CCT-2: The Model

Hello and welcome to my coffee cup tutorial.
I will show you how to make a very simple cup by using plain blender.
this part of the tutorial includes the modelling basics.

In the follow up parts i will cover the texturing basics.
I will also show you how to upload your mesh to OpenSim or any other compatible online world,
how to make your object looking nice,
even from a distance,
why you sometimes need a physics model,
and how you can control your upload costs and the land impact.

I expect that you have some very basic knowledge about Blender’s modelling tools,
so i will not explain every small detail.
If you get stuck in the basics,
then i recommend you first visit blender cookies dot com,
and watch the basics about Blender,
then come back here and proceed with “making a coffee cup”.

But before we start, we will visit the user preferences for a moment.
Select File, User preferences, editing.
Here set new objects to “enter edit mode”.
This setting will let Blender create new Objects in Edit mode,
and this has some big advantages as you will see later.

Blender pro-vides a couple of ready-made base objects for us,
And since a coffeecup is basically a Cylinder, we now
go to add, mesh, cylinder, and then go ahead from there.

Here you see the object has been created in edit mode,
and now we can use the mesh options to further customize the cylinder.

Let us keep with the default settings for now.
Now the cylinder is closed on both ends, and
we only need to remove one of the caps to get a basic cup.

Select the top center vertex with a right mouse click,
and delete it by first pressing x,
and from the upcoming selection box select: vertices.

And you think, wow our basic cup is done by now ?
no,no we will see in a moment
that we need to do a bit of extra work.

Let us open the properties sidebar,
and there, in the display tab, enable textured solid.
This setting lets us view the object more or less
like it will later be displayed in your online world.

ok, there is an issue with our object.
We see that it has only one side, and
when we look at the inner sides then we see, nothing.
The cup is fully transparent, and that is one of the
most basic properties of mesh objects. A mesh surface
has only one side. the back side is always invisible,
and thus it always looks fully transparent.

So we have to create the inner side by expanding the mesh.
Select the upper edge with, ALT right click. Now we use extrude,
by pressing the “e” key.
The extrude tool will basically copy the selected verticies.
And it creates edges between the original selection
and the copied vertices.
Right now we can move the copies wherever we want.
We can constraint the movement to only go along the z axis
by pressing the “z” key.
Now press the left mouse button to get out of the moving state.
then scale the selection down a bit,
and finally move it down until the new faces form the upper rim of the cup.

Now we proceed by creating the inner side.
extrude again by pressing the “e” key,
and again constraint the movement to the z axis
and move the selection down near to the bottom of the cup,
and left click to leave the move state.
Ok, we can not exactly see where the bottom has to be placed.
But we can switch the display mode to wire frame,
by pressing “z”.
then go to front view,
and now adjust the height of the cup bottom to your taste.
Then press “z” again to get back to solid display mode.

Now extrude once more, but immediately left mouse click after you
hit the “e” key. this will still create an extrusion, but the extruded
vertices remain at exactly the location of the original selection.

Now scale the selection down to zero.
You can do this by pressing “s”, “0”.
well that’s Nice, but not at all good.
We have made one very bad mistake here.
We have created a pole and the bottom center now contains a bunch of collapsed vertices.
And this is very very bad for texturing.
And such spots of collapsed vertices are considered to be very bad errors in your model.

Fortunately we can fix the collapsed vertices
by first selecting them, then press “w”, remove doubles.

And now the pole consists only of one single vertex.
by the way,
the bottom of the cylinder has automatically been constructed
correctly as one single vertex.

The model as it is constructed by now is ok.
However we will see later
that we should even avoid such poles.
Although for our cup it is not so important.

But we see another issue here.
the cup’s surface looks blocky.
We do not want this to happen.
So you may think that subdividing the faces
into many smaller faces will do the trick.
that is wrong! Do not do this!

well, you can get less blocky results by subdividing your model,
but then you have to pay with introducing many thousands of additional faces.

And introducing more faces will make your object very inefficient for later usage,
because every face takes away some computer resources.

and thus the more faces you use,
the more lag will be created in your online environment.

Actually our goal is to get the very best results with as few faces
as possible. Have you ever heared about low poly modelling ?
That is exactly what we are going to learn during the course of this tutorial.
And we will find out that even this cup still uses a lot more faces
than necessary.

Now, how can we get rid of the blocky look ?
In the tool shelf we find 2 shading options.
Smooth, and flat.
Right now the shading is flat.
Let us turn it to smooth.

And instantly we see the blocks are gone.
but now the object looks a bit washed out.

The simplest method to get this fixed is by adding extra edge loops
where we want the edges to become sharp.
You can add extra edge loops by pressing control “r”,
and then move the cursor over the location where you want
to place a new edge loop, left click will add the edge loop,
and let you slide the edge to its intended position, and
another left click will fix the loop at its current location.

This works reasonably well,
although we had to add a lot of extra faces.
But let us keep our model for now as it is.
I will show you later how you can get similar
and even better results with much less faces.

For now we have our first model finished,
and we are ready to transport it to our target system,
and see what we can do with our cup in our online world.

Go to File, Export, Collada.
Then select your destination folder and file name.
Finally enable export only selected, so we only export the cup.
And enable export for OpenSim. Actually this
is not necessary for static objects like that cup.
But it does no harm either, so you better get used
to always enable the checkmark.
And now go to your online world and import your creation.

6 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Dreams Magic says:

    Reading commentaries of Dorian, reminds me how it was difficult to learn working with Blender in the first steps. How frustating it was! I felt exactly the same way. I learned with the «sculpties» and it was not more easy, believe me. Actually, with these tutorials it seems to me that it is very clear and easy to follow. Of course you need some basic knowledges of Blender. I use the 2.69 version of Blender. There are some differences with the tutoriel but it works if you look carefully where are the things. I think it is like that with all tutoriels. We need to find by ourself what will help us. In my case lot of time, patience and perseverance were necessary. I remember that I made many researches on internet to understand at first. I found help here and there. Finally I adopted Machinimatrix with Gaïa. That seemed to me the most efficient to learn Blender in regard of Second Life. Now, all seems easier.

  2. Dorian Lanzius says:

    Besides the site is there another place to learn the basics of this new version? I think that would really help me a lot and clear up quite a bit of confusion. I’ve found some reference with some youtube tutorials but I don’t know what I don’t know and/or missing. Do you have a “changes in blender” video somewhere on your tutorials? Sorry to sound so frustrated, I know you work hard on your tutorials and it’s just something I’m missing, just basic stuff.

  3. Dorian Lanzius says:

    Hello Gaia,

    Thanks for the quick response. I have the newest version of blender downloaded and installed but the mesh is very different from yours as the cylinder has no top and bottom vertices. I can create them easily enough by extruding and scaling to 0 but then I’m sure the effect on the overall mesh is going to be very different. Just these small differences in each step of the tutorial make it excruciatingly difficult to follow along even with the same version of blender. I don’t know if it’s just me or why doing these tutorials is like pulling teeth with each step.

    • Gaia Clary says:

      I am very sorry for that. But what shall i do ? the tutorial is for blender 2.62. there have been changes with blender 2.63. I mentioned that i try to update the tutorials for that. But with having about 90 tutorials online it is a bit hard to keep all of them up to date … 🙂

  4. Dorian Lanzius says:

    mmmm, for those of us that aren’t rich enough to do blender upgrades every few months, it might be nice to know where some of these file menu items are so we’re not lost right off the bat here. I have no idea where the user preferences are in JASS 2.49 that correspond with Blender 2.62. Is this JASS 2.62 or just regular Blender 2.62? Is it an upgrade I have to buy or something I can just download from the Blender site? Really frustrated here…sorry

    • Gaia Clary says:

      Hi, Dorian;

      What do you mean by “not rich enough to do blender upgrades every few months” ? Blender is a free tool and updating to a newer version is a matter of downloading the new version and install it. If you like try out Blnder 2.63 i believe you won’t regret. You can install it in parallel to jass-2 with no issues at all.

      The user preferences in jass-2 are hidden in a separate window. Actually you can get to them by expanding the top menu bar: grab the lower edge of the top menu bar, and pull it down a bit. then you will see the user preferences window. However they will look pretty much different than the preferences for Blender 2.6

      This tutorial is made with blender 2.62. It should work for all newer blender versions from the 2.5 series up to the newest 2.63. For Blender 2.63 there are a couple of small differences. I hope to be able to update the tutorial to reflect these changes. I will not make a secnd tutorial for blender 2.49 as this version of blender is highly outdated meanwhile.

      I hope that helps to lower your frustration.

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