Blender is the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. Available for all major operating systems under the GNU Public License.
In this tutorial, I’ll explain how you can create a die in Blender using only meshes.
I expect you’ve already done the dolphin and heart tutorials, so I’ll be skipping some steps like how to switch view, how to bring up the toolbox and things like that.
Anyway, here goes.
Start a new Blender and remove the standard plane in the middle (KEYX). Bring up the toolbox (SPACE) and add a cube to the scene (ADD/MESH/CUBE). We’ll want the die to have rounded edges. A quick and dirty way of achieving this is by increasing the resolution of the cube (or subdividing it if you like), and then smoothing off the edges. Go to the EditButtons screen (F9) and select the ‘subdirive’ button five times. Next, select the Smooth button about five times. This will round off the edges of the cube.
Next, I’ll remove the interior from the cube, leaving only a ‘skeleton’ of the rounded edges. Deselect everything (right-click outside the cube), so that all vertices turn pink. Next, use the box-selection tool (KEYB) and select the inner vertices of the cube. The top view of the cube will now look like this:
Now, delete those vertices with KEYX, and repeat these steps in the front and side view, until your cube skeleton looks like this:
While still in the EditButtons screen and still in Edit mode , select all the vertices with KEYA and select the ‘Set Smooth’ button.
Setting a mesh to ‘smooth’ will make it, when rendered, look smoother than it really is. I don’t want to make the entire die smooth – this would introduce some rendering artifacts on large planes. Remember, this is a tool to use selectively.
Now, let’s move on to the ‘eyes’ of the die.
I will make these out of a partial sphere. To start off, leave the edit mode of the cube (TAB), go to top view, place the 3d cursor outside of the cube and create a UVSphere. I used 32 segments and 32 rings in this case. Go to front view and, using the box-selection tool again, chop off the top side of the sphere. When you’re done, your sphere should look like this:
While all vertices are still selected, select the ‘set smooth’ button in the EditButtons screen again. Scale down the half-sphere to a reasonable size and align it with the top of the cube.
I will now only explain how to create the top plane of the cube, but the rest uses the same process.
While Material Index 2 is still selected, go to the MaterialButtons screen and create a new material with a different color. A rendered image should now look something like this: (depending on the colors you chose ;-)
Okay, now the boring and repetitive work starts. Using the duplicate half-sphere you created earlier, work on the rest of the sides of the die. When rotating the sphere, hold down the CTRL key to limit the rotation to multiples of 5 degrees.