Virtual Spiders

Cartoon_Jumping Spider_3

A while back I set out to make an educational video on jumping spider vision, purely because I think it’s awesome. I decided I would make an animation using blender. Blender is an open source program that is used for 3D animations. However, despite the wealth of online tutorials, it comes with a steep learning curve.

Below is a video of my first attempt at making a 3D spider. It’s unfinished, but I’m pretty happy with my first attempt. Unfortunately my methods for making the spider was flawed. I sculpted and smoothed the mesh, then added hairs and finally the material. This meant my mesh was very complex with > 120,000 faces and my laptop now crashes whenever I try to modify the spider – the file is unworkable.

After some reading I realised the error of my ways. I plan to start again, this time following a more robust work flow:

  1. Use the mirror modifier to construct a simple mesh
  2. Map a photograph to the mesh (providing the colours and texture rather than painfully trying to match the colours to a picture)
  3. Create a ‘skeleton’ and ‘rig’ the mesh for animation.
  4. Deform the skeleton to form a series of poses and create the animation.


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