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).
-dw
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.