In between revisions of my book, I’ve been learning Blender. It’s hard, partly because there’s just so damn much to learn, and partly because they’ve made little attempt to make it intuitive. There’s a quirky hidden method for everything, including problems that are solved in a standard way in every other field of programming. So there’s not that much you can discover just by noodling around; you have to go Google solutions or watch videos.

As I had a pretty good head going, I tried to make a whole body. On my sixth try, I’ve got something usable:

blender-figex-current

Rather than relying on sculpt mode, I found that the secret here is to start with good 2-D drawing, front and back. Then you make a simple structure made out of a few cubes, and move the vertices to match the drawings in both dimensions. Subdivide the mesh and do it again. This keeps the proportions right and minimizes the work you have to do with each subdivision.

Here’s a gallery of earlier failures:

blender-figex-failures

The failure is mostly due to attempting to use sculpt mode. Plus, hands are hard. On the middle figure I had a symmetry problem… you can mirror the figure so you’re working on both sides at once, but something was wrong here that really messed up the hands.

The orange skeleton-like lines in the first picture comprise the rigging, which is used for animation. The posing is relatively straightforward, though doing even a simple animation is quite complex and tedious.

And yes, I’ll get clothes on her eventually. There’s no use working on that till the figure is working and animating correctly; plus I’m not even sure how to make the clothes go with the mesh as it’s animated. No wonder indie games love 2-D.

She has four toes in case she becomes a character in an Almean video game.  Also because toes are hard.

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