Blender for Trainz
When I first took an interest in Blender in March 2013, I was surprised at the lack of good tutorials
for the beginner who wanted to model specifically for Trainz. I soon found I wasn’t alone.
“I have spent the last hour trying to work with Blender for the first time and am ready
for a fast trip to the saloon and it's only 7:45 am lol, don't know how anyone can work
with stuff like that.” (Auran Forum February 12, 2013)
“I have looked at Blender and bought a rather expensive book on it but nothing in the
book seemed to tie up to what was going on on the computer screen, so not a good
way to start trying to learn something. It may have been that the book was for an
earlier version than the program I downloaded? I struggled for quite a while before
finally giving up.” (Auran Forum March 31, 2013)
So, I decided if I was going to have to dig to learn this stuff and keep notes, then it might be
helpful to others if I shared those notes.
The main challenge as I saw it was, that what tutorials did exist were written by those who had
already become quite familiar with the program. As a result the tutorials would describe steps
a,b,c then f,g then k,l and r … . What about the steps in between? Where does one find the
missing pieces? Dig, dig, dig. And keep careful notes, leave nothing out, so that I could go back
and review a procedure when I needed to.
What follows is an attempt to introduce Blender in “baby steps” - a little bit at a time. It's a “hands
on” approach. Instead of reading the whole manual and then trying to figure out what to do, I start
with as little reading as possible and get right into doing. Of course you will want to do the
reading later and there are several good sources of Blender information (see below).
First, I had to install Blender, and a few other programs, and I had to acquire a basic
understanding of the Blender interface. So, I will start there. But, I remember how excited I was
when I found I could actually create a Trainz Asset. So, I will get to the doing as quickly as
possible by first introducing the three steps to creating a Trainz asset:
Create an object (called a mesh) in Blender.
Apply material (colour) and texture.
Export it from Blender and import it into Trainz as a finished asset.
Once I found I could actually make a Trainz asset (admittedly a pretty crude one) and place in a
route, I was hooked.