I wanted to encapsulate this article with the latest version of Blender (being 2.5), I would not do so not until everyone gets comfortable with it and who knows, on one of my proceeding articles, we might delve more into an introduction of the new version. But for now, let’s be courteous enough to use the fully functional 2.49 version of Blender. If you don’t have it right now, I suggest you head over to http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/ and grab your own copy. And you also might want to have a copy of the latest GIMP from http://www.gimp.org/downloads/.
- Skill level: Intermediate
- Blender 2.49b (stable)
- GIMP 2.6.8
So basically, we’ll use Blender’s modeling tools, material indexes, powerful texture system, basic UV unwrapping, some lighting techniques, and of course the node compositor which is built-in in Blender.
I dedicate this article to my family and the whole Blender community who have been very supportive of me during my past years of struggle and learning. It was just a wish before that someday hopefully I might be able to get the hang of using this application as much as I did with GIMP and finally somehow, it did happen.
Before we even begin doing modeling and firing up Blender itself, let’s get ourselves some decent reference images to base our model. Anything will do; it depends entirely on your tastes and preferences. Doing a quick Google search, here’s some that I found:
After studying carefully the shape and size of our reference soda cans, we can now proceed and start creating our basis shape for the entire process. I think this might be a good time to say this line, “Fire up Blender!”
Depending on your User Defaults and Preferences, your startup screen might look a bit differently than mine and your default object on the scene might be different too. If you have objects other than a cube on your scene, kindly, delete them first since we’re only going to use the cube as our starting point. So if you don’t have one right now, go ahead and add it from the Spacebar > Add > Mesh > Cube menu.
Adding a Cube to the Scene
You might have wondered why a Cube and not a Cylinder. It’s because we don’t want to work on some extra polygons, just a few points will do. And we would be using some of Blender’s Modifiers to add contours and interpolations in between points to achieve smooth curves on the segments. With our cube on the scene now, go ahead and select it (Right Mouse Button [RMB]), then press CTRL+ 2 on your keyboard to add a Subsurf Modifier on the selected object or click the Editing (F9) button and scroll until you see the Modifiers tab then click Add Modifier and finally choose Subsurf. This will add a new modifier on our current stack.
Adding a Subsurf Modifier
After doing this, modify some of the subsurf options accordingly. Go ahead and change the Render Levels value to 3, or if you wish to, you could also change the Levels value to 3 such that what you see in your viewport is what you get on the render, but at the cost of a bit of a slowdown on your viewport (depending on the power your computer has). But still, despite adding a Subdivision Surface/Subsurf modifier on our Cube, why does it look polygonal still? That is because by default, the faces’ interpolation around the neighboring ones is set to Solid, that’s why we see this sharp edged transition in between faces. To make it smoother, just go ahead and click on the Editing(F9) button and scroll until you see the Links and Materials tab then click Set Smooth, or in Edit Mode, press W on your keyboard to bring up the Specials Menu and choose Set Smooth. Voila!
Smoothing out the Geometry
After this step, go to front view by pressing Numpad 1 on your numeric keypad and go to Edit Mode by pressing TAB, or choosing it from the Mode dropdown on the bottom of your 3D view. Select the top-most four vertices and move them 1 Blender Unit up along the Z-axis, do this by holding down the Ctrl key to constrain your movements on increments of 1, then press Z on your keyboard to constrain your movement on the z-axis only and not elsewhere.
Moving the Top-most Vertices along Z