New Mini Production report

  / by Bassam

the live edit
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 dir structure in nautilus 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?

making finger joint shapes in progress
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.

noodly goodness
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 ;)

the live edit

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75 Responses to “New Mini Production report”

  1. Myster_EE said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    Whew. I’ve been looking for a ‘useable’ opensource NLE Editor that will run on my Machine. looks like I’ll only have to wait a few more weeks! (Well, at least until 2.42 comes out…)

    Also, are all these new features gettings documented? If so, where?

  2. Vapulus said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    I’ve been following orange for a while as a 3d artist. Now it’s started to drift into my day job, haha. =)
    I’m an editor by day, and it’s interesting to see some of these things pop up in blender. It’s not something I would edit on (far too used to commercial software like FCP and Avid), but I think it’s a great thing to have around for those of us not lucky enough to have several hundred thousand dollars of editing machines where they work. =D

    I wish you guys all of the best, like everybody else here. Show everybody that open source software doesn’t mean it’s only for people who can’t afford commercial programs. I stopped using my XSI license right around the time when the 2.4 betas of blender started surprising the crap out of me. =D

  3. claas kuhnen said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    are you guys actualy aware of what you do for blender?

    not only is the coding of blender recently more than amazing
    and making people aware of it, but also the movie project itself,
    testing how far blender can be pushed and used for larger projects,
    and also producing a quality feature film makes people mind more
    and more understanding that blender is on the step to be mature
    and so being considered a serious 3d tool.

    but well i guess you guys know that anyway already!

    great work!


  4. Blake said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    This is a brilliant example of not “under-estimating” what a free product like blender can do. Great stuff Orange :D

  5. David said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    Keep up the great work Orange team. As an Avid Pro editor I find that I mostly use 1 vision screen and switch between the master vision and the source. BUT 2 screens are very usefull for trimming your edits and if you cant do a incoming/outgoing trim or a slip/slide trim (4 windows!) then you really are missing a very usefull tool.

    I’d rather be Blending than Aviding!


  6. Juan Javier said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    [Quoting what Myster_EE said on 31 Jan, 2006]:
    Whew. I’ve been looking for a ‘useable’ opensource NLE Editor that will run on my Machine. looks like I’ll only have to wait a few more weeks! (Well, at least until 2.42 comes out…)

    –Any special reason? (just wondering….)

    [Quoting what David said on 31 Jan, 2006]:
    (…). As an Avid Pro editor I find that I mostly use 1 vision screen and switch between the master vision and the source. BUT 2 screens are very usefull for trimming your edits and if you cant do a incoming/outgoing trim or a slip/slide trim (4 windows!) then you really are missing a very usefull tool.

    —That was exactly what I meant to say. I myself however have been used to dual source/monitor editing, back since the premiere 5.0 days; and up until recently with the Avid DV thing.

    Although several weight reasons have been posted here on behalf of single monitor editing, I myself still would be more comfortable if Blender would support dual. I am sure many video editors would agree w/me. That way, the Blender integration of *professional* video editing and *professional* 3D modelling-animating tool would make it touch the sky -literally- regarding multi-purpose film/video production suites. It would surely outplay many other commercial alternatives (if not *all* of them).

    Just my 2c.

    thanks to everyone

    Juan Javier.

  7. graphicflor said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    Y know that this question is not about the NLA editing but since you guis are using linux at the studio can you tell me how the hell can you select an edge loop (Alt+right clic should workc).For me all that’s hapening is a redimensionig of the window.Y’m using Mandriva 2006 and KDE ….Pleese help me.Y’m rather desprete.Y just want to dump that windows thing.O and…u guis are innnnncredible.Keep on with the good work

  8. Basse said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    you can just use shift-alt-rightclick in blender. it’s a bit stupid, other way is to change behaviour in KDE.
    right click on window titlebar -> configure window behaviour -> actions -> window actions (tab).
    there you can choose modifier key. we are using windows/meta key here at the office.


  9. BArrYZ said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    Quote David: “BUT 2 screens are very usefull for trimming your edits and if you cant do a incoming/outgoing trim or a slip/slide trim (4 windows!) then you really are missing a very usefull tool.”

    As said, in VegasVideo by Sony (but also in many other pro NLE e compositing tools, IE in about all Discreet stuff) the trimming tool monitor, is always one the same preview monitor. This workflow it justified for focusing only on one monitor. Anyway i think that in the future Blender that will include these outstanding NLE-capabilities listed here, the number of the monitor preview can be customized.

  10. Shawn Fumo said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    I agree that one monitor is fine for most stuff, including setting original in/out points. But I also agree with two being being helpful in dragging the edit point between two clips and slip/slide operations. In the former, you’re changing the out of the first video and the in of the second at once, while in the latter you’re changing both the in and out of one clip at the same time. In those cases, having two monitors is helpful to be sure you haven’t gone too far as you drag.

    But I’m sure that’ll come eventually anyway. Just having stuff like slip/slide in the first place regardless of monitors would be a huge step.. :)

    My main concern is just having a half-way decent free editor on windows. I am active in the online yo-yo community where many individuals and clubs around the world share edited videos online all the time. Most of those people either use Windows Movie Maker or pirate programs like Premiere. Having a good cross-platform open source NLE would be a great resource for many applications outside of 3D.

    I was a bit shocked when I looked around for any free editors on Windows outside of WMM that would work to edit with music and didn’t crash all the time. I couldn’t find a single one that I considered usable. I was able to script Avisynth for a recent project, but that only worked because I wasn’t editing to music and because I can program.

    Keep up the good work guys. Blender is really getting amazing!

  11. Peter Schlaile said on 31 Jan, 2006:


    just wanted to mention, my patch also adds a channel tuner
    (the generic way of having two or more monitors…).

    I had 3 camcorder sources to fade against each others.
    This means: you have 3 monitors for the source streams and one
    large output monitor. Absolutely no problem with the patch
    I made.

    Hey, it should be far better than Avid and Premiere, right ;-)

    You can even do sensible color correction with the patch,
    since the latest version includes a UV-Scatter-Plot and a
    Luma-Waveform preview mode. (Usable with several channels
    at once… )


  12. Bassam said on 31 Jan, 2006:

    whee, just tried it.. awesome, great work Peter.

  13. David said on 1 Feb, 2006:

    I should mention that the Avid also allows you to open as many source windows as you like (not just the one attached to the Master screen).

    And Peter, that sounds COOL! Keep up the ridiculously free work and know that lots of people admire you and all the the other coders for it.


  14. FLB said on 1 Feb, 2006:

    My jaws on the floor!!!
    You are masters!

  15. Satish Goda said on 1 Feb, 2006:

    Some cool stuff you all got going on there. Blender Rocks.
    Thank you to all the developers, contributors, and the community.

  16. torax said on 2 Feb, 2006:

    very impresive stuff. finally a free desent compositor.
    I’ve started a topic on the comp module on elsyun forum giving my first thoughts and tests on the comp module.

  17. pete said on 4 Feb, 2006:

    first thanks great effort you do.
    any idea when that node based compositor will be available?

  18. Bassam said on 4 Feb, 2006:

    torax, that’s a pretty impressive setup! pete, you can check it out from cvs today, or get a testing build for your platform…. of course, what you get is wip stuff, but already pretty nice. I’ve no idea when the next release is- I presume sometime after elephants dream is finished.

  19. Chris Maynard said on 5 Feb, 2006:

    Is the node based compositor embeded into blender with a hidden switch? Or will it be seperate. I believe the ability to do both is what makes houdini such a killer app.

    How can i beta test this compositor. I have been a tester for Shake, Nuke, Fusion, Flame, Toxik, Mistika, Piranha and others i cant even name… none of them excite me as much as an open source project.

    Can someone contact me at with any real information?

  20. Bassam said on 5 Feb, 2006:

    chris, the node based compositor is in blender indeed, and quite open to anyone to test; either check out a fresh cvs, or download a testing build from the testing build forum..
    that suits your os… and have fun!

  21. ancienthart said on 5 Feb, 2006:

    Reguarding those who were asking how to let multiple programs access OSS dsp, would using artsdsp or esddsp work?

    artsdsp blender -w
    esddsp blender -w

  22. alt said on 5 Feb, 2006:

    Color me awed. You are adding features that make love.

    This is *so* great!

    I was planning to get Fusion5 but now I’m not sure..
    Is there some place where I could get info about included/planned compositing functionality? Like available nodes and so?

  23. alt said on 5 Feb, 2006:

    And about OSS, at least FreeBSD does realtime kernel mixing of multiple sources. And then there is 4Front Technologies and their drivers for many systems, like Linux (currently without charge, I think):

  24. megu said on 9 Feb, 2006:

    Hi Bassam, how can I contact you directly? Do you have an email that I can write to?