Triangles verses Polygons
In Blender 2.6x and up we have Ngons, meaning polygons with more than 4 sides. We can only use triangles in Second Life. But, while modeling we can use them to simplify our work and make it easier to see edge loops and anticipate how weight painting will work. So, use them to your heart’s content. At some point before export we will need to change to triangles.
We can’t do everything that Ngons or Bsurface allows. You can see where this is going by watching the video: Bsurfaces v1.5. Exciting! (35 min video)
For now we can select any number of vertices and press ‘F’ to create a face making an Ngon.
We will at some point need to break it into a quad or triangle, with a quad being preferable while we are building the object. We do that by selecting two vertices and pressing ‘J’. You can switch to display faces (Ctrl-Tab -> E). You can see the faces with a tiny square in the middle. I think that is easy enough. So, I have no fear designing with more than just quads.
These are new to Blender with the 2.6x releases. They are a bit buggy and some things work oddly. But, each release gets better.
For those of us making clothes, Bsurfaces can be way handy. They are not initially intuitive, but once you know the basic way they work that are amazing for organic modeling. So, learning to work with Bsurfaces is well worth the time.
Grease Pencil & Bsurface
The trick to using Bsurfaces is using the Grease Pencil. There is nothing in the menu to hint that you need to do that. The manuals haven’t been written yet either. Fortunately I found a tutorial that demonstrated how it works. It is in Indonesian, but the Blender menus were English.
To demonstrate how to use it open a file with the SL Avatar in it. This will be a throw-away experimental file. So, save it with a new name to avoid forgetting and overwriting you base starting file.
- Open the Objects Shelf, I think its named, it is the right side menu you get by pressing ‘N’ while the cursor is in the 3D window.
- Press 3 for side view. In my case that shows the front of the avatar.
- Add a Mesh Plane (Shift-A).
- Enter Edit Mode and press ‘A’ to deselect all.
- In Grease Pencil (GP) select the Plus New to create a new GP Layer.
- Select SURFACE for the Draw Setting.
- Press ‘D’ and hold then left-click to draw. See image #13 to see what I drew. Use Ctrl-D and hold while left-click dragging to draw lines. Press and hold ‘D’ with right-click to delete/erase.
- Once you have the lines drawn, look in the left side Tool Shelf for Bsurfaces. There are Cross and Follow settings. Cross determines how many rows of vertices/edges will cross the lines I drew. Follow will determine how many columns of vertices will be drawn parallel to the lines I’ve drawn.
- Once Cross and Follow are set, click Add Surface. The new mesh is drawn following the Grease Pencil guides. Because I drew with Ctrl-D the lines sunk into the avatar and so the mesh generates inside the avatar. See image #14. Using ‘D’ to draw I get the result in image #15. (next page)
- To extend the mesh, select the vertices that will connect to the new mesh.
- Draw lines considering the rows of vertices, in this case 4. Using more or less lines, which lines are drawn first and how vertices are selected determines how the existing and new mesh are bridged.
- NOTE: The awesome bridging you saw in Bsurfaces v1.5 doesn’t work yet. So, you have to draw all the lines needed, not just hints… at least as far as I know.
- Once the lines are drawn and Cross and Follow are set click Add Surface. You should a mesh surface form.
This should get you started with Bsurface.