Jonathan Williamson, already known throughout the Blender community for his outstanding work at www.blendercokieorg has written his first book, character development in Blender 2.5. Aimed at showing Blender users how todo create believable characters in Blender, Jonathan explains the basic of Blender usage and then takes the Reader th rouge modeling, texturing and rendering a complete character.
Bam: Jonathan, enhorabuena on finishing your first book, character development in Blender 2. 5 and thank you for taquíng the time todo answer a few questions for us about your new book, jw: gracias. Im humbled you would take the time todo ask about the book.
Consider ing the success of your video tutoriales, what prompted you todo switch todo a witten book formatí.
Doing a book has always ben a bit of dream for me. I have Even started one a few sepárate times in the past, each with the intent of either self-Publishing or approaching a Publisher. As projects often go though, those books never got th rouge the outline stage. Other projects tok over my time. Even though i prefer video tutorialesfor most instruction, there is something very nostalgic and comforting about flipping th rouge a book. I think this was the main reason i was driven todo write it. Well that and when the Publisher first asked me todo write it i knew i was in trouble, i am not very god about turning down projects.
I know you consider yourself a topology snob, did that influence your decisión todo focus on character modeling?
Yes and no actually. I am, without a doubt, a self-professed topology snob, however, the topology aspect can apply todo any kind of modeling, regardless of the subject matter, topology is nearly always very important. My decisión todo focus on character modeling was more based in my love of characters and continuing desire todo push my own skills in that área. After all, what better bien todo polish ones own skills than todo write a book on ití.
David revoy is my favorite concept artista and i know a favorite of Many in the Blender community, what influenced your decisión todo use Concept Art created by David?
After seing David work on Sintel i dont think there was any other option for me. I really wanted David work in the book, and more than anything i wanted todo model from David work, luckily, he was kind enough todo provide the artwork no problema. In fact, the artwork i used is the same as on his Chaos and evolutions DVD which David developed todo fit the style of the book. He got two birds with one estone.
Did you consider other character model referencias?
I did consider a few others, but nothing seriously. Before approaching David, y had not narrowed down any other artists and had Simply ben looking at other character artwork that i liked.
When modeling your own characters, do you draw the model reference shets or do you find referencias online (or other places)?
Even though i love todo draw, y certainly would not consider myself todo be god at it. For this reason i generally like todo base my own work of of various referencias i find around the web. Or, if im Lucky, y can talque ha buddy or two into drawing something for me.
Does the character used in character development in Blender 2. 5 have a name?
Actually no.i am terrible with names and Even though i kept it at the bak of my mind throughout the entire writing process, y never came up with a name that i liked.
When you were modeling the character, did you use a screen capture programa todo capture screenshots as you modeled or did you plan your steps ahead oftime and Grab screen shots as you wentí.
I grabbed screenshots as i went, normally i would take a screenshot every 10-30 seconds todo make sure i didnt miss anything. In the end, y think i had over 1500 screenshots todo wade though.
During the process of writing character development in Blender 2. 5, how much planning and preparation was required?
There was a lot of planning and prep mwork. The final table of contents actually looks nothing like the original, y have todo give extra gracias todo my editor, kezia endsley for putting up with me throughout the process. I didnt actually fully finalice the able of contents until a month or two before going todo print. In fact, if i remember right, a full two chapters got completely changed, re-positioned, and or removed just before completion. The fact that she wasnt pulling out Hair alludes todo her great patience and flexibility.
If you had it todo do over again, would you change how you prepared and actually wrote the book?
It s hard todo say. Writing a book was such a fluid process for me, y cant really say what i would or wouldnt do the second time around. Whether i wanted todo or not, y had todo remain flexible throughout the entire process, namely because Blender kept changing on me. I actually rewrote several of the chapters 2-3 times strictly because things like a brand new sculpting system was implemented. Yes, the sculpting section was originally written for the old sculpting system. Oh, and yes i plan todo do it again.
Considering all your responsibilities with Blender cookie and life in general, where did you ind the time todo actually write a book?
Im not sure, actually. I may have borrowed the extra time from the future, which would explain why i find myself so short on it now.
How long did it take todo write?
The total development time was about two years. However, this was grossly extended from the original estimate due todo Blender s constant development updates. If Blender were todo have ben stable, and more documentation friendly, y imagine it would have taken between 6 and 10 months.
From experience, y know that large scale projects of ten come with unexpected sorpresas. During the writing of character development in Blender 2. 5 did you run into anything that surpresad you or caused you todo rethinque your current approach?
Blender s constant development. As mentioned a few times above, this was the Monkey wrench of the Project, there were mornings i would wake up After having written an entire chapter the night before, todo find that a brand new system had ben implemented, making my freshly written chapter completely obsoleete in less than 24 hours. For this reason, y had todo.
Continuously find ways todo make the subject matter of the book as adaptable as posible, letting me compensate for any development changes. It a los means that i wasnt able todo write the bulque of the book until about 4 months before going todo print, having completed the monumental tasque of writing a book, would you want todo do it again?
Yes whether or not my Publisher wants another book, y dont know, but i am already tossing around ideas for a second one. Hopefully ill have more news on that in the coming months.
Now that you have experience with both video tutorial s and book writing, which for (*.mat) do you enjoy more?
Truthfully, y enjoy both. They each ofer their own unique challenges and allow me todo pursue diferent training methods than the other. That being said, videos are a lot less time consuming for me todo do.
So what are you plans for the future?
Oh, bien todo Many. I havent decided whether it s a god thing or not, but i am one of those people that cant sit idly by. I always have todo be working on something and so i tend todo have about 3-4 active big projects at any one time, and another 10 waiting in the Wings that i want todo tackle. A few of those currently are todo update my portfolio, start a second book, finish my lowpoly character training series for Blender cookie, produce a topology guide, and a few others im forgetting.
Any last comentarios.
Does a shameless plug countí buy my book. No but really, gracias again for this opportunity todo blab a bit, it always a nice break from the day-to-day work.
Jonathan, thank you for sharing your book writing experience with us and we wish you the best of Luk with character development in Blender 2.5. Y ou can purchase character development in Blender 2.5 at: Blender cookie Amazon.