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Animating with Blender

Book Description

Blender has become one of the most popular 3D and animation tools on the market, with over 2 million users, and it is free! Animating with Blender is the definitive resource for creating short animation projects from scratch, the ideal platform for experimenting with animation.

Blender expert and author Roland Hess walks you through the entire process of creating a short animation, from writing to storyboarding and blocking, through character creation, animation and rendering.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Foreword
    1. Prenatal Vitamins
  3. An Overview of the Short Animation Process
    1. Creating a Short Animation
    2. Avoiding Death By Natural Causes
    3. Preproduction
    4. Production
    5. Postproduction
    6. The Importance of Following the Work Flow
    7. Summary
  4. Story Story Story
    1. Objectives
    2. What Makes an Engaging Story
    3. Writing It Down
    4. Story Scope, Your Resources, and Reality
      1. Scope Example: Adding a Second Character
      2. Scope Example: Adding a Second Location
      3. Scope Example: Adding Length
    5. How Long Is My Story?
    6. Summary
  5. Organization
    1. Objectives
    2. Your Digital Assets
    3. The Way That Blender Handles Assets
    4. A Suggested Organizational Structure
    5. Summary
  6. Storyboarding and the Story Reel
    1. Objectives
    2. Storyboarding Basics
    3. Suggested Tools
      1. Pen Tablets
      2. Paint Software
      3. Blender’s Image Editor
    4. Creating the Storyboards
    5. Telling the Story
    6. Recording a Temporary Soundtrack for Timing
    7. Assembling a Story Reel in Blender’s Sequence Editor
      1. Sequencer Tools for Working with Image Strips
      2. Watching and Exporting the Story Reel
    8. Summary
  7. Character Design and Creation
    1. Objectives
    2. Designing in Line with Your Theme and Reality
      1. The Beast
      2. The Mom
      3. The Dogs
    3. Modeling Based on Storyboard Requirements
      1. Faces, Hands, and Clothes
      2. Level of Detail
      3. Normal Mapping for Greater Detail at Lower Resolutions
    4. Mesh Animation Issues
      1. Quads, Edge Loops, and Joints
      2. Bind Pose
      3. Polygon Count
      4. Preparing the Model for Future Work
    5. Summary
  8. Libraries and Linking
    1. Objectives
    2. Libraries, and Why You Should Bother
    3. Linking Assets That Do Not Animate
    4. Linking Assets for Object-Level Animation
      1. Creating an Animation Proxy
      2. Creating and Linking a Dupligroup
      3. Which Method to Choose?
    5. Linking Assets for Character Animation
    6. Managing Your Links and Libraries
      1. Finding and Fixing Broken Links
      2. Moving a Shot File and Maintaining Its Links
      3. Moving an Asset File
    7. Summary
  9. Rough Sets, Blocking, and an Animatic
    1. Objectives
    2. Creating Rough Sets
      1. Preparing the File for the Rough Set
    3. Building Your Template Scene File
    4. Matching Camera Angles to Storyboards
      1. Placing Your Characters
      2. Proceeding Through the Story Reel
      3. Special Case: Reusing Cameras
    5. Additional Detail: Moving Cameras, Moving Characters
    6. Creating an Animatic
      1. Replacing Storyboards in the Story Reel
    7. Summary
  10. Good Sound
    1. Objectives
    2. Finding Decent Equipment and Environments
      1. What to Use
      2. Where to Record
    3. Making the Recording
      1. The Goal of the Recording Session
    4. Some Sound Processing Basics
      1. Removing Noise and Adjusting Levels
    5. Previewing the Recorded Sound
    6. Summary
  11. Rigging and Skinning
    1. Objectives
    2. An Iterative Method for Rigging, Skinning, and Testing
      1. Control Structures
      2. Deformers
      3. Helpers
      4. General Rigging and Skinning Work Flow
      5. Building the Rig in Layers
    3. A Practical Example
      1. Inverse Kinematics/Forward Kinematics
      2. Auto IK
      3. Another Rigging Example: The Fingers
      4. Binding the Rig to the Mesh
      5. To Deform or Not?
      6. The Armature Modifier and Vertex Groups
      7. The Mesh Deform Modifier
      8. Lattices
      9. Combining Different Deformation Methods with Vertex Groups
    4. Testing Your Rig
    5. A Final Example of Fixing a Rigging Problem
    6. A Checklist for Preparing Rigged Characters for Life as a Library
    7. Summary
  12. Facial Motion and Controls
    1. Objectives
    2. Blender’s Method for Controlling Facial Expressions
    3. Creating a Library of Shapes
      1. Different Ways to Construct Expressions
      2. Expression Fragments
      3. Splitting Expressions
      4. Tips for Creating the Shapes
      5. Mouth Shapes for Lip Syncing
    4. Constructing Shape Controls
    5. Rigging and Controlling Eyes
      1. Spherical Eyes
      2. Flattened, Squashed or Otherwise Nonspherical Eyes
    6. Summary
  13. Animation
    1. Objectives
    2. Creation of Per-Shot Working Files from the Scene Template
    3. Animation Basics
    4. Animating in Blender
      1. Working in the Action Editor
      2. Straight Ahead Animation
      3. Pose to Pose Animation
    5. A Practical Example
      1. Timing
      2. Overlap
      3. Anticipation and Follow Through
    6. Fine Tuning Your Animation
      1. Analyzing Motion with Arcs
      2. Facial Expressions
      3. “Automatic” Motion: Breathing and Blinking
    7. Production Techniques
      1. Pick it Up
      2. Hold On!
      3. Walk This Way
    8. A Final Note
    9. Summary
  14. Lip Sync
    1. Objectives
    2. Adding Audio Strips to Shot Files
    3. Creating the Sync
    4. Mixing and Exporting Sound for the Final Edit
    5. Summary
  15. Final Sets and Backgrounds
    1. Objectives
    2. Work Flow
    3. Quality versus Render Time
    4. Geometry
      1. Matching the Rough Set
      2. Movable Objects and Construction
    5. Materials
      1. Raytracing, of Course
      2. Subsurface Scattering
      3. Full OSA
    6. Lighting
      1. What Not to Use
      2. Lighting Exterior Shots
      3. Lighting Interior Shots
      4. Layering
    7. Getting Help
    8. Summary
  16. Simulation
    1. Objectives
    2. Blender’s Simulators
    3. Fluids
      1. Common Methods of Faking Water and Fluids
    4. Cloth
      1. Cloth Pinning
    5. Rigid Bodies
    6. Particles
      1. Fire and Smoke
      2. Bits o’ Stuff
    7. Strands—Hair and Fur
      1. Setting Up and adding parent strands for grooming
      2. Filling it out with children
      3. Materials
    8. Soft Bodies
      1. Blubber
      2. Hair
    9. Linking Issues with Simulators
    10. Summary
  17. Rendering and Compositing
    1. Objectives
    2. Goals and Overview
    3. Lighting Your Shot Files
    4. Compositing for Better, Faster Renders
      1. Faster Renders
      2. Better Renders
      3. Contrast Boost
      4. Midtone Brightness
      5. Combining the Techniques
      6. Color Adjustment
      7. Motion Blur
    5. Getting a Good Render on Your Local Machine
    6. Final Animation Review
    7. Preparing for Render Farming
    8. Setting Up and Using a Render Farm
      1. Using Render Farm Software: Farmerjoe
      2. Running Farmerjoe Remotely
    9. Checking the Final Frames
    10. Staying Organized
    11. Summary
  18. Final Edit and Output
    1. Objectives
    2. Putting All of the Renders Together
    3. Color Correction and More Post Effects
    4. Editing for Timing
    5. Sound, Music, and Foley
      1. Music
      2. Sound Effects and Foley
    6. Output Formats
      1. The Wrappers
      2. Web Distribution
      3. Audio
      4. DVD
    7. Summary
  19. Afterword
    1. The Beast: After the Diaper
  20.