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Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters, 2nd Edition

Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters, 2nd Edition

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  • Copyright 2017
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9"
  • Edition: 2nd
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-466516-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-466516-0

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


Author's Site

Visit the author's site at blendtuts.com/learning-blender-files for production files and additional materials to support this title.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Preface xxiii

Acknowledgments xxix

About the Author xxxi

Part I: The Basics of Blender 1

Chapter 1: What You Need to Know About Blender 3

What Is Blender? 3

Commercial Software Versus Open-Source Software 4

The History of Blender 5

The Blender Foundation and Blender Institute 7

The Blender Community 9

Summary 10

Exercises 10

Chapter 2: Blender Basics: The User Interface 11

Downloading and Installing Blender 11

Using Blender with Recommended Hardware 11

Navigating the Blender User Interface 13

Understanding the 3D View Editor 14

Navigating 3D View 18

Managing Areas 20

Working with Editor Types 21

Selecting Objects 24

Making an Active Selection 25

Using the 3D Cursor 25

Setting Blender’s User Preferences 27

Summary 29

Exercises 29

Chapter 3: Your First Scene in Blender 31

Creating Objects 31

Moving, Rotating, and Scaling 32

Naming Objects and Using Datablocks 35

Using Interaction Modes 38

Applying Flat or Smooth Surfaces 39

Working with Modifiers 40

Using Blender Render and Cycles 44

Managing Materials 44

Turning on the Lights 46

Moving the Camera in Your Scene 47

Rendering 48

Summary 51

Exercises 51

Part II: Beginning a Project 53

Chapter 4: Project Overview 55

The Three Stages of a Project 55

Defining the Stages 56

Making a Character-Creation Plan 59

Summary 60

Exercises 60

Chapter 5: Character Design 61

Character Description 61

Designing the Character 64

Adding Color 70

Finalizing the Design 71

Making Character Reference Images 72

Using Other Design Methods 74

Summary 75

Exercises 75

Part III: Modeling in Blender 77

Chapter 6: Blender Modeling Tools 79

Working with Vertices, Edges, and Faces 79

Making Selections 81

Using Mesh Modeling Tools 86

Working with LoopTools 105

Working with F2 107

Using Other Interesting Blender Options 108

Summary 109

Exercises 109

Chapter 7: Character Modeling 111

What Is Mesh Topology? 111

Choosing Modeling Methods 113

Setting Up the Reference Planes 114

Modeling the Eyes 117

Modeling the Face 121

Modeling the Torso and Arms 131

Modeling the Legs 139

Modeling the Boots 141

Modeling the Hands 143

Modeling the Cap 147

Modeling the Hair 150

Modeling the Final Details 154

Summary 158

Exercises 158

Part IV: Unwrapping, Painting, and Shading 159

Chapter 8: Unwrapping and UVs in Blender 161

Seeing How Unwrapping and UVs Work 161

Unwrapping in Blender 162

Considering Before Unwrapping 169

Working with UVs in Blender 170

Unwrapping the Rest of the Character 176

Packing UVs 177

Summary 179

Exercises 180

Chapter 9: Painting Textures 181

Defining the Main Workflow 181

Painting in Blender 181

Creating the Base Texture 186

Texturing in 2D Image Editing Software 188

Seeing the Painted Character in Blender 193

Summary 193

Exercises 194

Chapter 10: Materials and Shaders 195

Understanding Materials 195

Shading Your Character with Blender Render 199

Shading Your Character with Cycles 212

Summary 220

Exercises 220

Part V: Bringing Your Character to Life 221

Chapter 11: Character Rigging 223

Understanding the Rigging Process 223

Working with Armatures 224

Rigging Your Character 229

Skinning 242

Creating the Facial Rig 250

Creating Custom Shapes 255

Making Final Retouches 257

Reusing Your Character in Different Scenes 258

Summary 260

Exercises 261

Chapter 12: Animating Your Character 263

Inserting Keyframes 263

Working with Animation Editors 264

Animating a Walk Cycle 269

Summary 274

Exercises 275

Part VI: Getting the Final Result 277

Chapter 13: Camera Tracking in Blender 279

Understanding Camera Tracking 279

Shooting Video for Easy Tracking 280

Using the Movie Clip Editor 281

Tracking the Camera 282

Testing Camera Tracking 289

Summary 290

Exercises 290

Chapter 14: Lighting, Compositing, and Rendering 291

Lighting Your Scene 291

Using the Node Editor 293

Compositing Your Scene in Blender Render 299

Compositing Your Scene in Cycles 304

Rendering 307

Summary 309

Exercises 310

Part VII: Keep Learning 311

Chapter 15: Other Blender Features 313

Particles 313

Hair Simulation 313

Cloth Simulation 314

Rigid and Soft Bodies 314

Fluids Simulation 314

Fire and Smoke 314

Grease Pencil 315

Pie Menus 315

Game Engine 315

Freestyle Rendering 315

Masking, Object Tracking, and Video Stabilization 316

Sculpting 316

Retopology 316

Maps Baking 317

Included Add-Ons 317

More Add-Ons 317

Animation Nodes 318

Python Scripting 318

Summary 318

Index 319



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