Blender materials, what am I missing?
July 5, 2012 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I've tried yet again to tackle learning Blender, and yet again, I'm stuck on what should be a basic simple thing. Adding a material to an object. Can someone get me unstuck?

Here's a screen capture for reference.

I've tried some Youtube tutorials, but they're using an older version of Blender which makes it difficult to follow along. I've read the manual but whatever I'm doing wrong I don't think it's addressed there.

I have viewport shading set to texture. It's just showing up black, so the obvious thing to check is lighting, but I have Environmental Lighting checked and that doesn't seem to make a difference, and neither does adding a point light.
posted by RobotHero to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you don't have luck here, I think blender's forums have pretty enthusiastic and helpful folk.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2012

Environment Lighting doesn't do anything until you render. It doesn't show in real time in the viewport. Does it look black from every single view? Because if you're not facing the light source dead-on it won't show the texture very clearly.

Also, the 3D viewport isn't going to show Normal mapping (unless you have Normals and Bumps mapped from external images via UVs, which I haven't done myself, but have seen other people do). You have to render for that, too.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2012

Best answer: You'll probably find it shows up ok if you render (F12). There's no way to get anything other than a UV mapped bitmap image to show up in the viewports as far as I know unless you use GLSL or Cycles which would probably just make life complicated when learning.

In my experience you have to manually select the texture you want to use in the UV editor (and it will only show "image or movie" type textures) and also at least create a UVMap.

I'm not sure if these instructions will help, it's probably a bit hard to follow along without screenshots, but what the hell I've typed them now...

  • Starting from the default cube scene, make sure it has a material, add/change the first texture to "Image or Movie" then under Image open a jpeg from disk.
  • Change the view layout from "default" (top of the screen by the help menu) to "UV Editing". Your 3d view should be on the right, with a UV/Image editor window on the left.
  • With the cube selected hit TAB to go into edit mode, then make sure all the faces are selected by hitting A (all the faces should be orange).
  • Press U to unwrap the cube, the best one is "smart UV project" which does a good job on lots of shapes.
  • Under the UV editing window, next to the UVs menu click the little picture icon - you should be able to choose the texture you loaded earlier.
  • If you now flip the 3d view to textured you will see your texture applied, and you can adjust how it is mapped in the uv editor.
  • Now although it looks fine in the viewport, it will render funny unless you go back to the texture page and under mapping make sure it is set to coordinates: UV Map: UVMap (you just created this in the uv editor).

  • And here's some random tips:
  • Hit T to toggle the tool shelf on the left of the 3d view
  • Hit N to toggle the 3d view settings
  • Hit W for the special menu when editing a mesh
  • Ctrl+Alt+Q gives you the classic quad view (again to toggle)
  • G - grab and move, R - rotate, S scale
  • After you hit G/R/S you can press an axis name to stick to it (G then z means things only move vertically). You can even type in a number if you want to be exact g,z,1,enter moves your object 1 in the z

  • posted by samj at 2:06 PM on July 5, 2012

    As overeducated_alligator says, environment lighting doesn't show in the viewport. You should disable all that stuff and just use a basic lighting setup when you're working on materials. If I were you, I'd set this scene aside and just get a material to render on the default cube using a single light before trying to debug your current .blend.

    So, work on this, on the cube only:

    1. Get the most basic material to render--a color, specularity.
    2. Get a UVMapped texture to render. (samj's instructions are good.)
    3. Get a material to render using environment settings. (In this simple render using the Blender Internal Renderer, for example, I've got a low-poly spider model with the wireframe rendered as its texture, one light, a plane set to catch shadows but be otherwise transparent, and some environment settings.)

    Once you can do those things, you'll be able to fix your scene. I highly recommend the tutorials at Blender Cookie. The majority use the post 2.5 interface.
    posted by xyzzy at 5:59 PM on July 5, 2012

    Response by poster: Okay, it does show up when I render. That had not occurred to me.

    I've also managed to follow samj's instructions on a cube, and then on my original model, and it works as described. I was originally planning to knife the model into sections and then apply different textures to each face, but the bitmap approach might open up other tactics.

    Thanks very much, everyone. I might be able to stick with it until I get competent, this time. At least I'll make it through this one project.
    posted by RobotHero at 6:45 PM on July 5, 2012

    Keep plugging away at it--if you can get Blender, you can easily translate that knowledge to commercial packages like Maya or 3DSMax with no trouble. :)
    posted by xyzzy at 7:38 PM on July 5, 2012

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