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Introducing Character Animation with Blender

Book Description

Let this in-depth professional book be your guide to Blender, the powerful open-source 3D modeling and animation software that will bring your ideas to life. Using clear step-by-step instruction and pages of real-world examples, expert animator Tony Mullen walks you through the complexities of modeling and animating, with a special focus on characters. From Blender basics to creating facial expressions and emotion to rendering, you’ll jump right into the process and learn valuable techniques that will transform your movies.

Note: CD-ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of eBook file.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Author
  4. Foreword
  5. Foreword-1
  6. Introduction
    1. The Open-Source Advantage
    2. Who Should Buy This Book
    3. What's Inside
    4. What's on the DVD
    5. How to Contact the Author
  7. I. Creating a Character with Blender
    1. 1. Blender Basics: Interface and Objects
      1. 1.1. Work Areas and Window Types
        1. 1.1.1. Buttons Window
        2. 1.1.2. Context-Sensitive Menus
      2. 1.2. Navigating the 3D Space
        1. 1.2.1.
          1. 1.2.1.1. Blender Units
          2. 1.2.1.2. Using Hotkeys
        2. 1.2.2. Layers
        3. 1.2.3. Views and Perspective
          1. 1.2.3.1. Camera
          2. 1.2.3.2. Preview Window
        4. 1.2.4. Interacting with 3D Objects
          1. 1.2.4.1. Hotkeys
          2. 1.2.4.2. Mouse Movement Shortcuts
          3. 1.2.4.3. Manipulators
          4. 1.2.4.4. Restricting to Axes
          5. 1.2.4.5. Pivot Point
          6. 1.2.4.6. Object Centers
          7. 1.2.4.7. Parenting
      3. 1.3. Objects and Datablocks
        1. 1.3.1. Meshes and Mesh Objects
        2. 1.3.2. Managing Datablocks
          1. 1.3.2.1. Outliner Window
          2. 1.3.2.2. Accessing Data from Different Files
        3. 1.3.3. Groups
      4. 1.4. User Preferences
    2. 2. Working with Meshes
      1. 2.1. Polygons and Subsurfacing
        1. 2.1.1. Blender Modifier System
      2. 2.2. Extrusion Modeling and Box Modeling
        1. 2.2.1. Modeling a Human Head with Extrusion Modeling
        2. 2.2.2. Introducing Captain Blender: from Mild-Mannered Cube to Superhero
          1. 2.2.2.1. Getting Started: Legs and Feet
          2. 2.2.2.2. Torso and Arms
          3. 2.2.2.3. Hands and Gloves
          4. 2.2.2.4. Collar and Belt
          5. 2.2.2.5. Modeling the Head
        3. 2.2.3. Common Problems and Solutions in Mesh Modeling
          1. 2.2.3.1. Inconsistent Normals
          2. 2.2.3.2. Overlapping Faces
          3. 2.2.3.3. Internal Faces
          4. 2.2.3.4. Unwanted Doubles
          5. 2.2.3.5. Unwanted Extrusions
    3. 3. Completing the Model with Materials, Textures, and Particles
      1. 3.1. Material Datablock
      2. 3.2. Material Properties
        1. 3.2.1. Shading and Materials for Captain Blender
        2. 3.2.2. Basic Texturing
      3. 3.3. Textures and UV Mapping
        1. 3.3.1. Eyelashes
        2. 3.3.2. Modeling Eyes
      4. 3.4. Using Static Particles
        1. 3.4.1. Creating Hair with Static Particles
          1. 3.4.1.1. Controlling Hair Emission with Vertex Groups and Weight Painting
          2. 3.4.1.2. Styling with Curve Guides
    4. 4. Armatures and Rigging
      1. 4.1. Blender Armature System
        1. 4.1.1. Bones
        2. 4.1.2. Constraints
      2. 4.2. Building a Simple Armature
        1. 4.2.1. Envelopes
        2. 4.2.2. Inverse Kinematics
        3. 4.2.3. Vertex Groups and Weight Painting
      3. 4.3. Rigging Captain Blender
        1. 4.3.1. IK Constraints
        2. 4.3.2. Stretch Constraints
        3. 4.3.3. Action Constraints
        4. 4.3.4. Armature Summary
        5. 4.3.5. Attaching the Mesh
    5. 5. Shape Keys and Facial Rigging
      1. 5.1. Shape Key Basics
        1. 5.1.1. Additivity
        2. 5.1.2. Adding and Deleting Verts
        3. 5.1.3. Basis Key
        4. 5.1.4. Ipo Drivers
      2. 5.2. Building a Shape Key Set for Captain Blender
        1. 5.2.1. Tweaking the Mesh
        2. 5.2.2. A First Shape: Eyes Closed
        3. 5.2.3. Asymmetry
        4. 5.2.4. Shapes for Lip Syncing
        5. 5.2.5. Shapes for Expressing Emotion
      3. 5.3. Facial Bones and Controls
        1. 5.3.1. Rigging Eyes and Eyelids
          1. 5.3.1.1. Custom Bone Shapes
        2. 5.3.2. Rigging the Tongue
        3. 5.3.3. Shape Key Controls
          1. 5.3.3.1. A Controller for Lowering the Jaw
          2. 5.3.3.2. Smile and Frown Controls
          3. 5.3.3.3. Storing Custom Control Shapes
      4. 5.4. Improved Mesh Deformations Using Driven Shape Keys
  8. II. Bringing It to Life: Animation
    1. 6. Basics of Animation
      1. 6.1. Keyframes and Ipos
        1. 6.1.1. The Timeline
      2. 6.2. Using the Ipo Editor: Bouncing a Ball
        1. 6.2.1. Key Mode
        2. 6.2.2. Edit Mode
        3. 6.2.3. Keying Scale: a Simple Squash/Stretch Effect
      3. 6.3. Interpolation and Extend Types
        1. 6.3.1. Interpolation
          1. 6.3.1.1. Bezier Interpolation
          2. 6.3.1.2. Linear Interpolation
          3. 6.3.1.3. Constant Interpolation
        2. 6.3.2. Extend Types
          1. 6.3.2.1. Constant
          2. 6.3.2.2. Extrapolation
          3. 6.3.2.3. Cyclic
          4. 6.3.2.4. Cyclic Extrapolation
        3. 6.3.3. The Incredible, General Ipo
    2. 7. Armature Animation
      1. 7.1. Posing and Keyframing with the Action Editor
        1. 7.1.1. Bouncing Captain Blender
        2. 7.1.2. Previewing Your Animation
        3. 7.1.3. Tweaking Ipos
        4. 7.1.4. Line of Action
        5. 7.1.5. Manual vs. Auto Keyframing
      2. 7.2. Walk and Run Cycles
        1. 7.2.1. Setting up a Basic Walk Cycle
          1. 7.2.1.1. Why Start with the Extremes?
          2. 7.2.1.2. Upper Body Movement in the Walk Cycle
          3. 7.2.1.3. Constraint Influence
          4. 7.2.1.4. Arms and Hands
        2. 7.2.2. A Run Cycle
          1. 7.2.2.1. Expressing Weight
          2. 7.2.2.2. Making Adjustments
      3. 7.3. Pose-to-Pose Animation
        1. 7.3.1. Changing Location
        2. 7.3.2. Weighty Words from Captain Blender
          1. 7.3.2.1. Sequence Editor
          2. 7.3.2.2. Posing with Speech
    3. 8. Facial Animation and Lip Sync
      1. 8.1. Facial Posing
        1. 8.1.1.
          1. 8.1.1.1. Pose-to-Pose vs. Straight-Ahead Revisited
      2. 8.2. Lip Sync
        1. 8.2.1. Keying Shapes Directly
      3. 8.3. Playback
        1. 8.3.1. Sequencing Rendered Frames
    4. 9. Nonlinear Animation
      1. 9.1. Using the NLA Editor
        1. 9.1.1. Linking Actions to the NLA
        2. 9.1.2. Working with NLA Strips
          1. 9.1.2.1. Action Output and NLA Output
          2. 9.1.2.2. More Fun with NLA Strips
          3. 9.1.2.3. Additive NLA Strips
      2. 9.2. NLA in Action
        1. 9.2.1. Syncing Cyclical Motions: a Walk Cycle with Camera Rotation
          1. 9.2.1.1. Setting Up the Camera Motion
          2. 9.2.1.2. Using NLA Strips to Sync the Walk Cycle Repetitions
        2. 9.2.2. Another Application of NLA: Following a Curve with the Stride Bone
          1. 9.2.2.1. Setting Up the Stride Bone
          2. 9.2.2.2. Following a Path
        3. 9.2.3. Actions for Nonarmature Animations
      3. 9.3. Mixing Actions: Walking and Talking
    5. 10. Further Issues in Character Animation
      1. 10.1. Interacting with Props
        1. 10.1.1. Furniture
        2. 10.1.2. Grabbing and Holding Objects
          1. 10.1.2.1. Picking Up and Throwing a Ball
        3. 10.1.3. Floor Constraint
      2. 10.2. Deformation with Lattices
        1. 10.2.1. Lattice Modifier
      3. 10.3. Softbodies and Metaballs
        1. 10.3.1. Using Softbodies
          1. 10.3.1.1. Captain Blender Puts on Some Pounds
        2. 10.3.2. Metaballs
    6. 11. Lighting, Rendering, and Editing Your Animation
      1. 11.1. Lighting Basics
        1. 11.1.1. Cheats
        2. 11.1.2. Lamps
          1. 11.1.2.1. Lamp
          2. 11.1.2.2. Spot
            1. 11.1.2.2.1. NO SHADOW
            2. 11.1.2.2.2. BUFFER SHADOW
            3. 11.1.2.2.3. RAY SHADOW
          3. 11.1.2.3. Hemi Lights
          4. 11.1.2.4. Sun
          5. 11.1.2.5. Area
        3. 11.1.3. Lighting Setups
          1. 11.1.3.1. Three-Point Lighting
          2. 11.1.3.2. Hemi-lamp Fill
          3. 11.1.3.3. Using Layers
      2. 11.2. Rendering Your Animation
        1. 11.2.1. Render Buttons
        2. 11.2.2. Output Formats
          1. 11.2.2.1. Movies and Stills
          2. 11.2.2.2. Alpha Channel
        3. 11.2.3. Off-Site Rendering
      3. 11.3. Editing in the Sequence Editor
        1. 11.3.1. Adding Media
          1. 11.3.1.1. Basic Compositing
          2. 11.3.1.2. Sound
    7. 12. Using Python Scripts
      1. 12.1. Installing and Executing Python Scripts
      2. 12.2. Standard Scripts
        1. 12.2.1. Object Scripts
        2. 12.2.2. Mesh Scripts
        3. 12.2.3. Animation Scripts
      3. 12.3. Extended Functionality with Scripts
        1. 12.3.1. BlenderPeople
        2. 12.3.2. Library Tools
          1. 12.3.2.1. Pose Handler
          2. 12.3.2.2. Blender Library
  9. III. Blender in Production
    1. 13. Full-Scale Productions: Elephants Dream and Plumiferos
      1. 13.1. GPL, Creative Commons, and the Blender Artistic License
        1. 13.1.1. GNU Public License (GPL)
        2. 13.1.2. Creative Commons License
        3. 13.1.3. Blender Artistic License
      2. 13.2. Elephants Dream, the World's First "Open Movie"
      3. 13.3. A Preview of Plumiferos
    2. 14. A Look Into Elephants Dream
      1. 14.1. Proog and Emo Rigs
        1. 14.1.1. Another Approach to Hand and Foot Rigging
          1. 14.1.1.1. Hands
          2. 14.1.1.2. Feet
          3. 14.1.1.3. Fan Bones
        2. 14.1.2. Proog's Jacket
      2. 14.2. Texturing Proog
      3. 14.3. Ways of Walking: Following a Path vs. a Manually Keyed Walk
      4. 14.4. Tips on Studying the Elephants Dream Files
    3. 15. Feifi the Canary: Plumiferos Takes Wing
      1. 15.1. Introducing Feifi
        1. 15.1.1. Feifi Mesh
        2. 15.1.2. Cartoon Facial Deformations with Lattices
      2. 15.2. Rigging a Cartoon Bird
        1. 15.2.1. Wings
    4. 16. Blender in the Pipeline
      1. 16.1. Production Pipeline
      2. 16.2. Using Libraries
      3. 16.3. Collaboration with Subversion and Verse
      4. 16.4. ...and Back Into Blender
  10. IV. Blender and Beyond
    1. 17. Other Software and Formats
      1. 17.1. Importing and Exporting Other File Formats
      2. 17.2. Useful Open-Source Software for Blender Artists
        1. 17.2.1. Modeling
        2. 17.2.2. Texturing and 2D
        3. 17.2.3. Sound and Lip Sync
        4. 17.2.4. Nonlinear Video Editing and Compositing
        5. 17.2.5. Video Playback
        6. 17.2.6. Collaboration
      3. 17.3. Blending into the (Near) Future
        1. 17.3.1.
          1. 17.3.1.1. Orange Project
          2. 17.3.1.2. Google Summer of Code 2006
          3. 17.3.1.3. Other Developments
    2. 18. Resources for Further Learning
      1. 18.1. Selected Online Resources
        1. 18.1.1. Official Documentation
        2. 18.1.2. BlenderArtists Forum, BlenderNation, and Blender Professionals Portal
        3. 18.1.3. Other Recommended Tutorials and Online Resources
          1. 18.1.3.1. Tutorials and Sample Blend Files
          2. 18.1.3.2. Video Tutorials
      2. 18.2. Recommended Books
        1. 18.2.1. Character Animation
        2. 18.2.2. CG-Related
      3. 18.3. On Becoming a Blender Master