Curious about how I created the animation of Kate’s werewolf transformation? I’ve made a video that goes over the process I used to make it happen!
If you’re still curious about some of the technical details, and want to learn how to do something like this yourself, here’s some links to the tutorials I used:
- First off, I used DAZ Studio’s Genesis 8 Female model as a starting point for Kate. Let me underscore that I did *not* model this starting figure. DAZ’s amazing artists did all the heavy lifting by creating that model. Since I had no idea how to create my own character rigs when I started this project, using a pre-rigged figure like Genesis 8 was a logical starting point. What I did need to learn was how to create “morphs” in Blender that could be used on the model.
- This tutorial by Jay Versluis proved to be the magic key for me: https://www.versluis.com/2018/01/how-to-create-daz-character-morphs-with-blender/
- Of course, this meant learning to edit the model in Blender. Now, in this case, I wasn’t starting from scratch. I’m an experienced 3D modeler, and have been working in 3D on and off for over 25 years—just mostly to create sets and architectural models. Character modeling is new to me, and I did have to learn Blender’s interface. This tutorial series from Blender Guru is the one I used to teach me the basics of using Blender’s modeling interface:
- The key to making the transformations was to make sure all the parts of the model lined up up between forms. For instance, the polygons that made up the nose in the human model had to directly correspond to the polygons that would become the snout. In this case, it was my knowledge of anatomy that was the key skill. Whether you’re learning to draw or learning to model in 3D, there’s no substitute to learning the basics of human—and in this case, canine—anatomy. I had already thought through all this long ago when I designed Kate’s transformation for the comic:
- If you want to see more the design of the werewolf transformation, you can find ALL of the sketches, sequences, and details in my art book, The Art of Paradigm Shift. You’ll also find tons of art, sketches, and tutorials in there, too!
- Editing the textures for the Genesis 8 model was pretty easy. I just had to find the location of the original image files for the model in my DAZ library, copy them over to a new folder, and then create new ones in Photoshop. It also helped to have the UV Map templates that came with the model for free (downloadable for free from DAZ from your account’s asset library), which I used as a guide to draw and paint the new texture maps. Child’s play in comparison to drawing comics! 😉
- If you want to learn how to edit your own textures in DAZ or Blender using Photoshop or another image editor, check out this tutorial from rdaughterDAZ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbO0zoypJA
- Download the UV Map templates here:
- If you want to learn how to export a finished character out of DAZ Studio into Blender, I recommend using the DAZ to Blender Bridge. It’s pretty powerful, and will even export out all the morphs and modifiers that will keep the figure’s shape while moving. It even creates a rudimentary rig you can use to animate. It’s not as versatile as Blender’s built in Rigify armature, though. I recently found a great add-on called Rig GNS from 22722 Studios that will convert DAZ to Blender’s default armature to a Rigify one, though. It’s a paid add-on but worth the price in the amount of headaches it saves! I’ll definitely be using this as I move forward with new animation projects.
- Tutorials on how to use the DAZ to Blender Bridge:
- Using Rig GNS to Rigify your DAZ characters once they’re in Blender:
- Here’s a bit about the basics of how armatures work:
- But this series called “Introduction to Rigging” on the Blender Studio site (requires a subscription, sorry) is the crash course I used to do a deeper dive on how rigging works. Don’t worry, though! You don’t need to be an expert rigger to start out!