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.

The Finals production has started quite smoothly, taking the animatic and replacing with the final models, we are now doing tests replacing the proxy characters with the final characters (expect more on this soon) before huge details in animation are added in the second and third pass (secondary motion and clothing+hair), having an improved rig setup for easier movment has been Bassam’s main priority the last two days while we animate aswell. Matt and I have also begun on one of the other earlier scenes, one creating the set peices, the other animating and placing complete props. I assume when the time comes we will then be passing over to the material and rendering masters for their input.

Jan Morgenstern has still been working with us closely mixing the visuals we make to the wonderful sound and music. Digital 5.1 surround sound has now been confirmed which has some great possibilities for the ‘invisible actor’ of the movie. Voice acting is another need and we are progressing well in our search for voice talent in Holland.

As shots and sets start to meet their final look, we are becoming more and more excited. This month has been the ‘Month of Rendering Features’ for Orange, options for rendering that will make sure we get the most of our High Definition frame size, and more options on the materials side, such as the anisotropic shading for static particles.

Today can go as far as a small progress report, but as we reach the end of this week we begin a new stage in production and will have a lot of goodies to show!

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19 Responses to “Mini Progress Report; Two”

  1. AniCator said on 30 Nov, 2005:

    Nice Progress
    I hope very much on the weekend!

  2. Rui Campos said on 30 Nov, 2005:

    Good luck for this second phase now.

  3. Rui Campos said on 30 Nov, 2005:

    Oh and the character face is just awesome and really detailed.
    Can’t wait to see the final work.

    Oh and thanks to the whole team and especially Ton for pushing Blender to a higher level, kudos Orange.

  4. Elcrapocrew said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Nice screen shots, must be so nice to have the wide aspect display.

    I’ll give you five WHOLE dollars for it :)!!! OK, OK, … six but not a penny more! You drive a hard bargan. Feel free to ship it C.O.D.. Email for address.

  5. Burre said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Japanese Pancake World? Huh? Sounds wicked… ;)

    I’m curious about the clothes and hair. What are your approach when animating those? I’m guessing that hair would use guides and perhaps some physics (wind and other forces) if needed, but clothes? Armatures, hooks or perhps something crazy, like softbodies? (I made an experiment on that once, but with messy results)

    Please do tell! =)

  6. Auteuro said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    I applaud you guys. This is pure excitement!

  7. DudeMan said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Excellent work. I’m working on a digital movie myself using Blender (it’s great) as well. Since I’m doing it by myself, and just received news that my mother has latter stages of Cancer — it’s been a little slow going for me (and understably).

    I applaud Ton and the other coders (but mostly Ton) for his great contribution to society.

    People will remember him as one of the unique people in our history like 1) Ho Chi Minh, 2) Ghandi, 3) Bruce Lee, etc — People unlike other people, who made great contributions and is an inspiration to us all.

    Great work developing Blender!

    I love it, it is by far the FASTEST 3d CG animation suite out there — 1) fast in creation, 2) fast in rendering, and 3) fast in adding new (and USEFUL) features.

    Keep up the good work. And if you’re interested in my animation project, just send me an email!

    Cheers, and keep your spirits hight!

  8. 20to30 said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Now I like Ur models. Sorry for my past comments.

  9. Dienben said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Congratulation for your Work!

    Characters like awsome. Great work!
    How do you work on lip synchronisation?

    Another time, congratulation!


  10. Dittohead said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    The file name for the photo is “idiotsatdinner” LOL!!

  11. Genbod said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Looks great! When you say replacing the proxy models with the final models, do you just delete the proxy and insert the final or are you using a linked library file where you just point to the final model instead of the proxy? Can you get any of the IPO’s and armatures or is everything done again for the new final models? You just mentioned testing the replacement so I thought you might be doing something cool.

  12. MrMunkily said on 1 Dec, 2005:

    Can you clarify what you mean by improving the character’s rigs *while* you animate? Won’t changing the rig break the work that you do up to that point?

  13. Crouch said on 2 Dec, 2005:

    If you ever wish to go to a restaurant in Amsterdam with the good atmosphere, consider this:

    Restaurant blender!

  14. Roger said on 2 Dec, 2005:

    Am rendering my son’s school project on Niger now, and thought I would check in on how *my* DVD is coming along. Great Progress and attitude. I am very glad you guys appreciate the need for detail. I managed dozens of developers at a time for a few decades and it was a constant battle for me to get them to pay attention to the details, or rework and crashes result. I think many artists feel the same way; once painted, it’s “done”. Well with CG, it is going over and over and over again to tweak the little animations and mats and tex so that the eye is pleased. Keep at it! Interesting too your sequence of refinements and approach to finishing – balancing newness/reducing boredom and tediousness with the need for complete coverage.

  15. Lee said on 2 Dec, 2005:

    hey there all, glad you are liking the things we are doing so far =)

    Burre: We have been doing a lot of tests for that actually, mixing simple slow parenting (one of the earlier blog archives has this mini-tutorial), Soft Body, manual animation and/or constraints depending on the shot, we are confident we can successfully get the results we want, anything less and I don’t think we would go through with it. For hair Andy has been mainly doing tests for this and though I’m not sure exactly which method he will be using (like cloth, it may be a few depending on the type of shot), last i saw he was trying out hooks with the curve guides. I have a feeling Andy will be able to share his findings soon.

    In terms of Soft Body, it can be a real pain, which is why we are looking into any other technique to pull off the same thing and have as many possibilities. Now with new Soft Body for Lattices and Curves (especially for lattices, we use them over the characters clothes as ‘patches’ for certain vertices, the Soft Body baking is quick, very clean, and we have full control of the mesh underneath for any detail we need to make).

    Dienben: For the lip-sync Bassam will be the main ‘Shape Maker’ for that stage, which is actually happening as of last week, we are choosing the method of animating after recording voices, unlike most Anime which records after.

    Genbod: Using the proxy’s Armature which had no hand rig and lacked much of the detail of the final rig (clothing, other rigs for proper deformation), by using the same names and placements for the general bones, we could easily test any animation done with proxy to the final model rig, we simply imported new rig into the shot, gave it the action of the proxy and then with all the details left to add in with the final rig (and a lot of shots using animatic character aniamtion simply as reference of composition and shot timing and starting from scratch), we start the detailed final animation process.

    So by testing we could have a simple run cycle to get a feel for the character, and any action made in testing or animatic process, and test or apply to the final model or any of the shots. In fact I beleive character touch ups will continiue very close to the time we need to make final renders =)

    Hope I answered some of your questions fully.


  16. Genbod said on 2 Dec, 2005:

    hey, thanks for that info. I have been wondering that ever since I knew that animators use animatics first. Is there any info. you can point me to on how to give another rig the actions of the proxy rig? I really appreciate your help.

  17. wavez said on 3 Dec, 2005:

    I’m wondering what’s happening with the raised arm in the left image. I’m sure you guys know that’s a physically impossible position. I’m guessing you’re just testing the rig. You’re success is our success, we’re rooting for you.

  18. Bassam said on 4 Dec, 2005:

    Genbod: so long as the names of the bones are the same, the actions can be applied to both.. keep in mind, they should also have roughly the same position/function, or the action will look pretty weird :)
    wavez, thanks, and thanks for your help :) yeah, just a rig test. the shoulder rotation is independant from the arm rotation, so animators will have to remember to animate the shoulder as well as the arm. Couldn’t get an automated way that a-allowed control and b-didn’t cause a circular constraint, so I settled for the manual method.

  19. Deathguppie said on 5 Dec, 2005:

    Another teaser coming??

    hint.. hint..