Basic help for a newbie

Hello everyone, I’ve looked everywhere to try and understand this but never got to any conclusion at all… I’ve been modelling a character in blender for a while, what I did was I made a mesh which I then sculpted, and then I retopologized it, because from ehat I’ve read, that’s the thing to do after having finished sculpting.

The problem now is that I want to animate it and I don’t know if I’m supposed to animate the sculpted mesh or the retopologized one;

If I’m supposed to colour (apply materials) one or the other, because from what I’ve read when I retopologize I lose detail but not that much, I also have the UV maps done (I’m appending the character from another blender file as an object), so the character should be nice and tidy but it just looks kind of simple;

Finally I have an animal, I want to get it moving and opening and closing the mouth for speech, I am supposed to do his with the retopologized model , or so I believe, but since it’s not looking beautiful I don’t understand what’s going on…

I would very much appreciate some help, I’m kind of lost in this, If I haven’r been clear please let me know where and I’ll try and explain it better.

Hi bernardosgr
Normaly you would want to animate the retopo mesh because its easier to UV unwrap, rig, animate, etc. While doing retopo you have to watch that you get a good topografie for animation or it wont deform well.

Did you already bake the scuplt to your retopo mesh? Because all the details of the sculpt are normaly baken in a texture and used as Normal, Bump or Displacment texture for you retopo model.

Hey there… First of all I want to congratulate you on getting that far… It’s a good step ahead…

First off… One of the things you can do with a retopologized mesh is bake the details from the sculpted mesh to the low poly one. That way you convert the details from the sculpt to a 2D topographical map that you can use to fake detail on the other…
Here’s a link to get you started:

The reason you want the low polygon count mesh is that it’s a lot easier to deal with when animating.
When animating you can go two very different ways… The first is to use bones (armature) to create the skeleton for a character and is especially useful for limbs and so on…

When you want to animate facial movements and other details you are better off using Shape Keys (can be found under Object Data in the properties panel)… First you create the rest pose (which you already have), then you add different shapes depending on what you want to do, raise an eyebrow, smile and things like that… That way you can animate those sliders to get the whole thing going…

The real power comes from combining these two, having bones controlling shape keys for instance, but that definitely lesson number two (or more like 11-19)… Shape keys are relatively easy to understand, but bones is little more of a science of its own…
Shape keys you can learn a lot from just trying it out on a basic mesh (default cube), whereas the armatures would be better if you learned it step by step.

I’ll add some YouTube links but there’s an ocean of them out there…

Good luck and stay vigilant… These topics can be a real rabbit’s hole and the more you learn the crazier things you’ll be able to do… Try to remember the limits of what you need right now so you don’t get lost in absorbing way too much info than you need at this stage…
And please be sure to post any photos of your work on this forum. You’ll find that the people here are more than willing to help you with just about anything you need.

First of all, thanks a lot to both of you for the quick replies. As a response to your questions, I have already baked the sculpt into my retopologized mesh, I don’t really know how it works but I was following a tutorial and got it done. The thing is, I have 2 blender files:

  • one that has only the retopo mesh
  • another one with the baking done

When I’m appending the object from the said file into a new file in which I’m working on, I can’t seem to add the materials right, it just looks like the object maintains it’s colour or looks a little deformed at the seams, despite the changes I make to the material. What might be the reason for this?

Hmm, that’s a kind of a hard thing to visualize. Usually that sort of thing is helped if you share a blend file… But I’ll throw some things out there that might have happened… Having limited experience with using sculpts, I’m sure I’m not the best to comment on this, but I’ll try anyway.

I take it everything looks as it’s supposed to in the original file.

Double checking that you are using the right UV map in all the right places…
I take it the material got appended with the object, otherwise that might need to be appended as well.
Some possible scaling issue perhaps? Try going into the original and pressing ctrl+a to apply the scale in case that might have something to do with it.

You’re right, that might be it, I’m going to try it out and get back here, I’m not really sure that I can post the blend file as it belongs to a roject that I’m working on with multiple people, I’ll post it if it’s ok with everyone else involved.
I think what I’m not understanding is how the textures and materials will be automatically rendered with the normal map and the UV map and all if I’m rendering the retopo mesh… Any simple exlanation on this?

Well, the they don’t automatically render with those as you have to assign them… Either as a normal map (using the same UV that you used for baking the map in the first place) or maybe as a displacement modifier.
While baking you basically just created the image, now you have to apply that image to your low poly mesh (retopo)…

No worries about the blend file… Just saying that it’s usually easier… In those cases you can do a mock up by using some simple placeholder meshes and do the same procedure just to make sure it’s hooked up correctly in all places.

Yup, I think I’ve got it, I wasn’t assigningthe UV map to the mesh, so it was not going right, I’ll get on with this and later I’ll get into animating it, thank you very much for the help, if it comes out sort of OK I might post it here :slight_smile: