This project served as a way of learning how to model 3D images with blender. While deciding on what I was going to model I followed a lot of tutorials learning the interface and basics; making ipods and lopsided gingerbread houses along the way. After a lot of thought and experimentation, I settled on making one of the best "race cars" from one of the best games of my childhood, the Blue Falcon F-Zero Machine.
So let us start with the finished render.
What I tried to do for the final scene was emulate F-Zero X where many of the levels had reduced draw distances and utilized a lot of fog. Given more time I would have liked to put more details in the background, texture the track, and add particle effects to make it look like the ship was moving.
The model itself consists of three parts: the body, the cockpit cover, and the cockpit glass.
Originally the cockpit glass would have been transparent and the seat/controls would have been modeled, but those details would not have shown up on the 3D printer.
The model started out as a mirrored cube, which was extruded out for the cockpit area, and for the fins.
At this stage the first of my problems arose. The air intake holes had been extruded into the model and a face had been removed (in the image, a face is still missing). There were also extra vertices inside which was causing some strange geometry. I later fix the missing face and those vertices when I add the cockpit.
Now with the start of the cockpit being added, I've adjusted the model so it looks more like what was seen in the game.
And now we've added the canopy cover section, and we are about to start unwrapping the model. At this point there are still some messy faces, which get cleaned up when I start to unwrap the model.
Texturing turned out to be a major hurdle. After spending a lot of time reading tutorials and cutting my seams in order to have a nice uv map, I realized that the 07 on the front of the model needed to span the entire face (which at the time was just one face mirrored in the x). So I went back, removed the mirror, duplicated and flipped the model, fixing some duplicate verts and building some new faces. Now I had to restart my uv-mapping, so instead of choosing my seams all over again I opted to have blender just generate the uv map and start texturing from there. So now we have a uv map that looks like this
and the final texture.
But this will cause another issue. Now the triangles that the yellow line was going to connect were no longer nicely grouped together, and there was no time to recalculate the uv map. Also note that the air intake valves were removed as I realized that in order to print the model those holes couldn't be there. I've instead just textured the squares where they were.
Over the past few weeks playing with and learning blender, I've discovered that 3D modeling is a lot more difficult then I had anticipated. It takes a huge amount of artistic talent, mixed with technical ability and a lot of practice in order to make even the simplest objects look good. That being said, the Blender community has created an incredible amount of material for people of all skill levels - and if the videos and tutorials aren't enough then there are plenty of forums where nearly any question has probably been answered.