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Attached models are created by one of my students in the first semester of our 3D modeling course in the high school setting that is mostly finished, but still in progress as this lesson is still in progress. This lesson is part of our Unit 4 and you can see the lesson structure below. It is designed to show students how animated characters are created and used in the animation industry.
Unit 4 - surfaces, beyond the basic primitive
- Overarching Objective: Students will be able to design and create a personalized character
- Objective 1 - Using CAD modeling, students will be introduced to the process of creating and manipulating surfaces to create a character
- Objective 2 - Using a power point, students will understand how to create a character considering: target audience, emotions, and colors
- Objective 3 - Students will be encouraged to experiment and try something new while not worrying about mimicking or copying an already existing character.
- Have the students experimented and incorporated previously used transform tools into their designs
- Have the students included multiple levels of detail, going beyond the basic shape construction
- Have the students used surfaces and surface manipulation points to create custom shapes to create their characters
Daily Lessons / Steps
- Introduce character creations, using power point that demonstrates how characters can be modeled and common character considerations (target audience, research other designs, distinctive and unique from what already exists, exaggerate features, color selection, experiment)
- Research - Using a collaborative google slide, have each student create 2 slides, one for "good" designs and one for "bad" designs. Good and bad are completely subjective in this case based on the individual target audience or design ideas, i.e. Smaug from the hobbit is not targeted for 4-7 year old, so this would fall in the bad category for that student. A collaborative google slide allows other students to see a bunch of reference images without having to research all of them on their own.
- Surface introduction - Using Rhino (in our case), introduce surfaces. Demonstrate how with single surfaces, control points can be turned on and manipulated. Most characters will start as a sphere (think piece of clay), and sculpted from there, pushing and pulling the control points to mold that sphere to desired shapes.
- Allow students to create a basic human face, starting with the most exaggerated feature (the nose) and working to more detail at the end (cheeks and wrinkles) . This will show them how to get basic features, even if their end goal is a more alien creation or animal based, same rules apply for having all senses present in some way.
- After completing the basic human face, allow students to begin creating their own character. Remind them to experiment or exaggerate features. If the alien's main sense is smell, there is most likely going to be a very large nose or something that allows for that sense to be the most dominant.
- Details will be added near the end of the lesson, when most of the main construction is done and the main shapes are in place. Most detail will be added onto the original surface, creating something like scales as separate pieces and added to the main structure at the end. Arms, legs, body, head will most likely be created separately and combined with a boolean union at the end, but each design is different so use your best judgement based on your end goal.