Friday, September 17, 2010

Tutorial 3d - How to create 3d Ubuntu logo with blender.

First at all: I am not an Ubuntu user, actually I do use Windows 7, and I don't have so good experiences with Linux, but still I respect it somehow more than the system I am actually using.

It's like computer Robin Hood in the computer worlds, who will fight against the big multinational companies. And everything they do, they do for free. It's something that anyone must respect I think.

That was enough of rubbish at this time, so let's get started with the Blender.

If you don't know what blender is, or you don't have it, you must first install it. I will not concentrate in this article about installing things, but you will find everything you need from here:

Help with installing Blender in Windows operating system: tutorial

Just remember to remember, that I am using Blender 2.54 beta  version. It means that the version is not actually yet finished and there would be some bugs... But I like it more than 2.49.

1.0 Download this picture to your computer.
You can of course do everything with your own
logo but dont fail with it!
Now open Blender. You will see the screen where is a big cube center of the everything. Press MMB (middle mouse button.) and move your mouse. You will see that it effects to the view and you can watch the cube around. Learn to use that first, because if you don't see what you're doing, you actually can't do anything... Also if you use the MMB wheel, you can zoom and unzoom your project.
Press Shift and MMB at the same time and you can
"scroll" the project. This is all you need to know at this time about how to view your the project.

But you can also use "flying mode". Just press "SHIFT + F"

"Numbad 1" is Front view, "3" is side view and "7" top view. With "numbad 0" you will get view trough the camera. While pressing "CTRL" button at the same time when choosing some view youll get opposite view. Like if you wanna go in the back view, then press "CTRL" and "Numbad 1" at the same time.

With "Numbad 5" you can switch between perspective and orthographic modes.

You can select things by clicking RMB (right mouse button.)

You can also select everything clicking letter "A" or unselect everything by clicking it again.

Now select the cube and press letter "X".
You'll see the pop up that asks something like "do you really really wanna delete this thing?" You can also use key "Delete". The pop up goes straight to where your mouse cursor is, so you just only need to click it with LMB (left mouse button.) and the cube "dies".
You can undo this your horrible cube murder by clickin'
"CTRL + Z".

If you did that undo thing, you must kill him again... You know, "Violators will be shot, survivors will be shot again."
1.1 Add an image.

("CTRL + SHIFT + Z" is redo but you can also delete it manually again.)

Now press "N" and you'll see how the new menu pop ups or hides if you press it twice. You can press the key "N" as many time you want to, but make sure that the menu is visible because we'll need it now.

Then press print scree.. Ahh, no! It was my job, sry guys... So here is the picture for you sir. (1.1)

Now you must add that image of the Ubuntu logo which we downloaded few hours (or days) ago at the time when we started this tutorial... Probably (I hope) you can do it without my help, just make sure that the N-Menu looks like the same as mine when you're Done.

But where is the image then? Yeah, you can't see it in the background because you're on perspective view mode. In your keyboard, there is a button called "numlock". Now you must make sure, that that the "numlock" is on. Then press the button "5" in your "numbad".

If youre using laptop... Yeah, there is not numbad, so you must use some different way that I dont know, but here is a tutorial about it. (For everything is tutorial..)

You'll see, that the perspective of your view disappears. Now everything looks like in the same size, no matter how far away they are from the camera.

This is my scetch about perspective and ortographic pictures, I'll hope it helps you understanding the difference.

Then press button "7" from your numbad. Its the top view. Now you see the background image, in the 3d-view.

As you can see, I did hide the N-menu. (1.2) We don't need it anymore. Ever. Or only in this tutorial we don't need it. Actually its some very important menu, so just try to remember how it hides and comes back. "N" button!

(Now, if you're like me, you're then touched every button in the whole program and tested all of the settings you could find. And you're in some submenu that you have not ever seen and I have not told about it. If this is true in your situation it's maybe better that you start everything from the beginning again. Only in this kind of situations go to the menu (left up corner) and press "New" or just press "CRTL + N"  You can everytime come back to this and start over again!.)

SHIFT + C". This centers the 3d-cursor. That thing which looks like sniper rifle sight.

1.3 extruding verticles
Now press "SHIFT + A". -> Mesh -> cube. The cube is back!

(I just wanted to make sure that you will understand the great possibilities of delete...)

Select Mr Cube and press "TAB

verticle called little square.

Press "A" and unselect all of them, then select every one except one in the corner. Then press "X" or "delete" and choose "verticlenumbadverticle

1.4 Create faces by selecting two opposite edges and
pressing "F".
Press button "G" to move that verticle. If you like to move it, move it. Just get it into some the corners of the logo. Then press "E". The feature is called "extrude and you see that the another verticle growed up from that another.You can move the other verticle where ever you want to. Extrude it again and make that your thing is looking like mine in the picture 1.3

Then select both of the last points of your line and press "F".
It makes another edge between the last and first verticles.

Now, change to the edge selection mode by pressing "CTRL + TAB".
It opens another popup and your mission is to click the "edge".

Now click the two edges that are opposite each other and press "F" It will make face in that space that is between of the two selected edges.

Continue for doing the faces until your work looks like mine in the picture 1.4.

Now switch back to the verticle mode. Then press "CTRL + R". Don't click yet anything, just move the mouse around and you'll see that every time when you touch some edge you'll see a pink line.

All the time save your project. You can also save it with different names if you want so you have duplicates and if something goes wrong with the file, you have still other files.

Next time when you're eating something and you don't feel like "save the project" when you have eaten enough - you have not saved your project enough. ;)

Set the line to some place and then press "LMB". Then press "MMB". The "LMB" sets the edge visible and "MMB" sets it to be in the center of the nearby edges. Now you have created an edge and you must correct the verticles to make the shape similar with the background image. Or similar like in the picture 1.5.

Now, if you press "TAB" key and switch the project in the object mode - you can see that there is still little corners in your project.
We don't care about them yet.

Now you can watch your thing around if you want to. (Of course you can do it every time when you want to but I wanted to make sure that you get it and don't feel like everything is going to explode if you touch some wrong button.)
1.6 You can also change the subsurf modifier
setting in this place.

Make sure that youre in edit mode. Then press "A" key and then "E" key. Then just extrude that stuff little bit up.

Now you must go object mode. We will add subsurf modifier. Select your thing and press "SPACE" key. Then type in the search field "sub" and you can select the "subdivision set" modifier with mouse.

Your mesh starts looking smooth and every sharp edges goes away. This is at the same time good and bad thing as you can see. Press "T" key and on the left side of the blender appears another menu, just like "N-menu". In the bottom there is text "Subdivision set" and there is number 1. Change the number as 2.

You must go next to the place that is shown in the picture 1.6.
Click "add modifier" button. Then add "edge split" modifier.
Make sure that "edge angle" is unselected and "sharp edges" is selected.

Then you can forget that modifier place for little time. We'll go back for fighting with the mesh.

Go in the edit mode and also in the edge selection mode. Select all the edges that must be sharp in the finished model. Like in the picture 1.7

Hint: you can select all wanted edges faster by clicking "ALT + SHIFT + RMB" when selecting something.

When you're selected everything, press "CTRL + E". Then select from the menu "edge crease" and use your mouse for making the edges sharper. When you're ready click "RMB" to accept your work. Then, again go back that previous menu. (CTRL + E) and select "mark sharp". Now your edges are sharp.

Press "Numbad 7" to go back in the top view.
If you wanna fix now your mesh a little, then press "Z". Now you'll see trough of your mesh because its in wireframe mode. (if you don't then its time to save your creation and keep making it tomorrow You can always save by using "CTRL + S" shortcut)
In edge selection mode you can fix vertexes, but remember, that every time when you move something, you must choose 2 vertexes to make sure your model stays in it's shape. (If you choose only one and do something, then your mesh is soon looking like the Hitlers summer cottage after Stalin's tea party.) You can select both verticles by using Brush selection tool. You'll get the brush selection tool pressing "C" key in edit mode. Press "Z" again after you're fixed your stuff.

Go in the object mode and select that your creation. Then press "SHIFT + D" It will make a duplicate of your mesh. Now you can move it away from that first one. Press "R" key to roll it. Move and roll it to the other empty place, it fits to there perfectly. Then duplicate it again and fit it to the third place.

Okay, now the hardest things are back. I will not explain that specific way creating those balls because doing them is actually the same project as creating those bigger blocks.

Just Click "SHIFT + A" and circle from there. Then from bottom of the "T-Menu" make sure that there is in the verticles place number "6".
The "circle looks blocky, but now you can fastly make faces to it. Remember: opposite edges and "F" key. Extrude it like you did extrude bigger block. Extruding happend in edit mode with "E" key.

Then add "subdivision surface" and "edge split" modifiers and make "Edge crease" and "mark sharp" (CTRL + E)
Now you can duplicate your circle and you should have something like in the picture 1.8 Save the project.

Now we are going to make materials for this. Open the Ubuntu logo in your favourite image editing program. Photoshop and Gimp are very good choices.

Like the anonymous user said, you can also simply press the sample button from the color selector and click the background image. So you dont need to use photoshop for this.
(not even gimp)

It may effect to the result some how if you set the opacity of the background image to zero.

Use the pipette tool for finding the HEX colors of the logo. (1.9) You must copy the color value into the clipboard by pressing "CTRL + C"

Now get back to the blender.

Choose the same block which color you have in the clipboard. And go to the materials tab. Its in the same place where you were changing the modifier settings. But if you still can't find it - here is the picture. (2.0)

Click new.

You see the white rectangle that is named diffuse. Click it with RMB and it will open the same color picker as you can see in the picture 2.0.

Click hex button and paste your hex color code to the place. Then press enter. Immediately the color of the block changes to red. Rename the material to be "Red"

Set specular intensity to 0. Or if you want that there is little bit this kind of effect, just add it little bit, but don't too much, because it will look stupid and nothing like the logo you're creating.

Then select other block, but don't click "new" click the small "ball button" that is left side of that big "new" button. You'll open menu and there is that your red material. Select it and add the same material to every of your objects you have there.

Now you must be thinking, that "why", but before you jump out of the window, I'll tell you:

Every single setting you do for that material happens in every object at the same time. So now you add for the object the reflections etc. And then you just need only add different colors for the other objects. If you every time create a new material you must also add the same reflection settings or textures or what ever and that's not funny. You can save some of your expensive time for doing this way.
Its play time. Now play with all the material settings and see how they will affects the preview ball.

I did add some reflection to my version If you wanna do like I did then add to the "Mirror" settings "reflectivity: 0.200"  and to the "Gloss" settings "amount: 0.900". (hint: The gloss setting affects for the render time, so you can make it rendering faster if you forget gloss.) That's all I did.

So go to the photoshop and find the other color. (and save your project)

Then select the object which material you chosed and press this button. (2.1)
Now rename the material to orange or what ever material you picked from the picture. Then to the diffuse field add that color in HEX-field.

Do the same for the third color and you've created 3 dimensional version of Ubuntu logo. (remember that there is only 3 colors in the Ubuntu logo.)

Then what you must do is to set the lightnings and render it. There in that scene is two objects which we have not yet touched. (Or you might have, but I have not.) Lamp and camera. You can guess which one is lamp and which is camera.

If you now press "Numbad 0" you'll see trought the camera. Now find a better position by pressing "MMB" and just messing around. You'll lost the control of camera, but don't worry. When you think that you have found something creative view press "ALT + Numbad 0" and the camera is there again.

Then press "F12" key.

Wait until blender have rendered the picture. It should not take so much time, but if you're running blender on some slow computer - you can stop rendering by pressing "ESC".

Press "F11" and you will get back to the 3d-view.

Now press few times "Pause Break" button from your keyboard. "7 times" may be good. Now with pressing that button you should soon see how it does not affect anything in blender. Just wanted to make sure that you're still awake. :)

We have still little job to do.

Have you ever seen a professional photography studio? You may be, or may not, but if you try to find it from the google, you'll find it, watch the pictures so you can understand what I am trying to tell. Google.

So we will create the same, but it does not cost anything for you. What a wonderful change.

Now you should know how to add objects. So add a plane.
With extruding and Subdivision surface modifier you can do in really fast time some kind of photography surface and background for your object. 2.1 The shading must be set to be "smooth".
For this really simple lighting you need only two lights. So you can add the second one right now. "SHIFT + A" -> lamp->hemi

Hemi light sources are something that are not possible in real life. They don't make shadows and secondly they affects everything in the scene. If you have too powerful hemi light it destroys all the contrast of your render, so be careful with them.

Now choose that your hemi-light. Go to the object data tab. In the picture 2.2 this tab is next of the modifier tab, but when you choose light, some tabs disappears, because you can't use stuff like modifiers for the light objects.

So change the light settings and put to the "energy field" number "300".

Then select the other light. There is a field called "sampling" With this setting you can make your light for projecting soft shadows. Now there is number 1. So change the number to be something like "10" (hint: Sampling of light will affect the rendertime of  your project, so if you want to make it render faster you can add smaller number.) and set "soft size" to be "3.000"
2.3 Finlal render with little photoshop retouch.

 Now save your project again and render it. If you like to, you can now save your rendered picture by pressing F3. You know, if you wanna make it perfect, you must open that file with photoshop and do the same things for the render as you would do for the real photo.

Now if you press F11 it does not come back to the 3d view. It will go back to the File Browser. So if you wanna go back to the 3d-view, click the smalla button on left down that says if you let your mouse sleep over that "display currect editor type. bla bla" click it and find from there your 3d-view.

Here is my blend file: ubuntulogo


  1. Instead of copying each colour from Photoshop, you can simply press the sample button from the colour selector and click the background image.

    I think it makes a difference if you set the opacity of the background image to zero.

  2. Oh, i didn't know about that button. Thank you. :D

  3. Thanks a million for this tutorial - I changed the lighting slightly and added some extruded text with a somewhat shiny metal texture and created the Ubuntu Namibia LoCo Team logo for the Facebook page like this (see my link) :-)

  4. Thank you Gerard, you made me happy about that I made this tutorial. :) I watched your link and you did nice logo!


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