Dragon’s First Flight

This is the first relatively successful track I’ve managed to create with the new motion tracking features in Blender 2.62. I wasn’t really concentrating on the animation too much, I just gave the little dragon guy a bit of life to see how well he would sit among some live footage. I’m still trying to get the hang of it, I haven’t done much 3d motion tracking in the past (plenty of 2d though). This footage I just shot on my iPhone at my desk, so the compression and motion blur on clip isn’t overly conducive to tracking but with a bit of fiddling and tweaking by hand I eventually got a decent timeline. I had downloaded various clips from the internet, if you do a search for ‘free tracking clips’ you’ll find a few places to download them from, but I was having trying to find sensor sizes and focal length for these particular clips. I then decided to shoot some footage with my phone since I already knew these details and finally got this result. It’s far from perfect but it’s a good start with a Blender feature which I can see fast becoming a powerful tool in my arsenal of vfx tools.

Advertisements

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!

Baku-Rider WIP 4 – Finished wings

I think that’s me finished with the wings now. Basically I painted two different feathers and copy-pasted them, scaled and skewed them around until I had a set of wings, I kept the rough wings I had done before as a background for them. Then painted over the top to break them up a bit here and there. I also tweaked the contrast and brightness to pull them down in levels a bit, and pulled a few of the tips up with a rough custom dodge brush. I think they’re working now, what do you reckon? I also did a bit of final work to his face one of his eyes was bothering me, it looked a bit off with the other one, and his face just looked generally messy around the eyes, there was too much dark there, so I’ve tidied all that up now. I’m not going to touch him again, he’s done. Next, to finish the dragon skin texture.

Baku-Rider WIP 3 – Feather Details

I managed to get a bit more detailing on the wings done tonight (luckily Marta’s Dahligs tips in the Art Class in this month’s ImagineFX helped). I need a few more smaller feathers on there at the top, maybe darker, browner ones will help, and then I should be done with that. I still need to do more texturing on the dragon but apart from that I should be close to done.