You may have heard this term before. What it stands for is the pre-planning stage of any production. It is a part of the big picture in any production pipeline. That pipeline consisting of 3 main stages -- Pre Production , Production and Post Production. In the pre production stage of our model there are many things to consider. One of them being how the mesh should be able to deform, another how the mesh should be controlled and another how the mesh should be textured.
Pre Production Is Like Training
So far in the tutorials you have been following you have.
1. Learned the basics of the interface.
Of course this is not everything you need to understand about blender but its a good start. As this lesson plan progresses you will be learning lighting, texturing, staging and animation. You will build your skills related to different tasks. Your knowledge and use of the interface will increase.
2. You have learned about the power of modifiers. Very important if you are going to plan some unique animated sequences.
3. And you have learned about standard box modeling to build a couple of basic objects.
All of this was pre production to building your knowledge for future projects.
So pre production is about understanding the basics of the project in front of you.
The character you are about to build and animate requires pre production too.
So What Is Next?
Next is three simple pre production steps.
1. Design mock ups and the T Pose to aid in building characters.
2. A knowledge of how your characters move and how to design the edge loops in order to get the mesh working properly. - So in the case of my character. I want the character to walk, talk and do some basic acting. I may require squash and stretch ability. I also would like his arms and legs to be able to stretch sometimes. I know these things because I have visualized my character moving and acting. You will need to visualize your own characters moving and build a list of expected movements.
If you ever work with a director you should ask questions about how the character is expected to react and behave. These simple questions can give you a real insight into how the mesh will be expected to deform. Don't be surprised if you need to build two or more versions of the character to get the expected look.
3. A knowledge of how to utilize skills to make the character become a reality. Think about what you know and what you can achieve with that knowledge. Don't fear to learn something new. Once upon a time I had no experience with particle animation. But a job I was booked for required that I learn particles. Knowing this in advance allowed me to work out the time it would take to learn this and include it into a quote for that client.
So here is my next stage in the pre production process. My edge loop study of the body and the head. I have taken inspiration from this edge loop design to the right of my drawing.