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Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Character= s, Second Edition

Book Description

Master the Newest Blender Techniques for Creating Amazing 3D Characters: From Design and Modeling to Video Compositing

Now fully updated for Blender 2.78b and beyond, Learning Blender, Second Edition, walks you through every step of creating an outstanding 3D animated character with Blender, and then compositing it in a real video using a professional workflow. This edition covers the powerful new selection and modeling tools, as well as high-efficiency improvements related to other parts of the project such as texture painting, shading, rigging, rendering, and compositing.

Still the only Blender tutorial to take you from preproduction to final result, this guide is perfect for both novices and those moving from other software to Blender (open source and free software). Author Oliver Villar provides full-color, hands-on chapters that cover every aspect of character creation: design, modeling, unwrapping, texturing, shading, rigging, animation, and rendering. He also walks you through integrating your animated character into a real-world video, using professional camera tracking, lighting, and compositing techniques.

The rich companion website (blendtuts.com/learning-blender-files) will help you quickly master even the most complex techniques with bonus contents like video tutorials. By the time you're done, you'll be ready to create outstanding characters for all media—and you'll have up-to-date skills for any 3D project, whether it involves characters or not.

  • Learn Blender's updated user interface, navigation, and selection techniques

  • Create your first scene with Blender and the Blender Render and Cycles render engines

  • Organize an efficient, step-by-step pipeline to streamline workflow in any project

  • Master modeling, unwrapping, and texturing

  • Bring your character to life with materials and shading

  • Create your character's skeleton and make it walk

  • Use Camera Tracking to mix 3D objects into a real-world video

  • Transform a raw rendered scene into the final result using Blender's compositing nodes

Table of Contents

  1. About This E-Book
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. About the Author
  9. Part I The Basics of Blender
    1. 1 What You Need to Know About Blender
      1. What Is Blender?
      2. Commercial Software Versus Open-Source Software
        1. Commercial Software
        2. Open-Source Software
      3. The History of Blender
      4. The Blender Foundation and Blender Institute
      5. The Blender Community
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
    2. 2 Blender Basics: The User Interface
      1. Downloading and Installing Blender
      2. Using Blender with Recommended Hardware
      3. Navigating the Blender User Interface
      4. Understanding the 3D View Editor
      5. Navigating 3D View
      6. Managing Areas
      7. Working with Editor Types
      8. Selecting Objects
      9. Making an Active Selection
      10. Using the 3D Cursor
      11. Setting Blender’s User Preferences
      12. Summary
      13. Exercises
    3. 3 Your First Scene in Blender
      1. Creating Objects
      2. Moving, Rotating, and Scaling
        1. Using Manipulators (Basic Mode)
        2. Using Keyboard Shortcuts (Advanced Mode)
        3. Arranging Objects in Your Scene
      3. Naming Objects and Using Datablocks
        1. Renaming Objects
        2. Managing Datablocks
        3. Naming Your Scene’s Objects
      4. Using Interaction Modes
      5. Applying Flat or Smooth Surfaces
      6. Working with Modifiers
        1. Adding Modifiers
        2. Adding a Subdivision Surface Modifier to Your Object
      7. Using Blender Render and Cycles
      8. Managing Materials
        1. Using Blender Render Materials
        2. Using Cycles Materials
        3. Adding Materials to Your Scene
      9. Turning on the Lights
        1. Light Options in Blender Render
        2. Lights Options in Cycles
        3. Adding Lights to Your Scene
      10. Moving the Camera in Your Scene
      11. Rendering
        1. Rendering in Blender Render
        2. Rendering in Cycles
        3. Saving and Loading Your .blend File
        4. Launching and Saving the Render
      12. Summary
      13. Exercises
  10. Part II Beginning a Project
    1. 4 Project Overview
      1. The Three Stages of a Project
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
        3. Postproduction
      2. Defining the Stages
        1. A Film Without Visual Effects
        2. A Visual-Effects Film
        3. An Animated Film
        4. A Photograph
      3. Making a Character-Creation Plan
        1. Character Preproduction
        2. Character Production
        3. Project Postproduction
      4. Summary
      5. Exercises
    2. 5 Character Design
      1. Character Description
        1. Personality
        2. Context
        3. Style
        4. Appearance
      2. Designing the Character
        1. Silhouettes
        2. Base Design
        3. Head
        4. Details
        5. Refined Design
      3. Adding Color
      4. Finalizing the Design
      5. Making Character Reference Images
      6. Using Other Design Methods
      7. Summary
      8. Exercises
  11. Part III Modeling in Blender
    1. 6 Blender Modeling Tools
      1. Working with Vertices, Edges, and Faces
        1. Selecting Vertices, Edges, and Faces
        2. Accessing Modeling Tools
      2. Making Selections
        1. Shortest Path
        2. Proportional Editing
        3. Linked Selection
        4. Loops and Rings
        5. Border Selection
        6. Grow and Shrink Selection
        7. Limit Selection to Visible
        8. Select Similar
        9. Select Linked Flat Faces
        10. Select Boundary Loop and Loop Inner-Region
        11. Checker Deselect
        12. Other Selection Methods
      3. Using Mesh Modeling Tools
        1. Bevel
        2. Boolean Operations: Intersect (Boolean) and Intersect (Knife)
        3. Bisect
        4. Bridge Edge Loops
        5. Connect
        6. Delete and Dissolve
        7. Duplicate
        8. Edge Offset
        9. Extrude
        10. Fill and Grid Fill
        11. Inset
        12. Join
        13. Knife
        14. Knife Project
        15. Loop Cut and Slide
        16. Make Edge/Face
        17. Merge
        18. Poke
        19. Remove Doubles
        20. Rip and Rip Fill
        21. Screw
        22. Separate
        23. Shrink/Flatten
        24. Slide
        25. Smooth Vertex
        26. Solidify
        27. Spin
        28. Split
        29. Subdivide
      4. Working with LoopTools
      5. Working with F2
      6. Using Other Interesting Blender Options
        1. AutoMerge
        2. Hide and Reveal
        3. Snapping
      7. Summary
      8. Exercises
    2. 7 Character Modeling
      1. What Is Mesh Topology?
      2. Choosing Modeling Methods
        1. Box Modeling
        2. Poly to Poly
        3. Sculpt and Retopologize
        4. Modifiers
        5. The Best Method
      3. Setting Up the Reference Planes
      4. Modeling the Eyes
        1. Creating an Eyeball
        2. Using Lattices to Deform the Eyeballs
        3. Mirroring and Adjusting the Eyes
      5. Modeling the Face
        1. Studying the Face’s Topology
        2. Blocking the Face’s Basic Shape
        3. Defining the Face’s Shapes
        4. Defining the Eyes, Mouth, and Nose
        5. Adding Ears
        6. Building the Inside of the Mouth
      6. Modeling the Torso and Arms
        1. Modeling the Basic Shapes for the Torso and Arms
        2. Defining the Arms and Torso
        3. Detailing the Backpack and Jacket
        4. Finishing the Belt and Adding a Neck to the Jacket
      7. Modeling the Legs
      8. Modeling the Boots
      9. Modeling the Hands
        1. Building the Basic Hand Shape
        2. Adding the Fingers and Wrist
      10. Modeling the Cap
        1. Creating the Base of the Cap
        2. Adding Details to the Cap
      11. Modeling the Hair
        1. Shaping Locks of Hair
        2. Adding Natural Details to the Hair
      12. Modeling the Final Details
        1. Eyebrows
        2. Communicator
        3. Badges
        4. Teeth and Tongue
        5. Other Clothing Details
      13. Summary
      14. Exercises
  12. Part IV Unwrapping, Painting, and Shading
    1. 8 Unwrapping and UVs in Blender
      1. Seeing How Unwrapping and UVs Work
      2. Unwrapping in Blender
        1. Using the UV/Image Editor
        2. Navigating the UV/Image Editor
        3. Accessing the Unwrapping Menus
        4. Working with UV Mapping Tools
        5. Defining Seams
      3. Considering Before Unwrapping
      4. Working with UVs in Blender
        1. Marking the Seams
        2. Creating and Displaying a UV Test Grid
        3. Unwrapping Jim’s Face
        4. Using Live Unwrap
        5. Adjusting UVs
        6. Separating and Connecting UVs
        7. Reviewing the Finished Face’s UVs
      5. Unwrapping the Rest of the Character
      6. Packing UVs
      7. Summary
      8. Exercises
    2. 9 Painting Textures
      1. Defining the Main Workflow
      2. Painting in Blender
        1. Texture Paint Mode
        2. Before You Start Painting
        3. Conditions for Painting
        4. Paint Slots
        5. Limitations of Blender’s Texture Paint Mode
      3. Creating the Base Texture
        1. Placing Texture Elements
        2. Saving Your Image
        3. Packing Your Images
      4. Texturing in 2D Image Editing Software
        1. Exporting the UVs as an Image
        2. Loading the UVs and Base Elements
        3. Adding Base Colors
        4. Adding Details
        5. Applying the Final Touches
      5. Seeing the Painted Character in Blender
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
    3. 10 Materials and Shaders
      1. Understanding Materials
        1. Materials Application
        2. How Materials Work
        3. Masks and Layers
        4. Channels
        5. Blender Render Materials
        6. Cycles Materials
        7. Procedural Textures
      2. Shading Your Character with Blender Render
        1. Setting Up Blender Render Materials
        2. Applying Textures in Blender Render
        3. Shading Jim in Blender Render
        4. Making Render Tests
      3. Shading Your Character with Cycles
        1. Using Cycles Materials
        2. Using Basic Shaders
        3. Mixing and Adding Shaders
        4. Loading Textures
        5. Shading Jim in Cycles
        6. Running Render Tests
      4. Summary
      5. Exercises
  13. Part V Bringing Your Character to Life
    1. 11 Character Rigging
      1. Understanding the Rigging Process
        1. What’s a Rig?
        2. Rigging Process
      2. Working with Armatures
        1. Manipulating Bones
        2. Working in Object, Edit, and Pose Modes
        3. Adding Constraints
      3. Rigging Your Character
        1. Creating the Base Bone Structure
        2. Rigging the Eyes
        3. Rigging the Leg
        4. Rigging the Torso and Head
        5. Rigging the Arm
        6. Rigging the Hand
        7. Mirroring the Rig
        8. Organizing the Rig
      4. Skinning
        1. Understanding Vertex Weights
        2. Setting Up the Model for Skinning
        3. Adding an Armature Modifier
        4. Defining Weights
      5. Creating the Facial Rig
        1. Modeling Shapes
        2. Creating the Face Rig
        3. Using Drivers to Control the Face Shapes
      6. Creating Custom Shapes
      7. Making Final Retouches
      8. Reusing Your Character in Different Scenes
        1. Library Linking
        2. Working with Groups
        3. Protecting Layers
        4. Using Proxies to Animate a Linked Character
        5. Using Dupli Visibility
      9. Summary
      10. Exercises
    2. 12 Animating Your Character
      1. Inserting Keyframes
        1. Using the Manual Method
        2. Using the Automatic Method
        3. Using Keying Sets
        4. Animating Properties in the Menus
      2. Working with Animation Editors
        1. Timeline
        2. Dope Sheet
        3. Graph Editor
        4. Non-Linear Animation (NLA)
        5. Common Controls and Tips
      3. Animating a Walk Cycle
        1. Creating an Action
        2. Creating the Poses for the Walk Cycle
        3. Repeating the Animation
        4. Walking Along a Path
      4. Summary
      5. Exercises
  14. Part VI Getting the Final Result
    1. 13 Camera Tracking in Blender
      1. Understanding Camera Tracking
      2. Shooting Video for Easy Tracking
      3. Using the Movie Clip Editor
      4. Tracking the Camera
        1. Loading Your Footage
        2. Studying the Anatomy of a Marker
        3. Tracking Features in the Footage
        4. Configuring Camera Settings
        5. Solving Camera Motion
        6. Applying Tracked Motion to the Camera
        7. Adjusting Camera Motion
      5. Testing Camera Tracking
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
    2. 14 Lighting, Compositing, and Rendering
      1. Lighting Your Scene
        1. Analyzing the Real Footage
        2. Creating and Testing Lights
      2. Using the Node Editor
        1. Compositing
        2. Understanding Nodes
        3. Studying the Anatomy of a Node
        4. Using the Node Editor
        5. Previewing the Result
      3. Compositing Your Scene in Blender Render
        1. Setting Up the Scene
        2. Setting Up Render Layers
        3. Compositing Nodes
      4. Compositing Your Scene in Cycles
        1. Setting Up the Scene
        2. Setting Up Render Layers
        3. Node Compositing
      5. Rendering
        1. Render Settings
        2. Output
        3. Final Render
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
  15. Part VII Keep Learning
    1. 15 Other Blender Features
      1. Particles
      2. Hair Simulation
      3. Cloth Simulation
      4. Rigid and Soft Bodies
      5. Fluids Simulation
      6. Fire and Smoke
      7. Grease Pencil
      8. Pie Menus
      9. Game Engine
      10. Freestyle Rendering
      11. Masking, Object Tracking, and Video Stabilization
      12. Sculpting
      13. Retopology
      14. Maps Baking
      15. Included Add-Ons
      16. More Add-Ons
      17. Animation Nodes
      18. Python Scripting
      19. Summary
    2. Index