/ by Bassam
Well, feels like it’s about time to update everyone on how we are doing, as we get into the later part of the project. Ton told you all about the extension we got, so I’ll fill you in on where we are now, and what we’ll be doing in the remaining time.
We’ve animated 92 shots of our 130 total. The live edit image above shows the progress- the top “animatic” strips are almost gone- the rest is all production files. Of those scenes some are “timing complete” meaning main character and environment animation are done, and these scenes are ready for the Sound FX. Scene 4 already has a gorgeous sound track done by Jan, and he has scene 5 in his grubby little mitts… we can’t wait to hear what he does with it :) scene 6 is next; it is shot complete, minus final tweaks.
The live edit is a massive help. We drop completed and in progress shots into a directory structure with a .blend sequence edit sitting on top ( using relative paths) Thanks to the patch from Peter Schlaile, the sequencer is almost a realtime editing system now; it never (at the half HD res we currently have it at) consumes more than 90 megs of memory, doesn’t need to “cache” images before playback, and sports quite a few optimizations and improvements. Peter himself used the sequencer to edit a 2 hour movie, something that would have been next to impossible in the past. With the adition of the ffmpeg support, this should make blender quite a viable NLE, especially for us linuxers :) You may notice from the live edit that the movie is getting longer than the animatic; the more we finish the longer the movie gets! The animatic ran at slightly under 7 minutes total. The current live edit is about 8 minutes and 8 seconds.
As to what we use the live edit for, well:
a - as we replace open gl previews with renders and final renders, it slowly “becomes” the movie- editing started before rendering did :)
b - at the final hour, we’ll drop in the full rez frames in the same directory structure, and the live edit .blend becomes sort of an EDL, to render out the full rez movie.
c - most importantly, it really streamlines the process of working… previous posters on the blog have asked how/why we split shots into blend files, and what that does to editing a continuous piece of animation. There are several consequtive shots in the movie that span the same bit of dialog or action; with cuts on action to the characters in long/medium or closeup. The live edit lets two, sometimes three animators to work on consequtive shots and still sync their styles and the motion across the cut, that it appears completely continuous. It’s quite amazing to see, even for us :)
d- last but not least, Jan needs the edit to do the sound for the movie :)
So, what will go on in the next few weeks?
We’ve got a short hiatus while we finalize the designs for scenes 7,8 and 1 (two extremely short scenes and one long one) and at the same time, push the scenes we’ve done and the characters to final status (this means animation, texturing, and rigging completion).
For Matt this means heaps of UV unwrapping in addition to modelling and design for the last two scenes, after which he’ll be both animating and working towards final textureing and lighting.
Ton is working hard both as a producer and coder; he got us the extension for the project time, now he’s doing tasks that range from finding a venue for the premier to making sure we have a place to live for the extra time. As a coder, he recently ripped out and rebuilt blender’s rendering internals, and added the icing of a node based compositor; a truly amazing feat of programming in such a short period of time.
Andy will be working towards the final renders; in general, this means making the movie look awesome (but don’t tell him that; he’s quite shy) He’ll be doing the arduous task of painting textures, setting up lights, design work, and using and debugging the Noodly compositor.
Basse is tired, and going home right now; but when he’s here he does both animation and set design, and continues to produce heaps of mechanical monsters.
Between games of pool trips to the red light district, Lee will be putting the final animated polish on scenes 2 and 3, before he starts on scene 7. (okay, I’m kidding about the red light district- Lee still believes it’s the site of Amsterdam’s clothes-dying industry)
I will be doing the dozens of shapes driven by bones to fix the deformations of the characters (this includes each joint of each finger, for instance) I’ll finalize the char rigs and cloth rigs, and assist Toni dropping in the scripted environment animations for scene 2. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of the week, and be able to get back to animating.
After this week, we’ll be working half on animating and half on getting final renders through the pipeline… there’s lots of interesting details on that, but I feel like I’ve typed way too much (and barely scratched the surface) I’ll leave it to the rest to fill you in on the really cool stuff happening to blender and the project (like the noodly compositor!) and I’ll leave you with a little screenie of the typical animator’s desktop at the project, and settle in for a nice Saturday evening’s work ;)