Making the virtual robot army

There comes a time in everyone's life when you just have to face up to the fact that having a robot army is nothing less than awesome.  I've decided to start creating mine using Blender, because the only thing better than my own robot army is a robot army I can animate and put into virtual worlds.

Its been a while since I've done a purely digital project and over a year since I did anything in Blender and I wanted to get back into it and refresh and improve my skills.

The first stage is create a drawing in Illustrator, actually make two. One front on and one from the side. Set these as background images in Blender and begin the modelling.  The basic modelling was really easy, fortunately my robot is a simple shape. The trickiest part was the cut outs in the body. There is a boolean modifier too that allows you to overlap two mesh objects and calculate the difference between the two. This has the effect of removing the overlapping part of one mesh from the other. It took a while to get this to work reliably, but was quite quick to do after some practise.

Basic Robot model
Basic Robot model

The arms were initially made from cones with the ends cut off but were later remodeled by creating cylinder and reducing the size of one end face.

After the modelling was finished next came the U.V mapping and texturing. U.V mapping  is the process of unwrapping the model along the edges to create a flat net. This net can be saved as a image file, exported to Photoshop and coloured in. This mostly went quite smoothly but I had trouble with the arms distorting the image which is why I changed from a cone to a cylinder.

Robot model with Head textured
Robot model with Head textured
Fully textured Robot
Fully textured Robot

I was reasonably pleased with the outcome of the U.V mapping and texturing as it was the first time I had done it.  The next time should be better as I now know a few hints and tips that will improve it.

I now have a Robot that looks like a Robot, but its still very static and can't move.  I would like to try some animation and also use the Robot in 3D computer games written in Unity so the next stage is to rig the Robot.  This creates a skeleton inside the model that can be moved around and the outer body of the robot will move when this skeleton is moved.

Robot showing the Skeleton rig
Robot showing the Skeleton rig

Like the U.V mapping the rigging isn't something I'd done before and by the end I knew how i would improve it for next time. Also the Robot model isn't really suited to being rigged as the hip and shoulder joints aren't really correct. This causes the body to distort when it walks as their is interference between the top of the leg and the bottom of the body.

Walking Robot showing body distortion
Walking Robot showing body distortion

I had to put the project on hold at this stage as I was picked for a course learning to write computer games in Unity which would finish in showing our completed work at the V &  museum Friday Lates Event. I'll write about that next time and will bring you more Robot updates soon

 

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