Have you ever wanted to become an animator and bring your imagination to life?
In this course you receive a .Blend file with a free character, scene and props created in the amazing and free 3D software called Blender.
The course begins by creating a character pose. This simple pose forms the basis of the characters actions. The characters pose allows for for easy animation throughout the scene. This pose involves parenting or connecting a controller object to the characters hand. The Character will be animated using this object later in the scene.
Next we create a walk cycle for our character. We add a path object to the scene and animate him walking backwards along it as he carefully guides a paint rig into the scene.
To give the character some reactions we will use shape keys that control some simple face movements that are easily animated throughout the scene.
We set up a camera to help capture the story of the scene and animate its movement from start to finish.
We will set up multiple scenes within Blender and render these scenes out in PNG format. Then we will use Blenders video editing features to quickly and easily combine those scenes with sound and render out the the short animation to view on a media player such as VLC.
Sound easy? You'll be surprised at the results you can achieve with a little time and effort, using this amazing and extremely powerful application that is Blender.
This add-on needs to e enabled for students to follow along successfully using the short cuts. Go to File - User preferences - Add-ons and the very last one at the bottom of the list, Put a check mark to enable - User interface: Pie menu official.
Be sure and download the .Blend.zip files accompanying this course. It contains the character, props and scene setup. You can choose between two .blend.zip files. The first is post character material allowing you to skip lecture 2 and jump to lecture 3. The second .Blend file is before the characters material is applied to the character, choose this file if you wish to apply your own material by following the process in lecture 2. These .blend.zip files will need to be uncompressed. To do this save them to a location on your computer, right click and depending on whether you have a Mac (open with archive utility, and this unzips it by creating a .blend file beside it) or Windows PC (Zip-Extract files, this creates a new folder with the .blend inside).
Also contained in the resources is the rendered animation and a Blender short cut reminder list for quick reference. This is saved in PDF format and makes a very useful companion when printed and sitting beside your computer, especially when you need to undo the last operation but can't recall the keys.
In This lecture we take a look at the environment and the objects within the scene. We take a quick look at the render settings, material and the lighting within the scene.
In this lecture we take the character and apply some color to help bring him to life. The material set up in the scene uses Blenders internal rendering engine. The Blender render has a very cool feature called freestyle. The freestyle feature is enabled in this scene, and along with some other lighting and material settings combine to give the cartoon style render you see when the render option is selected.
In this lecture we take a look at the armature or character rig. The rig is the name given to the set of control objects visible around the character. The character mesh has been parented to this rig and so each control object controls a certain part of the character. The control objects are selected in object mode, we press tab and select pose mode. Pose mode is where the control objects can control the movements of the character. When in pose move and a control object is selected it will have a blue shading. This control object can now be moved, scaled or rotated altaring the character as it happens.
In this lecture we manipulate the control bones and place the character into a pose we can use for animation throughout the scene. It is possible to create multiple poses and quickly jump back and forth between them.
In this lecture we create a path within the scene and position the character. We constrain the character to this path and repeat the walk cycle.
In this lecture we set the position we want the camera to start at in the scene, we set some key frames to roughly mark its path as the animation plays.
In this lecture we adjust the position of the camera to follow the character more accurately as he begins his walk cycle.
In this lecture we do some fine tuning of the character movements, also we begin to animate the rig and adjust the position of the camera in relation to the rigs movements.
In this lecture we continue to animate the rig to its next position, we also create a second scene within our animation and this allows us to switch prop and camera positions without affecting the previous scene.
In this lecture we focus on the head and face movements and apply some of the shape key we created for the face.
In this lecture we add some more key frames to the rig and adjust its rotation and position.
In this lecture we again apply the walk cycle created in lecture 5 to the character for some short steps backwards.
In this lecture we animate the controller attached to the characters hands and have him press the green button.
In this lecture we begin to animate the rigs stabilizers and arm, we also animate the movements of the camera and follow the rig on its expansion.
In this lecture we animate the characters reaction to the rig expanding with some simple movements.
In this lecture we fine tune the button press. Test renders help us view critical areas of the animation and adjust the timing accordingly.
In this lecture we begin to add the PNG images we rendered out for the scenes we created. Using Blenders video editing features allows us to quickly and easily add them in order.
In this lecture we add the sound assets and combine them with the images along the time line. The website used to gather these assets is Freesound.org and using the CC0 public domain dedication.
In this lecture we use the render setting that came with the .blend file and output the animation to Xvid where it can be played on media players such as VLC, this is a free media player available for download to window computers and Macs.
Thomas mc Donald is a 3D Designer currently living in Kilkenny Ireland who has a passion for 3D modelling and animation and using Blenders powerful software allows his imagination come to life like never before.
Over the past 12 years he’s worked on various 3D Modelling programs designing for production. Having discovered Blender a number of years ago and realized its amazing potential for creating, the future has no limits.