Newbie: How to start with figures, so I don't handcuff

There can be no one newer to 3d modeling, than me. So please excuse my ignorance. I have read some posts but I get lost in some of the terminology. I am just figuring out some of the concepts from walking painstakingly thru a few tutorials.

What I want to do:

1.) Create figures that can be animated down the road. (what the best approach/order )

2.) How to create muscle/flesh sag or constriction. (automatically based on the pose)
a. I’ve seen so much figure posing where the same muscle tone/firmness/shape exist even though given the animation or pose, soft flesh should change it’s shape due to gravity. Or when the arm is at a 90% angle their should be some extra bulging from the muscle constricting.
b. Is it possible to set things where this happens automatically,

Regarding 1.) (human type figure) I don’t know terminology, but a rough sketch, of what is the best way to proceed. Do i start by:

making a skeleton, with all the joints, and then, somehow code the joints to determine the rotation of each.

then Atttach individual muscle groups ( including coding for how each responds to gravity & stretching)

then create a wireframe mesh over that

then add a skin to that?

Thanks Everyone

by being handcuffed I mean not only building something that in the end isnt fully functional, but also something that may legally be restricted from commercial usage

Work yourself through some tutorials on modelling, and then rigging, and whatever you like.
Do a few projects on hard-surface modelling, and make sure you enjoy the ride.

Muscles simulations are very very very complex… and to make things even more complex, Blender has no concept of muscles. You can approximate the effect of muscles with shapekeys but you have a lot to learn before to reach that point.

Now, the somewhat traditional way to animate a character is to first make the character, its “skin” which is usually referred as the mesh. In general, in order not to waste your CPU power, the mesh includes only the visible skin and the clothes. This character mesh is usually built in T-pose or a pose very similar. Standing on its feet with the arms extended on both sides… Well, if your character is human. It can be anything, like a car, a robot, a snake, a spider, or what-not. It all cases, you build your character with its limbs/parts extended and not tangled because it’s easier down the line.

Once you character is at 99% in its definite shape, you can start building a hierarchical skeleton inside the mesh with bones from join to join. (Bones are simple objects, nothing to “code”… and you don’t need to rebuild the whole human skeleton.) This skeleton is called a “rig”. It can be very simple or extremely sophisticate. You can build it so that the legs fold automatically when you lower the pelvis or else that the arm follows when you pull a hand, that kind of fancy stuff… And I won’t even speak about the complexity required to give facial expressions to your character.

Two expressions you need to know: “Inverse Kinematic” (IK) and “Forward Kinematic” (FK). To simplify, let’s say that IK is what allows you to make an arm follow the hand, while FK allows you to move the bones independently.

And a third one: “Bone Constraints”. You can add constraints to the bones so that they don’t allow you to exceed the possibilities of the body of your character… or not. In that case, it’s up to you not to animate your character beyond what’s possible. (BTW, IK is also a bone constraint… amongst the large family of bone constraints.)

When the support skeleton is done, you can associate it with the mesh through parenting and weight painting. Weight painting is a process to associate bones with parts of the mesh so that, for example, only the left arm moves when you move its bones and not the right leg.

The whole process of building the rig and associating it with the mesh throught weight painting is called “rigging”. (You’ll find plenty of tutorials about this subject on the web.)

To finish, the curse word of all the animators: “Bone roll!” :wink:

so it is okay to take anatomical sketches of character,
use those sketches as background from which to mesh the body.

then the bone stage

then actual skin tone stage

I know the eye balls seem to be separate spheres in mesh. although hidden when the mouth is shut… image the teeth are as well… but those bridges can be crossed as I get there…

thanks for the patience and advice

OK, lets translate some of the terminology, so when you search, you know what to search for.

And now let’s take a look at the sequence

Blender has a lot of very handy tools for each step of the process, but there are lots of options and alternatives, so it is rarely a question of just pushing a button and having it work. Have fun on the voyage and Welcome to BlenderArtists :smiley:

Moved from “Basics & Interface” to “Animation and Rigging”

As has been mentioned, automated muscle systems are complex and Blender doesn’t have any kind of built-in system.

The thought of having things done automatically is nice, but on even the best muscle system software, the results can be a bit unpredictable. It’s often quicker and more reliable (and more satisfying) to fake it or do it manually.

Thanks for the terminology translation!

About legal restrictions.

Any model you create using Blender is owned by you. Blender has no copyright, patent or other interest in your creative work. Many 3D character models, though, are based on drawings made by others. Avoid fan art (the characters owners may allow private use, but most of them will frown on someone using their character commercially.) If you use someone else’s drawings (and Deviant Art has a whole category of turnarounds and model sheets) make sure you get written permission from the artist to use the work for a 3D model, and be sure to tell them that you have commercial plans.

Of course, if you base models on designs you drew yourself, no problem. Document your creative process by posting your work in progress either here or at some other artist’s forum.