My Blender Citizen Diary: The Pilot Character Tutorial

Blender tutorial on character creation -- my reviewIf you’ve been looking in on my Blender Citizen tutorial progress, you won’t have seen a whole lot here over the last 3 weeks. The reason is not that I’ve given up, but rather that I’m still in the middle of a long and challenging tutorial: the Introduction to Character Modeling in Blender.

This character creation course by Jonathan Williamson is another multi-part tutorial that is filed under the Beginners section. Once again, I have to stress that this does not make it an ‘easy’ tutorial. If you are ready to push yourself, though, you’ll get many hours of quality instruction that guides you expertly through each step.

If You Don’t Mind Hard Work, You’ll Learn a Lot in this Detailed Blender Course

All credit to Jonathan who has put an amazing amount of work into this one. I thought the hard surface modelling toon plane course was lengthy, but the pilot character course runs to 30 videos. The shortest is 5 minutes long, the lengthiest runs to 1 hour and 6 minutes. Most of the sculpting videos have a half hour or more of video. Bear in mind too that occasionally Jonathan will do something repetitive (such as replicating and shaping polygon hair strands) or time-consuming (running final cloth simulation) off-camera.

I can’t help but be impressed by his dedication to us Blender Citizens in putting together such a detailed tutorial. For every screen minute of his time we get, he must have put many more into planning, experimenting and re-recording. So thank you Mr Williamson for all your efforts to bring quality Blender 3d tuition to all of us eager beginners.

My Experiences with the Character Creation Tutorial So Far

This one has had its difficult and frustrating moments, but that’s always the way when you are learning a lot of new things all at once. This is only my second experience of sculpting in Blender and while I’ve done some sculpting in real life (a long time ago), it’s a whole new way of working.

Unlike other aspects of Blender, this method is one where you can watch and follow along but still not get the results you see on the screen. Only with experience will you feel comfortable with all the different sculpting tools. Knowing instinctively just where a wrinkle should fall or the exact angle of a facial plane won’t happen in the span of a single tutorial either.

Jonathan does however do a fantastic job of describing all these things and more. I also appreciated the way you could usually see exactly what settings he was using in sculpt mode. The beauty of video too is that you can pause and catch up. Just allow plenty of time as only the most experienced of users will be able to work at his speed.

My Own Progress with my Pilot Model

Here you can see what I had at the end of the 5th video and also my pilot as she looks now, after video 20. (The chibi style pilot design looked quite androgynous so I decided to go ahead and make mine a female character.)

Pilot character after video 5Pilot character after video 20

There were times when I felt this course was just too hard and I couldn’t get a result I’d want to share. Luckily, I’m stubborn about not giving up. I’m now determined to continue through the retopology sections and all the way to the finish line.

Sure, I can’t yet sculpt fabric like a pro (at this point I’d settle for sculpting like a novice) and you’ve seen better hands in a horror movie than those on my poor pilot. But we all have to start somewhere and tolerate the gulf between what we can actually do and what we picture ourselves doing in our imagination. Next time I try this it still won’t impress anyone, but it should be a little more polished. Which, after all, is what making progress is all about.


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About Indigo

As a digital artist on a budget, I'm fascinated by what happens when art and technology meet, and love discovering affordable ways to make that happen.
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