Course: Short Film Character Production in Blender

52 Lessons

  1. 01. Modeling Intro Free!
  2. 02. Base Sculpting
  3. 03. Finish Form Sculpting
  4. 04. Beginning Retopology
  5. 05. Finishing the Body Retopology
  6. 06. Finishing the Body Mesh
  7. 07. Modeling Major Feathers
  8. Quiz: Modeling 0 / 16XP
  9. 08. Helpful Shapekeys
  10. 09. Texturing Intro Free!
  11. 10. UV Unwrapping
  12. 11. Base Textures
  13. 12. Feet and Beak Bump Maps
  14. 13. Shading the Body
  15. 14. Painting the Feather Texture Maps
  16. 15. Feather UVs
  17. 16. Creating the Body Feathers – Part I
  18. 17. Creating the Body Feathers – Part II
  19. 18. Creating the Body Feathers – Part III
  20. 19. Finessing the Feather Shaders
  21. 20. Texturing the Eyes
  22. Quiz: Texturing Painting 0 / 24XP
  23. 21. Rigging Intro Free!
  24. 22. Rigging – Deformation Bones
  25. 23. Rigging the Wing – Part 01
  26. 24. Rigging the Wing – Part 02
  27. 25. Rigging the Wing – Part 03
  28. 26. Rigging the Leg
  29. 27. Rigging the Tail Feathers
  30. 28. Rigging the Head and Face
  31. 29. Rigging the Spine
  32. 30. Rigging – Custom Bone Shapes and Rig Mirroring
  33. 31. Rigging – Mesh Skinning
  34. 32. Rigging – Facial Mouth Shapes
  35. 33. Rigging – Facial Brow Shapes
  36. 34. Rigging Facial Controls
  37. Quiz: Rigging 0 / 24XP
  38. 35. Animation Intro Free!
  39. 36. Animation Preparation
  40. 37. Animation Blocking – Part 01 – Key Poses
  41. 38. Animation Blocking – Part 2 – Timing
  42. 39. Animation Tweening – part 1
  43. 40. Animation Tweening – part 2
  44. 41. Animation Polish: Overlapping Action
  45. 42. Animation Polish: Face and Eyes
  46. Quiz: Animation 0 / 16XP
  47. 43. Post Production and Rendering Intro Free!
  48. 44. Lighting and Cleanup
  49. 45. Background Setup
  50. 46. Render Settings
  51. 47. Post Production: Composition
  52. Quiz: Post Production 0 / 16XP
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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.

Learn the entire process

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!


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


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


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


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.


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262 Responses to “Short Film Character Production in Blender”
  1. Posts: 6
    thondal says:

    Seems to be more sensetive to where i click. I tried clicking more carefully at the outmoust edges and it seems to work “correctly” now…. this attempt worked much better.

    • Posts: 7
      redsolar says:

      Yep that’s the trick. I was trying to post a response to help you but was having an issue with the comment system not posting my response. Glad you were able to figure it out.

  2. Posts: 6
    thondal says:

    delay that… tried working further on it and still acts the same.. was just a bit lucky to hit something correctly somehow, but when trying to make him “fatter” in the face, he now have “walls” coming out of his sides instead of becoming “fatter” :(

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