Tips for making ANYTHING

  1. Create the low-poly mesh AND BEFORE APPLYING ANY MODS
  2. UV unwrap it

It’s infinitely easier to UV unwrap a low-poly mesh than a high poly one.

Tips for Creating Creatures

Creature itself

Eyes and Faces

Rigging

Sculpting

Improved Workflow

  1. Create a blocky base mesh using regular 3D modeling methods.
  1. Use mirror modifier to ensure mesh is symmetrical
  2. Create base out of basic, subdivided cubes and such poking into each other. We’ll join it all into 1 mesh at the end.
  1. Make it 1, high poly mesh
  1. Work with parts separated out, 1 at a time. Preferably extremities in… maybe?
  2. Add boolean mod to mesh closest to root.
  3. Set options to union and select the extremity.
  4. Hide the extremity. It’s being duplicated in the view and is misleading.
  5. Fiddle with subdivision levels until the union looks nice enough.
  6. Apply the modifier stack fully. Mirror, subdivision, then boolean.
  7. Repeat with another bit. Wheeeeee
  1. Let’s sculpt!

Old, untested Workflow

  1. Create the SUPER BLOCKY BASE mesh. Looking to get a solid silhouette here, ignore curves, circles, subdivisions.
  1. Legs resting on the grid (Z=0 plane)
  2. Use Mirror modifier to ensure you’ll be able to sculpt freely with mirror mode on (and save hours of work!!!)
  3. About 5x5x5 meters in size
  1. Create a cube, scale it 2.5, set Object properties viewport display to be Wireframe, display as ‘wire’. This will help reference how much 5x5x5 is.
  1. Convert to sculpting mode
  1. Apply all object-mode transformations
  1. Open up the Transform panel (‘n’)
  2. Make sure the translation, scale, and rotation is 0,0,0
  1. Subdivide (without smoothing) modifier A LOT.
  2. Shade smooth
  1. Proportions
  1. Silhouette!!
  2. Smooth tool to get rid of those blocky creases.
  3. Use clay strips. It’s a good tool for getting this basic form down. Really really really don’t want to do details, even muscles!! SIL-HOU-ETTE!!
  1. Bones
  1. Think rigging. Armature. Skeletons.
  2. MAKE IT SUPER UGLY. Dig into the mesh!
  3. The bones will help define where muscles lie, so it’s legit important
  4. E.g.
  1. Tummy turns into ribcage
  2. Blocky head becomes skull, rough jaw
  3. Torso defined
  4. Hips
  5. Tail
  1. Muscles/cartilage/body texture
  1. Remember that muscles work as a pulley/string. They’re attached at one point and shrink to pull the bone so they move.
  2. Layer the muscles on with clay strips
  3. Add superficial parts - ears, nose
  1. Details
  1. Make sure the creature is still on track for the reference.
  2. Fur texture
  3. Skin texture
  4. Horns, claws, teeth

Animation

Creating multiple animations

  1. Dope sheet view / Animation tab
  2. Click the “Dope Sheet” dropdown and select “Action Editor”
  3. Click “+ New” to add a new action

Animating UVs via shading

  1. Given a material/shader using a UV map via a texture image…
  2. Add an Input -> UV Map
  3. Add a Vector -> Mapping
  4. Attach the UV map output to the mapping input
  5. Attach the mapping output to the texture’s input vector.
  6. Set the timeline to 0
  7. With the mouse hovering over the mapping’s location values, press i
  1. This inserts a keyframe at 0 with the neutral UV offset.
  1. Adjust the timeline and insert keyframes as needed!

Animating permanently rotating things

If you have something that should keep rotating, like a globe or a sign, doing it via keyframes is a pain in the ass.

  1. Create an initial keyframe for rotation at the beginning
  2. Open up the animation window/tab
  3. “Graph Editor” panel
  4. Open up the accordions for the object’s rotation to see the axis rotation data
  5. Select the axis you want to rotate around
  6. Ctrl + left-click to create a new keyframe, this will make it a curve
  7. In the panel’s menu, Channel → Extrapolation mode → Linear Extrapolation
  8. Repeat, but Constant Extrapolation

Tip: You can set the exact rotation per frame by hitting N and entering the key data. Make the animation very straightforward by setting the key to the framerate and setting the rotation

  1. Hit N to bring up the data side-panel
  2. Select both keyframes
  3. Set Interpolation to Linear
  4. Set Key vale for the second keyframe

Composite

Rendering a background color/img under a render with transparency

  1. Set the renderer to display alpha instead of a background
  1. Render settings -> Alpha: Transparent
  1. Compositor window…
  2. Click Use Nodes
  3. Add an Input RGB node
  4. Add a Color Mix node
  5. Click the alpha/transparency icon on the Mix node
  6. Connect the node outputting transparency to the bottom input for the Mix node (likely the render layer)
  7. Set the RGB or image node to the upper input for the Mix node.
  8. Connect the output of the Mix to the input of the composite node.

Everything Curves

Duplicating objects along a curve

Texture with Transparency

Normals and Bumps

Basic Bump Map Application

Applying noise to bump (height/displace) a surface

You can also use the output from the Mapping node to modify the color to make the surface darker in shallow spots or at least look fuzzy.

How to Apply Normal Maps

Emissive Materials

Only works for static lights, as in sci-fy ground lighting or possibly lampposts. This post here explains how to set it up.

For emissive things that are moving, try parenting a light object to the thing! Emissive properties can still be used to make the material look fully bright.