Cartoon Character

I’m trying to model and rig this character, Kid Bean. As a little background Kid Bean and Chick Pea are a couple of stuffed characters that were put out about 10 years ago by the Hanover Brands Company. Hanover Brands makes canned vegetables and such and if you sent in some amount of labels from their products they would send you these stuffed characters. My wife thought this would be nice since our grandson was little then. My grandson and I would act out skits and do voices. Kid Bean and Chick Pea were a real hit.

Anyway, I have had in mind to model and animate these characters for a long time and have worked on them a lot. The only way I really learn well is to have an end goal in mind and learn what I have to learn to get there. Which means I learn by making mistakes. Lot's of mistakes.

 I have been working with Blender for a little over 2 years. (My grandson showed me the program). I have taken several online courses and studied tons of YouTube videos. Alex, your Ultimate Blender 3D Character Creation and Animation course is the best course I've taken. To be fair, maybe I had progressed enough that I was ready to learn the things you taught but I learned a lot.

 So, here I am ready to model and rig Kid Bean again. I'll do a better job this time, maybe. I'll accept any criticism anybody wants to offer. I'm not saying I'll do what's suggested but I promise I'll consider it seriously. I need all the help I can get.

 I posted a screenshot of the initial modeling of the head. I know it's ugly but that's where I'm starting.

This is awesome man! Well done so far and love that you are bringing this guy to life! Can’t wait to see it completed and animated!

OK, a little bit of progress.

A little more progress. The mouth and tongue took me a while.

Kid Bean is taking shape. Rigging is next and rigging is tough. So, we’ll see.

I don’t know if this will help anyone. It helped my to organize my procedure on rigging Kid Bean. Character rigging is tough and I’ve made lots of mistakes. I have the deform bones made so far. Any suggestions are appreciated.

What do I want in a Kid Bean rig?

  1. Forward Kinematic arms.

  2. An eye rig.

  3. Face Shape Keys.

  4. Hand and finger rig.

  5. Inverse Kinematic foot and leg rig.

  6. A walk cycle without sliding feet.

How to get ready to make a rig before starting the armature:

  1. Character at 0,0,0.

  2. T-pose. Arms straight out.

  3. Apply all transforms to all objects. (Character, eyes, teeth, etc.).

  4. Slightly bent elbows and knees.

  5. Remove doubles. (Merge vertices).

  6. Recalculate normals.

  7. Organize Outliner

    a. Geo Collection for all geometry.

    b. Camera/Light Collection.

    c. Armature Collection.

    d. Miscellaneous Collection (Lattices, Empty-reference images).

  8. Turn off Subserf and such modifiers.

After creating the armature with a Single Bone and before making any more bones:

  1. Make the first bone the ctrMaster bone. At 0,0,0->Lying flat->Positive X rotation up.

  2. Properties Window->Object Data->Viewport Display->Show

    a. In Front=checked

    b. Axes=checked

  3. To see the mesh geometry when working on the armature->toolbar->Overlays->Geometry->Wireframe=checked

  4. Blender has volume snapping so it can snap a bone joint to the middle of the mesh volume->toolbar->Snapping->Volume

After making the 2nd bone and as you make the bones for the rig:

  1. Names->This is important and will make life much easier down the line->Name the bones the way Blender likes them

    a. Left side bones end with .L

    b. A chain of bones is best named .L.001, .L.002, etc. (If you highlight the name ‘Index.L.001’ and copy it with Ctrl+C->Select the next bone in the chain->Highlight the name->Ctrl+V to paste, it will automatically name that bone ‘Index.L.002’)

    c. I use camel notation with a prefix to designate the purpose of a bone:

    1. Control bone=ctrBone

    2. Deform bone=defBone

    3. Control Object bone=ctoBone

    4. etc.

  2. To copy bones from the left side to the right side (If they are named properly)->Edit Mode->Select left side bones->Armature->Symmetrize sweet, Sweet, SWEET

  3. I set the positive rotation for all the bones in the direction of the normal deform. For example, the roll of the LowerLeg bone is opposite of the roll of a Spine bone since the lower leg normally rotates back and the spine normally rotates forward. I find this very helpful in setting Limit Rotation constraints and locking some rotations.

This is so cool DDD! The model came out great! I can’t wait to see this guy animated :smiley:

Here is a video of Kid Bean with the armature control shapes in place Blender Character Rig - YouTube . With character rigging I have stumbled and fumbled my way from one disaster to the next, which is my usual mode of operation.

 "We learn from our mistakes, and the amount we learn is in direct proportion to the amount we suffer from having made those mistakes."

                          -Tommy Prothro-

 Is anyone else working on rigging and animation? What are your experiences? What have you learned? How have you learned?

Like DriftingEmbers I’m going to give a Public Service Announcement here. When I first started this character I didn’t know to put a Master control under him and move him around with that. I was just moving the feet and the root bone and getting him around that way. At one point the eyes were 2 feet away, in the air. The teeth were so far away I couldn’t find them. So, I learned to put a Master control under his feet and make sure everything is parented, even if it’s round about, to that bone. I know it’s stupid but I learn everything the hard way.

But one of the things I found with moving the character with the Master control and then adding the walk inside that movement is that the feet slip some. One of my goals on this project was to make a walk with the feet not slipping. I’m not going to explain it in detail here because it’s a bit complicated and I found a video where it’s explained better than I can do it. YouTube No FOOT SLIP Walk Cycle-Con Koumis. Basically our walk is a rhythm with the foot on the ground moving in a linear motion and the foot off the ground moving in a standard interpolation- starting slow, speeding up, and ending slow. Con Koumis explains it very well and in detail. We all learned to walk long before we can remember so it is so second nature that I had no idea it worked like this.

Anyway, I can make a walk with the feet not slipping.

I have been working on my characters. Here are some images. Chick Pea has the same rig as Kid Bean. Fluffy, the dog, has a Rigify rig. I have worked on Rigify for a long time and found it frustrating. I finally have a working rig that I like.

I’m going to make a skit with these characters next. I don’t know what I’m doing but I think character animation and a story is the cat’s pajamas so, good or bad, I’m going to have a go at it.

A short update on the Kid Bean and Chick Pea animation. I had a terrible time getting Chick Pea to set the teapot on the table and leave it there, so it slowed me down for a while. Ugh. But I have it now so on to shot 2.

I’ve also spent some time figuring how to structure my story. I know I should have had that all done before I started animating but I knew what the first shot would be and was anxious to try everything out.

Please comment, criticize, ask questions.

Everyone take care.

This looks great DDD! This looks like quite the project and cannot wait to see it fully animated :slight_smile: Do you have a couple short videos of it so far?


I’m making progress but still stumbling and fumbling my way thru this animation. When I have a bit of something I’ll post it. Maybe soon, maybe not.

But thanks for asking, it keeps my feet to the fire. And thanks for your Character Creation and Animation Course. I learned a lot from that course.

Alright, I have some videos. The first is just the first animation shot, 16 sec. worth. Hopefully all the rest are self explanatory. Sorry that the last 3 links take you away from this page and you have to use the back arrow to get back. I didn’t know how to change that.

First Shot

Chick Pea Walk

Chick Pea Haywire Knees

Chick Pea Jumping Arm

I’ve been working on my animated short.

Chick Pea fancies herself a sophisticated lady while Kid Bean is a bit more down to earth. (Maybe more than a bit). This is the setup for the story of how Chick Pea and Kid Bean become true friends.

Hope you like it. Give me your thoughts.