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Character Animation with Blender for Beginners

The complete beginners guide to animating 3D characters
Instructor:
Danan Thilakanathan
2.643 estudiantes matriculados
English [Auto-generated]
understand the process of 3D character animation
create more believable and realistic character animation
animate characters for film and game projects

Have you ever wanted to bring your own characters to life? Perhaps, you’ve seen a few animated films and thought, “Man, I wish I could do that”

You probably don’t have a whole lot of cash (as well as time) to invest in learning 3D character animation from an accredited university. Or perhaps you do, but want to get a head-start without forking a lot of cash to start off with.

Even if you’ve done some character animation before, you may have struggled to understand why your character doesn’t look…well…alive.

What’s in this course?

In this course, we aim to help you introduce you to the world of character animation as well as imbue life into your character animations. We also aim to ensure that you don’t go broke doing so. 

You will be learning completely from scratch, the whole process of 3D character animation. Specifically,

  • You will learn the skills and techniques of animating realistic and believable characters. 
  • In addition to learning all the theory-related stuff, you will also get hands-on experience in animating your own scenes. You can follow along as we will animate walks, runs, waving of arms, etc.
  • We will also look at more advanced character animation skills to further help enhance the believability and realism of your characters. You will specifically learn how to animate eye movements to help make your character look alive, facial expressions, lip-syncing, etc. 

With 40 lectures and 6+ hours of content, there are so many different things you can learn. The topic of 3D character animation is so vast and complex and the learning curve can be so high, especially when starting out. I’ve gathered everything that I’ve learned over the years and have organized it in a way that will help you understand most effectively.

Who is this course for?

This will be perfect for absolute beginners as I will walk you step-by-step starting from how to navigate your way around your 3D software towards animating convincing character action. There are no nasty jargon used in this course. Everything is explained in an easy-to-understand manner. 

You don’t need to know anything about animation. You don’t even need to have a 3D software installed as we will cover this. It will help if you have some passion for character animation. At the very least, some passion for CGI-related works.

This course isn’t limited to just beginners. Intermediate and Expert level users may also gain valuable knowledge from this course.

What is expected outcome after the course?

By the end of this course, you can expect to have a decent understanding of building convincing and realistic 3D character animation. You will also gain experience and confidence doing your own 3D character animation.

From there, you would be more prepared to start your own projects (imagine being able to create your very own animated short film) or you could start looking at jobs that need character animators. If you choose to do a more formal course on 3D animation, you will most likely get a head start!

Introduction

1
Welcome!

Welcome to the 3D Character Animation for Beginners course. You'll see what this course is all about!

2
Course Outline

In this lecture, you will get a brief overview of what this course will cover!

3
Who is this course for?

If you're wondering whether this course is right for you, this video will help you decide.

4
What you'll need before you start

In this lecture, you will be presented with some prerequisites which may be helpful before attempting the exercises in this course.

5
Summary

We recap everything we covered in this section.

Concepts

1
12 Principles of Character Animation

Learn the 12 Principles of Character Animation in this lecture. Applying these principles in your work will contribute to a more realistic and believable looking character animation.

The 12 Principles are:

  • Squash and Stretch
  • Anticipation
  • Staging
  • Straight Ahead/Pose 2 Pose
  • Follow Through/Overlapping Action
  • Slow In/Slow Out
  • Arcs
  • Secondary Actions
  • Timing
  • Exaggeration
  • Solid Drawing
  • Appeal
2
Pose 2 Pose vs. Straight Ahead Animation

In this lecture, you will learn about the two techniques of crafting character animation: Pose 2 Pose and Straight Ahead.

To explain briefly,

  • Pose 2 Pose: You start building your key poses at predefined times. Once they have been set, you then define poses between the key poses and so on, until you have your complete animation. This allows you to precisely control the timing of your character's actions.
  • Straight Ahead: You start to build your pose from frame 1, and then keep changing the pose frame by frame, similar to the way it is done in traditional 2D animation. The advantage, however, is that it produces the most spontaneous and lively looking animation.

You will learn how these techniques work and which one is best to apply in your own work.

3
Basic workflow for Character Animation

In this lecture, you will learn the basic workflow for approaching character animation. You will see from a high-level, how to start a character animation scene from scratch and how to build it up to the final product.

The main stages involve:

  • Planning
  • Blocking and Refining
  • Polishing
  • Rendering

We will cover these steps in the lecture in detail and by the end of the lecture, you will get a better understanding of the way to approach character animation for your own projects.

4
5 Annoying Things about Character Animation in Blender

In this lecture, you will learn about 5 annoying things you may come across when doing character animation in Blender.

Specifically, we will cover:

  • Interacting with props
  • Interacting with objects
  • Changing between IK and FK
  • Walk/Run Cycles
  • Facial Animation
5
Homework #1: Character Animation Concepts

A short quiz to test your understanding of the concepts of 3D Character Animation. This one will be quite easy and is simply used to test your knowledge and understanding of the course so far.

6
Summary

Setting Up

1
Introduction to Blender

In this lecture, you will be introduced to the very basics of Blender. You won't learn everything about Blender, but just the basics as they apply to animation. We will primarily look at the interface and some of the tools that you will be using.

2
Introduction to Animation in Blender

In this lecture, you will learn how to do basic animation in Blender. You will know how to set keyframes for your animations and how to make basic objects move, rotate and scale over time.

3
Character Generators for Blender

In this lecture, you will learn about the different character generators you can use with Blender. We will also briefly cover the character generator that we will be using throughout the course.

4
Animating a Bouncing Ball in Blender

In this lecture, you will start with some practical animation basics and learn how to animate a bouncing ball in Blender.

5
How to Approach Character Animation in Blender

In this lecture, you will learn the process of approaching character animation in Blender. This is the process we will be using to create our character animation scenes in this course.

6
Summary

Technical Concepts

1
Rigs and Armatures

In this lecture, you will learn about armatures and how to use it in Blender to pose and animate your characters. 

2
IK/FK Switches

In this lecture, you will learn the difference between Inverse Kinematics (IK) and Forward Kinematics (FK) and why it will make your life as a character animator a whole lot easier.

3
The Dopesheet and NLA Editor

In this lecture, you will learn about the Dopesheet and NLA editor and how it can be used to easily control the timing of your character animation as well as mix and match cool actions.

4
Graph Editor

In this lecture, you will learn about the Graph Editor. The Dopesheet/Action editor allows you to control timing, but the Graph Editor will allow you to fine-tune the position, rotation and scale of every element of your character's pose and animation. This one is for advanced character animators.

5
Facial Rig

In this lecture, we will look at the controls of a facial rig and how to create facial expressions as well as animate them.

6
Summary

Let's Do Some Character Animation!

1
Simple Walk Cycle Concept

In this lecture, you will learn the main concepts of creating a simple walk cycle. By learning this concept, you will be able to create walk cycles with good poses and timing easily.

2
Building a Walk Cycle

In this lecture, we will be creating a walk cycle in real time from scratch. Part 1 of 2.

3
Building a Walk Cycle (Part 2)

In this lecture, we will be creating a walk cycle in real time from scratch. Part 2 of 2.

4
Simple Run Cycle Concept

In this lecture, you will learn the main concepts of creating a simple run cycle. By learning this concept, you will be able to create run cycles with good poses and timing easily.

5
Building a Run Cycle (Part 1)

In this lecture, we will be creating a run cycle in real time from scratch. Part 1 of 2.

6
Building a Run Cycle (Part 2)

In this lecture, we will be creating a run cycle in real time from scratch. Part 2 of 2.

7
Best way to Approach Walk/Run Cycles in Films

In this short lecture, you will learn the best way to approach walk/run cycles for films. Specifically, we will look at two ways of animating a walk/run cycle and their advantages and disadvantages.

8
Waving Arm Animation (Part 1)

In this lecture, we will be learning how to animate the waving of arms and imbue it with a bit of life using the 12 principles of character animation. Part 1 of 2.

9
Waving Arm Animation (Part 2)

In this lecture, we will be learning how to animate the waving of arms and imbue it with a bit of life using the 12 principles of character animation. Part 2 of 2.

10
Summary

Advanced Character Animation Tips

1
Lip Syncing

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your character talk! We will create mouth shapes for different sounds and apply them to our library. We then later make use of this library to make lip syncing our character a whole lot easier.

2
Eye animation

In this lecture, you will learn effective tips on animating realistic and believable eye movement which can help enhance the effect of bringing your character to life.

3
Interacting with Objects

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your characters interact with other objects. You will specifically learn how to make your character pick up a ball and then put it down again. We will be making use of constraints to achieve this.

4
Interacting with Characters

In this lecture, you will learn how to make your characters interact with other characters. Specifically, you will learn how to make your character shake hands with another character. We will be using bone constraints to achieve this.

5
Hair animation

In this lecture, you will learn about animating hair using Blender's hair simulation tool. This can help to further enhance the believability of your character animations.

6
Cloth animation

In this lecture, you will learn about animating clothes using Blender's cloth simulation. This can help to further enhance the believability of your character animations.

7
Summary

Conclusion

1
Summary

In this lecture, we will summarize everything we have learned throughout this course.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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