Learning Blender, 3rd edition

  • Oliver Villar

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Master the Newest Blender Techniques for Creating Amazing 3D Characters: From Design and Modeling to Video Compositing

Now fully updated for Blender 2.83 LTS (Long-Term Support) and beyond, Learning Blender, Third Edition, walks you through every step of creating an outstanding 3D animated character with Blender, and then compositing it in a real video using a professional workflow. This edition covers the extensive interface changes of the software, as well as many improvements and some almost fully rewritten chapters to showcase more modern workflows.

Still the only Blender tutorial to take you from preproduction to final result, this guide is perfect for both novices and those moving from other software to Blender (open source and free software). Author Oliver Villar provides full-color, hands-on chapters that cover every aspect of character creation: design, modeling, unwrapping, texturing, shading, rigging, animation, and rendering. He also walks you through integrating your animated character into a real-world video, using professional camera tracking, lighting, and compositing techniques.

The rich companion website (blendtuts.com/learning-blender-files) will help you quickly master even the most complex techniques with bonus contents like video tutorials. By the time you're done, you'll be ready to create outstanding characters for all media -- and you'll have up-to-date skills for any 3D project, whether it involves characters or not.
  • Learn Blender's updated user interface and navigation
  • Create your first scene with Blender and the Blender Render and Cycles render engines
  • Organize an efficient, step-by-step pipeline to streamline workflow in any project
  • Master modeling, unwrapping, and texturing
  • Bring your character to life with materials and shading in both Cycles and EEVEE (the new real-time render engine included in Blender)
  • Create your character's skeleton and make it walk
  • Use Camera Tracking to mix 3D objects into a real-world video
  • Transform a raw rendered scene into the final result using Blender's compositing nodes
Register your book for convenient access to downloads, updates, and/or corrections as they become available. See inside book for details.

Published by Addison Wesley (July 6th 2021) - Copyright © 2021

ISBN-13: 9780137460212

Subject: Computer Graphics & Design

Category: Learning Blender

Table of contents

Preface xxv
Acknowledgments xxxi
About the Author xxxiii

Part I: The Basics of Blender 1

Chapter 1: What You Need to Know About Blender 3

What Is Blender? 3
Commercial Software Versus Open-Source Software 4
History of Blender 6
Blender Foundation and Blender Development 8
Who Pays for Blender’s Development? 10
The Blender Community 10
Summary 11
Exercises 12

Chapter 2: Blender Basics: The User Interface 13
Downloading and Installing Blender 13
Using Blender with Recommended Hardware 13
Using Blender’s User Interface 15
Understanding Areas and Editors 16
Using Workspaces 21
Getting to Know Blender’s Interface Elements 23
Understanding the 3D Viewport 26
Navigating the 3D Scene 31
Selecting Objects 33
Understanding the 3D Cursor 35
Understanding Blender’s User Preferences 37
Creating Your Own Startup File 39
Summary 40
Exercises 40

Chapter 3: Your First Scene in Blender 41
Creating Objects 41
Moving, Rotating, and Scaling 42
Arranging Objects in Your Scene 48
Naming Objects and Using Datablocks 49
Using Interaction Modes 51
Applying Flat or Smooth Surfaces 53
Working with Modifiers 54
Using Workbench, EEVEE, and Cycles 57
Turning On the Lights 62
Moving the Camera in Your Scene 62
Rendering 63
Summary 66
Exercises 66

Part II: Beginning a Project 67

Chapter 4: Project Overview 69

Three Stages of a Project 69
Defining the Stages 71
Making a Character-Creation Plan 73
Summary 74
Exercises 74

Chapter 5: Character Design 75
Character Description 75
Designing the Character 78
Adding Color 84
Finalizing the Design 85
Making Character Reference Images 86
Using Other Design Methods 88
Summary 89
Exercises 89

Part III: Modeling in Blender 91

Chapter 6: Blender Modeling Tools 93

Working with Vertices, Edges, and Faces 93
Making Selections 95
Using Mesh Modeling Tools 100
Using Modeling Add-Ons 120
Using Other Useful Blender Options and Tools 123
Summary 125
Exercises 125

Chapter 7: Character Modeling 127
What Is Mesh Topology? 127
Choosing Modeling Methods 129
Setting up the Reference Images 131
Modeling the Eyes 135
Modeling the Face 139
Modeling the Torso and Arms 150
Modeling the Legs 159
Modeling the Boots 161
Modeling the Hands 164
Modeling the Cap 168
Modeling the Hair 172
Modeling the Final Details 176
Summary 180
Exercises 180

Part IV: Unwrapping, Painting, and Shading 181

Chapter 8: Unwrapping and UVs in Blender 183

Seeing How Unwrapping and UVs Work 183
Unwrapping in Blender 184
Considering Before Unwrapping 191
Working with UVs in Blender 193
Unwrapping the Rest of the Character 200
Packing UVs 202
Summary 203
Exercises 204

Chapter 9: Painting Textures 205
Defining the Main Workflow 205
Texture Painting in Blender 206
Creating the Base Texture 214
Understanding the Elements of a Texture 215
Texturing in Other Software 216
Seeing the Painted Character in Blender 223
Summary 223
Exercises 224

Chapter 10: Materials and Shaders 225
Understanding Materials 225
Masks and Layers 230
Channels 231
Shading Your Character 236
Running Render Tests 246
Summary 252
Exercises 252

Part V: Bringing Your Character to Life 253

Chapter 11: Character Rigging 255

Understanding the Rigging Process 255
Working with Armatures 257
Rigging Your Character 267
Skinning 278
Creating Custom Shapes 305
Making Final Retouches 306
Reusing Your Character in Different Scenes 307
Summary 310
Exercises 310

Chapter 12: Animating Your Character 311
Using the Character’s Rig 311
Posing the Character 312
Working with Animation Editors 315
Animating a Walk Cycle 321
Summary 326
Exercises 326

Part VI: Getting the Final Result 327

Chapter 13: Camera Tracking in Blender 329

Understanding Camera Tracking 329
Shooting Video for Easy Tracking 330
Using the Movie Clip Editor 332
Tracking the Camera Motion 333
Testing Camera Tracking 343
Summary 343
Exercises 343

Chapter 14: Lighting, Compositing, and Rendering 345
Lighting Your Scene 345
Rendering and Compositing Your Scene in Cycles 356
Rendering and Compositing Your Scene with EEVEE 361
Exporting the Final Render 365
Summary 367
Exercises 367

Part VII: Keep Learning 369

Chapter 15: Other Blender Features 371

Simulations 371
2D Animation 373
VFX: Masking, Object Tracking, and Video
Stabilization 373
Video Editing 374
Sculpting 374
Retopology 375
Maps Baking 375
Add-Ons 375
Python Scripting 376
Summary 376

Index 379

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