At long last I have started reading through the Blender 2.0 Manual. I got to the Mesh Modeling chapter and worked through it. Learnt a lot of new information I wasn’t aware of before – resizing an object disproportionately being one (click on the middle mouse button when resizing). Some of these editing features are actually a little more intuitive now in Blender 2.3, and they don’t require as much careful dragging of the mouse.
When I finally got to the part about proportional editing, I simply couldn’t move on. This is another part of Blender I had absolutely no knowledge of before today, and it is a joy to play with. The organic forms you can create with this technique are astounding. The image you see here started off as a plane mesh which I distorted in various ways in proportional editing mode. Since I liked it so much I skipped to the part about subdivision to add some more detail. Even better! 😀
To add a finishing touch, I simply had to render this with radiosity. Blender 2.29 onwards has a new quick radiosity render, which doesn’t require the complex multiple steps to calculate a radiosity solution before the render. It took me a long time to get that working but I finally managed. This is still very new, and detailed tutorials and instructions are not to be found anywhere on the net at present. But, this should be addressed in the upcoming Blender 2.30 guide by the Blender Foundation. Until then, enjoy the image.