Creating a Bowling Ball and Pins

In the course I’m taking at, one of the projects was creating a bowling ball and pins.

First we had to gather our references so we’d have the correct size ratio between ball and pins, and a way to easily convert the ratio into Blender units.

Bowling Pen Layout Dimensions

Our next assignment was determining what type of sphere to use for the bowling ball. We had 3 choices: UV sphere, ico sphere, or cube (yes, a cube can be a sphere). The ico sphere seemed to be the best choice as we needed to put 3 holes in the ball at uniform intervals.

Bowling Ball in edit mode

Then we created an outline with curves and spun it to create a pin.

Bowling Pin in edit mode

So I had my first bowling ball and pin.

Bowling Ball and Pin

Then I found a diagram as a background image for determining distance between pins.


We created additional pins using the array modifier and the diagram helped with placement.

Bowling Pin Placement

The final assignment was to move the pins into a position to appear they had been hit by the ball, then render our scene.

Bowling Ball Scene








Learning Blender

The question comes up again and again in Second Life, “Where is the best place to learn Blender?”

Yes, there are many video tutorials out there for free. Some are excellent, some not so. It’s really a hit and miss as to how well done they are.

I had worked in Blender years ago, back when there was a version 1 (yes, that long ago). After a hiatus from Blender, and realizing the need to update my building skills in Second Life with mesh imports, I took a look at Blender again, and realized I was lost with the new interface. I had also forgotten many of the skills I used to have.

So I shopped around for tutorials. I ran across many video tutorials on Youtube, but usually they only addressed tools just for the object they were making, and sometimes assumed you knew the shortcut keys or where tools were located.

Then I found a course, “Learn 3D Modeling – The Complete Blender Creator Course” at It had at least 100 lectures and started you from installation of Blender to modeling some complex things. At first the cost seemed to be more than I wanted to pay, but I signed up at the site and soon the course was available for a huge discount (I think I paid $10 US at the time.) For that cost I get lifetime access to the course.

The course is self-paced, so I take an hour for lunch and jump in to do another lecture. Michael Bridges and Ben Tristem that teach the course are professional, consistent, and amazing. They follow up with your questions and check to see how everyone is doing.They update the course all the time and add new materials and lectures (I think they are up to 273 lectures now).

So far in the course I’ve created a simple “periscope,” built a model plane, bowling ball and pins, a low poly chess set with board, and an animated lamp. Next I’ll be doing a bunny (with particles for hair, sculpting, etc.), then a project for a game asset pack, and a gothic church. Throughout the lectures they keep in mind that you may be exporting your models into another program.

The sale price has gone up a little but it is still pennies compared to the instruction and content you get. Want to learn Blender? Sign up at and buy the course “Learn 3D Modeling – The Complete Blender Creator Course.” You’ll get an excellent foundation in  Blender and 3D modeling, as well as learn many of the tools available to create those fantastic mesh objects.

Walking Dead: Be angry. You’re supposed to be.

I’ve been reading some of the reactions from Walking Dead fans regarding the last episode. Many of you are angry, angry as hell. Why?  Because you felt the producers of Walking Dead somehow betrayed you or toyed with you by not letting you know who died in the last episode this season.

If you are angry, good. I think you are just where the producers and writers of the show want you to be. What??? you say.

Let’s take a look at, what if they DID tell you who died. You’d still be angry, right? None of us want to see any of the main characters we’ve come to love die. When we thought Glenn had died in a previous episode, we felt anguish. We hoped and prayed that he made it through somehow. Once we discovered he had survived after all, we felt relief, just like Rick’s group felt relief. But before that we felt fear, just as Rick’s group did.

We’ve lived through these experiences with the characters – the not knowing, the anguish, the fear, the relief. We’ve watched them falter and succeed. We grew with them. In doing so, we built a bond. We feel close to them. We became a part of Rick’s group.

Now back to the final episode of the season. As the group loses more and more control of their own circumstances, our fears grow, yet we keep the slightest amount of hope, just like they did. When Negan takes his bat to one of the members, we are put into that person’s point of view (POV), so we can’t tell who it is. This is where most people feel betrayed, by the not knowing. If you did know, you’d feel excruciating anguish and anger at the loss of one of the main characters. You’d still be angry. Even if you knew, you’d still be angry. So why didn’t they tell you?

As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.” By the time the new season starts in October, we would have had time to digest the loss (about 6 months). So when we jump back into the story with the group in shock of realizing who just died, we’d be in a different place than them, having already digested who had died and the implications of that. Not knowing until the new season starts ensures we will be in the same place as the characters, feeling the same anguish, the same anger, the same loss, the same shock.

But you still feel like you’ve been toyed with? I hope so. I think the producers and writers made that intentional. Think about it. Rick’s group is being toyed with by Negan. They are absolutely helpless and terrified. You’ve been walking with Rick’s group their entire journey, feeling what they feel. Why should now be any different?

The final scene puts us in the POV of the character that receives the fatal blows. You hear Rick’s group screaming, pleading, and grieving, reacting in shock over “your” brutal death. Your bond to them is closer than ever before.

If you are still angry at the producers and writers of the show, I doubt any one of you will miss the first episode of the new season. You’ll be in there, right along side the rest of the group, emotionally tugged into the most uncomfortable places you never want to go. It is through these unwanted experiences we learn from others the possibilities of the human spirit. The writers and producers are taking us on that journey, to discover within ourselves, the darkest and brightest moments of humanity. It is these moments that make us feel alive, make us want to fight for something, make us want to right a wrong, make us want to live.

Go ahead, be angry. You’re supposed to be.

Just Chill

Need something to just help you chill?

I’m all about web sites that bring more than just information or pretty pictures to the screen. I came across that uses natural sounds, video, and animation to produce an immersive environment.

If you scroll down there are others to choose from. And they change out the “environment” every 10 days. Put on the headphones and enjoy.


Riders on the Storm

I wrapped my fingers tightly around the prickly, grainy stalks and yanked up hard toward the empty sky. The tassel separated with a dull pop. I flung it to the ground, stepped forward in the hard black dirt to the next stalk, and reached up again. The sun glared down on my bare shoulders and back, baking them to a soft brown with a cherry tinge underneath.

“Riders on the Storm” by The Doors floated across the corn field from our little portable radios that hung from our belt loops. Everyone tuned into WLS from Chicago, so the whole field was alive with music. And this day, everyone listened. The Doors had lost one of their band members. Not only was this our first summer job and our “initiation” into freshmen year at high school, we were suddenly faced with the realization that we would not be on this earth forever. That death could come at any time, like it did for Jim Morrison.

Sweat rolled down my arm into one of the small cuts on my inner elbow. The salt-sting made me wince. I had not bothered to put on long sleeves this morning when we hit the field at dawn. The leaves of the corn stalks were still dripping with morning dew then and wet corn leaves have paper-sharp edges. But now, as they dried out under the midday sun, they softened, and most of us girls had peeled down to bandanas on our heads, halter-tops and jean shorts. The guys just peeled down to jeans, their bare chests and backs exposed and glistening, tanned and hardened.

I grasped a corn tassel and yanked. Pop! Some of the chaff stuck to my sweaty palm as I let go. “Into this world we’re thrown,” I sang with the radio, letting the tassel fall. I wiped my hand against my shorts to relieve the itch and moved further down the row, pressing the fallen tassel into the warm earth with the heel of my tennis shoe. The tall green stalks, standing stiff like soldiers, lined the dark dirt ahead of me on both sides for what seemed like forever, eventually converging in a shimmer of heat, like a mirage, a promise of its end.

A flash of red bandana between the stalks two rows over told me that Donna had caught up. Absorbed in the song and her work, she belted out in a deep grinding voice, “There’s a killer on the road.”

I laughed to myself and sang quietly along with her as we moved down the rows. Reach, yank, pop!

The sky was still empty and the sun had moved high overhead. The corn stalks no longer shaded the ground at its feet. It heated the black dirt beneath us, like the black seat in a car that burns you. I paused to wipe my brow with my forearm, but it felt rough and gritty and left a layer of chaff sticking to my wet forehead.

I could not see over the rows of corn to either side, to see how far along everyone else was. All I could do was keep moving forward in this sea of green and chaff, in the trough of the wave I was assigned to. If I fell behind, our crew chief, who wandered across the waves behind us, would let me know.

I moved forward, reach, yank, pop, listening to the music waft over the field. The sounds of thunder and rain, mixed with the tinkling of light-stepped piano keys, made you forget momentarily there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. How we wished for those clouds, a respite from the angry sun. A rain to turn our sea of sun-baked corn stalks into wet muddy puddles.

The last phrase of the song became a whisper, “Riders in the Storm.” With the music silent, the air filled with the wavering buzz of bees. A crew chief shouted to his team as we reached the end of the field and gathered by the bus. Chuck Buell, the afternoon DJ, announced the next song on the WLS Hit Parade. We quickly forgot about rain and thunderstorms as the girls listened to the Bee Gees’ “How can you mend a broken heart?” and the boys rolled their eyes.

by Barbara Seaton
Copyright 2014

A short memoir piece written in the fall of 2014 about my first summer detasseling corn back in 1972.

Flowers, leaves, and bugs

Pink Tulip - thumbnail

I love to capture the natural world around me in its vibrant color and come in close to find the hidden worlds that most of us miss. Sometimes the only time we see a particular moment is through the eye of the camera.

Mountain Laurel Wasp Rhododendron at Gibbs Gardens Clematis Japanese Maple Leaves after the rain Japanese Maple Leaves Violet after the rain Tulip petal after the rain Flower Dandelion Dogwood Flower Dogwood Flowers Dogwood Flowers Dogwood Flowers Pink Tulip Bee on Redbud Flowers
Pink TulipPink Tulip


Dogwood Flower Flowers Flowering stem tip Purple Tulip with raindrops on petal Purple tulip up close Pink Tulips Red Azaleas

Zangar Shore – WOD

Zangar Shore

Along the northern shores of Nagrand in Draenor lies the Zangar Sea. And there between, lies the Zangar Shore, where the mushroom forests climb up from the water to create a high canopy overhead along sandy beaches. It is host to sporebats, fen striders, and other creatures of the bog.

There were so many beautiful views (I took 50+ screenshots) it was hard to narrow it down to just the few here.


Zangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar Shore

And don’t forget to look underwater! There is a cave far below.

Zangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater Cave

Auchindoun – WOD


Seeing Auchindoun in all its glory is amazing. Before, in the Outlands, you could sense the design amongst the ruins and shattered stone. Now, in Draenor, you can see the sweeping buttresses, curving stairways, and open plazas without scar or blemish. Fountains, pools, and hanging foliage add to the beauty of this magnificent creation. Kudos to the landscape artists!


Approach to AuchindounSteps leading down to AuchindounDoorway into AuchindounGhosts of AuchindounPlaza of AuchindounFoliage and Fountains of AuchindounSteps leading up from a plazaA guard of Auchindoun at restAuchindoun


Tappy the Nail – My first animated short film

Tappy the Nail

Tappy the Nail was the result of a graphic design class where we could choose what medium we wanted to work in. I chose to work in animation using Blender. My instructor gave me goals and guidelines, but other than that, he left it up to me to come up with what I was going to do.

This was the first animated short film I had done. I used Blender for the modeling and animation, then brought in the clips into Adobe Premier Pro to combine clips and sound for the finished result.

One of the greatest challenges for me was the mouth. I had planned on just creating a simple bar with an armature so I could change the shape of the bar, but my instructor said no. He wanted me to incorporate the mouth into the actual body of the nail. Sigh….So I did my research and discovered relative vertex keys.

Then, carefully, with the precision of a cross-eyed drunken monkey, I took my digital knife and cut an opening in Tappy’s face. And with a little digital plastic surgery and the help of relative vertex keys to move the mouth, Tappy had a bonafide mouth that moved and formed the shapes I needed to match the sounds and expressions.

Tappy is a simple little nail that finds delight in a simple little butterfly.

Tappy the Nail

Once I have the video uploaded, I will insert it in place of the image above!