Sam's Blog

A sort-of dev blog about my journey of learning Blender 3D and Unreal Engine 5 to hopefully (fingers crossed!) make some cool stuff.

Update! I'm Back!

August 9, 2023

Modern, spherical lamp with derpession in the middle. Lamp base is purple with a light purple lamp shade. It sits on a wooden bedside table.

So I'm back home now. Before I left, I did make one render. It took me like 2 days to complete and I'm pretty happy with it. Since I'd already pretty much figured out the lampshade for the lamp in my couch render, I thought it'd be easy to make a kind of cool, modern lamp. I started with just the lamp on a cube and the decided to turn the cube into a bedside table, which just took off from there. lol

Modern, spherical lamp with derpession in the middle. Lamp base is purple with a light purple lamp shade. It sits on a grey block.

Then I though the wall needed texture, so I added noise and a bump node to give it the bumpy texture that my own bedroom walls have. It turned out much better than I expected. One gripe though is that I didn't make the wall an interesting color, instead I went with the beige that nearly every apartment has, which I hate lmao. But, I didn't want it to clash with the purple lamp so whatever.

I think for the next render I want to go all out with color! I think it'd be fun to do something Barbie inspired. I saw the movie last night and LOVED it! I loved how nearly everyone wore pink to the theater. We went at 4pm! And people were dressing up for it! :) It makes me so happy to see people being people!

I've also watched Good Omens season 2, and LET ME TELL YOU. I loved it so much. It's heartbreaking but ough. Just glorious. I'd highly reccomend it if you watched the first season and liked it. In fact, watch the first season too, if you haven't!

I hope this didn't drift too far from 3D that you won't like reading it, but I'm thinking about talking about more of what I'm doing outside of 3D. It's my blog anyway so I make the decisions lol

Peace, until next time, Sam.

Modern, spherical lamp with derpession in the middle. Lamp base is purple with a light purple lamp shade. Viewed from Below, looking up at it.

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Switching Gears

July 26, 2023

Red couch, with white blanket draped across seat, with standing lamp

I started this new project because I wanted something quick and easy, and then I have had almost no time to work on it recently lol. I'm going to use it to practice texturing in a more painterly style, maybe try creating some textures in photoshop or something, rather that just painting on the model itself.

My plan is to start creating assets to use in some kind of film or short and learn by doing. If I can get some time one night this week, I'd like to try finishing the blanket. I'll be away from my computer for the next couple weeks so I won't have time then, but hopefully once I get back I can do some more work on it. I'm really enjoying the modeling process so far, trying to enjoy the materials/texturing process as well, but the nodes are just so complicated. I need tutorials to do almost anything lol

Anyway, here are some in-progress shots:

blocked out couch

Grey 3d model of a couch with lumpy cushions

Red couch 3d model

Red couch, seen from far away, against a dark grey background

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Sculpting is Complete!

July 9, 2023

Finished 3d character in T-pose

I spent these last couple days working on sculpting. I'm still using the Bran Sculpts video plus a video by Jus Tis Arts called The only head sculpting tutorial you will ever need ! Blender ( From beginner to pro ! ) I watched it the other day and then used a Whole bunch of references to sculpt the face. (Yes I am mostly using Dean as reference, but also changing a bit about his face to make him at least a little different lol)

The head looked SO BAD at first and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do a good job and I was seriously considering trashing the whole thing lol But I had also had that worry about the hands and they turned out decent so I pressed onwards.

The half-sculpted head with a reference picture of Dean Winchester from Supernatural

The sculpted head with no eyelids, only eyes.

The finished head looking straight at the camera

The eyes took the longest. I think if I were sculpting this in real life, I'd be able to lay down the clay right where I wanted it, with the exact angle. However in Blender, the brush kind of sticks to whatever surface it's closest to so it was a little harder to control. Not to mention getting the eyes the right size, in the right place, pointing the right direction, took some doing. In the tutorial, he just has a reference for how big they're supposed to be but I wasn't sure. It was a lot of (pun intended) eyeballing.

Regardless, I finished it fairly late last night and it took me about 2 separate days to do the body and then the head. I am very happy with how they turned out! I think he looks a little goofy right now cuz he doesn't have any materials and they eyes might be a little weird still. I think once I actually give him some expressions he'll look better.

Anyway, look for an update once I do Retopology.... scary! Peace, Sam.

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Starting modeling my character

July 6, 2023

Blocked out character in T-pose

I've started working on modeling one of my characters in Blender. I'm using a tutorial by Bran Sculpts: Blocking Out - Blender Character Sculpt Tutorial part 1 It's pretty much everything to know, compiled into a playlist of videos, which is so much easier than finding them on my own. Plus it's general enough that I was able to draw my own reference and just use the video to help with the actual blocking.

So far I've just gotten through the first video, the blocking out, and it took me the better part of a day to finsih the 30 minute tutorial lol. The most important thing I've learned is if the mirror modifier isn't working correctly (mirroring it from the wrong center spot) you may have moved the object out of edit mode and that screws it up. Just apply all transformations (as it says in the comments) and then it should work properly.

I am surprised by how well I still know anatomy, or at least how things should look. I made his feet and did some slight transforming and they look so good. I'm pretty proud of how just the blocked out body looks.

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Completed my first project

July 4, 2023

3D vanilla donut decorated with chocolate icing and red, white, and blue sprinkles.

Happy fourth of July! There are fireworks going on outside my window (not that I can see them lol) and I'm looking at all the likes I've gotten on the various social media that I posted my completed donut project to.

I completed my donut Sunday and posted it yesterday for the fourth of July. In the tutorial he suggests coloring the sprinkles red, white, and blue, for the 4th and it was close enough when I started working on them that I figured, yeah, why not?

There's a reason it is THEE tutorial--it's super easy to follow along with and it sets you up for success going forward with Blender. I had a few days off where I didn't work on it, but I want to say it took me a full week. Probably only a few hours in total, honestly. I am very happy with how it came out.

So what did I learn?

  • There is SO MUCH to learn, but you only need to know the basics to get started, and then the like 20% that you'll actually use.
  • A tablet or some kind of pen is a GODSEND for the hand. Otherwise my fingers get all knarled trying to hold down the scroll wheel lol
  • Look up tutorials for the geometry nodes, at least at first. They are very difficult to wrap your brain around and there's so many of them.

The best time to start is yesterday, but the second best time is today!

I'll talk to y'all in the next one. Peace.

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Still Under Construction, but getting closer!

June 25, 2023

I spent all my Saturday yesterday setting up my new PC. It was the first time building a computer by myself, but I used a video from Linus Tech Tips that really helped. How to build a PC I have watched this video probably 3 times now in setting up my PC lol. It's a good video.

My next goal is to start learning Blender, starting with the Blender donut tutorial by BlenderGuru on Youtube. I'm excited to actually get into it. I will update as I learn.

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Intro/Under Construction note. Hi!

June 23, 2023

Creating this blog is taking quite some time so I'll leave this post up in case anyone sees it while it's under construction. Please forgive any typos, the text is small and I am very near-sighted so I hardly see them lmao. I will post a real blog post once I get going. I am building my new computer now, so hopefully I can get started learning soon.

I did get started learning Blender like a year or two ago but I got to the texturing/lighting stage and my computer did not like that lol it was very slow. My biggest hurdle are the shortcuts I'll need to remember. I will probably write them down in my blog as an easy reference.

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About Me

My name is Sam Mclaughlin.

I'm 28 years old, I work a full-time job so my free time is fairly limited, but I make time to learn new things when I can! I am an artist based in Florida and I'm trying to use a combination of Blender and Unreal to make some cool art stuff. But first I need to learn how to use both softwares! lol