Reflections & Reflective


    The tutorial "Reflections & Reflective Materials" was the first tutorial I tried to do. I figured, "Looks easy. It's only one page long, and has three objects in it. Should be just the perfect intro to Blender."

    Man, was I wrong! I got a heck of a lot of things, but none of them looked like this:

      After more doodling with Blender, I returned to this tutorial, and found out why I couldn't get it right the first time.

    Here's a rundown of the steps, and what I think should be added to each if a newbie like me is to successfully complete it. The black stuff is mines, the green stuff is a summation of what in the tutorial. It's a good idea to be looking at both tutorials when working on this project. I suggest printing the tutorial linked above, or if you're comfy with reading straight off the computer, by all means do that.

       Here we go.

Here is where I got lost. The tutorial forgets to mention the importance of the numberpad when changing views. On your numlock keypad, press 1, 3, and 7. You should keep it in '7' when starting this tutorial, but you will have to switch occasionally to put all three objects together nicely. See HERE for a list of the hotkeys and what they do in Blender. Please remember also that scrolling on your mouse (zoom in/out) will be handy here as well.

Back to the tutorial: WHILE IN VIEW '7', add the plane like it says, and scale it (change its size) using the 's' key and moving your mouse like it says. When you've got it the size you like, just click the left mouse button, and it'll stay that way.

Note that what you should be looking at right now is a square with yellow dots at each corner. This means you are in "Edit mode". Edit mode just means you can edit whatever your object is, vertex by vertex. This gets really nifty when you move into more of three dimention object modeling, and it's what allows you to shape stuff like a face or an animal.

If you press tab, you'll see that your square turns pink. This means you are in "Object Mode". Object mode just means that you can move and turn and scale your whole object to where you want, but you can't actually change its shape.

Remember the tab button. It will be
one of the keys you live by in Blender.

Back to the tutorial: Hit Tab again to get back to Edit mode. All your dots should still be yellow. If they aren't, hit "a" until they are.

Now, you're going to add the other plane. But here is where you might mess up so pay attention if you don't know this already:

GOLDEN RULE #ONE OF BLENDER: WHEN ADDING OBJECTS INTO BLENDER, MAKE SURE ALL OTHER OBJECTS ARE NOT SELECTED! You'll have stuck-together objects if you break this rule. That was a major problem for me. I was so confused!

Ok! So now hit "a". All your yellow dots turned pink! This means that no vertices are selected. NOW hit tab again. Note that your plane is still pink! Hit "a" again. It turns black, and you are safe to add your next plane like it says in the rest of step 3. Make it smaller or bigger with the s key.

What's that you say? Not sure how it will look? Glad you brought that up!!

Hit 0 on your numpad. Go ahead. I double dare ya.

Whoa. Where am I? You're in the camera view port!! This just means you're seeing what your camera sees. (Sorry if that's stating the obvious.)

Now you can hit 1 on the numpad again and get back to what you were doing. If you want to move your plane up or down (using the g key and your mouse) go ahead. But if you want to move your plane closer to the camera, you're going to have to either switch to the side view (by hitting numpad l) or to the top view (my favorite, numpad 7). Once again, hit the LMB when you're happy.

Yeah, this started all wrong if you're a newbie.
First off, hit "a" to get your points pink, then tab, then "a" again to deselect all the objects in your scene. Now, if you can't see your lamp, try looking from the top, and scroll back (or hit the '-'(minus) key on your numpad) to get far enough away from the scene to see it. It has to be there, so don't panic.

When you've found the lamp, you can select it in several different ways. You can do a "border select" by using the B-key or the menu, and then circle the lamp that way; but the quickest way is to right-click on the yellow dot that is your lamp. It should be pink now if your aim is good.

Now, use the settings the rest of the step provides. You can get the lamp to change color by messing with the R (red) G (green) B (blue) values. Look at the second picture of step 4, right in the middle under the highlighted "energy" parameter are your colors. Just click and drag your mouse across the bars. The minimum of each is 0.000 and the maximum is 1.000.

Switch to numpad 1 so you can see your smaller plane. Select it. (Again, either use "b" or the RMB, and make sure you're in object mode.)

Here's where the material instructions are weak for us newbies. Keep reading.

Hit F9 to get to the edit menu. Make sure your plane is pink. Click the "New" button you see. NOW CLICK "ASSIGN"!

GOLDEN RULE #TWO OF BLENDER: IF YOU DON'T ASSIGN YOUR MATERIALS STRAIGHT AWAY, YOU'LL GET CONFUSED LATER WHEN YOU HAVE TO DO IT. Might as well keep everything straight by starting off on the right foot. This is something I wish this tutorial mentioned when I was starting out. I had mirrors everywhere but where I wanted for days. As long as you adhere to this rule, you can't screw up more than one object at a time. (You'll see that that's a good thing.)

Now that we have that straightened out, follow the map in the rest of the step. But where is the 'mirror transp' tab, you ask? Hit F5 to get to the Shading Menu.

F9 and F5 are going to be long time
friends here in the land of Blender.
Learn them well.

You're done, hopefully!

    Here's what I got. I just added the colors the same way as in Step 5, but not with any mirrors (I just played with colors). If you're going to do colors, don't forget to assign! 


    As for the monkey with the green eyes, well, that little bugger was dying to come out.

 If I were you, I'd start a new file for blender, delete the box, and add the monkey (space, mesh, monkey, then click "ooh ooh ah ah" that pops up), and play around with it. Hit F9, and under the "Mesh" tab, click on the lilac "Subsurf" button you'll find there. Render it. Then click on right of the "subdiv:1" button to increase the subdivisions in your new mesh. Render it again. Hit "set Smooth" under the link and materials tab. Render it again. Try to color it, using a material like above. Have fun playing with it! It's the only way to learn something new!!