Intro to Blender. The OpenSource Animation Software

Below is a summary, which I prepared few days back, on the world’s 1st open source movie and Blender (the open source 3d modelling software used to create it).

World’s first open source movie! It is named Elephants Dreams. It is a 11 mins short created by some volunteers in 9 months using only open source softwares. It created quite a stir when it was released. Half million of this has been downloaded! The 3d modelling & animation has been done entirely using the open source 3d modelling software Blender. It is open source since all its production files have been realeased! This movie has been released under Creative Common license .

Shots from the movie

Some notable features of blender (ref: wikipedia, official site):-

  1. Has animation tools like fluid dynamics and soft body.
  2. Has in-built ray tracer plus has native support for external ray tracer — yafray.
  3. Has in-built game engine. This game engine can be “programmed” by just connecting some boxes (logic bricks).
  4. Has in-built sculpting tool like SharpConstruct. This year blender has been granted 3 projects for Google Summer of Code 2006; one of them will enhance blender‘s sculpting tool to even greater height than SharpConstruct.
  5. Basic non-linear video editing and compositing capabilities.
  6. Has very small footprint (Windows installer is 6.5MB) and is available for many platforms, viz. Windows, Mac, Linux, Solarix and FreeBSD.
  7. Has integrated Python interpreter. Hence you can code in the popular Python language for which many documentations are already available and is very easy to learn.
(Version 2.42 is out with lots of goodies see here)

Blender is slightly hard to learn (like Maya). But you have many active communities where you can post your problem and you will get a helpful reply within an hour. The most active English forum is Blender forum). You have even lots of video tutorials. The most notable progress in this direction is the Blender Summer of Documentation 2006. For the first time Blender Foundation this summer will be granting 10 people 500 EUR for substantial contribution to documenting blender.

Quick links to important Blender related sites:-

More links at this and this.

Setup LAN with LAN card in only one computer!

Some days back I setup a LAN at my home between two PCs and one of them DOESN’T have a LAN card! PC1 has Ethernet card but PC2 doesn’t. I used BSNL’s broadband modem (router) to connect them. (Those not in India maynot know about BSNL). My router is Huawei SmartAX MT882. It has ports for both USB and ethernet. Basically when using USB u r required to install the router’s drivers and this installs a software dslagent. Now the router will appear as a LAN card to the computer.

Steps to setup this:-
1) router’s ethernet port was connected to PC1’s ethernet card, and the USB port was connected to USB of PC2.

Follow these steps for both PC1 and PC2.

2) Goto ControlPanel->NetworkSetUp Wizard (note for SP1 this option is available only in Network Connections as Set Up home or small office network).
3)Click Next 2 or 3 times and AT a page Choose ‘This computer connects to the internet through a residential gateway or through another computer on my network.’
4)Enter comp description and comp names (Note the names of both the pcs should be different).
5)Let the workgroup name be MSHOME
6)Turn on File and Printer Sharing.
7)Now click next and finish.

8)Right click on drives or folders u want to share in both the comps and choose Sharing and security. Click the threatning looking link there. U may need to click on one or two threatning links and the u maybe be shown a dialog; Click Just turn on file sharing. Now u have two check boxes-> Share this folder on network AND ->Allow network users to change my files. Turn the 1st one on. Turn the 2nd one on only if u want that files from that folder to be changed from the other pc. NOTE: any file deleted on say PC1 from within PC2 wil delete that permanently, so beware!
When the folder has been successfully shared then a hand will appear superimposed on the folder icon.

Now u can start accessing them from My Network Places>View Workgroup Computers. Wait for some time. Now both the comps should appear there and u should be able access the shared folder by double clicking and getting inside them.

If u have installed 3rd party firewall like ZoneAlarm, then, when u click View Workgroup Computers, if u r greeted by an error message like Path not found. Access Denied or somthing like that then its maybe ur overprotective firewall’s deed.
Solution for ZoneAlarm: U should be using the LAN connection for internet hence it will be in Internet Zone.
1)First note down the IP address and subnet mask of this LAN connection. (for this goto Network Connection>Single click on that LAN connection’s entry. See the Details section there).
2)Goto ZA’s control centre>Firewall>Zones>Click on ‘Add>>’>Subnet
3)Choose Trusted for Zone. Enter the just noted IP address and subnet mask there. Enter anything for Description.


Note: When ur router will connect to the BSNL’s server then the IP of ur card may change and hence all the above troubleshooting u did may fall flat on its face. In that case just TURN OFF ur FIREWALL.

The comps in the View Workgroup Computers sections shows fine but when u try to double click on the other PC’s icon then u get error.
Solution: Try typing the url to the shared folder in the addressbar of the folder. Like this:-
\\the PC name\the shared folder or drive’s namee.g. if the pc’s name is homePC and u have shared d drive and its share name is D. then type

A useful tip:-
U can make the shared folders or drives show up as drives on ur comp. Open My computer>Tools>Map Network Drive>in Folder field type url to your folder as shown above.
Now a new drive of type Network Drive will appear in MyComputer of Drive letter starting form Z:

U can follow it up at the forum where I have posted it.

Any harm done to ur comp due to following this tip is not my reposibility. Please don’t try to burden my conscience with ur accusitions later for screwing up ur network settings.

My Mugshot

Hi! This my first post in my brand new blog. As u can see this is me, but this picture is of mine 3d-Model …..

…Well I lied. This has been done in Photoshop. Let me give u a short stroll through, of how I did it.

It is a simple technique, requiring just a little knowledge of Layers and its blending options and a some creativity.

I 1st took a picture of mine. Yes, this has been made just by painting over that pic. This pic has been kept at the background (layer). Now created a new layer and started painting ruthlessly over the cheeks and noses etc. U can sample the violence of this step in Pic step 1.

Pic step 1: See what I said?
I have blown off my nose,
eyes and mouth!
Now create another layer over it. Now please paint ur eyebrows and eyeballs. U look horrible without them. See Pic step 2. Step 3 is painting ur lips. I have painted them on another layer, though this is not necessary. Now u get the picture shown in Pic step 3. Now to make it look some real. For step 4, add a new layer between the layers of the skin and eyebrow; i.e. between the layers u created for steps 1 and 2. Copy ur face from the background layer (which has the real picture). Set the Blend mode of this layer to Luminosity and decrease the Opacity till u r satisfied (53% worked for me). Note, I copied only the face and not the body or the background. This was done since I didn’t want the other portions of picture to vary.

Pic step 2

There are few points u can keep in mind. The colours for say my skin, lips, etc. were not chosen randomly, but were picked from the respective potions of the actual picture using Eyedropper tool. Also note that I have painted over my hairs too (see Pic step2). To remove the reflections and make it look more unreal. I also created a layer, where I painted colours picked from my sweater and collars. I decreased its opacity. This was done to remove the texture of the clothe.

Pic step 3

I hope u like this. I actually read somewhere on internet ways to make toonish picture of using ur real picture. That method was quite simple but not flexible. I got the idea there and
created my own method.

…Do post links to ur pics here….and do
comment, how u liked it…bye.