Creating a game sprite: Modelling in Blender Part 1–Setting up the reference images


In the previous post, we looked at creating a simple design concept for our game jet sprite.  Now we are going to start modelling our jet using Blender.


Of course, I cannot teach Blender in a single post.  Fortunately I have already covered modelling in Blender in a prior tutorial series.


Programmer Art: Blender for Programmers


If you already have experience with Blender, EXCELLENT!  Jump right in.  If however you haven’t much/any experience with Blender, I will assume you have gone through all of the above tutorials.  So instead of saying “Press X to delete the faces” I will simple say “delete the face”.  Dont worry, just keep the Quick Reference open in another tab and you should be OK.  If a concept is new or not covered in the above tutorials, I will go into a bit more detail.


In the design area, we created a top and side profile of our image, now if trimmed them down to two separate images, side and top.








We are going to use these as modelling aids in Blender.


Setting up a background image in Blender.


Load up Blender, delete the default cube, then switch to Top view in 3D View.  Make sure you are in Orthographic view mode ( 5 on the number pad ).

Bring up the properties window ( N ) then locate Background Images and enable it:



Then click Add Image.  The dialog will expand with more options.

Click the Axis pulldown and select Z Axis Top, like so:



Click the Open button and find your top reference image.



Your Blender should now look something like this:



In the Properties window, near the bottom of the Background Image panel, you should see a manipulator for X and Y. 



Move the image along the X axis so it’s aligned with the Y axis in your top view, like so:



Now repeat the same process for side image.  It is exactly the same process.  Click Add Image, and another image will be available in the panel.  This time select axis as X Left and obviously use the side reference image instead.  If you have done it successfully, your Left view (Ctrl + 3 on numpad ) should look like this:




Now we want to make sure the two views are somewhat the same size in both the left and top views.  The way I do this is to simply create a cube the length of the reference image in the side view ( Add cube, S)cale + Y ), like so:



Then switch into Top View:



Hmmmm… this isn’t right… our top reference image is far too big ( or I suppose, the side image is far too small… ).


It’s a simple enough fix.  In the properties window, where we adjusted the X position earlier, there is also a setting for size.



Adjust the size and position of the background image until it matches the dimensions of your cube.  Be sure to use the proper dimensions, as there will be a set of controls for each the top and side background images.  IF you need to see through the CUBE texture while adjusting, hit the Z key to enable XRay mode.  When you are done, your top view should look like:



Perfect.  We now have two perfectly calibrated background images to work with.  Now delete the rectangle, we no longer need it.


OK, that section got a bit picture heavy, so I will end this part here so page load times don’t become insane.

Click here for the Next Part

Art Design

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