Free Stuff

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Pesky Gremlins Comic 710 – Free Stuff

Free Stuff

As I prepared to build Elmo’s garage, the prospect of building and painting all of the individual items was a little intimidating.  After all, it had taken months to just learn the basics of the 3D modelling package Blender and the models that I had done so far were just modification of previously existing models that I already had spinning around on a hard drive. A little internet searching and I found a number of 3D model market places.  These markets had just what I was looking for, but the cost would add up quickly.   Some of the 3D models were rather pricey.   Since I don’t make any money on this cartoon, I am reluctant to spend much on things like this.

That was when I noticed the “FREE” check box.

As it turns out, there are lots and lots of small, less detailed 3D models on the 3D model market sites that would be perfect to fill in the details of the gremlin’s garage.  Things like oil cans, plastic bottles of all types, boxes, and much, much more.

There was only one little problem.   Almost none of these models was directly usable with Blender.   While most of the models would load or import into Blender without issue, due to the unique way that Blender handles materials, almost none of the models came in painted.   Just the solids model, gray and bland looking.

Here is an example of how a spray paint can initially looked once imported into Blender.

spray paint can model

Now, to an experienced 3D modeler, adding the details to this model is child’s play. But, as a newbie, I found this to be a bit puzzling. This gray mass didn’t look like the pictures on the site that I had downloaded it from. Was I missing something? Turns out that I was. The model was not initially created in Blender and thus the textures and materials were missing. I learned a little later, that those items are typically contained in a separate file.

Assigning a color to the model was straight forward. And here is what that looked like. spray paint can Render This looked better than the gray version, but not much. I really wanted this to look more like a real can of spray paint. For that I would need do something that I don’t like to do. Read the manual.

The Blender manual is actually pretty good and explained the process of assigning multiple material to a single model very well. I also watched a couple of tutorial videos which went over the process. With the instructions fresh on my mind, it was quick work to come up with this. spray paint can render While this may be good enough for a background item. It is just a generic spray can. What it really needs is a label. Fortunately, Blender can do that. Through the process of UV unwrapping (U and V because X, Y, and Z were already taken), one can do the same thing that manufacturers do and just wrap a 2D label (picture) onto a 3D surface. I chose a Krylon wrapper because I just happen to have several cans of Krylon in my actual garage. Here is what the wrapper looks like before it is mapped to the spray paint can. krylon wrapper And here it is on the actual can of virtual 3D spray paint. Spray Paint Can Render

Of course, Snafu isn’t really on board with this. (See the featured cartoon above, it should make sense now)

What Snafu fails to realize is that having done all of this work for the one can of spray paint, I now have a template for virtually anything that comes in a spray can. I just have to change the color of the lid and create another wrapper and maybe resize it. Time to find some more free stuff!

8 thoughts on “Pesky Gremlins Comic 710 – Free Stuff

  1. That looks really good. The basic model is actually quite detailed and accurate. Adding the materials, and especially the label, make it look very realistic. Did you just remove a label from one of your cans and scan it?

    1. For the Krylon label, I found and example on the internet and just downloaded and resized it. Although, I could have just as easily taken a label off one of my old cans of spray paint. For the other spray cans (not yet shown) I just used the template that I made to this can and pasted in the new logos.

  2. Jack of Gulls Comic

    The cap is what it’s all about. It has that *snap* when you open a close it!

    1. The spray paint cap is an important part of the whole package. However, Fubar’s pointing that little fact out will probably have him wearing red for some time.

  3. Just think Christmas colors!

    1. He might need another coat of paint by the time Christmas rolls around. 🙂

  4. Luckily green and red are complimentary colors, haha! A lot of work for a spray can indeed, but like you said, the hard part is over and you now have the template! I wish I would have done something like this for my spaceship backgrounds (I did on a small scale, but not to the extent that you have). I look forward to seeing more things you create!

    1. Fubar feels a little self conscious in red. Luckily, the paint should wear off before our next installment. You are right that doing all of this for just one can of spray paint is indeed a lot of work. But after you do it a few times for other stuff, it get MUCH easier.

      If I can do this, then ANYONE can do it. Blender would also be a great way to generate the Tempest’s interior backgrounds. Once done, you would just have to pick the camera angel and punch a button.

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