Introduction: Modelling in Blender: Airplane Part 1

About: I enjoy making things more than actually using them.borderline hoarding impulses, repurposing old, unused and broken stuff is something I spend almost all my free time doing. also, I like food!

In this instructable I will demonstrate the various steps involved in modelling, and texturing in Blender, as exemplified by an airplane fuselage.

this guide is intended to help people up the relatively steep learning curve that is modelling in blender. blender is an pretty capable open source 3d modelling, animation and game creation first it seems complicated, but the trick is to ease ito it. The stuff demonstrated in this instructable has taken countless hours of my life to find out by myself, ad now, almost a year after starting I feel I can make almost anything into a 3d model. I hope this helps people out by showng the general workflow from cube to a semi-realistic rendering.

Thank you, and also,
Bleder, it's creators and contributors and the community behind it.

Step 1: Modelling the General Shape, Part 1

starting blender(1), you are confronted with a cube. you want this cube to become something, in this case, i am modelling an airplane.

start by going into edit mode(1st pic), and, in face select mode, select the face which you decided will be the front end
press "e" to extrude the face(2nd), extrude about half the distance of the original cube's side this will eventually become the nose cone.
still with the new face selected, press "s" to scale the face(3).
repeating the proccess, navigate to the rear end of the plane and extrude 1 cube's width, and the another time to form the tail.

the last image shows what you should have by now.

Step 2: Modelling, Act 2

you should now have something resembling a cubist carrot. To turn it into a regular carrot, in the right side menu, under the tab modifiers, select subdivision surface(1). this will round out the shape. in the options i generally select 2 subdivisions for view and render, to get at least an idea of the end result.
The next step is to make the holes for the engine and the cockpit.

select the front face(1), press del and click "faces".(2)

select the top face of the cube just ahead of the tail, press del and "faces".(3)

go into line select and adjust the cockpit hole, i usually stretch it until it is an ellipse.

in picture 4 I am lifting the tail slightly, almost until the top of the fuselage is parallel to the ground
again in modifiers, click solidify to make create thickness. this is optional.

it is starting to take shape, now, onto the texturing

Step 3: Texturing, 1

The next step is to apply a texture onto the model. to do this we are using UV mapping, so we can better control the alignment, scale etcetera of the textures.

on your right,on the tab "material" select new.(1)
in the next tab, "textures" select new, and under type, click "image or movie".(2)
a bit below you can open the image file for the texture.
Still in textures, in the mapping separator select coordinates  "UV"

We are now going to "unwrap"(3) the fuselage, and it goes like this:
on edit mode, select all the faces (click b for box select) and don't forget to select all sides. On the left, click "Unwrap" (UV separator) and select "smart UV project". click through the menu that appears, and going back a step to the "textures" menu (right side) under the coordinates selection we made earlier select the map "UVmap".

Step 4: Texturing, the II

now you should have the texture on the model, but it probably is misaligned, badly scaled, etc.

Correcting this is relatively simple, altough time consuming but the results are rewarding.

First, in the top switch blender into the UV mapping screen.(1)
you should see you model on the right, and some sort of grid on the left.
now it is necessary to switch the view mode to "textured".(2)
on the right screen make sure you are in edit mode.
now on the left screen in the bottom select the image you selected as texture.(3)
you should see all the individual panels of the fuselage unwrapped over the texture. if you check the repeat box(left screen, left side) the texture should repeat itself. now this is where it gets kid of complicated, but it really is't. i like to start by selecting all the faces on one side of the fuselage(right window) and the rotating, scaling ad moving them over the pattern until I am satisfied.

in this case, it should be sufficient to start on the side, the align and scale the top to make the seams i the texture align, the the

in the right panel it is useful to know these shortcuts:
For scaling press "s"
for moving press "g"
for rotating press "r".

you can modify the vertices and lines individually, slecting them as usual.

now you should try yourself to aling everything, i know this explanation is somewhat lacking but this is only complicated if you don't try it.

On to the last few things.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

now, after you are satisified with the alignment of the texture, you can render the fuselage and it should be ok.
However, with a few simple modifications the results can be drastically improved.

Switch to the default window.

on the left, with the fuselage selected and in object mode, click on smooth (under shading)

on the materials tab, lower the specular value, but don't zero it.(1)

On the textures tab, almost at the bottom, under "influence"-"geometry" check "normal". you can leave the value alone, but it is a pretty neat thing to try different combinations.(3) this will "shade" the texture, giving it a much more realistic look. if you render the image now, you should have something similar to the title image of this instructable.

Step 6: Making the Wings

for the wings we start by adding a plane (add->mesh->plane)(1), making sure blender is in object mode.
then we go into edit mode, and we add the modifier (left side menu) mirror, while setting ''mirror object'' to the fuselage (this is to make the wings perfectly simmetric. we the model the wing by extruding until it resembles something like (4).There's a little detail, barely visible in (5) that is the small extrusion inside the fuselage. this is to prevent subsurface from rounding the wing until it looks detached from the fuselage.
the, we add the modifiers(6) Subsurface (set 'view' to 2) and solidify (add a bit of thickness). now the wings are almost complete.

Creating the rear wings is similar, add plane(in edit mode) then model them, noticing the same detail as in the front wings.But creating the rudder requires an adittionl detail. after modelling the wings, we go into object mode; on the 'mirror' modifier we click accept and back to edit mode. now , selecting the points you see on (9) and, on the right side menu we click 'merge' and the 'at center', repeating the process for both points. we can now extrude the rudder(11) ('e' key; 'z' key to 'track' the extrusion to the z axis) we then model the wing to the desired shape(12).

Step 7: Making the Propeller

for the propeller we add a cylinder (in object mode) the we position it relative to the airplane.
then, going into edit mode, we model the center of the propeller from the cylinder(3 and 4)
To do this, first put the whole cylinder inside the fusealge. scale it until it fits the hole, the put it a bit out toward the front. extrude a bit(this is the 'base for the blades)the rest of the centerpiece is made by extruding the front face and then scaling the extrusion, to make conic structures

to make the blades, we start by selecting two opposing faces of the cylinder(5), and then selecting 'extrude individual' (right side menu)(6) we repeat this until we have something resembling (7).select the 'subsurf' modifier.

then, next to the mode selector (object mode, edit mode etc) in the box that says global, select normal. near it, set blender to select edges. select the edges in (9) and the press 'r' (rotate) the 'z' then '30'. for the tip, select these(10) then 'r'; 'z' and '60'. for the opposite wing do the same, but input '-30' and '-60' for the angles.

you should now have something like (12).

Step 8: The End

Thank you for reading, and i hope this is useful to anyone wishing to start modellig i blender but is confused by the sheer number of buttos to press to make things go right.

I leave you with a pic of the (almost) finished airplane, albeit in a different texture