we want to make sure that whatever number of degrees we are using can add up to exactly 180 and 360. so 1, 5 , 10, 15, 30, 45, 90. not hard.

the simple twist is too easy. but whatever. lets do it. we'll make a drill bit or something.
(Now is drill bit time.)

1: Drill bit (simple twist), not all drill bits are the same. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drill_bit https://drillbit.tools/parts-function/ so, lets just go for one that can cut mild steel, so a 24 degree spiral (helix) progression. Wait 24 works? 360/24 = 15 so yes it works. It does not however work for 180 or 90 degrees. so this spiral will not be symmetrical on it's own. lucky for us we are starting with a symmetrical base shape with 2 to 4 cutting angles. then 135 degrees for the point angle because that will allow it to cut hard steel. then a lip relief angle of 7 degrees.

we need to think about structure now. whats the best way to do this with the least thinking and the least steps?
we need to create an outline of the shape of a drill's foot outline, it honestly looks like 2 fireman's axes or hammers welded together at the striking end in mirror to each other. this undoubtedly means that there is a middle bar all the same thickness which is called the Margin, so, 1 plane should be a good start move anything else out of the way and add a mesh plane.

How thick should we make that margin? lets do 0.5. in edit mode(just so we can have a clean number without being too wide, unless you have a specific measurement to meet, it's best to try to stay in whole decimals 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 etc. or numbers that add up to them easily 0.25 in example), move the top verticies on Y down to 0.25 and the bottom verticies on Y up to -0.25. (you can use the transformation window to do this, "n" is the hotkey.)
Image
now we probably want to make a middle point so subdivide the edges that cross the Y axis together in edge selection mode.
Image
next we will need to make 2 different curves which intersect at their ends and do not exceed the lip's width. to do this we will need to rotate from the same Y location as our drill's "Lips" so we can set the 3D cursor to [0, 0.25, 0] to be in line on Y to the lower lip (we'll have to do 1 lip at a time), if we rotated from any other Y location we'd get a curve whose peak would be further away from our starting point than the cutting lip. then it wouldn't fit in holes nicely. we want things to fit in holes nicely.

So in vertecie selection mode, now I'm going to take the +Y corner on that side and in the transformation window, move it to the -Y location of the corner below it. this ensures I am rotating from dead on the same axis as this line and ensures this point cannot rotate away from the center or become wider than the lip. instead it will become gradually shorter, with the end of the 90 degree curve we are going to make falling exactly how short of 1.000 on Y? can you guess? hint: it's simple subtraction from our starting offset on Y. so 1 - 0.25 = 0.75. yes this means our spiral is not perfectly circular, technically from an overhead view it's an oval. and actually that's how most drills are they only look round to untrained eyes always measure from lip to lip if you want the width of a drill bit!.
Image
right so, with that point down I'm going to rotate up 15 degrees, normally rotation is counter clockwise, don't ask why. so because I am rotating clockwise I need to rotate -15 degrees. so type "r">"z">-15>"enter"
Image
now select the top edge we just rotated and we are going to extrude it "e">only edges and right-click. leaving it extruded in place with no change. now deselect the central verticie, theres a reason for this, we don't want to rotate that point yet, and in this case we don't want to rotate it at all, we'll end up doing "w">remove doubles later before the next extrusion. but before that with only the outmost verticie selected, rotate another -15 degrees "r">"z">-15>"enter". kinda funny, I didn't plan this but this leaves that point completely in line with the top lip at Y0.25. what a pleasant coincidence. otherwise I might have to figure out how much rotation is necessary to reach that location. but today it was just random intuition. (not really, it's because we are working in whole decimals or their subparts!) select all "aa" then "w">remove doubles.
Image
next we will select and extrude this edge again "e">only edges, and we are going to begin making both our curves. bit by bit. we will have to move our 3D cursor a bit but only back and forth between 2 points. OK, deselect the central verticie again. And rotate the outer curve another -15 degrees on Z. you should know how to do that by now.
Image
ok now, we have a problem. a standard problem really and you need to be able to know how to realistically solve it without much hassle. earlier we deselected that central verticie and left it where it was after extruding it, that means there are 2 verticies right smack in exactly the same spot on it connected to our current edge, the other is not. how can we make sure we select the one we want? Edge select mode. select the edge that has those 2 verticies, then enter vertex selection mode and deselect the outer vertecie now you have selected only the one you want. neat trick huh? no guessing! you can be sure you have the right one.

Ok now we are going to use this verticie to start the inner curve which starts at Y0.25 and finishes at Y0.75 that means we need to rotate from a center point exactly in the middle. (Y0.5) (yet again why we use whole decimals or things that can easily multiply into them). only 1 problem on the inside curve we have to rotate -180 degrees, whereas on the outside we just rotated -15 degrees and only need to rotate another -45 degrees. So if we want the same number of steps that means outside we have 3 more -15 degree rotations to do +1 we just did (4), so inside we will rotate by -(180 / 4)=-45 degrees 3 times. simple right? that way the number of steps matches!

Ok so set the 3D Cursor to [0, 0.5, 0], then rotate the verticie we selected -45 on Z "r">"z">-45>"enter"
Image
Next, we need to extrude the top edge again (using edge select mode) "e">only edges. then rightclick now deselect the verticie from the inner curve (using vertex select mode) leaving you with only the outer curve's verticie selected. Move the 3D cursor back to [0, -0.25, 0]. then rotate-15 on Z. "r">"z">-15>"enter".
Image
now select the top edge (edge select mode) and deselect the verticie (verticie select mode) on the outer curve, then move the 3D cursor back to [0, 0.5, 0] rotate on Z -45 degrees "r">"z">-45>"enter"
Image
2 steps away from 1 side done. right, move the 3D cursor back to [0, -0.25, 0], select the top edge (edge select mode) and extrude and rightclick, then deselect the verticie (vertex selection mode) on the inner curve, then rotate -15 on Z.
Image
next the top edge has become more of a side edge now because of rotation, select it in edge select mode, then in vertex select mode deselect the vertex of the outer curve. now move the 3D cursor back to [0, 0.5, 0] and rotate -45 on Z.
Image
last step on this side, select the top edge in edge select mode, the extrude "e">only edges. we no longer need to rotate, we know exactly where these last 2 points belong, so in vertex selection mode do "w">merge>at center. then in the transformation window "n" set that verticie's location to [0, 0.75, 0].
Image
we are almost half done except for 1 thing, just past the lip on the outside curve edge there's supposed to be a relief, we need to make it -7 degrees like we planned, but rotated from where? good question, from the next vertex closer to the cutting lip! it should be at [-0.966, 0.009, 0], yeah, that one!. so if we want to use the point as the center of rotation, how can we do that? yep, you probably figured it out, set the 3D cursor to that location! [-0.966, 0.009, 0] again this is why we start with our model centered in object mode at [0, 0, 0] because if you have it at for example [1, 0, 0] you'd have to do math to figure out where to place the 3D cursor based on the object mode offset, yeah bet you're happy to not have to do extra math!. Now select the next verticie towards the curved tip and rotate it -7 on Z "r">"z">-7>"enter"
Image
Q: Hey bo? that wuz alot of wirk bo. do I really have to do exactly the same thing on the other side in the other direction?

A: Naw! of course not, you should always try to do things the most convenient way. the most convenient way would be to place the 3D cursor at [0, 0, 0] delete the side we did not curve (+X side) like so:
Image
then select all "a" and duplicate it "Shift"+"d", then rightclick. then rotate around the 3D cursor 180 degrees.
Image
then select all "aa" then "w">remove doubles. your drill's foot shape is done. it may not be exactly what you'd see in a real drill, maybe our cutting edge is a bit thick. but whatever lesson learned, maybe next time I'll make it 0.25 thick instead of 0.5. now we need to take this flat shape and turn it into our 3D drill. so how we doing that?

with the whole thing selected, extrude "e">Region. rightclick. yeah that was new wasn't it!? "Region" extruded our whole selection! ok lets give ourselves some space to think here!, move that selection down on Z 1 blender unit, so in translation mode (the red triangle button) hold Ctrl, then left click the Blue arrow and drag down till it moves down 1.000.
Image
wow it's getting 3D, we're going somewhere! yeah sorta, we're going to make the drill's tip so most of this will be merged into a point soon. but not exactly a point! in fact we will merge into several points called "the chisel". give yourself a nice view of the underside of our model (Alt+leftclick and drag the mouse around to change the view angle) with [occlude background geometry (the cube button)] selected so we don't get confused.

Now we have 2 middle points of our drill point, and we have to decide what other points will merge where, so after inspecting a picture of a drill point, take all the curved verticies on one half of the underside like so:
Image
then merge to the verticie on their side of the chisel by selecting that point last and doing "w">Merge>At last.
Image
now select the bottom outer verticie of the cutting lip and merge it to it's side of the chisel "w">Merge>At last. like so:
ImageImage
now repeat these steps on the other side of the drill bit. till you have this:
Image
You have a drill tip!
Image
but the angle is probably wrong. we want exactly what angle? scrolls up; 135 degrees. we are currently at what angle? well the bit is 1.00 wide from center and we moved exactly 1.000 down on Z. so 45x2= 90 our drill tip is at 90 degrees, that shit'll break if it were a real drill and we used it to try to drill steel.

so what angle do we want it to show in 1 half of the tip there? 135/2 = 67.5 or as close to that as possible. we could do trigonometry but nah, lets just move our drill point up on Z till we get as close as possible to our number. cause I'm lazy. and you are too. and neither of us are going to do that complicated math if we don't have to. right so with the chisel selected, lets try moving it up 0.5 to [0, 0, -0.5]
Image
63.435 degrees, very close! lets try another +0.1 to Z-0.400
68.... nope thats too much. so we know our number is between Z-0.5 and Z-0.4 lets try Z-0.45
65.772 closer, go a bit more up try Z-0.425
66.975, keep going! Z-0.415?
67.462, damn we are close! Z-0.414
67.498, that's as close as we are getting! 0.002 away.
Image
ok we're good, the last part of our drill is super easy shit compared to what we just did. we need our Helix angle (it was 24 degrees) so with the 3D cursor at 0,0,0 we will select and rotate our chisel (the bottom 2 points) -24 degrees on Z. "r">"z">-24>"enter" because that's the way our drill bit cerves were designed (clockwise).
Image
now go back up and select our drill bit foot outline(the current top surface) in verticie select mode, it's time to extrude up and make the rest of our drill, and the bottom of our drill has told us everything we need to know to keep the helix angle right, for ever +0.414 we move up we need to rotate 24 degrees. so extrude the foot outline "e">Region. and move it to [0, 0, 0.414]
Image
now rotate +24 degrees (cause we are going the opposite direction from underneath the foot) "r">"z">24>"enter"
Image
Now lets repeat this 14 more times (15 is 360 degrees remember) so for every time you extrude move the extruded region up another 0.414 (addition) so the next one is 0.828 in example. then rotate on Z 24 degrees on each extrusion. wash rinse repeat. till you have this:
ImageImage
Last, set the whole thing smooth in the edit buttons. the drill bit just has no "shank" but that should just be a cylinder anyways should be easy for you to figure out how to put a shank on it.
Image
Spoiler: show
hint, if you want to make a decent transition from the drill's body to it's shank, you'd duplicate the curve edge of the "foot outline" and rotate it up to the edge of the cutting face from the middle of the flute end, then fill in it's surroundings with a cylinder. I might do this for a laugh tomorrow and post pictures of the process. here in this spoiler.
Well, after looking into it, It is more complicated and will take alot of careful thinking to get right. So what we are going to need to do is find the angle between our cutting edge and the curve end. from the center it's 90 degrees, but from the edge it's something else because it's not a perfect circle.

so thats going to be our first task, we need to align that flute gap with an axis (X or Y) so we can make a clean curve over the top of it so we need to find what angle that should be. again we'll cheat by extruding a triangle between the farthest outer points and the rotation center [0, 0, 6.21] and getting the angle then testing it etc..

:fireeye :mario :seizure :seizure :mario :fireeye from that I have determined the angle of any given corner of said triangle is the exact amount of rotation we need in order to make it's following edge (the one that will follow behind it when rotated in it's direction) become flush with one of the world axes (this is what we want so we can work on it with our rotation tools which only work on actual world axes). keep a memory of what angle it is because we will have to rotate that much back the other way after we are done.

(to be continued. "hurry the f up you lazy fucknut!")


And now you know how to make a spiral out of specific shape for some real purpose.


2: Spring Flat., as it says we are going to start with a flat shape on Z much like our drill foot was but lets use simple shapes this time to keep you from going nuts.

(to be continued)

2: making advanced shapes
3: Introduction to texturing and materials
4: what will be expected of your work as a 3D modeller by other parts of a team?

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