When you work on a project, there is always a deadline for you to meet. This deadline is to ensure that the project is completed by this date and can therefore be distributed. There are certain times, however, where you feel as though there is not enough time to complete your project. Whether it’s because a family event has popped up out of nowhere, classic procrastination, or maybe you’ve set yourself too high of an expectation.

I do not want to speak negatively about myself, but after this week, I feel as though I may have bitten off more than I could chew with this project.

To recap, my project is to create a 3D animatic within the modelling software Blender in order to tell a 1-2 minute short story. Note that I have never used Blender before and have gone into this project knowing little about the 3D animation process. I have followed some tutorials from Andrew Price on YouTube, and am now currently modelling my first character ever in Blender.

I spent the past week building a character in Blender. I primarily used the notes I took while watching Price’s tutorials as guides on the hotkeys for Blender, as well as other tips and tricks I may need as I design my character. I also followed Melanie Griffin’s Character Modelling article so I can get a decent idea as to what steps I needed to take to build my character.

The first thing I did as soon as I started my new file was import my reference image. I drew a character sketch last week and was able to scan it on my computer and import that into Blender, thus giving me a 3D version of the piece of paper with my full body sketch on there.

Current Character Model with Reference Image behind it.

Once that was imported, I started the model. All of the shapes you see above are meshes that I added to the viewport and have since tinkered with in order to create their design. I started with the head, since that was the easiest and needed no editing at all. The head is an unedited circle, and after adding that I fully committed to making my character as cartoonish as possible. It was unreasonable for me to expect to create a high quality human face in the time I have left to finish this project.

Next was the body. I started with an extruded cube mesh but because the corners of the body were sharp and not round, I needed an alternative. I created a circle for the groin area in order to start the legs, but soon realized that if I stretch the circled extrude the end of it, the result looks more like a body than the cube did.

Then I drew the legs and arms. Both of those required cylinder meshes that I extruded and rotated for the joints. Looking at the above image, I like how both arms and legs turned out so far.

The shoes and hands are both circles that were extruded and sized differently, while the fingers are cylinders rotated to their respective positions. I chose to add only four fingers because I figured that’s the most distinguishable feature that separates a cartoon character from a full human character.

The last steps I took to model my character were to import smaller facial details into my file so I can save the time from having to draw features such as the ears, eyes, nose and mouth. I downloaded free Blender files for all of those features and added them into the software. Because these files contain one side of the feature (such as only the left ear), I needed to figure out how to flip an object, as I did not know how to do that.

So now my character is mostly finished…..modelling. Yup. After this entire week, I have managed to only finish modelling my character. Never mind sculpting, shading, texturing, weight painting, or rigging, I have only completed the modelling stage. Where has all the time gone and what can I do to bring some of it back?

The first thing I need to do is decide which aspects I am going to sacrifice. I wanted to add some more detail to my character, but with two weeks left and an entire environment waiting to be built, I may leave the character as is and come back to it at the end if I end up with some extra time.

The next step is to incorporate deep work into my content creation project. With deep work, I need to spend a long time focused onto my project and doing nothing else. The most effective way to do this is to be in an environment that is not too familiar so you can establish that as your work place. I know one other aspect is to exclude all of the distractive tech devices, but considering my project requires one of these devices, and that I need the internet to research articles and tutorials on how to perform certain tasks in Blender, that aspect of Deep Work is rendered useless. Otherwise, I feel as though Deep Work will be very beneficial towards the final stages of completion for my project.

About the Author Gabe Walerysiak

My name is Gabriel Walerysiak, and I am a graduate student at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Film, Television and Media Arts, with a minor in Mathematics in June 2020. I am currently pursuing a Master of Sciene in Interactive Media and Communications and will graduate with my master's degree in May 2021. I recently interned at GlucoseZone this past summer, where I edited and helped film a bunch of promotional content for their social media pages. I have a hobby of capturing and editing video-game footage for a YouTube channel that I started in the Seventh grade, and that channel is the primary reason I chose to major in Film, TV, and Media Arts. I am also a passionate runner, and even though I am no longer on a team, I run to keep in shape because I know how important that is in today's world. I am looking forward to be more fluent with technologically enhanced creative programs such as the Adobe suite, productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, and any other creative tools I can get my hands on to further improve my work as a creator.

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