Blender

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Blender (blender.org) is a free and open source 3D platform. It supports 3D modeling and rendering as well as many advanced features like animation, simulation, compositing, motion tracking, video editing and game creation.

blender-osm: OpenStreetMap and Terrain for Blender

blender-osm is a popular open source (GPL) addon for Blender developed by vvoovv. blender-osm provides one click download and import of OpenStreetMap and real world terrain data for Blender with global coverage. Two versions of the addon are available:

They are briefly described below.

blender-osm (premium)

In addition to the features of the base version, the premium one provides:

  • Import of buildings from OpenStreetMap with default materials, tileable building textures and UV-mapping applied
  • Default materials and textures to mimic lit windows for a late evening setting
  • Import of forests and single trees as 3D objects
  • Options to use custom tileable building textures (e.g. from textures.com)
  • Satellite imagery and web maps projected on a terrain

The addon blender-osm (premium) is available at gumroad.com for $17.80. All customers will get the addon source code under GPL license. All default textures and materials supplied with addon are released under the CC0 (public license). The detailed documentation is available here.

blender-osm (base)

The base version of the blender-osm addon provides one click download and import of OpenStreetMap and terrain for Blender. blender-osm supports Simple 3D buildings specification to a large extent. A significant number of roof shapes is supported: flat, gabled, hipped (for a quadrangle outline only), mono-pitched, half-hipped, round, pyramidal, gambrel, dome, onion and saltbox. The addon is available at gumroad.com for $5.90. All customers will get the addon source code under GPL license. The detailed documentation is available here.

Learning Blender

The best way to get to get familiar with Blender is to watch and repeat Blender Beginner Tutorial Series created by Blender Guru, the most popular and respected author of tutorials for Blender with more than 600 thousand subscribers at his Youtube channel. The total duration of 10 videos of the Series is 5 hours 10 minutes. After practicing the Series you should be pretty fit for many projects in Blender.

Alternatively or additionally you cand study the first sections of the wiki-book Blender 3D: Noob to Pro, namely:

  • Unit 1: Background (all sections)
  • Unit 2: Basic Modeling and Shading (sections 2A, 2B, 2C)

If you are going to write plugins for Blender in the Python programming language, refer again to the Blender 3D: Noob to Pro

Blender Guru offers many free intermediate Blender tutorials. You can find them at his website blenderguru.com.

Other notable authors of free video tutorials for intermediate user of Blender are:

Other Addons

Import Terrain (.hgt)

The addon imports real world terrain data with global coverage and the resolution about 30 meter in the SRTM format (.hgt).

Import GPX (.gpx)

The addon imports GPS tracks from a file in the GPX format (.gpx) as a sequence of Blender edges. Elevation from a track can be used to assign z-coordinate of each point of the track.

OpenStreetMap Georeferencing

The addon provides functionality to assign latitude, longitude and rotation angle to a Blender model, in other words to georeference the Blender model. This is achieved by moving and rotating the Blender model over OpenStreetMap data imported with the Import OpenStreetMap (.osm) plugin.

Target Scaling

The addon helps to get the right dimensions for your model in Blender. The way it works can be explained by the following usage scenario:

  • Import an OpenStreetMap file that covers the area relevant to your model
  • Mark the target edge on the imported OSM object that corresponds to a specific edge of your model
  • Mark the corresponding edge on your model
  • Scaling will be applied to your entire model, so the length of the marked edge of your model will be equal to the length of the marked OSM edge