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Introduction for lesson 1 – What is 3D modelling and animation

The world of 3D modelling and animation is vast. Watch as Thien L takes you through your beginning steps into the world of 3D using Blender.
All right, everyone and welcome to VR Voom’s 3D Modelling & Animation. This is our very first lesson in our first term, and there are four lessons that are for 3D model and animation. So let’s get started. So what is this course about? Well, during our time here together, we will cover a variety of different skills that 3D has to offer. You will potentially be able to use these new skills for future career options such as game development or even jobs in the movie industry. The focus in our courses are to help you express your creativity so that we can make an interesting character and animations for everyone to see. But what are we going to make?
So in the earlier stages we will be making very simple stuff to get you into the workflow of how to do stuff in 3D. And it will be like creating houses and doing animation such as a ball bouncing up and down, but later on we’ll be creating our very own unique character and do more exciting animations with it. And that could be from our character hacking and slashing enemies, perhaps. Now once we’ve made our characters and animations, we’ll be taking our skills into the next level. And by that I mean we’ll be creating an environment.
And that could be from like having a castle with a bunch of walls and equipment, or it could even be a room even perhaps, like build a meeting room for maybe enemies to be talking. And maybe we can have our character walk around as well, exploring the environment that we make. While you’re creating all of your character’s animation there is no rush. You can take as long as you want, in order for you to create your own masterpieces. Taking your time and letting your own imagination play out is what makes us creative. This is especially true if you’re also taking our VR Game Design Course.
We will create your own unique game and also put your characters into the game and play around with it. So how does our first outline look like. Well, we’re going to learn basically what 3D is, and how it’s compared to 2D. So it will be a bit of me talking from time to time quite a lot, at least the first time. We’ll learn about the basics of how to use a 3D programme and what kinds there are, and how they sort of compare to each other. And the programme that we will mainly be using is Blender. And in Blender we’ll be learning how to model and create simple stuff like houses, as I mentioned before.
We’ll also create swords and a few weapons, as well. And after that we’ll also learn how to animate. So we’ll learn what animation is, and we will be learning simple animation exercises that animators learn at the very beginning. So that’s the first outline. But at the end we’ll also be creating our very own character, which is going to be exciting as well. So, the question is, what is 3D? While 2D can be done by pen and paper or even drawings on your computer, 3D can mainly only be done on a computer with a mouse and keyboard. 3D can be represented in many different ways and shapes and sizes, just like 2D can.
Although depending on style, in most cases 3D will always look more realistic than 2D, because 3D is trying to emulate real life more than 2D can. In 3D the characters and objects appears to exist in a 3D space, while 2D in a flat space. Now what does that mean? I’ll try to explain what 3D space and 2D space is, as simple as possible. Now if you look at the character at the top here, it’s in 3D. Meaning that the character, I can look at the calculate every single angle without having to redraw it, because the character exists, right?
While in 2D, for example, that wouldn’t possible, because if I wanted to look around a character that’s in 2D, I’d have to redraw it every single time. If it’s still a bit confusing, I do have a quick example here, above the cube in the left one here, the cube exists in a 3D space. So as you can see, I can basically look behind it, and it will still exist. The whole cube is there. In 2D, as you can see, it’s kind of flat. And which is the thing, right? And you can’t look behind it. It’s not there. And it’s still a bit confusing, but that’s all right. If you sort of get the idea, then that’s all good.
In almost every movie we make in today’s age, you find basically 3D implemented somewhere in the movie. At least speaking about a lot of action ones. And it could be either from buildings, animals, supernatural beings, or even people. Now sometimes it actually can be hard to spot if it is 3D or not, especially buildings. Buildings can be really hard to spot mainly because it’s standing still, if that sort of makes sense. If you have a realistic human being that’s in 3D, you can actually almost spot if it’s fake or not, and it’s mainly because of their face. We see humans every day. We know how they’re supposed to feel, look.
And even the slightest fault in a 3D character you can spot it immediately. And it could be from just a character trying to show emotions. And doing that is actually really hard to do in 3D. So when is 3D used, and why is it used in live action movies? Well, mainly it’s because if you want to make it look cooler in some way, or even if you want to add– let’s say you want to have a dragon flying in the sky. There are no dragons in real life, so to simulate that we’ll just do it in 3D. And it’s also usually cheaper, as well, to do that instead of doing it with mannequins and anything alike.
But of course, as I said before, while adding 3D is good you can actually also look really bad, fake, or silly sometimes. As I said before with the realistic humans, or at least when you’re trying to make a realistic human, you can’t always see that something is off with it. So it’s not always great to have it. So let’s talk about the 3D itself, when you’re using a 3D programme. So the body of a character is often called a “model,” or in some other cases, an “object.” Now there are multiple ways you can call a TV character, but these are the most common ones.
Now when you’re modelling it’s basically like you’re sculpting, like when you have clay, and like you’re doing in a computer instead. And just as in 2D, if you want to create something, you have to start from scratch. But how do you create a character that’s in 3D just like in this picture here. Well, it starts with a cube. Usually for most part, when you’re modelling something a cube is a good starting point. Sometimes you can also had other shapes. Like it’s severe for example, if you want to do a head of a character. But for the most part, a cube is the perfect one to start with. Now interestingly in 3D you have these things called a “rig.”
And a rig is commonly used when addressing a 3D character that can be animated. A rig 3D character basically has a skeleton inside of the body. And just like us humans have, we need a skeleton in order to move. And how a rig would look like is basically as you can see in the picture here, comparing these two ones. The one on the left has a lot of controllers around them. And each controller allows us to manipulate the character, however we want. And in 2D actually, it has similar as well, though not as complex depending on the rig, of course, but similar enough. Now some rigs may look a bit more overwhelming compared to others.
And even the one I had right here is a bunch of different circles all over the place. But it’s not that bad. Once you get used to it, you sometimes even want to have even more controllers to get even more control over your own character. Now this part is a bit of a comparison to 3D and 2D, mainly about some of the questions that some people might have when starting out as a 3D artist or even 2D artist as well. The first one is what’s the biggest difference between 2D and 3D? In a 2D setting, this is basically when you’re animating, there will always be faults, human faults.
As an example, if you were to animate a character looking to the right, the proportions of the character might not actually be the same. So you would have the eye in the first position might look in one side. But then at the end, the eyes might look in a different position, or in a different way. And you can’t really always get the perfect drawing. However, in 3D that wouldn’t be the case, because the character is already there, right? So this isn’t really much of a problem. The second question is which one is better? Now in this one it actually really comes down to the person’s view on it. 3D isn’t necessarily better than 2D and vice versa.
Although it does depend on the purpose. For example, if you are studying this course in conjunction with our VR Game Design and Programming course, then 3D is, of course, the correct choice, because in VR we do need some three models. And last but not least, is it hard to become a 3D or a 2D artist? Anyone can learn how to draw, animate, model, and et cetera. However, it all comes down to you, to spend your time and effort into learning it, although 3D can be a little bit easier than 2D, depending on what you’re doing.
For example, if you want to animate in 3D it is generally easier because the software will actually help you a lot compared to 2D when you actually do have to be somewhat, at least, good in drawings generally. All right, so we’re almost done talking. But before we go into the programmes themselves, let’s talk about them. So there are many different 3D programmes such as, Maya, Blender, and Houdini, and many more. And they all provide their own strengths and weaknesses. Now Blender is the one that we’ll be using for this course, and it’s one of the best 3D programmes they can get. And it’s also one of the most popular ones, as well.
Maya is one of the most common programmes utilised in the industry and specifically in schools, as well. Now, Houdini is a bit special in the sense that you can use it as an animation programme. However, it is mainly used for simulations, because it does have a really powerful engine compared to the other programmes. However, no matter what 3D software you use, many of the tasks and tools are very similar when it comes to animating and modelling. The buttons are generally just the placed differently. So the fundamentals are still there. Although, there are programmes that are a bit better than other in some aspects. For example, Maya is considered as a better animation programme than Blender.
But Blender does have a little bit of a better modelling experience. Now there are also downloads, plug-ins that you can use to help with your animation and modelling experience, although some do require more effort to get into than others, which we will touch upon in our later courses. All right, so that’s pretty much covers it for this video. And in the next one we’ll be going through Blender itself, and I will just teach you how to use the programme, and what it’s all about. So I’ll see you then. [COMPUTERISED MUSIC]
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Introduction to 3D Animation using Blender

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