My latest scratch built starfighter model is the K’nat fighter or as they call it in STARSTRIKERS – the Shadow fighter. While I’m building my model from plastic and Renshape, my son is building his model in Blender. He’s much faster than I am. It’s going to be a race to see who’s fighter will make it to the cover of K’nat Trap, my next novella.
At this point, he’s winning.
One of the last frontiers in computer use for me is becoming proficient in using Blender. Blender is a program that lets you do 3D rendering and animations. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make computer models, especially useful as I really enjoy modeling in traditional mediums like plastic.
The problem has always been the complexity of the Blender program itself. Staring at all those controls you quickly feel intimidated and realize that you’re never going to be able to just feel your way around and actually create anything useful. You have to commit to learning it. Kind of like what you had to do with Photoshop and or The Gimp. Learning a program by following tutorials always takes time and effort that in this busy world is hard to justify for what arguably is just a hobby.
But now I’ve developed a business need for knowing how to render my starship designs. It will be much easier for my cover designer to incorperate 3D images into the back cover designs of my novels than for him to use images that I’ve taken of real world plastic models. So then I have to wiegh the time spent making those models in plastic versus making them in Blender.
I’m pretty sure that making them in Blender will take more time, until I become proficiant at rendering them. So I’ll probably do a bit of both. Learn the program by making some simple models and building more complex models in the real world with plastic and glue.
I have to say, I’ve always enjoyed using my hands and you know, sniffing the glue and breathing in the dust from sanding that traditional modeling has involved. It gets me off the computer and into the real world for a while. So making the transition from old school modeler to computer modeler will not be easy for me.
On the other hand, I love learning new things and as any Self Published author will tell you, that’s part of the challenge of doing things yourself. You get to learn new tools and new processes. Blender is just the latest tool in my vast tool box as a published author.