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.


Leave Comment


292 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” :(

  3. Posts: 5
    ashtap says:

    Hi.I buy this Educational File, but I hava a problem in sculpt mode!
    your sculpt mode is very good! but my sculpt mode is not good! why??
    i very tried,i work with Different blender version, but I could not!!
    this is my sculpt mode picture:
    and this is your sculpt mode picture:
    please say to me how i can do sculpt mode such as you?? please Guidance me with pictures!

    • Posts: 106
      pieriko says:


      This because your dyntopo detail, on the left pannel is set to 30 pixels. It sets the size of pilygons you generate.

      Decrease this value to 20 for rought sculpt. The more detail you want, the smallest this value has to be.

  4. Posts: 5
    ashtap says:

    I do it. but My problem wasnot resolved!!
    please one persion just do this Section in blender 2.72 or 2.73,and Record video of this Section for me!! and send here!
    plese help me!! i need it!!

    • Posts: 106
      pieriko says:

      You’ve just messed with your sculpt stroke.
      Check out the N pannel and see if X geometry is enabled.
      Use the draw brush with week strenght and subtuly sculpt the bugging area, it will subdivide the messing edges.
      then smouth it. Then use the grab brush and slightly move portion of your model to get a good global shape.

      It seems you’re not familiar with Blender sculpting tools.
      I encourage you to watch some sculpt tutorials first on sculpt cookie or try the airplane pilote tutorial series where Jonathan gos more in depth into dyntopo sculpt.

      The piero course is super complete and pretty advanced. If you’re completely new to Blender you should start with more simple character creation tutorial.

  5. Posts: 5
    ashtap says:

    i have problem,because my english is not very good!! plese help me with video learning!!
    plese just learn this Section As video !!

  6. Posts: 5
    ashtap says:

    my friend pieriko,i need your help!! plese do just 10 minutes Early of lesson 02. Base Sculpting of this Production!
    plese do it in new blender version!! plese my friend…

  7. Posts: 16
    Lars Top says:

    Hi everyone,

    I want to try to make my own piero (without this course). Can anyone send the refrence image from piero? I mean the fron

  8. Posts: 6
    ljf3030 says:

    Hi, I’m at the point where I can start animating my bird, but I cannot find anywhere where I can download the tree or the cookie. Anyone who helps is much appreciated

      • Posts: 6
        ljf3030 says:

        Hi again, I bought the course without being a citizen and I can’t seem to access the files. And I can’t seem to find the scene files on the orders and downloads page. Thanks again if you can help

      • Posts: 4176

        Hey there,

        Your downloads should definitely be on your Orders and Downloads page…I’ll have to look into why they’re not there. It could be you have a stale cache, in which case clearing your browser cache and then logging in should fix it.

        Regardless, I’ve gone ahead and resent your download receipt via email, which contains the download links as well.

      • Posts: 6
        ljf3030 says:

        Thanks Kent and Jonathan for the help!!!

        I’m loving the tutorial

  9. Posts: 4
    neurodrive says:

    Hello, after a time , i restart the rig tutorial. I finished the leg part but i still have a problem. If i move translate the IK ctrl, it’s ok, same in rotation, but if i translate the ik ctrl up, then do a rotation on “y”, i have a “flip” in a position, then everything goes back normal, very strange. Seems to be a “copy rotation” that is not evaluate in the good order.

    • Posts: 2022

      Hmm I’m not sure off the top of my head what the problem could be. Feel free to submit a Help Desk ticket and I’ll take a closer look at your .blend file.

  10. Posts: 4
    neurodrive says:

    Ok, sry i was talking about the wing, not the leg, my bad!. I fixed the problem, just rebuild the wing. But still very strange i can’t see any difference between the new and the old scene… I think the problem is i had tested the rig and didn’t go back to 0 before continuing to build the rig, maybe i introduced some values on certain joints that’s make the rig break.

    However, thank you very much for the fast answer! ( the leg seems to be ok :) ).

    Ho and i would like to know if you will do an advanced biped rig in blender, wich some new mecha, like snappable elbow and knee, IKFK match script and ribbon arm and leg for bends?? This will be a such amazing stuff!

    • Posts: 2022

      I’m glad to hear you sorted it out! Indeed I’d like to do a biped rig course in the future. Not sure when – I need to brush up on my rigging skills first :) Thanks for watching!

  11. Posts: 8
    greezer says:

    I am Greezer. I don’t know if my account is up to date. I have been ill.

  12. Posts: 6
    evolutionek says:

    Hello Kent Trammell thank you for give us this opportunity do you have anything like this tutorial for 3DsMax or Maya I saw you work on maya and one more thing it’s worth it to go to College or watch courses and teach myself better and can you give me good configuration for PC allow me to me happy with the speed work. Please thank you again and GOD bless you all. Peace :)

    • Posts: 2022

      Hi evolutionek,

      No, I don’t make any 3ds Max or Maya training – I haven’t used either program in years.

      The college question is tough. I say if $ isn’t a deciding factor, college isn’t a bad idea. It proved to be a fast-track for me to learn computer graphics (21 months at Full Sail) while also providing an environment to physically work with other students collaboratively. It prepared me well for the industry.

      That being said, I don’t believe college is the necessary route to take. I believe everything I learned there could have been learned online. However it would have taken years of searching and sifting. College just handed the education to me on a silver platter. One of the inspirations for the soon-to-come CG Cookie FIVE is to lay the ground work for being an alternative to college programs – at a fraction of the cost.

      Hope that helps. God bless you :)

  13. Posts: 6
    evolutionek says:

    I was going to the same university but I found out it’s too much for me, but if i wanna work for studio they require 3ds Max and the most it Maya I understand Blender it’s open source which is Great for free of course, but do you think that gonna help me out with maya or max for example I just don’t want spend time on something and after that i found out that’s not the right direction for sure i will get experience but… ?! I dont know I am confused , and please can you tell me good configuration for PC to help me for speed up rendering act. thank you for taking time to replay, and also to be honest with you I don’t know where Blender gonna take me do you know what I mean, I know you guys awesome for what you are doing but for me I am already struggling to get job as a graphic designer here in baltimore USA :) but I stand up for myself and I don’t want to give up for what I love you know.

    • Posts: 2022

      Big picture, it’s not about what software you know how to use – It’s about your skill as an artist as seen in your portfolio/demo reel. If your portfolio is gorgeous, a studio isn’t going to care if you’re using Blender, Max, Maya, etc. My last studio gig had no problem with me using Blender while they used Maya and Modo, because as long as I was delivering quality assets it didn’t matter. Artistic skill translates between software.

      That’s my big-picture philosophy on the subject. Now, if you’re desperately trying to land a job at a studio it’s probably smart to focus on the software that those studios use – which isn’t going to be Blender unfortunately. So getting your hands on free student versions of Maya and/or Max would be a benefit. But even still, if your portfolio/demo reel isn’t impressive, it doesn’t matter that you know Maya or Max. Your portfolio is exponentially more important than your software platform.

      I’m not a tech head, and so I don’t feel comfortable suggesting computer hardware for rendering. If it’s an expensive machine, it’ll probably render fast 😉

  14. Posts: 6
    evolutionek says:

    Thank you so much kent for your advice that was so helpful I’m sorry for replying late, I think your course will help me to understand too many things and from there I can fly between the programs with the same concept I think :)

  15. Posts: 6
    evolutionek says:

    By the way my name is Soliman my friend Peace and God bless you :)

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