How to build a fish (not easy)

First a few informations to read

On some systems (Linux KDE/Gnome and SGI IRIX 4dwm), there is a program icon fuer "dune4kids", it looks something like this:

On systems like Micro$oft Windows or MacOSX there is only one (other) programm icon:

Normally, the program of this icon starts with the english full version, usually with very much icons and too much menues.

In this case, you have to switch to dune4kids.
You have to click here to switch to the right version.

What to do, if the program crashes ?

With a bit of luck, you can load the last situation, if there is a new ".dune_crash" file in the list of recent files.


Navigation means the movment in the 3D modell.
This is important, cause it can happen very easily, that you get inside or behind your peace of work and see therefore nothing.

When you see nothing there are two way to continue, ofthen you use this ways together: Additionally there you can press together the left mouse button, the "Shift" key and the "Control" key and move the mouse (or use the icon ). This results in the movement in direction of the screen plane: up, down, left and right.

After you find the object and moved near to it, you should press again the "Examine" icon in order to continue to work normally.
You should also select the object and press the icon , so you can turn the object as usual.

Icons for changes

In Order to show, how things are changed, a box is created.

Icons, to changed whole objects: With small white boxes you can change the objects itself. With the single arrow icons you can select the direction.
For example if only the green arrow is pushed, you can move the little box

only into the direction of the green arrow.

In the same way as arrows grabed by the stem to move inside a plane, you can also push two arrows in one time to move a little box in one plane.

How to build a fish (not easy)

You don't have to obey the following description exactly, but should (at least at the first reading) stick to the clue.

A fish will be constructed from a several parts: a torso with a mouth, several fins and two eyes.


The torso consists of a mathematical cone.
You have to use New -> Cone

If "Cone" is selected, you can change the height and the width of the cone with the move of the small white boxes (click to the small boxes, keep the mouse button pressed and move the mouse).

Later the low circle of the cone will be folded and forms the mouth. A lot of fishs have a small mouth, therefor the width of the cone should be rather small. The decision if it will be a thin fish or a fat fish will be done later.
In order to fold the lower circle of the cone, the cone must be deformable. Therefore the next command (after "cone" was selected in the left window)
Change -> Make deformable (NURBS)

In the next window you can simply click "OK".

Despite the body itself did not change, the little boxes have been changed. If you move a small box, the body can be changed more exactly (if you moved now at a white box (only if you moved) you should use Edit -> Undo, the box moves back).
The white_dune program prefers certian directions. For examble you can steer a object with the joystick, if the object is in the right direction. There is also a matching Movement -> Stand up command.
Unfortunatly, the torso of the fish is not in the right direction, therefore "NurbsSurface" has to be selected in the left window. You can use then
Change -> Swap -> y (green) and z(blue).

You should now save the intermediate result into a file. If you exit the program (or switch the power off) anything is lost, if you did not saved into a file. To save you must use
File -> Save.
A window you can type in something near the lower edge is opened. Best you type in the word "fish", then a underscore (this character: _), then the first name, then a underscore (this character: _), then the last name then a underscore (this character: _), then the age.

If your name is "Max Mustermann" and you are 11 years old: fish_Max_Mustermann_11
With this you know at the construction of a film, that the file contains a 3D model of a fish and you have to write "Max Mustermann, 11 Jahre" together with image of the fish into the credits.

Tou need to use (especially at the end !) File -> Save often later, otherwise the work is lost.

Now the "Examine" icon should be pressed. Additionly the icon for "X mirrored Modelling" should be pressed (you can change it with ggf. mit Change -> X mirrored Modelling).

Click to the torso of the fish. White boxes will appear. Now you turn your object in a way that you can select with the middle mouse button (often: the mouse wheel) the small white boxes. The boxes change their color into green. The right boxes are the upper (in direction of the green arrow) small boxes at the circle of the mouth of the fish and the small box beside it.

Now you need a calm hand to hit one of the little green boxes (press the right mouse button) and move the mouse. Now both green small boxes move together with the x (red arrow) mirrored boxes. The upper part of the jaw of the fish is created.

The lower part of the jaw is created the same way. First you click into the void, to end the selection of the green boxes. Then you select the lower small box (inverse direction of the green arrow) at the fish mouth circle and the small box beside it.

With the pull of the outer small box the lower part of the jaw created.

Now you can set the width of the fish. The way is similar to the upper and lower part of the jaw, you only need to select the small boxes in the mid of the fish.

The lower part of the fish is modified in the same way.

You can also pull at other little boxes (best multiple small boxes at same time) and look. if the fish gets more beautiful (in worst case you can revert the changes with Edit -> Undo). You can also use the scale icon to build a flat fish (after this you have to switch back to the move icon ).


Next object is the tail fin. In order you want to move the whole fish (not move torso and fins by itself) you have to select the "Transform" command of the torso in the left window before the next step.

Now you can use New -> Plain -> y (green) and z (blue)). Then a window opens. The size of the plane is asked, you can simply click OK.

Next you have to move the fin with the blue arraw top at the right place.

The form of the fin is changed with the move of the small white boxes.

For the back fin and the ventral fin a little trick is used: they are created from a copy of the back fin. To do so, you have to select the "Transform" command of the tail fin,

then use
Edit -> copy
immediately followed by
Edit -> Paste symetric -> x (red).

In the first moment, it looks like nothing changed, but the tail fin exists twice. Cause the second copy is in place of the first, you see it only in the left window. Now the second copy needs to be moved into the mid of the fish (with the blue arrow top).

After this, the form of the fin can be changed with the small white boxes.


Next is the construction of the eyes.
First, the left window is cleaned. You clicked to the + icons of the Transforms of the fins.

You have to select the "Transform" command of the torso (to most upper Transform in the left window).

New > Sphere
the outer part of the eye is created.

But this part is too big. With the little small white boxes you make it smaller and with the arrows you move it to the right place.

Now it time to construct the eyeball. First you have to select the Transform of the outer part of the eye.

New > Sphere
is used again.

Again, the eyeball is too big. Again it can be scaled with the small white boxes and can be moved with the arrows (there is no problem if the eyeball disappear into the eye. Simply select the right "Sphere" in the left window and the small white boxes and the arrows appear again, dispite the eyeball is still not visible).

Next we use color. In the left window, a "Material" icon has to be selected (in case you don't see a "Material" icon, it is hidden in a "Appearance" icon: you have to click to the + icon of "Appearance").
Change -> Color (need Material or Color) -> Normal
is used. A right window opens. With it you can select a color and light/dark.

After "OK" has been clicked, you should use
Change -> Color (need Material or Color) -> Gloss.
In order to have a good gloss color, you should select a bright color.

If you like it, you can change the form of the eyes and the eyeball with Change -> Make deformable (NURBS).
When the eye is ready, you should copy it mirrored.
You need to select the outer part of the eye.

You need to use
Edit -> Copy
and use immediately
Edit -> Paste symetrc -> x (red)
. A second eye at the other side have been created.

A deeper mouth

A little problem was forgotten and needs to be repaired:
The mouth of the fish looks not natural, if you look inside the mouth.
You have to push back the point in the middle of the mouth.

You can do this after the eyes have been created. Outerwise the spheres of the eyes become visible if the fish opens his mouth.

Don't paint it normal gray

In principle, the fish is ready.
Next you can change the color of the torso and the fins. This is done like the coloring of the eyes, you have to select the "Material" of the torso in the left window and then use Change -> Color (need Material or Color) -> Normal / Glow / Gloss. If you select "Glow" a sort of fluorescent paint is used, you should use a dark color, otherwise the fish is so light/white, that the rotundities are not visible.


First, the wiggle of the fish is done (if you would make the movement of the whole fish first, the fish would swim away from the mouse).
The wiggle movement comes from the torso, therefore the torso needs to be selected. It is sufficient, to click to the torso.
It is wise to turn the world in a way, that the torso is seen from above.

Now use
Animation -> Animate (select object e.g. Transform)

A dialog window opens:

This window asks the duration of the animation, before it repeats. The default value is 5 seconds, what is far to much for the wiggle. Useful is a value of 1 second of a half second (a half is written as 0.5).
Beside this, the window asks what is animated (the points the torso was made of), but this already selected, so you only have to click "OK".

Now the animation window appears. It shows, what is done at what time.
In the animation window points must be set in the middle and at the end (click to the line), three points must be seen.
So the points of the torso are on the same position as the beginning at the half of the time and at the end of the animation.
Beside that, in the skirting under the animation window, the "record" icon needs to be pressed, now the changes of the animated object will be recorded as a part of the animation.

Till here, all changes of the side have been applied to both side. This is not working for a wiggle. Therefore Change -> x mirrored modelling has to be clocked, till the small box before x mirrored modelling is not shown anymore.
In stead of

it should look like this:

A stingray, a plaice, a dolphin or a whale do not make a wiggle to the side they make a wiggle up and down. Therefore the small box should be pressed if you want to make a stingray, whale etc.

Next, the animation window has to be clicked between the left side and the mid. A black line blinks the in the first quarter (from left) of the animation window. The changes are recorded at the position of the black line.
Now you have to catch all points of a ring in the rear part of the fish.
This is done with the right mouse button. You have to position the mouse left/below the first point you want to select, press the right mouse button and hold down the button while you move it right/above the last point. If you release the mouse button, all points between the imaginary square of press and release are selected and become green.
Then you can move all points if you pull one green point with the left mouse button.
The animation window changes.

After the the reversal of the movement at a later moment must be done.
First the blinking black line needs to be set at the next time. To do this, you have click into the animation window between the mid and the right side. The fish becomes straight-lined (this is a result of the point in the mid of the animation window). After this you (select) and move the already used points of the rings to the other side.

The first wiggle animation is ready. You can play the animation, if you click the blue square in the strip with the record icon (to end the record) and the click the blue triangle (to play the animation). After you have seen the animation you need to press the blue square to end the animation.
Unfortunatly the rigid fins do not match the wiggle movement. You have to animate them too. This is nearly done in the same way as the first animation. You click to the fin and use
Animation -> Animate (select object e.g. Transform)

Now a dialog window opens, that asks for the amount of seconds. At this point, there is a single difference as yet. Instead of 1 second you select in the top selection "TimeSensor1" instead of "new TimeSensor". With this, the old movement and the new movement is dupped and run at the same time.

After this anything works as the old animation. You click the 3 points in the animation window

and so on, and so on...


After you end the wiggle, the can swim forward. First you have to set the turn point into the right place, otherwise the fish moves though the curve in a unnatural way.
To do so, the upper Transform in the left window is selected and click to the icon for change center.

Then you move the center at the right place with the mouse on the top of the light blue arrow.

There are two methods, to create a animation: Cause a lot of people do not have a joystick (or a gamepad with sicks) first the method with the mouse. This method is more simple to learn and the remote-control with the joystick requires experience (when the object moves into direction of you, you have to steer to the left to make a curve to the right). Diese Methode ist einfacher zu lernen, denn das The first Transform must be selected.

You need to use Animation -> Create Curve Animation (need Tranform)

A window occures, with it you can change the lengh of the animation in seconds, the number of points in the curve and the default direction of the curve. Enter 10 and 5, and click to "along Z-axis".\br| Then click to OK.

When you press the blue triangle below the windows (that means "Play animation) you notice, that the fish is moving backward. You have to mirror the fish in the blue direction

You have to select the Transform of the fish.

With Change -> Flip -> z (blue) the directions are corrected.

Now you can change the points of the curve. In order to build a plane curve you should click to Movement -> x only (red) und Movement -> z only (blue) benutzen. In this case, the boxes in the first strip show that the red and the blue arrow is pushed.

Here 3 snapshots show, that the fish follows the curve.

In order to create a robust VRML97 animation, the CurveAnimation node should be selected and use Change -> Change to -> to Standard Interpolators , to let te file displayed in any VRML97 browser. A solution exist in almost all VRML97 browsers, but not in freewrl.
For the second method, you use a joystick (or a gamepad with 2 thumbsticks). It has to be installed with Options -> InputDevice Settings in the full version of white_dune. In this case there are a few more non gray icons in the upper strip. The best configuration for the movement with the joystick is the icon that meas "hover" and looks a bit like a hovercraft.

Now you click to the upper Transform in the left window and use
Animation -> Animate (select object e.g. Transform)

In the following dialog window, "translation" and "rotation" are already selected, so you only have to click "OK".
Now you only need to push the icons in the lower strip for "record" (red circle) and "play animation". You can record the movement of the fish, which is remoely controlled by the joystick.
You should fill only one animation window with animation data and not overwrite old animation data, cause on slow machines you can get easily into jerking.

When something got wrong (happens often) you can select a range in the animation window (with press and hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse in direction of the width of the window) to use at once Edit -> Delete to erase the range of the animation. If you do not use at once Edit -> Delete but click to anything diffent, something may be lost (try Edit -> Undo in case).
Done !