A simple tutorial on shape keys in Blender 3D. Shape keys allow you to change a mesh without changing the original shape. You can can create shape keys for a character, for example, that allow it to smile, frown, blink, wink, etc. It could represent an object exploding, a pipe bending, etc. Each key will be given a slider bar, which you can adjust at any time to apply any shape key. The slider allows you to apply the shape key from 0 to 100 percent, or anywhere in between.
With your object selected, switch to Object and Edit mode (F9). You'll see a tab marked 'Shapes' and a button marked 'Add Shape Key'.
Click this button to add the “Basis” shape by default. This represents the shape of our character without any alteration.
Whenever you add a new shape key, always select this key first, to ensure your new key will be started from this base shape and not another shape key which has already altered the mesh (Unless for some reason that's what you want to do).
To create a new shape key for the same object, select the “Basis” key from the list, click on “Add Shape Key”, rename it to something descriptive and change your mesh to your liking.
I'll move on to describe the sliders next...
In another window, with your object still selected, change to the Action Editor mode. You should see your shape keys listed here. Clicking on the down arrow will reveal all of the slider bars.
Move your cursor over to the 3D window and press “ALT-A”, which will start the animation. You'll see your character's expression change as it runs through the Key Frames and applies the Shape Keys that you've created.
I went on to create several shape keys for my character's eyebrows. Each time, I select the “Base” key, click “Add Shape Key” and edit the mesh to the desired shape. Each of their sliders will show up in the Action Editor window when they're created.
Good Luck with your modeling!
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Scott [Reddog9] is a licensed electrician in Vancouver, WA. Studied in several programming languages, including Fortran, Pascal, Basic, Python, Java script, HTML. Into SciFi, BSG, Starwars, UFO Hunters, Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, Who's line is it Anyway, PS2, Sailing, Pizza, Victorian Architecture and all of the good things of the Middle Ages. Single father to princess Hannah, the heiress to my kingdom and all of my treasures. I enjoy spending most of my free time 'playing' with Blender. Is there anything you can't do with this program? I love finding new tricks and techniques to use in my modeling. There's so much fun in creating something from nothing. I spend quite a bit of time learning different ways of using Blender's Game Engine. A couple of things I'm working on now is a cross-country vehicle sim and a 'Blenderized' version of the classic Battleship game. It's hard to stay focused on one project sometimes. Be sure to check out Scott's Renderosity Gallery, tutorials and Freestuff, as well as his personal Web Site.
May 12, 2008
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