Short Film Character Production
This course is an extensive journey through the entire 3D animation process. You will learn how to model the avian “Piero” character, paint him, rig him, animate him, and finally render him out as a finished short film.
NOTE: The 3D animation process isn’t easy or quick. This course is recommended for advanced users.
Watch this trailer to get an overview of what this extensive course is all about.
A short film project starts with building the needed assets. Piero starts as sculpture and is then converted into an animation-friendly model via retopology.
Texturing & Shading
After being built, it's time to paint the character and make its surface react to light properly. As in is it shiny, matte, transparent, etc.
This highly technical stage of character production is the construction of a skeletal system. Without such a skeleton, called an "armature" in Blender, characters cannot be animated.
Rigging the Wing I
Rigging the Wing II
Rigging the Wing III
Rigging the Leg
Rigging the Tail Feathers
Rigging the Head & Face
Rigging the Spine
Custom Bone Shapes & Rig Mirroring
Facial Mouth Shapes
Facial Brow Shapes
Rigging Facial Controls
Quiz: Rigging Quiz
The art of movement. Learn how to breathe kinematic life into Piero in stages: Blocking, tweening (In-Betweening), and final polish.
Rendering & Post Production
This last stage involves gathering all our pieces to churn out a finished product. First we need to render our 3D elements then finalize the visuals with Blender's Node Editor.
The entire process, start to finish.
I think many digital artists, like myself, see animated films from Pixar, Dreamworks, 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.
We begin with this concept art from Tim Von Rueden:
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.
Texturing & Shading
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.
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.
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.
Rendering & Post Production
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.
Lesson Questions and Answers
Ask a question and get an answer!Submit your Question
Is there somewhere that we are (or can) submit a link to our completed video, similar to the gallery for images?
Kent, Thank you so much for making this. And for encouraging us that it is indeed possible to make something like this on our own. This has made the overwhelming, immaterial. Thanks again!
Thanks for such positive feedback, David!
I’m using Blender v.2.76. Where can I get the “Texture Paint Layer Manager Add-On”?
Ehy man,I’m following the episode “26_piero_rigging_leg” of the piero training course and I think that there is something wrong that you did because when I tried to replicate your steps,frame by frame,the result on my side is not the same as your. This is the goal that I need to reach : https://postimg.org/image/xiz5iiqyj/ but because there is something that does not work,this is what I get : https://postimg.org/image/k3c4t2igr/ ; how can I fix it ?
Download any course files here.
- Modeling Intro: HD Video( 7.2 MB )
- Base Sculpting: HD Video( 155.9 MB )
- Finish Form Sculpting: HD Video( 238.6 MB )
- Beginning Retopology: HD Video( 194.7 MB )
- Finishing the Body Retopology: HD Video( 149.3 MB )
- Finishing the Body Mesh: HD Video( 270.4 MB )
- Modeling Major Feathers: HD Video( 185 MB )
- Helpful Shape Keys: HD Video( 153.4 MB )
- Texturing Intro: HD Video( 9.4 MB )
- UV Unwrapping: HD Video( 341.9 MB )
- Base Textures: HD Video( 281 MB )
- Feet & Beak Bump Maps: HD Video( 196.1 MB )
- Shading the Body( 139.3 MB )
- Painting the Feather Textures: HD Video( 147.7 MB )
- Feather UVs: HD Video( 258.9 MB )
- Grooming Body Feathers I: HD Video( 257.8 MB )
- Grooming Body Feathers II: HD Video( 98.6 MB )
- Grooming Body Feathers III: HD Video( 208.7 MB )
- Finessing the Feather Shaders: HD Video( 100 MB )
- Texturing the Eyes: HD Video( 137.1 MB )
- Rigging Intro: HD Video( 9 MB )
- Deformation Bones: HD Video( 352.4 MB )
- Rigging the Wing I: HD Video( 156.3 MB )
- Rigging the Wing II: HD Video( 204.5 MB )
- Rigging the Wing III: HD Video( 54.2 MB )
- Rigging the Leg: HD Video( 226 MB )
- Rigging the Tail Feathers: HD Video( 88.4 MB )
- Rigging the Head & Face: HD Video( 181.1 MB )
- Rigging the Spine: HD Video( 162.1 MB )
- Custom Bone Shapes & Rig Mirroring: HD Video( 274.1 MB )
- Mesh Skinning: HD Video( 278.6 MB )
- Facial Mouth Shapes( 160.4 MB )
- Facial Brow Shapes: HD Video( 121.7 MB )
- Rigging Facial Controls: HD Video( 180.8 MB )
- Animation Intro: HD Video( 22.1 MB )
- Animation Preparation: HD Video( 180.4 MB )
- Blocking - Key Poses: HD Video( 195.1 MB )
- Blocking - Timing: HD Video( 108.1 MB )
- Tweening I: HD Video( 145.1 MB )
- Tweening II: HD Video( 195.1 MB )
- Animation Polish - Overlapping Action: HD Video( 111.5 MB )
- Animation Polish - Face & Eyes: HD Video( 139.5 MB )
Check out submission from others.Submit your Image