Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Human Character: Progress

I haven't been tracking my progress very well, but I have been learning a ton. Here is a screen shot of my most recent model:

my model squatting / sitting using IK Constraints
I'm being lazy about my blog but here are the steps and skills I used to create her:

> Created orthographic sketch in MyPaint and GIMP
> In Blender, added sketch to background and split 3D window and set to front and left orthographic views


> Added a mirror modifier to a cube split down the middle and mirror-modeled one side of body mesh (body mesh included body arms and feet)
Mirror modeling saves a ton of time and allowed me to work maybe 3-5 times as fast because I didnt have to manually match up left and right and I didn't have to duplicate or create anything separately.
> Modeled hand mesh in separate file, saved as .dae and imported to main character file
> Joined hand and body mesh
> Created head from a split UV sphere in body mesh

> Created left side of armature naming all future duplicate bones with the extension .L


> Created UV map of completed mesh for texturing
> Textured a bikini using MyPaint and GIMP (Linux OS so no Photoshop)
> Learned how to implement transparent (alpha) UV textures
> Learned how to map a texture onto a material and use premul (premultiply) for smoothing of edges

> Parented armature to mesh with named groups
> Manually assigned all vertices to vertex groups
> Created a couple items like a hat and hair, then parented to head bone of armature.> Tested rigging thoroughly
> Mirrored armature
> Learned how to automatically rename .L extension to .R by pressing Wkey in Edit Mode
> Combined armatures

> Learned how to automatically create reflected vertex groups and apply to complete armature


Now I'm learning how to create IK chains - it's probably been the most frustrating step next to learning how to implement textures with alpha.  However, it might just be me making a simple thing into a difficult one - I tend to do that sometimes.


My most recent breakthrough was rigging my character to squat or assume a sitting position using IKs. I watched these videos and found the solution:

Video 1 teaches you how to set up the pelvis bones:
Blender Rigging Intro Part 1

Video 2 sets up the patenting hierarchy and foot bone IK targets:
Blender Rigging Intro Part 2

Video 3 finishes up the IK constraints and targeting so the character can sit or squat :
Blender Rigging Tutorial-Part3

This guy's video is alright, I got impatient watching it, mostly because he makes mistakes in one vid that you have to be sure to go back and fix once you see it in another. Pay close attention to his set-up, IK rigging, and mistakes through all three vids and you should be alright.


Eventually, I'm going to create some tutorials of my own for others to view, but right now, I'm too busy making mistakes and learning from them. If there are any questions about the steps that I make above, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll elaborate.

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