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3D Modelling for Kids 53

Posted by timothy
from the gooey-gui dept.
An anonymous reader writes "E4engineering has a story on Cosmic Blobs, a 3D modelling tool designed for kids and marketed as a game. Blobs breaks new ground both on the UI side (for instance, the UI has no text whatsoever) and on the modelling side: an object stays smooth as it is pushed and pulled, and animations are automatically adapted to arbitrary shapes. I tried the demo and it's fun, but sometimes unintuitive ( tutorials on the website are useful). I could make animals and get them to hop around with relative ease even though I have no artistic talent. Could this be the way real artists model in the future?"
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3D Modelling for Kids

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  • No text (Score:5, Insightful)

    by patternjuggler (738978) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @11:05PM (#11069787) Homepage
    Blobs breaks new ground both on the UI side (for instance, the UI has no text whatsoever)

    I'm pretty sure that isn't new ground.

    It sucks when I have to figure out what the icon artists were thinking when I'm trying to learn a new interface, telepathy or something like that would come in handy there. There's a standard way to express symbolically- it's called letters and words. At the very least, make hovering the pointer for some amount of time over a purely graphical icon have some text popup to explain what it does.
    • Blobs breaks new ground both on the UI side (for instance, the UI has no text whatsoever)

      I'm pretty sure that isn't new ground.

      It sucks when I have to figure out what the icon artists were thinking when I'm trying to learn a new interface, telepathy or something like that would come in handy there.

      Hate to "me too!", but this is basically what I was going to post. When I read that line I shuddered and reached for the mouse...

      The whole easy modeling thing, where the objects can be simply pushed and

      • Amorphium? Also a subscriber to the "let's make the interface look like computers do in the movies - who cares it it's usable?" school of UI design.
  • i suspect real artists will model the same way they do today: nude.
  • Real Artists? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by schild (713993)
    If modelling becomes this easy, paying for "real artists" won't even be necessary. You can hire fake artists. In India.
    • pretty ignorant (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jeif1k (809151) on Monday December 13, 2004 @02:25AM (#11070448)
      The fact that Indians are paid poorly compared to US corporate graphic designers doesn't make them "fake artists".

      India is actually full of artists, craftsmen, and designers that will create whatever you like (physical or virtual) at a fraction of the cost that the US corporate designer gets paid.
  • LEGO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idiotfromia (657688) <chad AT chadbrandos DOT com> on Sunday December 12, 2004 @11:26PM (#11069859) Homepage
    a 3D modelling tool designed for kids and marketed as a game

    LEGO anyone? [lego.com]

  • by PinkX (607183) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @11:32PM (#11069885) Homepage
    There is a professional production 3D modelling software which has been doing this for years, it's called Z-Brush [pixologic.com]. Of course its UI is much more sophisticated (and complicated), but you can already see on its website that the results which can be achieved by its use are impressive to say the least.

    BTW the colors for this slashdot section are _horrible_.
    • I've tried Z-Brush as well as watched the demo videos on their site. Simply put, the software gets amazing results in a small amount of time. However, the downside is that you have to completely rethink the modeling process and forget what you know in a certain respect. For example, in Z-Brush, there is no Z-axis for the 'camera'. In fact, there is no camera at all. This fact alone makes the software alien in its approach compared to the packages most of us use. Personally, I did not get too far with Z-Bru
    • But don't forget the tremendously...okay...hardly a blip on the radar PS2 game Magic Pengel!

      You draw doodles that are then animated into 3d characters... and fight them! Think Pokemon without stupid cards and yelling things. It's amazingly addictive, and Pengel 2 is out in Japan. I highly recommend a copy, $10 for the original if you can find it.
  • Great... just another excuse to keep a generation of socially deprived, physically stagnant kids glued to the computer when they should be playing racket ball or bikes with their friends outside.
    • "Lighten up, Francis" [google.com]

      Think of this as a replacement / addition to sketch pads and coloring books. But, with the huge added benefit of 3d animation.

      There is nothing wrong with children having time for art. I'm not saying that they should stay inside on a nice sunny day. Kids need art; and, this seems like a good way for them to express themselves. Except, of course, on nice sunny days they should express themselves by running around outside like the little animals that they are.

      I've downloaded the tr
  • Bah! I'm one step ahead of this curve. I don't even bother with images: I do all my art in the command line of MATLAB!

    ...

    No, really, I'm serious.

  • So can I build my own Matrix-like movie with this, and merge myself in as an actor? I would be an interesting twist to home movies to merge 3d animations and real video!
  • This is not really off-topic if you think about it...

    Here is a product for Windows ONLY. The poster asks if 3D will become so simple... My answer: this is akin to the Windows "Wizard" which feigns an attempt to help the user complete a task, when in reality it hides the real questions and answers and complexities the user should be able to realize and learn.

    You've got to ask yoursefl: Would you rather have a Wizard or an Assistant?

    I choose the Assistant every day...
    • I'm not sure if you're familiar with 3D modeling, but it's a horrifically painful experience, unless you've become so good at it that it's totally natural. Nothing ever works the way you expect it to, and getting any moderately realistic results demands hours upon hours (usually days) of modeling. Some 3D packages have sub-standard "undo" features... so if you screw up, you're done. Pack up your busted model and go home. And 3D studio may as well include a "do random shit" button, because sometimes that
      • That's my point, it was however nuanced so perhaps you missed it...

        The notion that a wizard can do anything for you is bunk. An assistant, like a 3d package, simply helps you along and doesn't really hide anything.

        I am familiar with 3d modeling and animation.
  • by adso (469590)

    The best children's apps are the ones where the grown-ups want to play with it as much as the kids

    There's a really interesting app called Groboto [groboto.com] that allows you to algorithmically "grow" 3d forms. You can create magnets or plants to attract or repel the forms you are creating, and it's got animation capablilites and for the big kids, .obj export and alpha channels. Difficult not to make an interesting image with it.

    The down side? It's Mac OS9 only.

  • As a 3D artist I had to laugh pretty hard at this question because anyone who works with a 3D application jokes about the mythical "Make Art" button that will produce photorealistic super art for whatever XYZ application is being paid fan service by zealots.

    The simple answer to the question though is NEVER. A tool, or an application in this case, does not make art, it's the talent driving the application (no not your computer) that produces good work.
    • Yes, but 3d modelling programs are notoriously complicated, so an application that maybe uses a few oversimplifying abstractions as a compromise that allows users to produce quality (if possibly formulaic) artwork without struggling through a seemingly endless UI is most definitely a good thing.

      Yes Mrs. Collington, sorry about the run-on sentance Mrs. Collington.
  • Or perhaps Play-Doh?

    for instance, the UI has no text whatsoever

    as it is pushed and pulled, ... adapted to arbitrary shapes

  • There was once a Mario-branded 3d modelling tool for Nintendo-64. I forget what it was called, probably Mario Scuplt or Mario Paint or something, but it was based on the Nendo codebase. It was only released in Japan, and required the hard drive addon. Actually, I'm not sure it was actually released, I may have played it only on pre-release hardware. It was cute and fun. There was maddening cute background music.
  • It sure doesn't look as "clean" as Teddy [u-tokyo.ac.jp], a modeling program based on drawing 2d shapes and projecting them into 3D. The demonstration video is very impressive.

    There's a newer version called SmoothTeddy [u-tokyo.ac.jp], but the additional features have made the interface a little tougher, and the demonstration video spends the whole first half talking about technical improvements over the original Teddy.

    Teddy was the 3D modeling system used for Alice [alice.org], a 3D programming environment designed for grade school children.

    All

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