Need some advice for 3 beginners, very high productivity, basic landscapes and rigged characters

Hope I’m in the good section. We’re 3 beginners, 1 adult, 2 children (13 and 14 yo). We’d like to learn Blender for next 5 years. In order not to get bored, we’d like to build a good method to reach very simple goals.

  1. Basic short cartoons (3D comics or very short animation movies). For that our main question is how not to reinvent the wheel, we’d like to use existing stuff and modify, sculpt, existing rigged characters. If you were our guide, what would be your advice to get things done very very quickly to get into lot of details after that?
  2. Low poly landscapes. Are there any good tutorial about those? Again using existing stuff to modify it would be very interesting for us.
  3. Pictures as background. Do you have any good tutorials about this?
  4. Books. Do you remember useful beginner stuff in any particular book, about rigged characters?
  5. MakeHuman, RenderMan. Do you know any other software or plugin that would help us build a character very fast, saving time for sculpting? Are those tools faster than using existing stuff?

Easiest way to learn Blender (any many other things) is to watch Youtube tutorials. Here’s some examples:

  1. For sculpting, try something simple like this:

  2. Low poly terrains are very easy to make from scratch, just create a plane and start playing with vertices/edges/face while the Proportional Editing is enabled.

  3. Once you have a basic model, rigged animation isn’t as difficult as it sounds:

Not sure why you wanna spend 5 years on Blender though, you can learn most stuff in less than a month. And if you’re working with kids, coupling Blender with something like Unity/Unreal Engine to make a simple game should make things a lot more fun. You can also make games right inside Blender, but I personally find it kind of inefficient.

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  1. That’s not really a simple goal, and would take time to figure out what works best for you. A problem could be that if you modifiy a character that is rigged, you need to skin them again (weight paint). You could look in into addons like MB lab, Auto Rig Pro, Cartoon character by 3D vision. Check Blender Market, Gumroad, Blendswap and other sites.

  2. That wouldn’t be to difficult I guess. What about the build in landscape addon, and then you decimate it (modifier).

  3. Pictures as background. Mind that pictures are picture and not that suitable for albedo / diffuse values in our 3D scene. But it depends on what you want. Though, it’s simple to setup: images as planes for example. (build in addon).

  4. I think books are quickly outdated. The development speed of Blender is quite fast, and the developers surely work on more animation features. There are load of recent tutorials on Youtube , or on Blender Market or Youtube.

  5. You could check MB lab, Make-human. Could be that it is to heavy if you have a few characters? Not sure if it’s even possible with MB lab. Other option is like I said in 1. : get some character (low poly) and if need rig them yourself with Auto Rig pro.

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Waouh, thanks a lot. That’s great news. 5 years because I would like the kids to have fun in an artistic field before they reach college or work. Most kids don’t do enough arts these day to my opinion. 5 years is the deadline to reach a final piece of art, but 1 month sounds awesome.

Ok, I didn’t think about skins, that’s a very useful advice, thanks.
I didnt’ know that addon, I’ll look into it.
Ok, so everything is on youtube and I guess that would be a perfect good reason to make them learn lots of english. Very good advice too.
Auto Rig Pro, ok, I’ll look into it, thanks a lot.

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