When I first began using Blender, I found that a great way to learn the software was to follow tutorials that I found here and there on the web. One series in particular that helped me immensely as a beginner (and one that I later directed other beginners to) was the “Introduction to Character Animation” from the BlenderWiki. While this series was (and still is) an invaluable tool, it's a few years old, and some of the tools and techniques have changed with the newer versións of Blender. It was from this series that my idea first stemmed; I wanted to show users how to create a complete character: from a single polygon to a fully functional “marionette” that they could animate in any fashion they desired, as well as give it a nice texture, some realistic hair or fur, and maybe a few clothing items.
I began the series towards the beginning of August, and would record four or five “episodes” per week, basing the instructional material over the general method I used when creating most of my characters. I finished the last episode in the beginning of September, so the total time it took was about a month, give or take a week, as I had a business trip that I went on during that time and was unable to record anything.
Most of the difficulties I encountered had to do with rushing through things, and pressing the wrong hotkeys; or sometimes I would forget how to do a certain thing and have to pause the recording while I researched to figure it out. One instance in particular that I can recall was towards the end, when I was going over the cloth modifier. I was unable to get the character to behave as a solid object for the cloth to deflect from, so I had to pause and look it up. After finding the obvious answer, I began recording again and informed my viewers that my problem was the fact that the character and the cloth were on sepa-rate layers, and that's why they couldn't quite “interact.
While I didn't really learn anything new during the creation of the series, I was happy to see quite a re-sponse to my Youtube uploads, and that's when I learned a few more tricks from people suggesting things in the comments. For example, I had no idea that you could use “Alt+S” to “slim/fatten” parts of a mesh; I had only used this key combination to resize bones while rigging. Now I find it to be a very useful tool, especially when creating clothing items.
I hadn't really expected to get the response that I've gotten; I'm very glad that it's helped people and that they find it to be a useful addition to this great Blender Community. I plan to keep going with what-ever assistance I can offer, and at this point, I am planning a second series which will cover a lot of the same things, but this time in greater detail (i.e.; mul-tiple clothing items, more advanced rigging tech-niques, and tangent normal mapping to give better detail than regular normal and bump maps).
You can view the Johnny Blender series on Youtube
You can purchase the Johnny Blender dvd at lulu.com($13.75)
Twenty-Eight part series on the complete creation of a character in Blender, from a single polygon to a fully-rigged and textured character. Recorded using Blender 2.49. The tutorials are in WMV format, (each part equalling roughly 20 - 30 minutes) and best viewed with either Windows Medía Player, or VLC Medía Player. Alos contains the final ".blend" file.