| 3D Animation | Blender Manual | Lemuel’s Light (Blender Animation)
Project completed – our first 3D animation, done on Blender 2.78!
As I discovered, there is much much more to 3D animation that taking an object and making it move. It basically involves learning a new language, and there is so much to prepare before even starting the animation process! Really enjoyed making this short animation (accidentally animated in 5 fps, instead of the recommended 24 fps … but I guess on the plus side, it did render the scenes very quickly :P) I made lots of mistakes and it isn’t perfect, but it was a good introduction to the possibilities of 3D animation.
So, let’s take a look at what needs to happen for a 3D animation to take form. I have attached my notes on using Blender/some of the tutorials I used to create the animation here. It was very useful to have the shortcuts off screen to refer to, especially as it was my first time using Blender.
1. Character Design (Mesh and Parenting)
To begin, I created Lemuel the Flying Elephant. He was a somewhat accidental creation as I was quite unfamiliar with the use of mesh, joining or parenting different bits and pieces, sculpting etc. He ended up looking like this (those black lines are the armature – which we will talk about later).
2. Materials and Textures
I tried UV mapping for the eyeball which worked quite well. However, it you wanted something really simple, it would be easier to just circle select and apply materials for the iris and pupil directly. You need to select the object you want to colour and click apply for it to transfer. There are also a number of different viewing windows you can utilise to check how it will render, or fit with the rest of the scene.
3. Rigging (Armature)
Setting up the armature is basically like setting up a skeleton. It can be manipulated in “pose mode” to create different actions or poses. The eyes were a bit tricky. I tried a few things that didn’t work and in the end, opted for a very simple armature to just control rotation of both eyes simultaneously.
4. World Settings
This involved making the scene – ocean, land, trees, grass, mist and the like. You could set up different skies so I had the morning scene, and the night scene. I had to duplicate everything to save and use both, however. My favourite part was creating the ocean and stars 🙂
5. Animation (Key Frames)
The ocean, grass and particles would animate over a time period (eg. from frame 0-200), depending on when you set the beginning and end keyframes. The trees just self animated after I set the wind speed. Everything else required a set location/rotation/scale keyframe once a new pose and camera angle had been finalised.
6. Video Editing
When I thought I was ready to animate, I discovered I needed to learn yet another “language” – the Blender Video Editor. It was so satisfying to finally see things coming together, and to be able to export the final product! Just be aware that you might need to export in different formats depending on whether you have a Mac or Windows, and which audio plug-ins you have installed.
So there was my very brief, beginner’s overview of what I learnt using Blender. Have a look at the more incredible discovery I had of God’s nature here. He is the best Creator 😀