Google Blocks basics

Here we’ll cover how to use Google Blocks. It really is quite simple, but there are a few neat hidden tricks. We’ll take a look at the different tools, and some of their quirks.

 

Navigation

Tools

Your left controller is the support controller, and the right is the drawing controller. You can switch these by bumping the top tips of the controllers against each other. To move the world, grab with either of the grip buttons (red, under the controller). To rotate, hold and turn with both sides’ grip buttons. You can scale the piece by moving your hands closer together and further apart.

 

Tools

 Shape

Move

This is your basic tool to place a shape. Swipe your thumb to the left/right to select different simple shapes to place, and up/down to increase or decrease the size of that object. A single trigger push will place an object, but you can also press and hold it to stretch a shape as you place it, like making an oblong out of a sphere, or a rectangle out of a cube. Note that you can also position a new shape onto the surface of an old one: Hold support trigger while placing a new shape over the other, and it’ll snap into place. It’ll also center the new shape, useful when (for example) placing a ball right on the end of a cylinder for a rounded end. To place a coloured shape, flip support around, and select from there before placing.

Modify

This tool changes your shapes’s appearance in three ways. You can:

reshape

Reshape (push thumb up) – Lets you grab a corner (point), line (edge), or side (face, pictured). Once grabbed, you can freely move it around. If a new location is invalid, you’ll hear an error sound. To delete a point or edge, just drag it into another point or edge, and it should vanish.  You can also hold the support trigger before/while moving faces to make them move straight outwards from their original orientation. For example if you want to elongate a cube into a rectangle. To select multiple faces at once, hold the trigger button while the controller is away from a face, and move it through the faces you want to select. Then, release the trigger and move them like you would normally. This also works on edges or points. Selected sections will glow green.

subdivive

Subdivide (push thumb left) – Splits a face in half, giving you more sides to a shape to play with. If you hold the support trigger, the line will automatically snap, depending on your main controller orientation. This can let you divide a face into exactly 2 equal halves, or quarters, or from one corner to another precisely. Very useful when trying to add some more complex shapes. Note that while you can create edges, there is currently no way to delete them without dragging them directly on top of another edge.

extrudeExtrude (push thumb right) – Extruding a face means pulling it out into a new segment. So you can extrude a cube into a rectangle, but it’ll leave edges along the extrusion point. Since this adds on a bit of shape, you can’t extrude inwards, use the Reshape tool for shrinking shapes. Just like the reshape tool, you can select multiple faces to extrude, and hold the support trigger to extrude perpendicularly. You can also resize the extrusion (pictured): before releasing the new face, swipe your thump up or down to change size. For example, making a sharp point on one end of a cylinder, or giving it a flared base.

paintPaint

Use this tool to add some colour and life to your model. Flip your support around, and select a paint colour. Swipe left to paint an entire shape, and right to paint individual faces. Most of the colours are solid, but the bottom right option is a transparent glass, and the last one is a funky crystal look.

Strokestroke

This tool lets you draw in 3D space to get a long “string” of a shape. Swipe your thumb for different brush shapes (from a triangle to a decagon). Like Extrude, you can make a brush point smaller or bigger by swiping your thumb up or down. You can also lock the brush on a flat plane. Hold support trigger before you begin drawing, and depending on how you were holding the controller, you’ll draw only on that plane until you release the support trigger. You can hold it again to continue drawing on a different plane, but I found that to be super finicky. Additionally, if you start with a single main trigger press, you can draw a straight line to another point in space by moving your main controller there, and clicking the trigger again. Or, press the red button on your main controller face to add a new anchor, but continue drawing another line from that new anchor. For example, if you wanted to draw a spiral, you’d use the red button to make the bends and just draw it out in 3D space. Not easy to explain in words, but give it a shot! You’ll get it quickly 🙂

Grabgrab

This tool has several functions, but at it’s base, you can grab and move shapes around with it. If you want to move several shapes at once, hold the trigger button in empty space, and move it through the shapes you want to move. Release, and move them like you would a single shape. To resize shapes, grab them, and move your thumb up or down. Note that this will only work up to a point. To clone something, hover in the shape with your controller, and swipe your thumb left. For example, copying/pasting a bunch of apples. To flip a shape, swipe right. To group shapes, press the red button on the face of your main controller (grouped objects turn slightly transparent when grabbed, pictured). This lets you move/resize multiple objects, and is useful for when you want to keep, for example, a tree or car together to move around without having to select every element of the piece first. To ungroup, just press the red button again when holding the group.

Erase

Very simple. Erases a shape. Note that if erasing a group, all shapes in the group will be erased.

 

Miscellaneous

Reference images

referance

To import reference images, hit the red face button on your support controller, select “settings” at very top left, and then “Add reference image”. A cool feature is that using the grab tool, you can actually move and rezise the images like you would a shape. Unfortunately, reference images should be imported at the start of every session, they do not save with the sculpt.

Grid

grid

Incredibly useful. When toggled, you’ll see a matrix of dots around your tool. Shapes you place and points/edges/faces you edit will now snap to these points automatically. Scaling the image up and down toggles 4 levels of magnification for the grid (pictured). Allows for precise and angular shapes, like robots or buildings.

 

And that’s it. Now go jump in, and start creating!

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5 thoughts on “Google Blocks basics

    1. Yeah, cutting into shapes can be tricky. I’ve made a basic block to show you how:
      1) First, you use the subdivide tool to make a lot of long edges across the top of the block. If you have Grid on (Like I have) each line is automatically going to divide the face you apply it to. This means perfectly straight lines. However, you can turn off grid to just place the lines manually. This means you can place then exactly where you want, but they may not be perfectly angular (which can still be a cool look, if that’s what you’re going for)
      See: http://i.imgur.com/vQxdVkq.png

      2) If you’ve used grid, you then drag the inner lines outwards until they combine with the outer ones. Without Grid, this step isn’t needed, because you won’t have drawn inner lines.
      See: http://i.imgur.com/CMAVsFw.png

      3) Subdivide again, but along the short edge. With or without grid, it’s up to you.
      See: http://i.imgur.com/DAHU2lI.png

      4) Lastly, you want to use the Extrude tool, not the Reshape tool. Push inward on the rectangles that are formed by the subdivisions while holding the support trigger, and they’ll collapse inwards.
      See: http://i.imgur.com/SxfrtMN.png

      It can be tricky, but I hope this helped!

      Like

  1. With the grab tool, or the modify tool you can hold and drag to select multiple objects and faces/vertexes/edges at the same time.

    You can then extrude multiple faces the same amount. Useful for stuff like castle battlements.

    I still haven’t found a way to convert a square face back to it’s original once it’s vertexes are no longer planar though. It seems it’s a one way operation when it splits into triangles.

    Like

    1. What you can do though is if you want a hole through something, you can create a horseshoe like shape and merge vertexes and edges to close it. I was suprised when this actually worked and ended up with a donut like object, although with a cube profile instead of a cylinder.

      Like

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