Learn Animation Production with Blender
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Learn Animation Production with Blender

Create your own 3D animations and bring your stories to life.
4.8 (92 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
642 students enrolled
Created by Darrin Lile
Last updated 6/2017
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
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Includes:
  • 11.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Create your own 3D animations using Blender
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • Download and install Blender from blender.org and GIMP from gimp.org. Both programs are free to download and free to use for any purpose.
Description

Do you have a story to tell? An idea to bring to life? Then join me for "Mastering Blender," a project-based introduction to Blender and 3D animation. In this course we'll go through the process of creating an animated scene from scratch. From the first polygon to the final render. You'll learn all the steps involved in bringing your own animations to life.

We'll start with Blender's user interface and navigation tools, providing you with a solid foundation before moving forward. We will then begin modeling the mech character and the environment. You'll learn how to UV map your 3D objects and texture them. We'll use GIMP to prepare the textures, and the node editor to apply them to Cycles materials.

You'll learn how to rig and animate the mech, as well as animate the camera in the scene. We'll create volumetric lighting and even create a jet flame effect for the mech's jet pack.

Finally, you'll learn how to render out your animation and use Blender's video sequence editor to create a Quicktime movie.

Topics covered:

• Blender Interface and Navigation

• 3D Modeling

• UV Mapping

• Materials and Texturing

• Rigging

• Animation

• Lighting

• Physics Effects

• Rendering

Darrin Lile is a Blender Foundation Certified Trainer

"I love your tutorials! For the first time, I'm able to understand Blender! Thank you so much!" -Jade W

"Great work, Darrin. You make a great teacher as well as a fantastic 3D artist. I really appreciate your work; can't wait to see what you do next! -theLegendofSamuel

"I just wanted to say how much I appreciate these high quality tutorials you put out!!! You are truly an inspirational person. -Zach B

Software used: Blender and GIMP; both are free, open source programs that can be used for any purpose.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is intended for those just starting out in Blender and 3D animation. No prior experience is needed.
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Curriculum For This Course
70 Lectures
11:16:56
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Introduction
1 Lecture 00:46
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Introducing Blender
3 Lectures 18:01

If you're new to Blender and 3D animation, it can be a bit daunting to open up the program and see all the window and buttons. But in this lecture, we go over Blender's interface and navigation tools to give you a solid foundation before moving forward.

Interface and Navigation
05:20

Blender's transformation tools give you the ability to move, rotate, and scale your 3D objects. This lecture provides an overview of the manipulators and short cut keys used to transform objects.

Manipulating Objects
07:35

Beyond the transformation tools of Object Mode, Blender's Edit Mode gives you access to the fundamental components of your 3D models. This lecture show you how to move between Vertex, Edge, and Face mode, giving you the ability to create more complex objects.

Edit Mode
05:06
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Modeling the Mech
18 Lectures 03:12:03

Blender's modifiers allow you to alter your 3D object non-destructively as you model, and you can stack multiple modifiers in various orders to get different effects. In this lecture we will work with the Mirror modifier and the Subdivision Surface modifier.

Modifiers
10:10

Another useful modifier in Blender is the Boolean modifier. This allows you to cut one 3D object with another. In this lecture, we work with the Intersect and Difference operations of the Boolean modifier.

Booleans
10:46

In this lecture we begin modeling the shoulder of the mech. We go over how to extrude a circular shape from a surface of square polygons. In the process we go over Blender's Merge and Circle Select tools.

Modeling the Shoulder
09:53

We begin modeling the mech's arms in this lecture, building the arm up from primitive 3D objects. We use Blender's Snap menu, Global and Local transform orientations, and the Loop Cut tool.

Modeling the Arm
13:44

Blender allows you to move the origin of an object and it's pivot point independently of each other. In this lecture, we use this feature to establish the rotation points of the finger joints. We set-up the parenting hierarchy of the fingers as well.

Object Origins and Parenting
11:29

In this lecture we use the same process for modeling the legs in Blender as we used for the arms. We also talk about increasing and decreasing our selection of faces with Ctrl and the numbed + or - keys.

Modeling the Upper Leg
08:46

Using Blender's Subdivision Surfaces modifier can be very useful when blocking out the rough shape of a 3D object. In this lecture, we use the SubSurf modifier as we create the feet of the mech character.

Modeling the Foot
10:50

Blender's Bridge Tool allows us to connect two edges with polygon faces, filling in the empty space. In this lecture we use the Bridge Tool to create the mech's lower leg.

The Bridge Tool
09:07

In this lecture we use Blender's Mirror modifier to add the arm and leg on the right side of the mech. We also talk about applying rotation and scale so that the mirror function behaves the way we expect.

Preview 07:05

Now that we have the basic parts of the mech created, now is a good time to adjust the character's overall proportions. We use Blender's Separate function to break objects apart to group them more logically.

Adjusting Proportions
14:12

No real-world object has the kind of sharp corners that we get on our 3D models. In this lecture we use Blender's Subdivision Surface modifier to round off the corners of our objects to make them more realistic. We also use the Loop Cut tool to insert edge loops so we can control how sharp or rounded the edges are.

Edge Loops and Smoothing
11:06

In this lecture, we use Blender's Loop Cut tool to continue adding edge loops to the legs and arms of the Mech. With the edge loops we create, we get new face loops that can be extruded to provide extra detail on the mech.

Detailing the Leg and Arm
08:46

Using Blender's Bezier tool is a great way to create paths for tubes and pipes. In this lecture we use the Bezier tool to create the tubes at the top of the mech.

Creating Tubes with a Bezier Curve
12:59

In this lecture we start with basic primitive objects, like the cylinder and cube, to create the mech's jet pack thrusters and the soles of the feet. We use Blender's Subdivision Surface modifier to give these objects more realistic edges.

Thrusters and Soles
12:27

In this lecture we use Blender's Proportional Editing tool to bend a circle so that it molds to the curved surface of the mech. After extruding the shape to give it thickness, we also use the Flip Normals function to reverse the polygons so they face outward.

Proportional Editing and Normals
10:12

Blender's Array Modifier allows you to duplicate an object a defined number of times, and at certain distances. In this lecture we use the Array Modifier to create the vent on the front of the mech's body.

The Array Modifier
08:40

In this lecture we use Blender's primitive objects to create an instrument panel for the mech character. We use the Join Tool to combine all the pieces into one object, and then put it in place on the back of the mech.

Modeling the Instrument Panel
08:41

The last part of the mech that needs to be created is the light on the top. We use many of the modeling tools we covered in previous lectures to create the spot light. We then use Blender's Join Tool to combine all the pieces into one object so that we can move it in to place.

Final Details of the Mech
13:10
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Modeling the Environment
3 Lectures 32:03

In this lecture we turn our attention to modeling the environment. We use Blender's Quad View to see our object from all sides as we're modeling the pillars. And we use the Circle Select Tool to "paint" a selection of faces.

Modeling the Pillars
10:30

In this lecture we begin to layout the basic objects in our scene. We create the floor, walls, and ceiling of the environment and create a camera in the scene. We create a new window in Blender's interface so we can view our scene from the camera's point of view.

Preview 07:29

In this lecture we create a few extra objects in the scene. We create a staircase and a tomb from basic shapes while using Blender's Extrude and Loop Cut tools.

Adding Scene Elements
14:04
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UV Mapping
8 Lectures 01:02:40

This lecture is an introduction to why UV mapping is important for creating any kind of 3D scene. To create detailed textures on our objects, we will need to use Blender's UV Mapping Tools so we can apply two-dimensional images to our three-dimensional objects.

What is UV Mapping?
02:54

In this lecture we talk about Blender's UV mapping tools, the process of UV mapping, and how to mark seams and unwrap an 3D object.

UV Mapping Basics
10:03

We now turn our attention to UV mapping the more complex shapes of the pillars. We talk about how we can use Blender's UV Mapping Tools to place seams, avoid stretching, and pack the UV islands into the 0-to-1 space in the UV editor.

UV Mapping the Pillars
09:07

If one of the goals of UV mapping is to avoid stretching our textures, how can we test if our UV map will cause stretching? In this lecture we use Blender's built-in texture pattern to test if our UV maps will introduce stretching into our textures. And we go over how to fix this if they do.

Testing the UV Maps
07:38

In this lecture we use Blender's UV Mapping Tools to UV map the staircase, tomb, and ceiling of our environment. We then use the test pattern to see and minimize any stretching.

UV Mapping the Environment
11:48

We now finish UV mapping the environment by working on the floor, walls, and ceiling beams of the environment. We use Blender's UV test pattern to check for stretching and even add some extra geometry to ensure proper mapping.

Finishing the Environment UVs
05:04

In this lecture we use Blender's UV Mapping Tools to create a UV map for the mech character. We mark seams to define the UV islands to try and avoid stretching and use Blender's UV test pattern to visualize the stretching as we work.

Beginning the Mech UVs
08:10

In this lecture we use Blender UV Mapping Tools such as Average Island Scale and Pack Islands to ensure that there are no overlapping UV islands, and that they all fit within the 0-to-1 space in the UV Editor.

Finishing the Mech UVs
07:56
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Materials
2 Lectures 25:34

In this lecture we use Blender's Cycles Renderer to assign an Emission material to a polygon plane. This creates a soft light that we can use to light our scene while we assign and test materials for the mech.

Preview 11:40

In this lecture we continue adding basic materials to the objects in our scene. We use Blender's Rendered Viewport Shading to see a preview render of our scene.

Finishing the Materials
13:54
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Sculpting
3 Lectures 24:32

In this lecture we use Blender's Sculpt Tools to create ridges and mounds in the floor of the environment. We test various MatCaps to view the sculpt detail in the 3D view, and we add a procedural texture to the sculpt brush to get finer detail on the floor.

Sculpting the Floor
09:50

To sculpt detail onto the tomb in our scene, we look at the different subdivision methods in Blender's Multiresolution Modifier. We test both Catmull-Clark and Simple subdivision methods.

Sculpting the Coffin and Stairs
06:18

In this lecture we use Blender's Sculpt Tools to create the rocky surface for the hole in the ceiling. We also add a Spot Light into the scene to test how light looks coming in through the hole.

Sculpting the Ceiling
08:24
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Texturing
6 Lectures 01:08:13

GIMP is a free, open-source image editor that can be used to create textures for our scene in Blender. In this lecture, we use GIMP to create a seamless stone texture. We then apply that texture to the tomb, using Blender's Node Editor.

Texturing the Coffin and Stairs
13:00

In this lecture we use our image texture to generate bump detail in our render. We Blender's Node Editor to connect the bump information to the material of the tomb, stairs, and floor.

Applying Bump Textures
10:52

In this lecture we user GIMP to create a multi-layered image texture that we can apply to the pillars in our Blender scene. We use the Node Editor again to connect our textures to the material of the object.

Texturing the Pillars
13:34

In this lecture we combine techniques from the previous videos to texture the ceiling of the environment. We use GIMP to create a texture based on the UV map of the ceiling object, and we cut and paste image elements to create sand stone and rock textures.

Texturing the Ceiling
09:15

For the walls we build a stone texture in GIMP with an overlay of hieroglyphics. We then bring this texture into Blender and use the Node Editor to hook it up to the wall material.

Texturing the Walls
10:49

In this lecture we create a seamless metal texture in GIMP and use this for the mech in Blender. We also set-up the material for the rubber hoses and joint on the mech.

Texturing the Mech
10:43
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Rigging
10 Lectures 01:51:19

Before we can right the mech we need to organize the objects of the mech into logic groups. We use Blender's Join and Separate tools to reorganize the structure of the mech's body parts so we can rig the character properly.

Preparing the Mech for Rigging
12:03

In this lecture we establish pivot points for the limbs and spot light of the mech. We use Blender's Set Origin feature and 3D cursor to set the pivot points.

Finishing the Prep Work
06:00

In this lecture we start creating the rig of the mech using Blender's Armature tools. We create the bones for the limbs, light, and fingers of the mech.

Creating the Armature
12:16

The roll of the a character's bones dictate how the limbs will be able to move and rotate. In this video we user Blender's Armature tools to adjust the roll angles of the mech's bones. We also use the Flip Names feature to duplicate the left side limbs and Mirror them over to the right side with the proper names.

Adjusting Roll and Mirroring
09:38

We begin this lecture by parenting the bones of the mech's limbs to the main bone of its body. We then work on creating an Inverse Kinematic chain for each of the legs.

Preview 11:39

When animating a character, the ability to roll the foot up onto the toes and back onto the heel is extremely useful. In this lecture, we use Blender's bone constraints to create a foot roll rig for the mech character.

Creating a Foot Roll Rig
14:50

In this lecture we create an IK chain for the arms and an elbow control bone. We also use Blender's Copy Constraint to set-up a system to bend all the joints of a finger by just rotating one bone.

Setting Up the Arms and Hands
12:06

When animating our character in Blender, it's best to not select and directly transform many of the individual bones of the rig. Many bones do not need to be accessed and can break the rig if they are disturbed. To avoid this we'll create Custom Shapes for the bones we want to animate, and hide all the rest.

Creating Custom Shapes
13:44

When animating our character in Blender, it's best to not select and directly transform many of the individual bones of the rig. Many bones do not need to be accessed and can break the rig if they are disturbed. To avoid this we'll create Custom Shapes for the bones we want to animate, and hide all the rest.

Finishing the Custom Shapes
11:08

The last control object we will create for our character rig is the Master Control. We create a single bone in Blender and give it a custom shape. We then parent the main bones to this object. Now we are able to move the character and the rig, as a unit, around our scene.

Creating the Master Control
07:55
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Animation
9 Lectures 01:29:20

In this lecture we prepare the Blender scene for animation. We disable selection for the environment and the character, so that we will only select the character's rig. In addition, we set-up the user interface to display the Dope Sheet and Graph Editor.

Prepping for Animation
06:04

In this lecture we being using Blender's animation tools to block out the basic movement of the mech in the scene. We set keyframe at the end and at the beginning of the animation, and turn on Blender's Auto Key function.

Creating the First Keyframes
14:03

In this lecture we begin using Blender's Graph Editor to fine-tune the animation. We use the Free Handle type to adjust the curves in the graph editor and talk about the benefits of deleting keyframes, rather than adding more.

Preview 12:45

In this lecture we begin posing our mech character as it flies into the scene. We use Blender's Dope Sheet to establish the time of our poses.

Beginning the Poses
14:34

In this lecture we continue posing our mech character as it flies into the scene. We use Blender's Dope Sheet to establish the time of our poses.

Continuing the Poses
08:44

It's time to come in for a landing. In this lecture we work on having the mech drop to the ground in our scene. We use Blender's Dope Sheet and Graph Editor to adjust the timing of the drop.

Drop to the Ground
10:52

In this lecture we talk about the difference between Blender's Bezier and Linear keyframe interpolation. We work on the follow through actions as the mech drops to the ground.

Stick the Landing
06:41

Once the mech character is on the ground we need to have him look around the environment. In this lecture we use Blender's Dope Sheet to adjust the timing as the character looks from side to side.

Looking Around
10:39

In this lecture we finish up the animation in Blender by working on the mech's light. We use the custom shape that we created earlier to animate the direction of the light. And we take a look at the completed animation.

Animating the Light
04:58
5 More Sections
About the Instructor
Darrin Lile
4.7 Average rating
409 Reviews
2,259 Students
6 Courses
Blender Foundation Certified Trainer

Darrin Lile is an animator, developer, and Blender Foundation Certified Trainer teaching courses in computer animation and game development. He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Kansas and has worked as an animator, a producer of educational films, a sound editor for film and television, and as a computer security analyst.