8 Tips to (actually) finish Your 3D Animation in Blender

In this video, Martin goes through the creative process behind the trailer for the Substance Painter Launch Pad course, sharing some of his tips in the process. If you’re planing to create your own 3d videos and artwork, these might help you on your journey!

Substance Painter Launch Pad

Kickstart your PBR Texturing Skills
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Here’s what we will cover:

Breakdown (00:50)

In this part Martin makes a quick breakdown of his scene. He started by experimenting with lights and composition in EEVEE to speed up the creation process. When he was satisfied by the basic shapes and colors, he switched to Cycles to have a better textures and lighting quality. “Barry the Barrelbot” and the “papa” barrel were both modeled in blender and textured in substance painter. The whole environment is a combination of some assets Martin made in past and other ones downloaded from websites like Megascans and Blender Swap.

The scene was assembled in Blender and rendered in Cycles

Tip 1: Know what you’re making (03:47)

By “know what you’re making” Martin means “do the preproduction step“. This means not just doing some concept pieces or storyboards but mainly going trough the thinking process about the overall idea and how well it will work, when finished.

Planing your project before doing the 3d work can save a lot of time

Tip 2: Know what’s necessary and redundant (05:17)

When you’re working on a project alone, it’s vital to constantly ask yourself what’s really important and how can you save time and energy. In case of this animation for example, Martin has a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do once the storyboard was finished, so he decided to skip the animatic step. He also took the decision to not model each asset by himself and take some of them from websites we named above. Always Keep in mind what you will see in your camera as well: there’s no point in modelling or polishing something that at the end will not be visible.

Tip 3: Write down what you need (07:05)

This one could sound pretty boring, but it’s necessary. Having a simple sheet with all the things that you need to do, buy or learn to complete your animation will make you confident in always knowing where you’re at, what you need to do next and how much stuff remains unfinished.

Tip 4: Keep your scenes organized (09:30)

This is not only about naming your objects but also organize your scene by splitting it into collections. Making a good use of collections will help you to easily find each object, hide or deactivate it if necessary and reactivate it whenever you want. Organization is the key to avoid useless waste of time.

Collections are a great way to organize your scene in Blender

Tip 5: Start animation from the basics (10:25)

When animating, remember to always start with the basic elements. In the barrel character here for example Martin made the general path first, then started to add the primary movements. Be patient and don’t add secondary movements before the primary ones are finished(even if the second ones are the funniest to work on).

Tip 6: Secondary animation comes… second (12:12)

Even if secondary element’s animation is as important as the primary, just remember to do them just when you’re sure that the primary stuff works and you’re not going to change it. Also don’t forget that you can use some animation tricks (like modifiers) to save your time.

Tip 7: Don’t be afraid of render farms (14:00)

Using a render farm could save you a lot of time and maybe your laptop from being burned as well! So consider to make use of paid render farms like Render Street, Rays Render, Garage Farm or Blendergrid. If you’re a beginner or a hobbyist and you can’t afford a paid one, don’t forget that there are also some free solutions like Sheepit!

Tip 8: Don’t forget compositing (15:47)

This is not an only a Blender-related tip. There are many tools for post-production out there. Just remember that the rendering shouldn’t be the last step of your project. Sometimes a good combination of different render layer, some smoke, fire, holograms or color correction could be the tings that will bring your render to the next level!

Compositing was done in Adobe After Effects

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