Tutorial for Blender
by Kiernan Holland
the Blender Modeler to create a realistic animated torpedo.
Switch to a front
view (press "1" on the keypad). It's always best to
model stuff in orthogonal views or your modelling will not be
as precise as in a perspective view.
I originally designed
the torpedo body out of a NURBS cylinder with the end tapered
down to zero. You can do this by select a point on the end of
the surface, hitting "Cntrl+R" which selects all the
points on a isoparm. Toggle the isoparm selection until you
get it around the torpedo. Then hit "s" to scale the
points to zero, while scaling its good to hold down the Cntrl
key which will snap the scale to a tenth of a unit. This will
eventually get you a zero'd set of control points. Do this on
both ends. Add isoparms as needed.
If you don't
like using NURBS surfaces, use whatever you like, you can make
the torpedo out of metaballs or meshes (aka polygons). because
any of these primitives can be converted to polygons. (Warning:
A lattice is not a primitive, its a deformation tool)
made my rutter part(s) out of a single NURBS cylinder, rotated
left, then with a few isoparms selected from the long part of
the cylinder, I moved the isoparms to the left side to make
a "fin" shape.
I confess, I actually "duplicate linked" the
cylinder three times and modifed the original, going with what
looked right, then I went around to each cylinder and made them
single users [unlinked the objects making them unique]. You
can achieve the same by making the object, then duplicating
and placing, but its not as much fun. 8^)
This one is easy, just make a cylinder surface, select all the
points in the surface, Go to the edit menu (hit the F9 key),
click the key with the "Weight 1.000" on it, then
tap "Set Weight". Your cylinder should become more
box like. Next, rotate this surface such that it looks like
the diagram (sorry this is a bad diagram, its a side view on
the cylinder, consult the other daigrams for visual reference).
To get pure 5 degree increments with rotation, hold the Cntrl
circles are created in blender, they are made with a square
of 8 CV's, the corner CV's are given weights of about .5, and
this produces a circle.. The other way to make a square with
weights of 1.0 and moving the corner points closer to the center
of the object.
the three parts were created as seperate object, orient them
such that they look like what is shown in these diagrams. Be
as precise as you want, it doesn't matter.. If you want to make
a torpedo that looks like a nuclear bomb on drugs, that's okay,
just as long as it looks something like this.
To join the objects
together, shift-select each part, selecting the main body of
the torpedo last. This insures that when we join the surfaces
together into one object, they'll share a common origin (at
the center of the body object) making it easier to direct. With
the objects selected in this way, type Cntrl-J (Join). Answer,
We are going to
do a lot of unique duplications (I mean we don't want linked
duplication) so it will save you some keystrokes to change the
settings in the window that hides in the roof of blender. Drag
the edge of the blender window from the top down and you will
see a window such as the one shown above.
Select the buttons
on the far right, like "Dupli Mesh" and "Surf"
such that they look like this figure. This determines whether
duplications by default are made linked duplicates or unique
duplicates , and as you can see materials, textures, IPO motion
Curves, Lamps, and other objects can be linked or duplicated.
Some are made unique when duplicated by default.. Now you know
how to change it!!
First make a duplicate
of this torpedo and move it off somewhere else. One way is to
move the object off the screen with the Cntrl key held down..
This snaps movement to grid units. So you can precisely move
the object back where it was later.
Select the remaining
Torpedo and do a Alt-c. This will convert the NURBS surface
to a mesh surface. I'm going to lead you through the process
of making a particle emitter for the torpedo.
You can also
move the torpedo to another layer. Layers are something I or
someone should cover in another tutorial because they are more
complex than I can describe here.
If you fail to make the object snap with the Cntrl technique,
hit the "escape" key and the last transformation will
be undone. If you are careful enough to do this before you confirm
the transformation it will be most helpful.. It makes sense
that if you don't want something you can escape it by hitting
teh escape key (* smile *)
If you have
trouble moving the object, sometimes blender hangs and the thing
to do is twiddle the Shift and Cntrl keys a few times.
into edit mode and go to the side view. Use the Border/Wand
select tool to select only points that should be emitting particles..
This is where the bubbles (particles) will appear when the mesh
is turned into a particle emitter.
key in combination with Border/Wand-select tool to deselect
points. The keypad's + and - keys, while in the Wand mode, allow
you to change the size of the Wand.
In the edit window
(F9 key) prese "select swap" on the far-right.
Delete the vertices
Return from edit
mode and make the mesh object a particle emitter. To make the
mesh object a particle emitter,
- hit the F7 key,
that gets us the motion window. This window is generally used
for creating particles and editing the motion along paths.
You should see a button in this window that says "New
- With the mesh
selected, click on "New Effect", then you'll see
a button menu appear directly right of that button that says
"Build", click on that and change it to "Particles".
- click and drag-right
the Norm, Ob, Rand, Tex, Damp - each briefly.. This gives
a random enough particle emission that we can tell particles
are being emitted from the mesh.
- Hit alt-a or
shift-alt-a to animate the particles.
- Hit escape (ESC)
and reset the frame number to 1. shift-left-arrow (hitting
down-arrow a couple of times is okay).
If you want
more particles you can increase "Tot:" or duplicate
the emitter several times.. I would prefer to duplicate the
emitter. I used 5 emitters in my original torpedo animation.
What I did is I made several emitters, three for the back rutters
and two from the main body.
Emission is especially nice in blender because it happens almost
instantaneously, so you can form the way the particles move
interactively with the particle emission paramters.
the original Torpedo Surface ('g' and hold Cntrl key down while
moving the torpedo to where the particle emitter is).
Parent the Particle
emitter to the Torpedo: Select the Particle emitter, and shift-select
the Torpedo, then hit Cntrl-p, and answer "yes".
Anywhere the torpedo
goes, the particle emitter and the particles will.
matter if the particle emitter is precisely on top of the torpedo,
it just has to look like its the same shape an approximately
in the right spot.
Select the particle
emitter and copy these values down to get the particles to respond
like bubbles. Feel free to play around with these values to
see what effect they will have on the particles.
To experiment with
particle motion with the torpedo, you will need to create forward
motion for the torpedo. Change to frame 1 using the arrow keys.
Select the torpedo and set a keyframe for the location. Go to
frame 30 (or 31). Move the torpedo forward about twenty units
and set a keyframe for the torpedo's location.
Go to the IPO Curve
Window (Shift-F6), Click on the Home icon
this will center the view on the motion curves. Zoom out just
a bit such that motion curves are about half the size of the
screen. Hit the 'a' key a few times to toggle the selection
of all curves. Usually a few curves are selected, you hit
'a', that deselects them, then hitting 'a' a second time selects
Hit the tab key
to go into edit mode on the curves. Hit 'a' a few times (again)
to select all the edit points in all the curves. Hit the 'v'
key to break the control points so that the curves are linear.
To make the curves continue on infinitely, press the .
to get back to the object display, hit alt-a to animate. Now
the torpedo moves infinitely forward.
If you want
to make the torpedo spin, go to the IPO Curve window (Shift-F6),
Select the "RotX" channel. Hit tab key to go into
edit mode. Hold down the Cntrl key and click the left mouse
button, this allows you to create/add points to a IPO Curve,
so you can create any kind of motion out of thin air, or in
this case thick water. (* smile *)
Download this image
if you want material parameters for the particles.
To get precise
setting, click left and middle mouse buttons on a button in
the window and enter in a value. This works with most all buttons
in the interface.
aren't really bubbles, they are particle accumulations that
look like bubbles when composited. However, there is a way to
substitute objects that look like bubbles in for the particles,
but I didn't want to cover that in this tutorial.
this image if you want material parameters for the torpedo.
Hit F9, press the "UV Orco" button (located on the
far-left in the edit window). This allows the torpedo to be
mapped about its surface (the UV).
I did two things
with this material. I made a cloudy global texture and a orco
stucci texture. The cloudy texture simulates the light passing
through the ocean water onto the torpedo. There is a way to
animate this texture as well by applying material curves to
this material for the texture but that's also for another tutorial.
The Stucci is used
to give the torpedo some visible metalic attributes, like nicks
and scratches. If you reallly really really want to make it
look more like nicks and scratches, subtitute teh stucci for
a image map with its "NOR" bumped up. If you don't
know what I'm talking about, nevermind. That's also for anotehr
sent in these parameters for making the water foggy.. This makes
it look even better!!
Last minute note: change the mist "Dist" to 100, 50
causes the Torpedo to half-disappear.
You have a torpedo now that emits particles, spins, has special
material properties, particles with special material properties,
a motion graph and you know how to navigate around the interface.
I hope you can reuse this experience and make more things. I
incourage you to now make a submarine, maybe a few mines floating
in the ocean, add some fog (F8, click the button menu and add
a new World, then adjust the parameters like you did with the
Send me email at
if you have any recommendations for this tutorial or questions..
Note: Obtain a
copy of a blender at http://www.blender.nl/,
buy the manual, write a tutorial, help keep blender free