Course: Creating Piero – Complete Production Course

Who is Piero?

Piero is a retired carrier robin who’s great achievement in life was delivering messages to and from the feathered allies during the Great Pigeon War of ’98. He’s since retired to a quaint Ash tree in the hills of Yorkshire. Though very little happens during Piero’s care-free days in the British countryside, trauma from his service in the war has left him skittish of anything out of the ordinary.

From Vision to Animation

I think many digital artists, like myself, see animated films from PixarDreamworks, Disney or Blue Sky and they begin to invision their own worlds, characters, and stories. Computer Graphics make it possible for artists to bring these visions to life inside a tangible medium that’s accessible to anyone with a computer.

However, the accessibility and capability of a computer doesn’t mean the creation-process is a one-click operation. Taking a character from vision to animated reality requires many devoted hours in each discipline of computer graphics.

Piero Concept Art by Tim Von Rueden

See how Tim illustrated the Piero’s concept art here!

Modeling

The first step is modeling where the character is built with 3D geometry. No object exists in the computer intrinsically; it must be built by hand. Every subsequent step is dependent on modeled objects.

Blender’s all-in-one nature allows the artist to use its sculpting and modeling tools in conjunction. Piero will be form-sculpted first, then retopologized into an animation-friendly mesh.

Piero - Modeling

Texturing

After being built a model must be “painted”. This texturing, or “surfacing”, process is where we introduce proper colors and material qualities that make our model more believable and tangible.

Being a bird Piero is a unique texturing task because he needs to be covered in feathers. We’ll take advantage of Blender’s paint tools and Photoshop to paint our texture maps. A particle hair system will allow us to procedurally grow and groom our feathers.

Piero - Texturing

Rigging

While modeling and animation are perhaps the most coveted CG skill sets, rigging is the narrow bridge-less-traveled that connects them. Just like our human body needs a complex system of bones and joints to make movement possible, our digital model needs a complex system of bones and joints to make animation possible. This is a highly technical and polarizing process requires much more research and practice than artistic instinct.

Piero will be rigged in Blender as an general-purpose armature with full control over wing and tail feathers.

Piero - Rigging

Animation

The art of movement is arguably the most difficult skill set in computer graphics. But don’t tell an animator that – they think highly enough of themselves already!

Jokes aside, good animation requires a hefty combination of practice and talent. With Piero we’ll apply the principles of “The Nine Old Men” to realize his personality in motion.

Piero - Animation

Post Processing

With the animation finished, our “ingredients” are finally ready to go into the oven! Post Processing begins by rendering our scene into individual frames that make up our entire animation. Once the hours of rendering are finished, we can edit the final shot together in Blender’s compositor.

Credits

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Discussion

185 Responses to “Creating Piero – Complete Production Course”
  1. Posts: 15
    Peter Robie says:

    Hi Kent,

    I was wondering if there’s a specific way to export a rigged character (like Piero for example) into Maya or vice versa? Something where all the controls, weights, etc. remain the same.

    Thanks

  2. Posts: 4
    heri15 says:

    Hello Kent

    I was looking your video (Lighting and Clean Up) when you have to fix the problem of the feathers and the eyes,so the feathers of the face are disappear but what can i do when i have to do the same process with the body feathers? because i have that kind of problem, my face feathers are good but the problem is the body because i cant render it im not sure if you understand what im saying, how can i fix the body feathers at the time to do the Render,please help me

    • Posts: 935

      I think I understand, whereas my problem was the facial hair particles, you’re having problem with the body feathers instead? Did you try the vertex transfer method from that same video?

      • Posts: 4
        heri15 says:

        Yes that is what i mean, the only thing that i have alright are the facial hair particles but the feathers around the neck, head and body there’s not exists, and yes im trying to do the vertex transfer but i dont know why is impossible, do you know another way to fix it? , and also i dont know where did you get the second body of Piero at the time of the vertex transfer

  3. Posts: 4
    heri15 says:

    Yes that is what i mean, the only thing that i have alright are the facial hair particles but the feathers around the neck, head and body there’s not exists, and yes im trying to do the vertex transfer but i dont know why is impossible, do you know another way to fix it? , and also i dont know where did you get the second body of Piero at the time of the vertex transfer

    • Posts: 935

      I grabbed the second Piero body (with correct vertex groups) from a previous .blend file where the V Groups are correct. Perhaps you should submit a Help Desk Ticket so we can better troubleshoot the issue.

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