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Learning Blender: A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters

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Learning Blender

A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters

By Oliver Villar

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Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United States, 01 October 2014
Create Amazing 3D Characters with Blender: From Design and Modeling to Video Compositing Learning Blender walks you through every step of creating an outstanding animated character with the free, open source, 3D software Blender, and then compositing it in a real video using a professional workflow. This is the only Blender tutorial to take you from preproduction to final result, and it's perfect for both 3D novices and those who've used other 3D Software. Focusing on Blender 2.71 and above, 3D-professional Oliver Villar explains all the basics, including Blender's interface, controls, and how to manipulate objects. Once you've mastered the fundamentals, you'll follow a realistic 3D workflow through a complete project. You'll find chapters on every aspect of the character creation: design, modeling, unwrapping, texturing, shading, rigging, and animation. Once your character is ready and animated, you'll learn how to integrate it into a real video using camera tracking techniques, lighting, and compositing. Each skillset is taught hands on, and available online video tutorials (more than 5 hours) will guide you through Blender's trickier tasks. By the time you're done, you'll understand how the whole process fits together, and how to use Blender to create outstanding characters for all media. You'll also build strong Blender skills you can apply in any 3D project, whether it involves characters or not. Learn How To Master Blender's innovative user interface, navigation, and selection techniquesCreate your first scene with Blender and get comfortable with its core toolsPrepare for projects so they'll go as smoothly as possibleUse modeling tools to create a 3D characterBring your character to life with color, textures, and materialsCreate your character's skeleton and make it walkMake the most of Blender's Camera Tracking toolsAdd lights to your 3D sceneRender with Blender Internal or the powerful new Cycles render engineComposite your 3D character into a real videoSwitch to Blender from 3ds Max, Maya, or XSI Register your book at informit.com/register to access all of this book's production files, plus bonus video tutorials, and a useful Blender keyboard shortcut reference.

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

EAN: 9780133886177
ISBN: 0133886174
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Dimensions: 22.9 x 18.1 x 1.7 centimetres (0.63 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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