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Learning Blender
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Table of Contents

Preface xxiii

Acknowledgments xxix

About the Author xxxi

Learning Blender Ancillaries xxxiii

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 the Blender Institute 7

The Blender Community 9

Summary 9

Exercises 10

Chapter 2: Blender Basics: The User Interface 11

Downloading and Installing Blender 11

Blender User Interface 12

Understanding the 3D View 13

Navigating the 3D View 17

Managing Areas 19

Editor Types 20

Selecting Objects 23

Using the 3D Cursor 24

Blender User Preferences 26

Summary 28

Exercises 28

Chapter 3: Your First Scene in Blender 29

Creating Objects 29

Moving, Rotating, and Scaling 30

Naming Objects and Datablocks 33

Interaction Modes 36

Applying Flat or Smooth Surfaces 37

Modifiers 38

Blender Render and Cycles 41

Materials 42

Turning on the Lights 44

Moving the Camera in Your Scene 45

Rendering 46

Summary 48

Exercises 48

Part II: Beginning a Project 49

Chapters 4: Project Overview 51

The Three Stages of a Project 51

Defining the Stages 53

A Character-Creation Plan 55

Summary 56

Exercises 56

Chapter 5: Character Design 57

Character Description 57

Designing the Character 60

Adding Color 66

Final Design 67

Character Reference Images 68

Other Design Methods 69

Summary 70

Exercises 70

Part III: Modeling in Blender 71

Chapter 6: Blender Modeling Tools 73

Working with Vertices, Edges, and Faces 73

Selecting Vertices, Edges, and Faces 74

Accessing Modeling Tools 74

Selections 75

Mesh Modeling Tools 78

LoopTools 94

Tips and Tricks 95

Summary 96

Exercises 96

Chapter 7: Character Modeling 97

What Is Mesh Topology? 97

Modeling Methods 99

Setting Up the Reference Planes 101

Modeling the Eyes 103

Modeling the Face 107

Modeling the Torso and Arms 116

Modeling the Legs 125

Modeling the Boots 127

Modeling the Hands 129

Modeling the Cap 133

Modeling the Hair 136

Modeling the Final Details 140

Summary 144

Exercises 144

Part IV: Unwrapping, Painting, and Shading 145

Chapter 8: Unwrapping and UVs in Blender 147

How Unwrapping and UVs Work 147

Unwrapping in Blender 148

Things to Consider before Unwrapping 155

Working with UVs in Blender 156

Unwrapping the Rest of the Character 162

Packing UVs 163

Summary 165

Exercises 166

Chapter 9: Painting Textures 167

Main Workflow 167

Painting in Blender 167

Creating the Base Texture 170

Texturing in 2D Image Editing Software 172

Seeing the Painted Character in Blender 176

Summary 177

Exercises 178

Chapter 10: Materials and Shaders 179

Understanding Materials 179

Shading Your Character with Blender Render 183

Shading Your Character with Cycles 197

Summary 205

Exercises 205

Part V: Bringing Your Character to Life 207

Chapter 11: Character Rigging 209

Understanding the Rigging Process 209

Working with Armatures 210

Rigging Your Character 215

Rig Organization 225

Skinning 228

Creating the Facial Rig 235

Creating Custom Shapes 241

Applying Final Touches to the Rig 242

Summary 243

Exercises 244

Chapter 12: Animating Your Character 245

Inserting Keyframes 245

Animation Editors 246

Animating a Walk Cycle 251

Summary 257

Exercises 257

Part VI: Getting the Final Result 259

Chapter 13: Camera Tracking in Blender 261

Understanding Camera Tracking 261

Things to Consider before Filming 262

The Movie Clip Editor 263

Tracking the Camera 264

Testing Camera Tracking 270

Summary 271

Exercises 271

Chapter 14: Lighting, Compositing, and Rendering 273

Lighting Your Scene 273

The Node Editor 275

Compositing Your Scene in Blender Render 281

Compositing Your Scene in Cycles 287

Rendering 290

Summary 292

Exercises 292

Chapter 15: Other Blender Features 293

Particles 293

Hair Simulation 293

Cloth Simulation 294

Rigid and Soft Bodies 294

Fluids Simulation 294

Fire and Smoke 295

Game Engine 295

Masking, Object Tracking, and Video Stabilization 295

Sculpting 295

Retopology 296

Maps Baking 296

Python Scripting 297

Summary 297

Index 299

About the Author

Oliver Villar has been drawing since he was a kid. His interest in art led him to 3D, which he's been studying since 2004. He used commercial 3D software before discovering Blender in 2008. Since then, he has used Blender professionally as a 3D designer and tutor. In 2010 he founded blendtuts.com, a Blender tutorials site. He is currently co-directing Luke's Escape, a short, 3D-animated film made with Blender.

Reviews

"Villar has captured the excitement of Blender as a 3D modeling, animation, and motion graphics tool in one straightforward, easy-to-follow textbook. The Blender software is growing in popularity and now more than ever is considered one of the must-have tools in the tool shed for 3D."

-Dr. Tim J. Harrington, Solution Manager, Academic IT

"Learning Blender is a great introduction for anyone wanting to learn how to create and edit in 3D using Blender, the free open-source application. Learning to work in 3D can be tough, and Villar uses characters to teach many different techniques, including modeling, lighting, shading, rigging, and animation. The book is filled with great tips and tricks, and can help anyone learn how to work in 3D."

-Mike Kaltschnee, Danbury Hackerspace Inc.

"Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters by Oliver Villar is definitely a valuable addition to your library of golden resources! It doesn't simply show you the hows and whats, but the whys.

The emphasis on fundamentals is something this book is very strong at. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to know more about the modernized Blender and character creation in general.

Simple, intuitive, and very refreshing!"

-Reynante M. Martinez, Blender Guru

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