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This chapter is from the book

A Character-Creation Plan

Now that you have a better understanding about the three main stages of a project, let’s define the process you’ll follow throughout the remainder of this book to create a complete 3D-animated character.

Preproduction

A character-creation process starts, of course, with a character design.

  • Designing: Make some drawings to define what the character will look like, what clothes it will wear, and what features might suggest its personality.

Production

This stage can be rather complex and extensive because it’s the main part of the process in which you go from the design to the completed character.

  • Modeling: Model the 3D character in Blender following the design you created in the preproduction stage.
  • Unwrapping: Turn the 3D model into a two-dimensional mesh internally so you can project a 2D image texture on it.
  • Texturing: Paint the textures for the various aspects of the 3D model’s surface, such as clothing textures, skin, hair color, and so forth.
  • Shading: Take texturing a step further by creating materials that will define the surface properties of your character, such as how ref lective or shiny they will be, or whether they will be rough or smooth.
  • Rigging: Add a skeleton to your character and define how it will work and how it will control the character.
  • Animating: Pose the character using keyframes at different times of an animation to make the character perform an action such as walking or running.
  • Video recording: Record a video into which you’ll place your character later.

Postproduction

Once the character is finished, there is still some work to do to make it look pleasing or to put it into a scene.

  • Camera tracking: Simulate a camera’s tracking in the actual footage you record so you end up with a camera in the 3D world that will move similarly to a real camera and allow you to insert 3D elements into your video.
  • Lighting: Add lighting to your scene to make the lights and shadows fit the video you recorded during the production phase. The addition of lighting is usually part of the production stage, but because this project’s main goal is the creation of a character, this time lighting will be part of postproduction.
  • Rendering: Convert the 3D scene into a 2D image with shadows and lighting.
  • Compositing: Take the video and the 3D objects, combine them, and make any necessary adjustments to them so they fit together and look realistic.
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