Using Blender to Build Digital Gardens


A workshop with Rachel Li

November 11, 2021


Growing a plant seems easy enough; put it in the ground, water it, and give it enough sunlight. Unless you’re trying to grow a fiddle leaf fig in a small Brooklyn apartment, plant care is fairly uninvolved. But three-dimensional digital gardens need focused tending. They need to be constructed from scratch within a digital environment, with thought behind the shape, color, and animation.

In this workshop, artist Rachel Li will teach participants the basics of creating plants in 3D using Blender and Unity. Attendees will learn the basics of how to construct different types of plants before being taught how to animate them to properly react to light. Interested participants must have access to Blender (2.8 and above) and Unity (2018 and above). They will be expected to have a basic understanding of 3D modeling and animation, as well as game development tools in Unity. It will be helpful, but not required, to have some knowledge of game programming and Unity Shader Graph.

This is part of Killscreen’s Method programming (see below)

About Your Speaker

Rachel Li is a game designer and new media artist based in Brooklyn, New York. With a background in both game design and fine arts, she constantly challenges the border between technology, art, and design. Fascinated by video games as an artistic medium to influence people’s behavior and a sense of identity through rules, interactions, and navigation of virtual spaces, she creates autobiographical simulation games inspired by her observations and reflections on people and the world around her. Her recent work Hot Pot For One, a short autobiographical game about the bittersweet feeling of cooking hot pot for oneself on Christmas Eve, was nominated for BAFTA Student Awards Best Immersive, and was featured as one of the “21 indie games to look forward to in 2021” by Polygon magazine. Her installations and experimental games have been featured in various art exhibitions and major game festivals in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and on the internet.

What to Expect

Killscreen divides its events into two categories Theory and Method. Theory courses are lectures, talks, and other one-to-many events. Method events are workshops, immersive, and other smaller hands-on programming.

Once you’re registered you can access this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Killscreen online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.

This online experience will be recorded. A link to the recording will be made available to all ticket holders roughly a week following the event. This link can be accessed by completing the post-event survey, which is emailed to all ticket-holders after the event.

Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us.

We encourage you to follow and share the hashtag #KSonline for more incredible online experiences. And check out other material on, including honest and thought-provoking interviews with some of the best creators at the intersection of play and culture.