Join Darrin Lile for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up reference images, part of Blender: Hard Surface Modeling.
- [Instructor] At the beginning of any project that I work on I always try and gather reference images to help me visualize when I'm going to create. Now since I'm going to be going for realism for this project, I think I also want to be able to bring my reference images into Blender so I can actually line up my objects to the reference images. So, to do that let's go ahead and press the N key to bring up the Properties Panel. And scroll all the way down here. And let's twirl the little triangle here to open up the background images and click on Add Image.
And that gives us this Images Panel. Let's go ahead and click Open. And, in the Exercise Files that come with this project you'll have a Reference Images folder. And in the Edited Images we've got the back, front, left, and right views of the object. Now I've also included the Photoshop file if you're interested in opening that up and seeing how I've edited these images to prepare them to bring into Blender. I'll click this button right here and there they are, you can see them there.
So, let's bring in the right view the side right view first. So I'll click that and Open Image. And, we can't really see anything. Now, if I go to Orthographic View by pressing the five key along the numpad I still can't see anything. We can only see these images in Orthographic View but so far, we're in the User Camera. If I press the one key now we can see something. We're in the Front Orthographic View.
If I press the three key we're in the Side Orthographic View. And if I push the seven key we're in the Top. And the problem here is that we can see this one image in all of those views. We don't want that. So, let's come over here and click this All Views menu and change it from All to Right. Now we can't see it in the Top but if I hit the three key we can see it here in the Side, or Right View.
I think I'd like the tires to sit up here on the ground plane right on this green axis. So even though in the 3D view this is the Z and the Y-axis. In the 2D world here of our image plane it's the X. And the Y going up and down. So it can be a little confusing dealing with these but just remember that when we're dealing with our images, we're working with an X and Y-axis. So, since the Y-axis goes up and down I'll click in this field and drag.
And I can drag that image up so the tires kind of sit on that ground plate. I'm going to press the Shift key, as well. And click and drag. And that slows the movement of the drag down just a little bit. All right so now we have it sitting on the ground plane, that's good. But, if we're going for realism we really want our object to be to proper scale. Real world scale. So how do we test that? How do we ensure that our image here is the proper size? Well, we can kind of use a template.
We'll use this cube. For now, let's go ahead and select the camera and the point light in the scene and just hit the X key and delete those. Now we can take a look at this cube and get this cube to be the proper size so that we can then adjust the image to fit inside the cube. If I hit the Z key we can see through it here. We have the dimensions of the cube over here, it's two by two by two. But, two what? Well, it's two Blender units which kind of coincide with meters.
But, to be safe let's come over here to this Scene Panel. And under Units let's change the unit presets to meters. So now we can see here we've got two meters by two meters by two. All right, so we've established the scale of the cube. But, now we need to know how big the Bobcat should be. Luckily, I found out on the Internet an image that we can use.
Right here. So, you can see down here it says, all measurements are in millimeters. And, we've got 21 oh four for the height. So 2,104 millimeters for the height. So let's plug that in. I'll come over here and now we're back in the 3D world. We're dealing with a three dimensional cube so we want to deal with the Z-axis for up and down. So now let's take that number 2104 plus it into the Z-axis of our dimensions.
2104 millimeters, and hit Enter. And that makes our cube the right height. So now I'll just drag that up so it's sitting on that ground plane on the green axis there. Now, how long should it be? Well, let's go back and see. It looks like it should be 3692 from the very back to the very tip of the bucket. So 3692 for our Y-axis. 3692 millimeters. And there we go.
So, now our image should fit inside this cube. Let's go back down to our background images down here at the bottom. And we'll need to bring the size of the image down. So here in the size field I'll click and hold the Shift key down and drag until we get it down to about the right size. Let's see how this is. And you can move it down in the Y-axis so I'll Shift click and drag this and drag the tires down.
And that's not looking too bad. It's pretty close. This photograph has perspective to it so it isn't going to be exact. But, I want to get it close. So we've got 1.62. We've got 4.2. Let's click on the X-axis. So that's looking pretty good. Let's try it again. Let's bring in an image for the other side. For the left side.
So I'll click Add Image. And, down here, I'll choose Left and click Open. I'll find my Reference Images in my Exercise Files. And I'll click Bobcat Left and Open. Now we have it in the Left View But of course we don't see it here because we're in the Right View. So, to go to the Left View if three is for the Right View then Control three is for the Left View.
Now we need to do a similar process here. But, we can maybe copy and paste from the previous ones. So, up here in the Y-axis I can hover over this and press Control or Command C to copy. And down here now I can hover and press Control or Command V to paste. And the same with the size. Control or Command C. And Control or Command V. Now, we can drag this in the X just a bit to get it in place.
There we are. All right, let's do that for the Front View, let's say. I'll click Add Image. And, let's find, here we are. All Views, let's change that to Front. And click Open. Back to our Reference Images. Here's the Front. Let's switch to the Front View by pressing the one key on the numpad. And once again, let's use our previous image to copy and paste just to get us close.
So I'll copy from here, and hover and paste. Copy from here. Paste down here. And let's see how we're doing. The cube is a little off and I think that's because we haven't measured or plugged in the proper dimension for the X-axis. So let's go back to that image. And, take a look here. It looks like it's 1676 millimeters. All right.
So let's plug that in to the X-axis. 1676 millimeters. And there we go. If I come back down to the Front View again maybe click and drag in the X and kind of move it so it fits inside that image. That's not bad. Once again, it isn't going to be perfect because of the perspective in the angle of the image. But that's going to get us generally in the right place. And one last one, let's do the Back now.
So, click Add Image. And let's change to the Back. Open. Find our file. Here it is. Now to switch to the Back View we just need to press Control one on the numpad. And let's plug in the same numbers here. So I'll copy this 1.620 and paste it in the Y. Copy that 4.2.
Paste it in. Maybe click and drag in the X and move it just a bit and I'll also move this I think I'll move it in the Y just a little bit like this, let's say. So once again, it isn't perfect. But it's going to give us a good sense of the dimensions, the proportions, and scale of the object as we're building it. So let's go back to the Side View with the three key. And here we go. So now we've got the Right View.
I'll press Control three for the Left View. I'll pres one for the Front. And Control one for the Back. All right. So now that we have our reference images in and to scale, now we can begin blocking out the major features of the object. And we'll work on that next.
- Setting up reference images
- Blocking basic forms
- Modeling parts
- Connecting forms
- Adding modeling details
- Lighting the scene
- Adding materials and textures
- Rendering the final scene