Modelling in Blender

I’ve been working for over a year on preparing models for a new Professor Mac video. My normal approach is to keep the modelling as simple as possible so that I may release the video in around 12 months of work. It may seem that 12 months is a long time but I do everything myself and I only do it in my spare time.

I decided to take a different approach for my new video as I wanted to do some detailed vehicle modelling. I also wanted to have a detailed landscape in which the vehicle would operate. This has meant that I’ve taken a lot longer to create the models.

The model of Professor Mac's grey lifting vehicle is carrying a red shipping container towards the water
Professor Mac’s lifting vehicle

Challenge with large environments

Previously the scenes in which the Professor Mac videos have taken place have been somewhat limited in detail. My first few videos had Mac standing in an infinitely blue space. In my more recent videos I’ve started to use more realistic backgrounds and environments.

The challenge with large environments is to get sufficient detail without the models getting so large that the computer struggles to produce the final images. To make the Professor Mac videos I use a computer program called Blender. It is free to use and has a great community which provides training. Just type Blender into YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.


Blender is what is known as 3-D (three dimensional) modelling and animation software. It produces images through a process of rendering. This means that when you press a button the software takes into account the geometry and materials of items in the view of the camera and then draws these into an image file. By drawing thousands of these images, and moving the objects into different positions between each image, you get motion. And when these images are played back quickly, you get an animation.

Sounds easy right? Well unfortunately it’s not because creating the objects with three dimensions takes a long time.

I need to model water

For my new video I have to include water as I want to explain why things float. So the plan was to have a large environment next to water. I planned to have Professor Mac driving the vehicle I had modelled around the environment and conduct experiments by picking up objects and dropping  them into the water. 

The obvious environment to create with these requirements was a dockside by a lake. I could have shipping containers to use as the objects to drop into the water. However I’d also need to create objects you would find around a dockside. And this meant a lot of modelling.

I’ll show what I created in my next post.



I teach physics and engineering through animation.

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1 Response

  1. June 30, 2019

    […] some time I’ve wanted to develop my modelling skills. This is the process of making virtual objects using software such as Blender. Like most things, the best way to develop these skills is to […]

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