Jenny Cheng

After graduating with a computer science degree from MIT, Jenny Cheng has engineered new strains of E. coli, built mobile apps for Harvard Medical School, and changed the way glasses are designed and sold at Warby Parker. She currently lives in Boston, writes software for 3D printers at Voxel8, and does synthetic biology research at Harvard's Wyss Institute. She loves open source projects, doodling on her blog Caret Dash Caret and helping out with the local Pyladies chapter.

A developer’s introduction to 3D animation and Blender

An overview of the 3D animation process using Blender.


Creating 3D animations is like writing software. Both processes require
knowing certain industry terms. Some animation terms are:

  • Modeling
  • Texturing
  • Rigging
  • Setting up the scene with cameras, lights, and other effects
  • Animating
  • Rendering

Let’s define each of these, and then we’ll dig into some code with Blender’s API.

Modeling is the process of creating 3D models. One way is to represent the 3D model as points in 3D space. Each point, or vertex, has 3 coordinates: an X, an Y, and a Z coordinate, to define its location in 3D space. A pair of vertices can be connected by an edge, and edges bound polygons called faces. These faces define the surface of the model. Modeling is all about creating these sets of vertices, edges, and faces.


To create a model, we usually start with a primitive shape (like a sphere or a cube) and reshape it into what we’d like. Individual vertices, edges, and faces can be repositioned. New vertices, edges, and faces can be added to the basic model through simple operations. Two common ones are extrusion and subdivision.

Read more…

Comment: 1