Prepping character mesh for textures/animations and multiple character variations

mim011.blend (991 KB)

OK, I’ve set up the basic model for one of my cartoon characters in blender. I have six areas I want to address:

  1. Tris: I believe I’ve manage to create this model using only quads. I’m planning on using this model for both animation and games, so I figured it was easier to convert from quads to tris automatically than the other way.

  2. Loops: I’ve done my best to create the model using proper loops, for all joints and shapes. The character is more to the cartoony style so I don’t plan on simulating realistic muscles or anything like that – I feel pretty confident the topology will work for the animation I want to do with it.

  3. Creases: I’m guessing I will still have to do some shape keys, but I tried to make sure the skin’s loops around the knees, elbows and finger joints will allow for acceptable bending without totally unnatural creasing.

  4. Decals: There is very limited topology on the face. Instead of modeling eyes and lips, I’m planning on using sprite animation for facial expressions. The area marked in the lighter shade will most likely have a separate UV map than the rest of the body, so it can be swapped from one image to the next on the fly. I will post later about texturing and animation, but at this stage, is there anything I need to prep? Duplicating the faces, moving them just in front of the surface of the head so the textures don’t intersect their z-depths?

  5. Accessories: This character has large ears that are not currently seamless with the rest of the head. THis character is a template – I have plans for a group of 16 similar characters, each with various head accessories (ears, hair, antenna, horns, etc). I was hoping I could build one, texture, rig, set poses, and do all the work, and then copy it to all the other characters who will have the same body shape. If I have to create custom heads for each of them, will using different meshes force me to redo the weights for every character? Should I keep the accessories detached, or is there a way to keep the rest of the body in vertex groups so I only have to reweight the head on other characters?

  6. Anything else I’ve missed: Any suggestions are welcome – I’ve redone this sort of general character many times over the years, sometimes with deformable eyes and jaws and teeth, sometimes more human, sometimes all with face colors and no UV maps. I want to be able to move past the setting up and start USING a character!

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