My Life In 3D

Among my many persistent interests, these last 10 years or more, has been 3d modeling and raytracing. It's kind of hard to pinpoint the reason for that, but there it is...

In 2004, my department at the University Of Hawaii hosted Techs In Paradise 2004, for which I did this promotional poster:

with Moray For Windows, which was really a front-end for the Persistence Of Vision (POVRay) raytracer. Moray seems to have stalled, although there may be more coming. Check out POVRay's web site for other vectors.

The sailboat was a dinghy somebody else made, stretched out and rigged. The notebook, which was based on my HP Omnibook, represents something like 40 hours of work, and the rest was pretty standard Moray-ness. There were things Moray did that I do pine for in Blender (below) but there was also much for which to pine in Moray. If you want to browse the files that made that image, look here. I offer no assistance, no warranty, etc. You can still take the files and run them through POVRay, and generate the image, probably.

If you're interested in making 3D models, you can make it out of sugar, or you can use Google Sketchup (alt spelling: "scatsup") to make sort of quasi-CAD concept/treatment drawings or you can use Blender, the 500 lb. gorilla in the open-source, free 3d space, at the moment (and probably for several moments to come.


It is good to be modelling in 3d in 2008. Blender is making some sharp turns in development, and the way things look, is only going to get better. Blender is a free-of-charge 3D modelling, animation, and game making -- well... suite, really, in one executable. There is much to be learned from your fellow aspiring Blenderers, notably Apollos on BlenderUnderground, Super3Boy on Nystic (and YouTube).

At the moment, I'm flutzing around trying to make promotional characters for various websites, as well as trying to make a walk-through of my department's proposed new building in Blender Game Engine.

Here are my suggestions for starting from scratch in the fast-paced world of Blender, whether you want to be pro or simply make pretty pictures, or even ugly ones:

  • If you ever possibly can, get a second monitor on your computer. Having one for the tutorial and one for Blender works wonders. Alternate methods: print the tutorial (adds bathroom-ability), or simply use a second computer, like a laptop, or a PDA, to display the tutorial
  • Grab a web browser and do the "Learning To Model" tutorials from Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro
  • Invent about 3 projects of your own, and push through them. When you're stuck, look for a tutorial on the thing you're stuck with. If you're not stuck, keep going, figure things out for yourself. This should cover about 2 weeks.
  • Download the Blender Basics Tutorials from BlenderUnderground. Each one of the 5 is at least an hour long, and although you will sit through things you already know, you will have multiple catharses and emerge a much taller, better-looking Blender modeller. I recommend that you sit and watch them, without touching a mouse or Blender. Having a notepad (a real paper one) handy might be good.

The Tight Green Precision Cursor for Windows

     The other day, in a fit of rage I designed a new precision cursor for Windows -- I have often found my self working in Blender Edit mode, and constantly searching for the cursor. The little cross that Windows XP provides for this is just damned near invisible at times while working against that grey backgound. If you have similar problems, you can download my cursor for Windows here. I mostly work in Windows XP, in which the path to cursor happiness is via the Mouse section of the control panel, where cursors are called "pointers". Hopefully, I will add information to this. For now, drop the cursor into \Windows\cursors\ directory, and then it will appear as a choice in the pointers panel. Replace the simple black precision cursor with this one, and you will be able to see it in edit mode!