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3D Modelling for Kids

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the gooey-gui dept.

Graphics 53

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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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069748)

FP

second post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069762)

second post!

third post!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069786)

third post!!

No text (5, Insightful)

patternjuggler (738978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069787)

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.

Re:No text (1)

Synonymous Yellowbel (720524) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069856)

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 pulled to change the shape in useful ways, also isn't anything new. A 3D jellybean to whoever can actually remember where I've seen it, though...

steve

Re:No text (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070040)

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.

Re:No text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070265)

I agree that tooltips would be useful. But too many "letters and words" are intimidating even to adults, not to mention kids. Take a look at the top of your browser: you probably have pictures for the most common operations. More importantly, for kids, words are "boring" and pictures, especially animated ones are "fun". I think that a picture-based interface for a kids' program is not a bad idea (with the tooltips proviso). The creators of Cosmic Blobs and Kid Pix seem to agree with me.

Re:No text (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070333)

Take a look at the top of your browser: you probably have pictures for the most common operations.
No, in fact, I have turned the icons off for the toolbar that contains buttons for Back, Forward, Reload, and Stop (the most common toolbar operations).
(This is in Mozilla; for some reason, I can't figure out how to turn icons off in Firefox, which is very annoying to me.)
Some people prefer icons; others prefer text; still others prefer both.
I am one of those people who prefers text to icons.
For example, I would prefer that the Gimp's main toolbar display text only instead of icons only.
I don't know whether I'm the only person who feels this way.

Re:No text (1)

corrosive_nf (744601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070420)

uhh right click on the navigation toolbar and choose customise, then select show text.

Re:No text (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071944)

Thanks for the info.
It would be nice if it worked the same way as Mozilla, though.

Re:No text (1)

danila (69889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071588)

My browser (Opera) doesn't have a toolbar at all. Keyboard shortcuts complimented by menus are much faster and very easy to remember. Now I am thinking about removing other visible interface elements, such as titles, scrollbars and the address bar. :)

On a more serious note, I find icons useless when they are unfamiliar. For example, in Adobe Acrobat 5.0 I need to make a conscious effort (a second or so) to realise what most of the icons do (or hover a mouse over them to read the tooltip). A menu (not even a text button) would be much faster and not require permanent allocation of display space. And the familiar icons are even less useful, because a shortcut such as Ctrl+O is much more familiar and faster than the best floppy icon you can draw.

I only use toolbars when I am forced to, that is when interface designers haven't thought about a keyboard shortcut or a way to define them. And even then I'd rather use something like Alt+C, S, S.

Re:No text (1)

oojah (113006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071649)

I don't know whether I'm the only person who feels this way.

You aren't. Apps that can be skinned? Who cares. Make apps that can be configured to be minimalist!

Slashdot does this with it's light mode. Yum.

Cheers,

Roger

FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069818)

fifth post!

real artists (2, Funny)

dave sanderman (786476) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069849)

i suspect real artists will model the same way they do today: nude.

Re:real artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070692)

in the soviet union, nudes model you.

Real Artists? (1, Insightful)

schild (713993) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069852)

If modelling becomes this easy, paying for "real artists" won't even be necessary. You can hire fake artists. In India.

pretty ignorant (3, Insightful)

jeif1k (809151) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:pretty ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070929)

stop being such a fag

it was a joke, dickhead

not a joking matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11071332)

Referring to highly skilled, underpaid, and overworked artists as "fake" is no joke, it's degrading and totally inappropriate.

As are your insults.

LEGO (4, Insightful)

idiotfromia (657688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069859)

a 3D modelling tool designed for kids and marketed as a game

LEGO anyone? [lego.com]

No (2, Interesting)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070091)

here [lm-software.com]

I know the developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11069871)

I know the devs for this rather well. The technology behind the modeling is quite astounding, and I recommend trying out the demo yourself (Win only now, although Mac OS X soon). I'd like to see them move it to a real product that artists can use in a useful way rather than a kids' product though.

Nothing new to see here, move along (3, Informative)

PinkX (607183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11069885)

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_.

Re:Nothing new to see here, move along (1)

quantax (12175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070197)

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-Brush as I have not had enough time nor fully understood its approach. However, I highly recommend all modelers give it a shot to see how useful it could be in experienced hands.

Re:Nothing new to see here, move along (1)

metrazol (142037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070703)

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.

Hello, my name is Simon.... (1)

OneDeeTenTee (780300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071194)

...and the things I draw come true!

Re:Nothing new to see here, move along (1)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11097621)

You can download teddy (the drawing engine)as a java applet from a university website [u-tokyo.ac.jp] in japan. It also has links to smooth teddy an updated version.

Don't mean to be a killjoy but... (1, Troll)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070170)

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.

Re:Don't mean to be a killjoy but... (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070201)

Yeah, just like all that stupid 'art' and 'science' shit. Get those lazy fucks off their asses and out onto a football field!

I swear this place gets dumber by the post.

Re:Don't mean to be a killjoy but... (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076783)

Than stop dumbing it down!

Re:Don't mean to be a killjoy but... (1)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070371)

"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 trial and have watched the intro movie. I'll turn my kids loose on it tomorrow and if they like it, I will buy a copy.

First kumquat! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11070355)

First kumquat [slashdot.org] , you weirdos!

Real Artists Use... (1)

Westacular (118145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11070582)

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.

Merging with real textures and animations? (1)

martinde (137088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071252)

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!

Re:Merging with real textures and animations? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073615)

You *could* have done that with Blender [blender.org] already instead of waiting for a blob tool that's too inaccurate for those purposes.

Re:Merging with real textures and animations? (1)

martinde (137088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075307)

> You *could* have done that with Blender already instead of waiting for a blob tool that's too inaccurate for those purposes.

Sure, I could have but could my kids?

Re:Merging with real textures and animations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076802)

Can your kids even draw? If yes then you can teach them Blender.

3D Wizard? (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11071856)

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...

Re:3D Wizard? (1)

mausmalone (594185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072062)

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's what it seems like it's doing. Z-Brush is the only modeling tool I've ever seen that seems even remotely copable, but it suffers from a lack of a solid undo feature, and working with multiple objects is an extreme pain in the ass. I'd say there's plenty of room for improvement in 3D modeling, and anything that anyone does to make it easier, even if just a failed experiment, helps the industry evolve.

Re:3D Wizard? (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072531)

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.

Free, More open alternatives? (0)

v3rgEz (125380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072817)

Teddy is a free (as in beer), more open (as in they listen to their users and involve them in the process) package that seems to do just about the same. Not sure on the license, but I know at one point, at least some of the code was opened up. All that, and it's in Java, everyone's favorite cross-operating format!

Check out teddy at:
http://www-ui.is.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~takeo/java/smoot hteddy/index.html [u-tokyo.ac.jp]

Re:Free, More open alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11076830)

I think you ment "most hated". There is an open sourceTeddy clone [sourceforge.net] , but it seems to have gone windows only...

Groboto (1)

adso (469590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072905)

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.

That Mythical "Make Art" Button (1)

FozzieCDN (798889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11072947)

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.

Re:That Mythical "Make Art" Button (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076514)

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.

Re:That Mythical "Make Art" Button (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076858)

Thats why you have easy to learn modelers like Wings 3D.

Anybody heard of clay? (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073290)

Or perhaps Play-Doh?

for instance, the UI has no text whatsoever

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

Mario's sculpting program (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11073735)

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.

Unintelligent Retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074568)

I hate to break it to all of you idiots who think people care about what you are saying, but almost all of you know absolutely nothing about 3d modelling or animation. To the person who mentioned the social habits of kids no one gives a shit about your opinions on the social workings of the country so keep your opinions to yourself. To everyone else who even attempted to make commentary on the program congratulations, you failed. Go and research something than maybe youll learn something and make commentary that sounds like it came from a person with an IQ over 30. I thought people who read slashdot were supposed to be intelligent. Thanks for proving me wrong.

Re:Unintelligent Retards (1)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11076749)

If you disagree with someone post a reply. If you disagree with many than at least state your opinion! Now you just rant that nobosy here understands 3D modeling, but we don't know why you got to this conclusion...

Re:Unintelligent Retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11081450)

Because he is quite obviously a troll. And trolls aren't known for their skills in logic.

Compare to Teddy and SmoothTeddy. (1)

Pentomino (129125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11079320)

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 of this software is free to download.

Re:Compare to Teddy and SmoothTeddy. (1)

mink (266117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11097653)

Teddy was also the engine used in the fun PlayStation2 game Magical Pengel.
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