Archive for November, 2005

Mini Progress Report; Two

  / by Lee

Dinner at Japanese Pancake World after our third Monthly, left to right: Lee, Matt, Bassam, Toni, Andy, Ton (Basse had an early night).

So this day we reach Day 91, Week 14, exactly halfway through the project time. From late last week into this one it has come down to ‘details details’, the hour after hour of hard work that will slowly push our shots to meet our expectations from the design stage and our dreams.

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From IPO to IPO

  / by Toni

With Python drivers, textures and perhaps even modifiers in the horizon, and many new things like the Key module and the beginnings of the new Armature already in place, these times are quite exiting for those who use and develop Blender in Python. But instead of touching any of those new areas, here the focus is on animation scripting using the good old basic IPO module. For non-Blender users, IPOs are the Blender term/component for animation curves (keyframes are the defining controlpoints of those curves).

switchboard
I have started using a method where create new IPOs for script-animated objects based on existing hand-animated objects in the scene, and try to share the techniques here. Creating IPO curves, which define the animation for the object for the whole duration of the shot/scene, is a simple way to have the scripted animation renderfarm-safe, and it also enables manual tweaking of the animations after they’ve been generated. These are the reasons for me having to port some previously made framechange-scriptlinked animation scripts, which work ‘live’ in Blender (are run always when a frame is changed), to these animation curve generating ones.

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Live LSCM Unwrap

  / by Matt

Here’s a nice little demo of a new feature in Blender, added a day or two ago - LSCM Live Transform. When it’s switched on in the UV/Image editor window, it recalculates the LSCM within the transform loop when you’re moving/rotating/scaling pinned vertices, so it gives realtime feedback - a real time saver! It’s a lot more powerful than proportional edit, since it’s properly calculating LSCM using the correct edge angles, adjusting the UV unwrap shape for the best fit.

This should really come in handy when we unwrap and texture our characters very soon! Here’s a little demo video that I did with one of Bassam’s old test characters, the geometry .blend file is linked in this blog post.

mancandy lscm
» divx icon 5MB DivX AVI | mov icon 7MB .mov Animation codec

Mini Progress Report

  / by Bassam

It’s a pivotal week here at the studio, so I thought I’d blog a bit of progress update.
We’ve got the team split up currently in two camps: Lee and Toni are working towards a final scene: Lee’s been modelling for a week, but now he’s started doing some kickass animation- I think he’d been in withdrawal for a while, while Toni has been re-writing his super-cool wire fu script with even more functionality, render-farm immunity and efficiency in mind. Expect some crazy scripted animation, in addition to the character work :)

The rest of us have been working on the second animatic version of the movie, though Matt has moved from animatic work to join Lee with ‘real’ production as of yesterday.

We’ve been going through a continuous process of improving the script and story. After the viewing of the first animatic, we decided to cut some shots and dialog, and rework some scenes for more impact. It was a painful decision because the scenes were very good, but we hope that the complete movie will work better without them. Today we’ve got a full shot per shot breakdown of the entire movie. This is something that had eluded us so far (we seemed cursed with a “mystery scene” which no-one could gift with visuals)- And the animatic is one day away from complete- we need it for our own and our producer’s (AKA Ton) approval, as well as for the composer and actors. Here are a few scenes from the animatic:

Media gallery update

  / by Matt

Bassam and Ton Just a little update while preparing some interesting new posts here, we’ve got some more photos of some of the activities over the last few weeks in the media gallery, including the short Blender tutorial workshop we gave to students from the Netherlands Film Institute.

Get A Haircut!

  / by Lee

You may remember Andy’s post some weeks ago about the new static particles. Well, we must say it was a great improvment for static particles, but we thought the possibilities could be pushed, and Ton came out with a bunch of great new options (that led us to have a few late nights playing around with them!).

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Animatic and Script(s)

  / by Matt

Well, the others haven’t posted anything recently, so I’d better give an update on what’s been happening here! Work has been continuing thick and fast - we’ve given tutorial workshops here in Amsterdam (which will be posted about soon, I hope), Ton has still been coding like a madman, and over the last weeks, we’ve been working on putting together our secondary animatic, with the script broken down into individual shots by Bassam.

We did a very preliminary animatic (the ‘crappymatic’) a while ago, before the script was fully broken down, as a bit of a practise run to flesh out some ideas. It helped, but it was nowhere near anything final, and of course purposefully dodgy. For this one, we’d been working on scenes in parallel and in tandem, and we assembled them together over the last few days of last week to see the then current state of the film in its entirety. We’ve also been using the structure of the script, with the intention that we can take the .blend files used in the animatic, and revise them by replacing character models, re-doing the animation, building the sets, to gradually turn them into the final shots.

Here’s an example of one of the scenes in the animatic, actually one that has subsequently been partially cut/revised, for you to download. Of course it’s an animatic, with proxy models, very rough animation and blocked out sets. Please, no complaints that it’s not Pixar quality yet! :)

Animatic screenshot
» 4.3 MB MPEG4 | 4.5 MB Xvid AVI

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