How-to…Boolean and Blender?

Blender is one of those programs that can take years to master. John O’Donnell, an artist and jeweler in real life, uses Blender to render 3-D models of the Honorverse ships as imagined by BuNine and David Weber.

John created this tutorial for a fellow BuNine member who had questions about using Blender to create weapons hatches in a ship. In 3-D modeling, Booleans are generally reserved for complex shapes where a hole needs to be put into a solid shape. This technique has advantages, like allowing you to create several openings at once. The drawback is that it ends up creating many more polygons than are absolutely necessary, and requires time-consuming cleanup after the operation has been completed.

This tutorial uses a different method that can be a slightly time-consuming, but is much neater when the opening is cut into the mesh, requiring very little cleanup.  It also has the advantage of being easy to use for simple shapes, such as the cylindrical shape of the Honorverse ships.  The drawback is that it can’t be used on more complex shapes without a lot of tweaking.

Although not a complete tutorial for creating whole Honorverse ships, this illustration of John’s work process gives you a small glimpse into this incredible art form.

The software used is Blender 2.69b, an open-source, free, and powerful 3-D modeling program.

Step #1 - Create a 48-sided cylinder.

Step #1 – Create a 48-sided cylinder.

#2. And Subdivide...

#2. And Subdivide…

#3.

#3. Mark the positions you need…

#4.

#4. Select edges.

#5.

#5. Cut edge loops.

#6.

#6. Place object being deleted.

#7.

#7. Join separate objects

#8.

#8. Select, move, and place object

#9.

#9. Object Placed

#10.

#10. Remove unnecessary edge lines

#11.

#11. Align object (with hull)

#12.

#12. Center

#13.

#13. Adjust vertices to follow (hull) curvature

#14.

#14. Vertices adjusted.

#15.

#15. Extrude outline

#16.

#16. Make outline consistent

#17.

#17. Repeat outline extrusion and cleanup

#18.

#18. Drag highlighted outline inwards

#19.

#19. Extrude and repeat.

#20.

#20. Extrude and scale, inwards.

#21.

#21. Deselect top and bottom edges

#22.

#22. Create faces

#23.

#23. Fill in the gaps…

#24.

#24. More gaps..

#25.

#25. Almost done…

#26.

#26. Check normal direction.

#27.

#27. Check your shading

#28.

#28. Select edges

#29.

#29. Bevel edges

#30.

#30. Edges beveled

#31.

#31. Final check on shading and smoothness

#32.

#32. Copy completed area

#33.

#33. Paste to next location

#34.

#34. Repeat for multiples.

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