Props are 95% - bones are utterly redone. Neither Blender 2.79 nor 2.8 were ready for a “shirt” shirt, so soft body and bones are the way to go. One aspect of the fun is some bling, a hat and a bus stop…


It all began… This is simple and a day or two (?) out from finished, but I wanted to encourage remembering that draft work can include half-decent scratch copy materials. In addition to rough box modeling and paper sketches to figure out polys and shapes, I wanted to show any ‘stuck’ users out there this rough draft node setup.

It illustrates pointiness successes and failures and basic reactions to light I can expect on the surfaces as I change them throughout the process. No other part of the draft process will help you predict material scale or illustrate the impact of shaders - just a counterpoint to advice saying to texture at the end; yes, wait for details, but remember that procedural setups can work with you to find details you might not have considered. (Brick relies on one UV unwrap that’s Blender’s choosing.)

The goal is to incorporate a developed version of this character into a full scene; that alone is something I’ve never done before even after years of general hobbyist use with Blender. I’m starting this in 2.79b and then I’ll take it to 2.8 to learn compare/contrast differences (I already know there’s an AO node I’d like to explore!!!)


Some sketching on the tablet showed me I was after some particular style of hand. I don’t have a lot of luck with fingers but this isn’t supposed to be the big career-maker character!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hands, fingers, toes, textures and a cutting up for UV are all updated and that jaw… Yesterday it was round and sloppy; in trying to tighten things up one subdivision tighter today, I over-did it. So jaw and teeth and maybe a few more body details on the next to-do list whether that’s later tonight or tomorrow.

This model is still basic box-modeled and x-mirrored. I’ll call it time to move on and get bones in there before too long. No pressure except to get on with it!

Creeping slowly along. Reminding myself how armatures go. It’s embarrassing how long it’s been. Even though I don’t need much for a single pose, I’m curious to knock through a couple versions to find where better control is hiding.

Still working a couple subdivs below so the image shows the split. All those teeth! Silly easy to lock them to the right bones. He’s obviously the baby godzilla type. Debating eyelids (!) and really interested in different feet. Every time I see them now, I think they’re better feet for a turtle.

Anyway, thinky think think. Not taking the first outcome even though that would be faster! Also ready to move on to another model; so I’m fighting that temptation.

Although I’d stuck some bones in to test general poses and fell in love with the way shoulders moved, I was dying on eyelids, a tongue and those darn turtle feet. It’s all done now even though we can’t see the tongue.

A short plow through alligator feet images showed me there aren’t cute alligator feet! I think these compromise steppers will be good enough. The eyelids are also creepy but I opted for this simplistic upper/lower lid. HOURS just deciding and failing! Now that’s it for the mesh. Materials and colors will change as the hour changes perhaps but rigging is next.

Yo back there! Eyelids, tongue, finger bones, eye control rig (this pose wouldn’t look right without it). No toe bones but maybe today?

Honestly? It’s been long enough. Controlling those eye directions was something I completely forgot and wasted hours doing on my own only to run to YouTube. Pixxy or Pixxr or something from 2.78 Good Grief!!!

I won’t point out the errors, the five-poles the annoying rectangularity of the tail (totally forgot to model away from that!). The imprecision of the armature can stay except in the shoulders because he’s really just for a one-off.

I’m so totally glad I failed so much at this because I’m even happy with these results. :wink: More soon. Grrrrr

I have a technique for making clothes that, on an alligator, isn’t quite as slick as it was on a human! Kind of funny. Anyway, he was always meant to wear a shirt.

If you do things right (on a person) you can Mark Seams almost where real seam go! Then unwrapping just makes applying a cool pattern or boring pattern look almost like it was really cut out of cloth.

As I said, this isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s a push in the right direction. That massively round neck and square body are giving me some surprises. Looking forward to 2.8’s cloth sim though!

He’s looking quite cute in that shirt, it also looks like you’ve been making good progress.

Though even for a cartoon character, his skin looks quite smooth for a reptile, even though the texture seems to indicate scales.

I appreciate the good vibes! I have weighed what you sort of suggest about scales and have to admit that I’m a chicken. This time! Scales and hair and feathers are really the mark of some serious talent.

I’m not too proud to say I’m not that talented yet! Thanks for checking in!

I know a lot of new Blenders and Blendettes out there insist that FK is the way to go like life has to be like claymation days. This is why IK…

Looping four seconds of a rhythmic bop in FK generates so much extra work that it’s a wonder new users aren’t screaming for IK after thirty seconds of keyframing. I know IK’s the boss but I experimented. Pain.

I named and rotated bones to mirror poses with Shift+Ctrl+V (those wonky legs that alligators have, lock in some very peculiar roll numbers) and have begun setting up IK to simplify testing different poses.

Lost the shirt! It accidentally applied its Modifiers and become a 9,000 poly mesh or something making changes utterly unrealistic. And it didn’t even have the decency to make a copy of itself on another layer. Stupid shirt. I’ll make another.

I’ve also tested the little guy in the scene he’s supposed to be in and crashed the 2.79 on an ancient PC. Not a big surprise. So todo: same shirt, different day, continue IK additions and optimize the scene or materials and consider render layers.

Completely underestimated how bad I was at rigging! Yesterday I came back to starting over with better bone positions and names and whatnot based on the earlier experience.

Two weeks of delays, sick kid, holiday now, etc etc. Same old excuses! But in the meantime, I’ve caught up on some IK videos and rigging - the Pole Rotation is extremely odd and stopped me from finalizing a symmetry here.

I’ll post again after getting advice on this very image!

Commiting to hand-rolled rolls. Correct me (always!) if I’m wrong, but Ctrl+N in Edit with bones will let you straighten rolls and Global +Y is some agreed upon correctness. Any model that depends on lopsided limbs, an alligator’s legs kick out at very unusual angles, put a strain on Global +Y

While entirely my fault, the hands illustrate that +Y isn’t big panacea. I did see that Local +X got my roll closer to correct for these digits but still I went in to EDIT mode and clicked-and-dragged the roll value.

I’ve been watching YouTube videos and building up courage for this. It was delightfully easy keeping in mind that X-axis would be the ‘hinge’ of elbows and knuckles and knees. I have no idea if that makes sense to anyone else.

So this more bones, greater fine-tuned control, IK arms and legs, one big All_Bone to drag everything along, ‘proper’ names and now, symmetry for the next step.

Although the details are hard, I like drilling down and taking the time. Got some action Jackson pose on the hands; so worth it…

Mistake to fix tomorrow was to clear the old bone influence names from mesh EDIT mode to make room for the new bone names; I was sloppy and didn’t save a clear copy of the unadulterated mesh.

Just about everything is made and ready to bang my head with a little animation - one minute, nothing fancy. Dancing. Light dancing; chill dancing - even got the go-ahead from a musician securing permission to chop up one minute of their song for the project! That feels good…

All the goodies show rendering will be a problem. There aren’t really enough rays to go around in just one layer. The shadow at 180 samples looks like a .gif from 90’s graphics.


My one week project is now about a month old!!! Still plugging away happily forward. He’s a cutie. I’ve learned a lot.

1 Like

The denoiser could probably help with your noise problem, as I don’t see anything in this scene that it would really struggle with.