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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Once you understand the basics of armatures, you can start creating an armature for your character. We're going to create an armature for this little creature here, and I'm going to go ahead and select him. And let's go into Wireframe mode. And you'll notice that he is actually pretty dense in his wireframe, and that's because I have a Subdivision Surface modifier. I'm going to go ahead and delete this so that he looks a little bit simpler. Then let's go ahead and just click here and restrict selection so that way I don't accidentally select him.
Now probably the easiest way to build an armature is in a quad view, so let's go ahead and do Toggle Quad View so we can see our character. And I'm going to go ahead and get him centered here. And let's go ahead and add in an armature. So when we add in an armature, we really only have one option, Single Bone, and that brings it in at our 3D cursor. And the first thing we want to do is leave it in Object mode and position the base of that armature. So I'm going to position it right about here.
Now what I'm trying to do here is get this aligned to edge loops of the character. Now if you think about it, his hips are going to be right around here and the bottom of his belly is here, so I really want to try and get that first bone placed properly. And then let's go ahead and start positioning and adding in new bones. So I do that by going into Edit mode. I can just hit Tab and that puts us into Edit mode. And I can select individual bones, move them around, or I can just select the tips or the bases of the bones.
So I'm going to go ahead and select the tip of this bone and scale it down so that it's pretty much even with this edge loop towards the middle of his waist, so right around here, and this will be the start of what we're going to use to deform that part of the body. So next we need to add more bones, and probably the easiest way to do that is under Modeling, and we can just hit Extrude. I'm going to right-click off of that and just use my Move option here to move it into place.
And another way that extrude is just to use you're the hotkey E for Extrude. So I'm going to position this bone right about here, and again I'm looking at the edge loops of this character. And before I go too far, I need to start giving everything descriptive names. So if we go into our Outliner here, you'll see under Armature we have the armature itself and then there are bones. So that first bone can be renamed, and then we have a second bone, so let's go ahead and rename this.
I'm going to hit Ctrl+Left-click to activate Rename and let's just call this one Spine.01. And the second one, we're going to just call that Spine.02. And as we start creating bones, I want to keep in mind that I want to name them, so that way I have to go back through and rename them all at once. And if we want, we can go into our armature and display the names so that way we know exactly which bones we have. So let's go ahead and add in another bone.
I'm going to hit E for Extrude, and I'm going to extrude this next bone. And because I've been naming these .01, .02 it gives me a .003 in my name, which is actually nice, because it's kind of automatically naming it. So now once I've got this spine, I can start creating my branches. I can go up into my head or I can create my arm. Let's go ahead and do the arm first. So again I'm going to extrude, and this time I want to place this right around where that shoulder is going to be.
So if you think about it, your shoulder is just above and outside of the armpit, so somewhere around here. So if you think about proper placement of these bones, think about it anatomically, because this arm is going to rotate around this point, so I want to make sure I get this aligned properly. And again, you want it slightly to the outside of that armpit; otherwise, you're going to get your armpit going into the body and it's going to look unnatural. So once I have that--let's go ahead and expand that out and I can't quite see this I'm going to have to squish this down. And let's go ahead and rename this Shoulder.L. And let's go ahead and keep extruding.
So I'm going to hit Extrude again, and this time I'm creating my bicep and my elbow, so I want to make sure I place my elbow bone here. And let's go ahead and rename that Bicep.Left, and you can see how we're doing this. I'm just going to go ahead and create the rest of the bones, so that way it's pretty easy. So I'm going to select this, E for Extrude, create the wrist, E for Extrude again, and create the tip of the finger. Now I have my character aligned very precisely along the zero points of each axis, so I'm pretty confident that when I draw these bones they're going through the center of the character.
So that's the basics for the arm structure. Let's take a look at how to do the leg structure as well. So again, we can just click on this bottom bone here and extrude again, and this is going to be our hip. And I'm not going to name these right now, because I want to go ahead and go through this really quickly, create a knee, an ankle. And if we want it depends on the character and the character type, but we may want to create a foot bone, so I'm going to go ahead and do that, just create a little bone here and that represents his foot, even though it doesn't really have a foot, but I'll just go ahead and make that small.
So those are some of the basics of creating the armature. Now another thing you may want to do is create additional bones to help with the deformation of the character. So if, for example, we have this character, he is pretty chubby, so we may need additional bones to get the effect of the spine out to the edge of his belly. If we were to bend, for example, this arm, you can see that the spine and the elbow are almost equidistant from the edge of his hip.
So if want this to be defined by the spine then we need to create a bone to do that. So we can basically just zoom in, select this area, and again E for Extrude, and extrude a bone out for that side, middle again, E Extrude, another bone for this side, and we can also do it front and back. So again, select this, Extrude, and one more for the back, and we can continue to do that around his body.
Now, when you get to his head you may want to create ones that specifically deformed his eyes, so that way his eyes move along with the head. But those are some of the basics for how to position your armature bones to the mesh. Now go through your character and make a full skeleton, and then we'll come back and learn how to use that skeleton to deform a character.
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