I should actually call this the Terrible Trouble with Everything in Blender.
This one’s for all you Blender heads out there.
I saw a really cool piece of Superman art by a guy named Valiance over on DeviantArt, and I thought I’d give it a shot in Blender. Let me tell you it was more work than I thought.
The Superman “S” shield is made up of what appear to be very simple shapes, so it should be some pretty easy modeling, right?
It quickly became clear to me that I didn’t know the best way to model this thing. I’ll tell you couple of ways not to do this:
1. Do NOT attempt to subdivide a plane into many sections, then push and pull the vertices into position. It will suck and suck HARD. All those verts will quickly become unwieldy when it’s time to extrude your model.
2. Do NOT attempt to import a path from Illustrator or Inkscape with the intention of converting it to a mesh from there. As seen in the linked article, it will look like crap and you’ll have to do so much work to clean up all the triangles and messy quads that you might as well just do it yourself anyway.
3. Just in case you’re wondering, don’t try making a path directly in Blender and then converting that, it’ll just turn out the same as number 2.
Oh yeah, side note: You still can’t import a path in 2.5? (I’m using version 2.56.0 r34076) I sure couldn’t figure it out, so I had to import using Blender 2.49b, save the file and open it in 2.5. All for naught, my friends…
So finally I realized that the only way to do this was as such:
1. Start by adding a plane
2. Cut it in half and add a mirror modifier
3. Begin extruding, with the intention of using the least amount of verts/faces possible
Alas, as you can see I ended up with quite a few faces in there. More than are probably necessary but at my current level of skill that’s how I had to do it.
A major hang-up for me was the yellow part of the shield. I wanted it all to be one piece, then I would use vertex groups to assign different materials.
Well I couldn’t pull it off in a satisfactory manner. Meaning that I couldn’t get the quads all lining up as nicely as I would like. It actually was coming out looking like crap and there were a few areas where I could see no other way to complete the mesh except to use a triangle.
Finally a gave up. I just didn’t model the yellow parts. I only did the red parts, then stuck a yellow plane in there to fill in the space. It grates me that I couldn’t do it the way I initially wanted, but I’m sure with more modeling practice I’ll be able to make these things in a more efficient manner.
Now to the part that really pisses me off.
I suck at texturing. After all this time, I still can’t make something look the way I want it to look.
Trust me, I spent a phenomenal amount of time combing through the forums and Google trying to find materials settings and such.
I wanted to go for a shiny gemstone or possibly metal sort of look to the “S” red parts, but I’ll be gosh-darned to heck if I can figure it out.
Man, I’ve still never been able to make a decent shiny metal texture without resorting to UV Mapping. Very annoying. I’m obviously not getting it.
To that end I’ve found this book here (not affiliate links):
Looks like it might be the answer to my texturing problems? I know the price at first glance looks a little steep, but considering the knowledge that’s (hopefully) inside, the time and frustration it could save me will be more than worth the money.
I’m going to finish this one soon and post the blend file when I’m done. I’ll also make a video showing exactly what I did and what did and did not work for those interested. Right now I’m just at the complaining stage.
If anyone has any tips or suggestions go ahead and leave them in the comments, It’s much appreciated!