A little more than a year ago Binary Cocoa embarked on a mission to build solid 2D video games that would be intuitive and visually excellent. As the art director, I was happy and comfortable drawing assets in Photoshop in the corner of my lair. I would spend hours stroking a green eyed cat on my lap, cackling while drawing characters and backgrounds for 2D games we were working on. Then one day the mad scientist, or Joseph, howled down from the top of the lighting filled tower and asked if I would try out something new.
This new thing was Blender, a free and open source 3D animation suite. Blender was completely new to me, but the prospect of building assets in 3D was intriguing even if the notion did seem farfetched at first. To get some help I started watching tutorial videos, and within an hour I was starting to build my own simple models. Here is the first one that I built:
Is it a space station of sorts? Or is it a door knocker? I don’t have a clue myself, but I do know that it was fun to build.
I fooled around with the program a little more, trying to make a spaceship, and came out with what looked like a hot dog with extra appendages:
Progress was made by learning how to make things smooth by using the tools given to me, and then rendering an image of it using the camera built into the program. It also lets you adjust the lighting on your model by giving you a lamp that can be moved around.
I set out to build a third model and came up with something more angular. I was still trying to build a ship, and created a goofy looking duck that looks like something straight out of Star Fox:
I know it’s not extraordinary, but I’m making progress! And I’ve only been playing with Blender for a day. I have yet to learn how to color or do other crazy things, but when I do I will be sure to post my progress and tips here for anyone who is interested.
Blender also allows you to render sprite sheets of your work which you could use in 2D games. You can save a lot of animating time by drawing one character and animating it, instead of redrawing it eight or ten times. It also means that Binary Cocoa is changing the way it is looking at implementing art in its games.
I guess you can say we’re having an identity crisis. I suppose that because we are mad scientists, this should be expected. So what happens now? Does Binary Cocoa just have to settle down and make changes or be shipped off to the psych ward?