Wings 3D - http://wings3d.com
Wings 3D is a dedicated 3D modeling tool that uses subdivision modeling to create a wire-frame or polygon 3D model. The models can be exported to rendering programs like POV-Ray, animation programs like Blender, and 3D printing software. Plan to use a mouse with this program (scroll wheel is "middle" mouse button).
Best Video introduction to Wings 3D user interface (6:30 min): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRsFAk-M_XI
Modeling an Axe in a minute. The video is speeded up a bit, but it shows how an experienced Wings 3D designer thinks about and develops a shape from a basic cube. Note the operations of subdividing faces and creating "loops" of connected lines around an object that can then be used to change the shape of the object along that line. You'll learn how to do this in the next tutorial! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTxdMxFGKvo
4-part Tutorial for Wings 3D (1-hr per part) covers interface through "skinning" or UV-wrapping.
Tutorial to model and 3D print a usable espresso cup: http://curriculum.makerbot.com/2011/wings3d_intro.html
Good tutorial on defining circular (or other shapes) extruded from rectangular faces. (5-min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxLAvzi_P7I
Real-time construction of human head in Wings 3D (try MPlayer or MPlayerX if you can't view this .avi videos:
Girl With a Pearl Earring modeled in Wings 3D and rendered in POV-Ray: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpy65h0k_HY
Sample Wings 3D model before and after UV skinning / rendering:
UV-Mapping and Rendering Wings 3D Models
Wings 3D can produce a complete 3D wireframe model, but the model, itself, does not contain information about the color and texture of any of its surfaces. To add color and texture (to make a model element look like a particular "material" like cloth, skin, brick, or aluminum), you create a "UV Map." UV translates to a 2-dimensional graph with axes like the traditional "X-Y" axes. But since X and Y are used for the 3D model, the letters U and V are used instead of X and Y. The UV map contains pieces of your model's surface that are "unwrapped" and flattened on the U-V graph. Just like a shirt or jacket is built from flat pieces of cloth that are cut out and sewn together, your UIV-mapped model will have it's color and texture "wrapped around and sewn together."
To add naturalistic reflections and shadows, your completed model is exported to a rendering program such as POV-Ray to be raytraced. Other 3D objects, backgrounds, and skies can be added in this process. In this step, you'll define the light types and placement and the position and direction of the camera or eye.
Here are some resources to teach you how it's done:
This is a simple hammer (with hammer head and hammer handle). The nearly 8-minute video clearly shows (no narration) how cut lines are specified and how the unfolded surfaces are oriented on the UV map: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXSu4dI-R3g
This 11-minute tutorial shows in detail how to use Wings 3D's capabilities to define color, texture, and gradient to define the materials of your model. It uses a simple cube to keep the UV map really simple, but it covers the detailed texturing process that the "hammer" tutorial above does not address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj3DFF06Pfs
These two videos duplicate the content of the 11-minute tutorial above, but it is taught in a different way. Use if you need more help:
- Part 1 UV-mapping cube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJbC1ruBYds (10 min)
- Part 2 UV-mapping cube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuVdZ-l4xg0 (9 min)
1-min tutorial on Wings 3D texture "tiling" -- to angle or duplicate the texture on a surface: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf1MYf1UytE
POV-Ray Textures Sites
POV-Ray Textures Guide (look up and view all POV-Ray textures): http://www.3dplumbing.net/tutorials/textures_guide_POV/index.html
POV-Ray Texture Generator (build your own texture from basic elements): http://www.3dplumbing.net/tutorials/texgen/