Here we’ll cover how to build a little robot in Google Blocks. It’ll be a demonstration of how to use the tools, and will document the process from start to finish. To check out the completed project, click here. OK, lets begin!
The Feet & Legs
Sure, let’s start here (Note that these first few pictures will have more than one object, that’s just a copy of the current active object to visualize the flow easier. In Blocks, I only use one foot until I’m done, then I clone and flip it). Zoom out as far as you can, because you’re going to want to make the biggest major components you can, to be able to zoom in far later to add small details. I’m using a grid, and figured I’d make the feet about 4 major units wide. Then I play around with some subdivision until I can kind of see how the block is going to have to change to make a foot. Below is the what that looks like:
After reshaping the block into something roughly what I’m looking for, I notice that it added some extra edges. No worries, that’s just how it needs to bend. Next, I add another rectangle for some toe-like object. See how I start with just the block, but use the subdivide tool to add vertices, and then move those around:
Behold, a foot! Kinda. I selected both parts and grouped them, just to be able to move the entire thing around easily. I also added a sphere and two legs. I used two cylinders simply so I’ll be able to “bend” that knee later:
It’s not really obvious here, but I added a bit of bend to the leg by selecting all the edges of the cylinder’s top, and dragging that to the side. The leg on the left is straight, while the one on the right is bent:
OK, I officially made a clone of the leg, and positioned them where I want them. To add some detail, I added two spheres to the ends of the horizontal cylinders below, using the support trigger to position them absolutely center:
But there’s a catch. When adding spheres, for some reason it’s not always exactly central You may have noticed the extra edges above, that’s a result of the fix. See below. The right part has a slight irregularity around the join, which is subtle, but goes all the way around, and can be distracting. Especially if you’re going to work with a lighting engine later, it can be greatly enhanced. So just go all the way around, and join the two points:
Again, started with a block, and a few subdivisions later, we have about half of a torso. Because there’s no mirror mode (I really wish there was a mirror mode) I use block shapes as rulers to figure out how far I have to extend parts:
Here’s a tip: Often a triangle face will have unnecessary edge, and thus an extra face. To delete that, just add another edge, and drag the new point to a corner on the triangle. See below, I added the edge between the green circles via subdivision, and dragged it to the top-right triangle corner. This took away the extra face, like on the left side. There used to an extra edge where the red line is now:
Using extrude to add some shoulder plates, because it means no accidental faces. I also make the blocks a darker colour; it’s easier to see faces and edges that way:
The half-dome for the rest of the chest was tricky. I used the Stroke tool to make a single 10-sided shape, and then overlayed a sphere (partially visible in the left half on the image). This gave me reference for where the edges should be. Then I just extruded the shape, making it smaller to match the sphere’s edges, until I had what I wanted (see right side):
The eye was similar. Started with a flattened cube, subdivided the sides, and reformed it into a circle. I could have used Cylinder, but I wanted less sides. Then, I just extruded in and out with resizing to make the shapes. The image shows this progression:
I’m quite proud of the hands. They were pretty complex, so I won’t go into detail, but a finger is a cube extruded multiple times, with the edges curved slightly.
Then, I just had to put all the pieces together. The arms were basically the legs again, and I added some eyebrows and an antennae, just for fun. Positioning it like on the left is good for starting, but you have to turn off grid mode and just eyeball it to actually position the limbs. Again, make sure to group individual feet, hands, the torso, etc. Make sure the arms are coming out of the center of the spheres in relation to where the arms actually are. For example, see the first image’s arm socket, compared to the final image’s. Finally, I added a splash of colour, and I was ready to hit “Save” and “Publish” in the support controller’s menu!
To the right is a browser page that will open up when you hit Publish. This is also where your files are stored, so be careful about deleting stuff. Clicking the publish button will give you the screen below, where you can add a title and a description to your creation. You can also change the background colour and thumbnail under the “Presentation” tab. For example, I made mine blue, because the yellow was a bit too much.
Congratulations, we now have a cute little robot! It’s out there for the world to see, and hopefully you’ve gotten some good practice at using some of the tools Blocks has to offer. If you want to really spice up your final piece, why not try adding some good lighting and textures in Bender? I’ll have a tutorial up soon that’ll be an absolute-beginner’s guide to using Blocks in Blender’s “Cycles” rendering engine.
Hope to see you there!