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Virtual Museum of Computers, Offers .Blend Library


The Virtual Museum of Computers in Ciudad Real, Spain, offers a walk through the history of computers. Next to their display of a cool array of old computers, they have also created a virtual walkthrough, using Blender in the process. And guess what: they're offering .blend files of all their models under a Creative Commons license. I talked to the technical director of the project, Carlos González Morcillo, who explained how they used Blender.

Carlos writes:

The Virtual Museum of Computers, located in the lobby of the main building of the School of Computer Science of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), includes a huge amount of multimedia information about the history of computers.

As a part of this virtual museum, more than 70 historical machines have been modeled using Blender, and are available to download under Creative Commons license in the web of the project.

You can get more information about the project (including a video showing the use of Augmented Reality device to interact with the machines) and the .blend files of the machines in the website of the project.

I asked Carlos a few more questions about this project:

Q: How was Blender used in this project? Only for modeling, or also for the interactive display?

A: Blender was used in the modeling, texturing (UV Mapping and Render Baking of some machines using Approximate Ambient Occlusion) and in the creation of multimedia content (the introduction video and composition of some multimedia clips). The interactive display was made with OpenGL, SDL and LibGlew (for programming the GLSL Shaders on the GNU/Linux Machine).

We use a modified version of alias/wavefront .obj format which encapsulates the UV Mapping texture information and the animation of the machines. Each machine have its own animation; some of them are opened to show the internals of the machine (circuits, boards, etc.). If the community are interested, we can post the exportation plugins (in Python) and the importation library (in C++).

Q: Why did you choose Blender for this project?

A: Because we love free software (the whole project was made using free software) and we've been working with blender for 7 years!! The work-flow in Blender is very productive and the tools related to interactive work are extremely powerful and easy to use.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the modelling process? How did you create the models?

A: We made a huge amount of photographs of the physical machines of the museum and search for photographs, blueprints and related information of the other machines. We use this material in the low-poly modeling. In some machines we direct "copy" the geometry from the machines and, in other cases, we use numerical values of the dimensions of the machine.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I HAD AN AMSTRAD CPC6128 ! *glee*

    There was this ancester of Blender called Vectoria 3D...

    Ô glorious days when modeling a simple Mercury spaceship could take 3 hours.

    And saving would corrupt the mesh...

    Hopefully all this is far far away now. :)

    Viva Blender siempre !

  2. Awesome site and collection, indeed.
    I'm a proud owner of a 26 year old Speccy (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) since 1992. I love that machine.
    Looking at these models made me nostalgic....

    Thanx for the link! :-)

  3. yeah, a few omissions. No Amiga machines at all. And PSP isn't there either. Also none of the really early computers like the ENIAC. But a good start.

  4. zx spectrun those were the days anubody remember vue 3d? and the psion flight sim for it??? lol took over half an hour to load from cassette tape.

  5. Wow!!! Seems like a great interactive display (those things are often rather crappy). And the "hold the model in your hand using a piece of cardboard" thing was amazing! I can see how it's done, but I've never seen it implemented in some non-rearch setting. Fascinating. Also cool that these guys have been using Blender for 7 years already.

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