My swarm of nanobot minions and I have been working diligently for weeks and now our labors come to fruition. This is theZEDLAB, a place for Blender tutorials and resources as well as a blog featuring all things CG.
My name is Wayne, nice to meet you. I have been practicing digital art in many forms for most of my life. In recent years, I have moved into the realm of 3D modeling and rendering, thanks to the premiere open-source, completely free, and surprisingly powerful software that is Blender. You can read more about me and my background on the about page and in my portfolio.
TheZEDLAB is an idea I’ve been pondering for quite some time. Sites like this (or what I hope this will be) are the reason I came to the world of CG. What seemed at one time to be something far too complicated and based on software far too expensive has become a focal point of my artistic endeavors. Blender, which is contantly evolving and growing through the contributions of its users, has put the power of CG into the hands of anyone willing to put in the effort and take the time to learn. For this, I, and the entire Blender community, owe a debt of gratitude, not only to the people who make Blender, and to fantastic educational sources like Blender Cookie and Blender Guru (the two I most frequent), but also to each other. The online community of Blender users is unique in their passion, their support of one another and the ever growing pool of talent from inspired amatures to pros. And so this is my way to try to give back to those who have given me so much and to hopefully inspire others to explore their imaginations, to take on new challenges, to…boldly go where no one has gone before? no, wait, that’s not rigtht – above all, to create.
If you share my excitement at seeing technology evolve to allow whatever is in our heads to be given life, and for that technology to be available to everyone, if you are a fellow Blender Nerd, then I hope you will enjoy what I have to offer here, in this little corner of the interwebs.
What you will find at theZEDLAB
The tutorials will cover a range of topics, from modeling and texturing to lighting and rendering. One of my goals is also to create a library of “quick reference” tutorials; I’ve often come across great little tips and techniques, however many times they’re buried deep in a long tutorial covering an entire scene. Here, I will have quick easy access to such little nuggets of wisdom without having to search through a lengthy video or post. There will also be “project breakdowns”, short videos that demonstrate, concisely without a lot of narration, how different elements and techniques come together in producing a final work.
There will be resources such as models and textures most of which will be freely available to use for any purpose you want, commercial or personal.
And, of course, there will be the blog. I mean, c’mon, I’m not gonna go to the trouble of putting together a whole website and not stick my opinions somewhere on it. This will cover everything from Blender news, cool CG stuff I might stumble across on the interwebs, noteworthy VFX in film and televsion, hopefully some interviews and the like from people who make awesome things, and anything else related to CG, or even design in general, that I feel inclined to bloviate on.
Post Script: What’s in a Name?
You may be thinking theZEDLAB is kind of an odd name. It is. There’s an interesting story behind it. Well, maybe not that interesting, but there is a story. And this is it.
The original name of this site was theMESHLAB. Cool, clever, right? I thought so too. So, I registered the domain themeshlab.com, I set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Google account. I designed a logo and some basic site imagery. All was well and going swimmingly. Then I created a YouTube channel. No problems there. But when I tried to find that channel through my personal You Tube account (so I could subscribe to myself, of course), I came across a plethora of tutorial videos with MeshLab in the title. “Uh oh”, I thought. Turns out MeshLab is an open-source software for cleaning up and editing unstructured 3D meshes generated by 3D scanners. So, not only is there something out there already called MeshLab, that something is also related to 3D graphics.
I could have continued using the name, it is an open-source project after all and not some for-profit software company. The chance of lawsuit or other legal action was slim. However, I chose to change the name for two reasons, one selfish and one rather noble – if I do say so myself. The first reason was, a quick Google search for MeshLab (something I probably should have done long before I began painting towards the corner) yeilds quite a number of results relating to this software and would have overshadowed the interweb presence of my humble website. The second reason was because, being a user of open source software like Blender, I respect those who contribute to such projects. And, to be fair, MeshLab was established in 2005, so they obvioulsy came up with the clever name first. Plus it looks like a pretty cool piece of software. So I yield to them and provide this little plug.
What followed was a grueling couple of days trying to come up with a new name, desperately hoping I could still use “lab” in it somehow so I could keep the little beaker logo and the laboratory motif. There were several I won’t bore you with here (anymore than I already have) and most were either already in use in one form or another or were parked domains asking for thousands of dollars. One I was rather fond of was blend(in), I even made a cool logo for that one. But go ahead, go to GoDaddy and look for blendin.com, you can have it $9,000 plus.
Why theZEDLAB then? Well, first of all it’s not that far away from theMESHLAB. I wanted something that represented CG and 3D modeling and I wanted it to end in “lab”. And what makes 3D art different from 2D art? The third dimension, the depth, the Z-axis. But “zee lab” doesn’t sound very good, and is too close to “sea lab”. So, though I hail from the US, I took a cue from our friends across the pond and went with “zed”. It just sounds better. (Also, if you squint, it looks like “Zelda”)
So there it is, the complete unabridged history of the name theZEDLAB.