iRover in the garden

I came out to the back garden yesterday and found this lovable guy playing on the patio!

Another test for Blender using the camera tracking feature. I’m still practicing with this quite a bit, and trying to check out its capabilities since I still get quite excited by the results. Considering this was footage just shoot on my iPhone 4s it turned out pretty good. Blender currently only has camera presets for the top end cameras, so finding sensor sizes and focal lengths for the iPhone on the net can be tricky. However, I found a post over in Blenderartists where Malcando has been collecting settings which seems to have worked perfectly.

I took the opportunity to test out my iRover rig too. It was a productive experience since I’ve discovered a few things that need sorted out before I use him again, particularly his feet. They need some tweaking since they don’t seem to rotate around the z axis without twisting. I had also previously added IK/FK switches too, but I don’t think he’s going to need any FK control for his feet. I may simplify the rig and remove the FK controls. I also need to add in some custom control bones to make the rig easier to pose. And I still have to work on his textures, particularly his eyes, which I intend to have as a digital style display.

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My First Blender Project Pt2

Originally posted 22/07/2010 on ‘I Luv Pixels’

So, I finally got around to finishing my dragon commercial, and what a great experience. It was a 20 second TV commercial for a local supermarket, and my first real start-to-finish character animation created in Blender (2.49) It was an intense couple of months, a proper crash course in learning Blender, bringing together all the things I’d learned over the past couple of years, and learning more advanced things along the way.

The modeling seemed to take the longest, and I’m putting that down to the fact that I was trying to model the character based on the client’s design. The rigging also took a fair bit of time, mainly down to the fact I hadn’t really done any intense rigging in Blender before. The other sticky point for the whole modeling and rigging process was the fact that the character was a dragon, with six limbs to deal with. Two of those limbs were also wings, which had to be fully rigged, although in hindsight I probably had more controls on the them than I needed. However, if he needs another outing in the future, at least all the controls are there.

The texturing process was relatively easy, unwrapping the UV’s was a simple process in Blender once you know what buttons to push. Organising the mesh on the UV was another learning experience, but again, once you get play around with it for a while it’s very intuitive.

Here’s some more wip screen shots:

This is the final mesh and rig –

The mesh UV, unwrapped and layed out:

The final UV texture, can ya tell what it is yet!

And the rendered texture on the eye, with environment map:

I learned so much about Blender on this project. Up to this point I knew the basics, so this gave me a chance to get to grips with more intermediate aspects of Blender. I definitely feel a lot more confident with it now, the mystery and fear of the the interface has disappeared.

One of the great things I discovered was that it’s very flexible if you start jumping around with your workflow. There were certain points where I had already rigged and unwrapped the UV’s, only to discover I needed to change the mesh slightly, (since it was such a complicated rig, there was a lot of bending and joint problems) I had no problem adding faces then unwrapping and adding to the UV mesh. Another strength with Blender, once you get used to it, is the weight painting, particularly the Painting Mask. It’s a bit tricky to get used to the way it works, but once you do it’s a very powerful feature. I might get around to doing a little tutorial at some stage.

Just for reference, compositing was done in After Effects, and textures and sky were painted in Photoshop.

I’d also like to thank David Allen Ward (Youtube: ward 7299) and Paul Caggegi at The Process Diary. for their great online character tutorials. If you’re interested in doing any character work in Blender, I’d highly recommend you check both these links out.

So to finish off, here are a few screenshots, the rig setup and the finished commercial (now that I’ve figured out how to embed YouTube videos on here), hope you enjoy:

Screenshots:

– The setup and rig in demo.

– The finished commercial on the clients YouTube channel (Don’t forget to hit the like button 🙂 )

My First Blender Project Pt1

I’m now working on some 3D for work so I thought this would be a great chance for a crash course in Blender. I’m working with Blender 2.49 mainly, both because I haven’t got around to trying out 2.5 yet and also because I can’t get 2.5 to work on my Mac at work for various reasons.

So, here are some WIP images of what I’ve been building, early modeling screen caps and some early textured renders, testing out the rig.

The character design came from the client, I’m not sure where the original design came from but I didn’t have a lot of reference for him, so I tried to model him as closely as possible. I can’t show any of the animation tests I’ve done so far, since it’s for a commercial but I’ll post them in due time. He is fully rigged (that was a learning experience, my first character rig in Blender) Basically, I’ve gone through the whole process of building, UV mapping and body and face rigging from scratch (including the wings, 6 limbs altogether!), using any tips, tutorials or videos I could find on the web. Believe me, there are plenty. A few frustrating hours here and there trying to figure certain things out, or losing stuff I’d done, mainly through my own inexperience. But all in all I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out so far. Here’s my current, and pretty much finished model and rig, with final UV texture.

So all I need to figure out now is animation, lighting and rendering. Piece of cake!

Workloads and holidays and video games…

I haven’t posted in a while mainly because I’ve been very busy in work. I also bought Monster Hunter Tri which was taking up a bit of my time until I came across the Giant Jagga, and he’s still roaming those damn Sandy Plains. I also had a couple of weeks off work which I mostly spent decorating. So not a whole lot of drawing done, apart from a few started pics and some thumbnails. The Snake Queen went by the wayside, I never finished it and missed the deadline of the comp.

On the upside, I’m now working on some 3D for work so I thought this would be a great chance for a crash course in Blender. I’m working with Blender 2.49 mainly, both because I haven’t got around to trying out 2.5 yet and also because I can’t get 2.5 to work on my Mac at work for various reasons.

So, here are some WIP images of what I’ve been building, early modelling screen caps and some early textured renders, testing out the rig.

The character design came from the client, I’m not sure where the original design came from but I didn’t have a lot of reference for her, so I tried to model her as closely as possible. I can’t show any of the animation tests I’ve done so far, since it’s for a commercial but I’ll post them in due time. He is fully rigged (that was a learning experience, my first character rig in Blender) Basically, I’ve gone through the whole process of building, UV mapping and body and face rigging from scratch (including the wings, 6 limbs altogether!), using any tips, tutorials or videos I could find on the web. Believe me, there are plenty. A few frustrating hours here and there trying to figure certain things out, or losing stuff I’d done, mainly through my own inexperience. But all in all I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out so far. Here’s my current, and pretty much finished model and rig, with final UV texture.

So all I need to figure out now is animation, lighting and rendering. Piece of cake!