Click to see larger version.

A glass head! That’s the one idea I had before starting, and a vague notion that I wanted to go retro. OK, to be fair, it’s not really glass, but rather some super sturdy, shatterproof, glass-like substance, of course. It’s an excuse for me to put lights in there and who knows what else. The theoretical justification is that this robot relies heavily on vision, and needs to see in 360 degrees all around it. So, the eyes will reflect that, and they may be capable of spinning on a central axis to look in any direction. There might be three of them. Or I could just put a goldfish in there, or some cookies, or popcorn. Don’t worry, I’ll try to make it cool, though still a bit like something your uncle secretly worked on in his basement for the last decade of his life.

I’m saving putting the head within the, uh, fish bowl, until later, because I want to have all my skills at my finger tips for that more delicate and important work. So far there’s a head, neck, torso, and shoulders.

True, it does look a bit like the consequence of a flask and a perfume bottle consummating their romance. There’s some thought behind it, though, and it’s starting to work a bit.

He’ll have ears, and a speaker-mouth. I’m fully anthropomorphizing this guy.

He’s got a back battery, or some such nonsense.

The neck has some mechanisms to it worthy of a cameo in the original Twilight Zone.

See that horizontal sprocket? I just discovered there’s a feature to automatically make a superior one.

I guess the arrows explain what I’m fudging here.

Now, let me tell you, this is really fun, and absorbing. Even when I can’t figure out why something won’t work, or is doing something unexpected and horrible, I get into the concentration phase, and the feeling reminds me of a good chess game. My girlfriend knows I’m in that mode when she comes in my room and I won’t look away from the computer. This doesn’t happen when I’m doing tutorials, but only when I’m doing my own stuff.

Speaking of tutorials, after I started this, a guy by the name of Ryan King shared his new flying droid tutorial on his blog, and it seemed like the perfect thing for me to practice with to help me remember techniques, tricks, and shortcuts I forget much faster than I learn them.

The first one was really good:

His has a Star Wars vibe. Little bit of a flying R2. Here’s my copy after the first of 4 tutorial videos.

I’m thinking I’ll try to work along with the videos, because he goes into rigging his droid, and creating an animation. Making something fly is not quite as difficult to animate as making something walk, but I already sorta’ learned how to do that. Point is, if I work along with all the videos, I should be able to finish my robot, put a pose-able armature in him, put him in an environment, add some smoke or other atmospheric effects, and produce a short animation. I studied all of these techniques in that complete Blender course, but not enough to retain it. Well, the animation will probably be a bit too hairy and hard on the computer. I’ll be satisfied to be able to pose the robot and get some cool snaps.

Doing the first video gave me a few techniques and ideas I implemented. Earlier, my robot had more of a bucket-head look:

That’s going back before the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits, all the way to Flash Gordon. I’m happier with the fish bowl look than with the street lamp head.

My robot’s shoulders are already better! Right, that’s not saying much at all.

Before you attempt to make a robot, if you are going to do it by the book, you should really look up a bunch of references and make sketches. But, since I’m not making if for a client, and I have no time limit, it’s more fun for me to just wing it and see what happens.

I’ve drawn and painted robots before, but when you make one in Blender, it’s a lot more like really making a robot, because you build it from parts, and it has to somehow seem to work. So, it’s not just making art, it’s making a freaking robot! FUN!

Stay tuned to see what the hell I come up with.

~ Ends

4 replies on “Robot in Progress

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