I just finished a tutorial that I always wanted to do from blenderguru.com, called “how to make a realistic asteroid” made by Andrew Price. You can find it here: http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/how-to-make-a-realistic-asteroid And this is my result: I am very happy with the outcome and I learned a lot! Blender is absolutely amazing! The tutorial was a bit quick at some parts, but was also a very nice introduction to the compositor in blender. Just as a reference, here is the image without any compositing: and the actual compositor looks something like this: The final .blend file can be downloaded here: realasteroid.blend.zip
To simplify scene management and visual effects I looked at various open-source graphic engines that I might use. I briefly looked at the usual suspects such as Ogre3D and Irrlicht until I found Horde3D, which convinced me by its simple looking API and the compiled library was much smaller than of the others. It also seemed to feature various capabilities that might be interesting (scene graph, shadow mapping) or nice to have things (picking, blur, hdr, etc.).
However being an old-school OpenGL programmer, that mostly draws simple geometries such as cubes, spheres, and similar, it is not quite the way I am used to do stuff. Furthermore, the shaders in the examples seemed much more advanced than I need for now, so I am currently trying to make things more basic. Eventually I want to use the scene graph to do some procedural animation and that I am going to do with these simple geometries. Using more sophisticated models created with blender should not be too hard once I got it running.
So far I incorporated Horde3D to my code and using assets from the example to get some experience with Horde3D and implemented a simple shader. As I had the OpenGL Superbible laying around I thought it would be nice to implement the good old Ambient-Diffuse-Specular lighting model (so far only on a per-vertex basis).
Here are some screenshots of the different steps I took:
Now I can easily specify the material in the XML-files that Horde3D is using. Also, I learned a great deal about Horde3D.
Hopefully I’ll soon be able to draw simple procedurally generated geometries and can then start to look at the animations.