Character Animation with Blender for Beginners
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Character Animation with Blender for Beginners

The complete beginners guide to animating 3D characters
4.4 (30 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.
1,515 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2016
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $30 Discount: 67% off
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Includes:
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 6 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
understand the process of 3D character animation
create more believable and realistic character animation
animate characters for film and game projects
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • It will be helpful if you already have Blender downloaded and installed
  • Some Blender 3D knowledge may be helpful, but not essential
Description

Have you ever wanted to bring your own characters to life? Perhaps, you've seen a few animated films and thought, "Man, I wish I could do that"

You probably don't have a whole lot of cash (as well as time) to invest in learning 3D character animation from an accredited university. Or perhaps you do, but want to get a head-start without forking a lot of cash to start off with.

Even if you've done some character animation before, you may have struggled to understand why your character doesn't look...well...alive.

What's in this course?

In this course, we aim to help you introduce you to the world of character animation as well as imbue life into your character animations. We also aim to ensure that you don't go broke doing so. 

You will be learning completely from scratch, the whole process of 3D character animation. Specifically,

  • You will learn the skills and techniques of animating realistic and believable characters. 
  • In addition to learning all the theory-related stuff, you will also get hands-on experience in animating your own scenes. You can follow along as we will animate walks, runs, waving of arms, etc.
  • We will also look at more advanced character animation skills to further help enhance the believability and realism of your characters. You will specifically learn how to animate eye movements to help make your character look alive, facial expressions, lip-syncing, etc. 


With 40 lectures and 6+ hours of content, there are so many different things you can learn. The topic of 3D character animation is so vast and complex and the learning curve can be so high, especially when starting out. I've gathered everything that I've learned over the years and have organized it in a way that will help you understand most effectively.

Who is this course for?

This will be perfect for absolute beginners as I will walk you step-by-step starting from how to navigate your way around your 3D software towards animating convincing character action. There are no nasty jargon used in this course. Everything is explained in an easy-to-understand manner. 

You don't need to know anything about animation. You don't even need to have a 3D software installed as we will cover this. It will help if you have some passion for character animation. At the very least, some passion for CGI-related works.

This course isn't limited to just beginners. Intermediate and Expert level users may also gain valuable knowledge from this course.

What is expected outcome after the course?

By the end of this course, you can expect to have a decent understanding of building convincing and realistic 3D character animation. You will also gain experience and confidence doing your own 3D character animation.

From there, you would be more prepared to start your own projects (imagine being able to create your very own animated short film) or you could start looking at jobs that need character animators. If you choose to do a more formal course on 3D animation, you will most likely get a head start!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone, but having some passion for animation and/or CGI can be helpful
  • Beginners in the world of CGI and animation
  • 3D character animation beginners
  • This course is not for those looking to get into Pixar. In other words, you would most likely not be a Pixar-level animator after taking this course.
  • This course is not for those looking to be awesome character animators overnight
  • Blender users may have a slight advantage, however, anyone with any 3D software should be able to follow along
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 40 Lectures Collapse All 40 Lectures 06:10:22
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Introduction
5 Lectures 11:09

Welcome to the 3D Character Animation for Beginners course. You'll see what this course is all about!

Preview 02:26

In this lecture, you will get a brief overview of what this course will cover!

Preview 03:50

If you're wondering whether this course is right for you, this video will help you decide.

Preview 02:16

In this lecture, you will be presented with some prerequisites which may be helpful before attempting the exercises in this course.

Preview 01:30

We recap everything we covered in this section.

Summary
01:07
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Concepts
5 Lectures 37:39

Learn the 12 Principles of Character Animation in this lecture. Applying these principles in your work will contribute to a more realistic and believable looking character animation.

The 12 Principles are:

  • Squash and Stretch
  • Anticipation
  • Staging
  • Straight Ahead/Pose 2 Pose
  • Follow Through/Overlapping Action
  • Slow In/Slow Out
  • Arcs
  • Secondary Actions
  • Timing
  • Exaggeration
  • Solid Drawing
  • Appeal
12 Principles of Character Animation
11:22

In this lecture, you will learn about the two techniques of crafting character animation: Pose 2 Pose and Straight Ahead.

To explain briefly,

  • Pose 2 Pose: You start building your key poses at predefined times. Once they have been set, you then define poses between the key poses and so on, until you have your complete animation. This allows you to precisely control the timing of your character's actions.
  • Straight Ahead: You start to build your pose from frame 1, and then keep changing the pose frame by frame, similar to the way it is done in traditional 2D animation. The advantage, however, is that it produces the most spontaneous and lively looking animation.

You will learn how these techniques work and which one is best to apply in your own work.

Pose 2 Pose vs. Straight Ahead Animation
07:11

In this lecture, you will learn the basic workflow for approaching character animation. You will see from a high-level, how to start a character animation scene from scratch and how to build it up to the final product.

The main stages involve:

  • Planning
  • Blocking and Refining
  • Polishing
  • Rendering

We will cover these steps in the lecture in detail and by the end of the lecture, you will get a better understanding of the way to approach character animation for your own projects.

Basic workflow for Character Animation
08:02

In this lecture, you will learn about 5 annoying things you may come across when doing character animation in Blender.

Specifically, we will cover:

  • Interacting with props
  • Interacting with objects
  • Changing between IK and FK
  • Walk/Run Cycles
  • Facial Animation
5 Annoying Things about Character Animation in Blender
08:50

A short quiz to test your understanding of the concepts of 3D Character Animation. This one will be quite easy and is simply used to test your knowledge and understanding of the course so far.

Homework #1: Character Animation Concepts
4 questions

Summary
02:14
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Setting Up
6 Lectures 47:59

In this lecture, you will be introduced to the very basics of Blender. You won't learn everything about Blender, but just the basics as they apply to animation. We will primarily look at the interface and some of the tools that you will be using.

Introduction to Blender
03:43

In this lecture, you will learn how to do basic animation in Blender. You will know how to set keyframes for your animations and how to make basic objects move, rotate and scale over time.

Introduction to Animation in Blender
08:39

In this lecture, you will learn about the different character generators you can use with Blender. We will also briefly cover the character generator that we will be using throughout the course.

Character Generators for Blender
07:33

In this lecture, you will start with some practical animation basics and learn how to animate a bouncing ball in Blender.

Animating a Bouncing Ball in Blender
19:57

In this lecture, you will learn the process of approaching character animation in Blender. This is the process we will be using to create our character animation scenes in this course.

How to Approach Character Animation in Blender
06:45

Summary
01:22
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Technical Concepts
6 Lectures 52:57

In this lecture, you will learn about armatures and how to use it in Blender to pose and animate your characters. 

Rigs and Armatures
09:34

In this lecture, you will learn the difference between Inverse Kinematics (IK) and Forward Kinematics (FK) and why it will make your life as a character animator a whole lot easier.

IK/FK Switches
09:07

In this lecture, you will learn about the Dopesheet and NLA editor and how it can be used to easily control the timing of your character animation as well as mix and match cool actions.

The Dopesheet and NLA Editor
14:51

In this lecture, you will learn about the Graph Editor. The Dopesheet/Action editor allows you to control timing, but the Graph Editor will allow you to fine-tune the position, rotation and scale of every element of your character's pose and animation. This one is for advanced character animators.

Graph Editor
05:33

In this lecture, we will look at the controls of a facial rig and how to create facial expressions as well as animate them.

Facial Rig
11:15

Summary
02:37
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Let's Do Some Character Animation!
10 Lectures 02:05:51

In this lecture, you will learn the main concepts of creating a simple walk cycle. By learning this concept, you will be able to create walk cycles with good poses and timing easily.

Simple Walk Cycle Concept
04:25

In this lecture, we will be creating a walk cycle in real time from scratch. Part 1 of 2.

Building a Walk Cycle
18:33

In this lecture, we will be creating a walk cycle in real time from scratch. Part 2 of 2.

Building a Walk Cycle (Part 2)
20:05

In this lecture, you will learn the main concepts of creating a simple run cycle. By learning this concept, you will be able to create run cycles with good poses and timing easily.

Simple Run Cycle Concept
05:43

In this lecture, we will be creating a run cycle in real time from scratch. Part 1 of 2.

Building a Run Cycle (Part 1)
19:53

In this lecture, we will be creating a run cycle in real time from scratch. Part 2 of 2.

Building a Run Cycle (Part 2)
19:01

In this short lecture, you will learn the best way to approach walk/run cycles for films. Specifically, we will look at two ways of animating a walk/run cycle and their advantages and disadvantages.

Best way to Approach Walk/Run Cycles in Films
07:27

In this lecture, we will be learning how to animate the waving of arms and imbue it with a bit of life using the 12 principles of character animation. Part 1 of 2.

Waving Arm Animation (Part 1)
18:36

In this lecture, we will be learning how to animate the waving of arms and imbue it with a bit of life using the 12 principles of character animation. Part 2 of 2.

Waving Arm Animation (Part 2)
11:11

Summary
00:57
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Advanced Character Animation Tips
7 Lectures 01:30:41

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your character talk! We will create mouth shapes for different sounds and apply them to our library. We then later make use of this library to make lip syncing our character a whole lot easier.

Lip Syncing
19:52

In this lecture, you will learn effective tips on animating realistic and believable eye movement which can help enhance the effect of bringing your character to life.

Eye animation
13:09

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your characters interact with other objects. You will specifically learn how to make your character pick up a ball and then put it down again. We will be making use of constraints to achieve this.

Interacting with Objects
16:14

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your characters interact with other characters. Specifically, you will learn how to make your character shake hands with another character. We will be using bone constraints to achieve this.

Interacting with Characters
13:42

In this lecture, you will learn about animating hair using Blender's hair simulation tool. This can help to further enhance the believability of your character animations.

Hair animation
07:21

In this lecture, you will learn about animating clothes using Blender's cloth simulation. This can help to further enhance the believability of your character animations.

Cloth animation
17:59

Summary
02:24
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Conclusion
1 Lecture 04:07

In this lecture, we will summarize everything we have learned throughout this course.

Summary
04:07
About the Instructor
Danan Thilakanathan
4.4 Average rating
143 Reviews
5,652 Students
3 Courses
Self-taught Filmmaker, 3D Animator and Educator

Hi, my name is Danan. I am a Software Engineer by day and a Filmmaker/Animator/Educator by night.

I started out making an animated short film for fun using Blender a few years ago. It was during this time did I realize I had a huge passion for 3D filmmaking. I have spent the past 5 years making animated short films and have learnt a great deal about the entire process of filmmaking and animation.

This is something that I do as a hobby. Animation and filmmaking is something I'm quite passionate about and I spent a few years trying to learn and master this skill. Through heaps of trial and error and researching on my own, I feel I have come a long way. I would now like to impart this knowledge towards others who feel a similar way. 

I know very well, animated filmmaking is hard. Very hard in fact. One of my main goals, is to make the learning process easier for other people. Feel free to check out any of my courses and I hope I have helped you in your quest to achieve your dream! :)