Building Spaceships

I decided, while waiting for my beta readers to finish my last two stories, to work on covers for the two stories. I drew a translator, an alien flying orb that translates English and other languages into Machani, the aliens in my latest novel.


The translator does not look 3D enough, so I decided to take a few weeks to learn Blender, a free program that creates 3D objects, including spaceships and landscapes or space scapes, that look more real than drawings alone, so I can use them for book covers.

First mistake was thinking it would only take two weeks. There is so much happening in the program that I would call the learning curve a cliff face I need to scale.

I played with the program, looking at all the menu items, and other buttons to click, slide or whatever, but each try was a mess, to be honest.

I located a good Blender Basics pdf that covers most of the areas I need, and read through the 178 pages, trying a few of the tutorials/exercises at the end of each chapter.

I created a lighthouse with holes in all the wrong places, a landscape with green hills, but black ocean. Still have no idea where I went wrong when I selected the blue for the ocean. The ocean texture was not happening, either. I located a site where short videos show steps for each area, and will eventually watch a few of them, once I get the basics under control.

I read the chapter on cameras twice but could not seem to turn the cameras to look at the objects. I persisted and finally found what I was doing wrong.

Frustrated with the slowness of learning how to do everything, I searched for a print book that covered the basics, so I could use the whole laptop screen just for Blender, and found one, but did not order it. Instead, I decided to add a side monitor to my laptop.

Success! I now have the Blender Basics pdf file open on the second screen, and Blender open on the laptop, and can now see all the menus and toolbox windows and properties windows at once, while still watching the object from four different positions, while I select, move, push, pull or whatever to change the shapes of objects.

I decided to start back at the beginning, now I have an overall view of what is achievable, and do each tutorial, then repeat on creating space ships, translators, and other technical objects that could be used in the future.

Have you used any 3D programs?

Or, are you wiser than me, and just pay someone else to create the images you need for covers?

All fun and games.


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