For my project I made a model of the Nintendo character Kirby riding a Warp Star in blender. In order to do this I broke the model up into pieces (arms, legs, body, etc) and focused on one piece at a time.
The first portion that I worked on was the star. There isn’t a star mesh built into blender so I had to make one myself. I started with a regular filled circle, and from a top view used the knife tool to create the edges of the star and deleted the excess faces from the original circle. Once I had the shape I needed I then used the solidify modifier on the star to give it some 3D shape. The sharp ends of the star were still obvious after making the object solid, so I used the bevel tool to smooth them out a bit so they looked like the more round Kirby Warp Star.
The next portion I worked on was the body. That was obviously the easiest bit as there is a sphere mesh in blender. Naturally I just grabbed that mesh and plunked it onto the star.
The next parts I finished were the limbs. I had to do this portion in three steps – the right arm, the left arm, and the legs. This is because the right and left arms are in different positions so they had to be made separately, where the legs are just mirror duplicates. To start with the limbs, I placed some ico spheres at the appropriate locations and scaled them correctly, then I had to move some of the vertices to create the desired shape. I found that the simplest way of doing this was to go into wire frame view and use border select to pick the vertices I needed quickly and naturally. Then I simply transformed the vertices in segments until it looked similar enough to the actual character. Much like the star, the limbs looked a little choppy, so I used the bevel modifier on them to smooth out the edges and add more vertices. Then, as I mentioned earlier, I duplicated the right leg, mirrored it, translated it, and rotated it to fit with the body.
Finally, I wanted to create a face for Kirby. I thought about just painting the facial features onto him, but then they wouldn’t have shown up in the 3D printed object. So instead, I decided to project the face a bit forward so that it would still be distinguishable without colour added. I only had to do this in three sections, the eyes, the cheeks, and the mouth. Since I had such success with the knife tool when I made the star shape, I decided to use it again here. I started with a circle and scaled it smaller along one axis so it was an ellipse shape. Then I used the knife tool to cut out the sections where the eye is different in colour. Then I used solidify to make it thick enough to stand out on the face, duplicated it for the other eye, translated it in place, and rotated as needed. Then for the cheeks I created an ellipse again and scaled it slightly smaller than the eyes, and duplicated for a second cheek. Lastly, with the mouth I again started with a circle and deleted half of it. Then I created the shape I needed for half of both the outer and inner mouth on the semicircle and then duplicated, mirrored, and joined the two into one object. The reason why I chose to do this instead of just working with the circle itself was to ensure that it was symmetrical. Once I had the mouth in place, the model itself was complete but it needed some colour.
Colouring the model took a very long time to figure out, and I noticed that a lot of my pieces had too many vertices and ended up crashing the program any time I tried to add colour. So I went to every piece that I beveled and I used the decimate modifier to remove a large portion of the polygons. Then I started assigning colours to each of the objects.
To do this I had to associate a material with each of them individually, instead of creating a texture from scratch for each since the objects are all a solid colour anyway. One little roadblock that came up is that because I was only assigning one colour for each object, the inside of the eyes and the mouth appeared pink against the body instead of the colour they ought to be. To get around this, I just made planes for each of those inner portions and coloured them the correct colour. After doing all of this, the following was the final product rendered with one camera and four spotlights – one on each side:
The most challenging parts of this project obviously involved figuring out how exactly to use blender. Tutorials helped somewhat, but a lot of the time I just had to tinker to figure out what I had to do. Specifically, the parts that gave me the most trouble were figuring out how to build the star shape, and colouring the model. Once I had some familiarity with the program and a lot of the tools it has to offer, these problems were easy to solve, but it still took a significant amount of time for that initial learning curve. The tools I found most useful were the knife, border select, and the solidify tool as I used them very often, and they simplified a lot of seemingly difficult tasks.