New Year Mini Progress Report

  / by Lee

So after a very different (At least to us Aussies) and exciting New Year, It’s back to normal at the Studio. Shot production as always at this point in projects is steady and full steam ahead and Bassams wonderful rigging ability has made animating the characters a breeze, at least in the technical sense. With a good percentage of the animation complete we are now shifting some energy into the final sets and materials in preperation for the first batch of finals. By the end of this week we are hoping to have our first complete scene, and that plan looks like it will work out well!

Our thoughts on the next few weeks is to set up some small armies again: Bassam and Lee working only on animation (Bassam also directing too!), Andy and Matt starting to work now on Getting scenes to a rendering stage, Basse keeping things together with his great skills in both animation and Modelling, and Toni trying to come up with some great solutions for project needs to keep us going. For today just this small update on the plans for the next month, but expect quite soon some more blogs for the new features we are using here and more goodies!

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39 Responses to “New Year Mini Progress Report”

  1. wuzza said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    Hi there that is great !!!!!!

  2. Orbit said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    Can’t wait for the final cuts!! Amazing work guys!!

  3. ralph bluecoat said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    very good, looks better than the movies made with the 1000 dollar programs. is it just me or is the GUI of blender different? i didn’t know that you could change the colors. well it IS open source and im pretty new at blender. keep up the good work you guys!

  4. simon said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    I continue to be astounded by this project, Props to all the team members to continue to put in the hard yards and focus on bringing a quality animation to the unwashed masses. ;)

    The development on blender spawned by the project has given it a massive boost.

    I also hope that tools for network rendering and work flow that large scale animation projects need are part of your development inside Orange.

    :) w00t!

  5. Kernon said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    You gotta love Blender’s GUI. Where else can you create non-overlapping window arrangements like that, all controlled by splitters? Thanks for the update.

  6. quickflash said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    I’m curious if Bassam would share some of his rigging techniques, mainly the actual armatures themselves to see what steps where taken to speed up animation.

  7. ZanQdo said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    At last, thanks for the update :-)

  8. ZanQdo said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    I see @ndy is making some group nodes thing, want screenshots!

  9. Rui Campos said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    Are you going to release a Trailer before release? Or is the next Huge thing to hit this Blog the actual Movie release?

    Just wondering…

    I know you guys have lots to do, but it would be great to have a trailer before the final animation, I don’t say having much, just a small trailer with a mix of some of the final scenes.

    Also, I hope this year is filled with opportunities for you guys. Would be good to see any of you guys at a big animation company pushing Blender even further.


    — Rui —

    PS: btw, why is Bassam looking at the window with the expression “When will I be free again ?”. Ton should get him in solitarie for that!!!


  10. Francisco Ortiz said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    What is Bassam seeing outside the window?

    Don’t forget to go outside sometimes guys!(During the day and not just at lunch).

  11. maccam912 said on 3 Jan, 2006:

    the models better be up on katorlegez blender model repository when the movie is done. After watching your movie, people will want to try making their own movies! Great work!

  12. Bassam said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Well, there’s a few walls and buildings visible, sometimes the light catches them in a nice way… though to be honest, I don’t remember looking today- perhaps I was composing a short poem- something like “arrggh! these shots look like yesterday’s peanuts!”

    ok, ok, I know that was terrible. But perhaps the shots will be better.

    ruis, I agree it would be nice to make a trailer.. something I’ll leave till after we finish the movie though.
    we simply can’t afford the time right now.
    Also planned is training materials. Bear with us! we try to get this little movie done as quickly as we can :)

  13. rubbleman said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Myself I am not especially concerned about a trailer because the movie is quite short and I think it spoils for us to see too much now.
    However I would like to see say 6 second demo of skillful animation sequence between main characters like I see frame of in latest screen shot. Doesn’t need to be rendered or sound or have background though.
    Everything seems to be going very well with this project.I can hardly wait for another 2-3 months to come by but I bet it goes all too fast anyway.Keep it up guys you doing terrific :o)

  14. Myster_EE said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    I have a question. In the left Screen shot, I see that you’re using a python script to control camera cuts, but Why not just Insert a keyframe on the frame before the change, and then insert a keyframe one frame later?

  15. Streen said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    This is coming along so nicely I decided to cry a little, then write this message, then cry a little more. This looks to be very entertaining! Now if I could only find my out of your ventalation shafts…

  16. Matt said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Myster_EE: Try doing that with motion blur on :) It’s also nice and useful with the script since it’s just a matter of moving timeline markers around, rather than having to select the camera, find it’s Ipo, etc. etc. But in any case, we were just using that script a while ago for laying out the shots. The final renders will be in separate files per shot, so probably that script window in the file is just a remnant from then.

    Oh, and this is the view out Bassam’s window :P

  17. Rui Campos said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Bassam, was just messing with you guys, I know you have a lot of work to do.
    By the way, my CGToolkit Books “The Art of rigging” volume 1 and 2 arrived today, will let you know if they are any good in a week or two, once I manage to read all of it.

    — Rui —

  18. BArrYZ said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Any news about the editing and compositing tools and methods, for the final cut?

    (i say the NLE audio/video compositing features present on the wiki material)

    If this request is too much soon for your planning work, please forget about it, i’ll be sending later on next weeks when you will be on the real final cut and compositing phase, no prob :-)

    Good work guys, we are all with you! :-D

  19. Dienben said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Wow, amazing work! Just a litlle question: do you developp a multipass render for the final cut?

    Congratulation for your work and your energy and thanks to share it to the community.


  20. Myster_EE said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Aaaaah! Okay. Wasn’t thinking about that one! Interesting.

  21. rubbleman said on 4 Jan, 2006:

    Hey Ton I watch you make commit at 10:30pm over last days.
    Even old rubbleman who always in trouble for being internet addict knows not to burn out. I watch you some more and you be careful about it or I reach through screen and slap and bounce you around in your chair until dust rises.Pain to have always someone watching you like mother eh? I get this all the time my self.ha!I give you pat on back for all work you do there at Orange just not too much else you beat me into lined box :o)

  22. paul wall said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    the guy with the mutton chop sideburns isnt working
    he’s looking out the window! he’s not working!
    he’s looking out the window!

  23. Myster_EE said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Hey, guys! He’s just taking a breather and “refreshing his artistic capabilities”.

    I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these guys have slept in that office space!

  24. rubbleman said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Yeah well better not.I am pleased to have Orange and benfits of coding but I don’t want it that much that people live only for it and wish could get outside. I hope that clear message from community to Orange team.If it goes as planned well good but if it slips a bit that ok too.Much good comes out of this project already.I like this to be labour of joy not obligation.They make important foundation here for others to follow in footsteps.We all pleased with their efforts for us and very happy to receive any results.

  25. rubbleman said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    I add this too while I at it.
    No reason why some of the tail end work can’t be done by others.
    I know visa run out at a specific time however final movie could be a little late getting into DVD buyers hands and I don’t think persons mind.If Orange team like to concentrate on models and other key elements while they have time together ok.
    Rendering etc can be done under remote supervision later. Plenty of skilled persons in community to pitch in and clean up.

  26. Rui Campos said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Sorry for this OFFTOPIC

    Bassam: The CGToolkit Books seem very nice, but beware, they are mostly for Technical Directors or people wanting to be TDs. I just did a diagonal reading on both books, both are focused on Maya and provide lots of Maya scripts, but, most of the things there can be applied in Blender straight forward, even names sound similar.

    If anyone is thinking of buying CGToolkit just for learning hand rigging, the books might not worth it, given the price tag, altough it focuses on hand rigging it has 60% of the book related to doing rigging automation in Maya, in order to don’t waste much time rigging boring stuff.
    For those of you interested in understanding rigging, how things work, how to do a nice rig and how to implement automation to your rig in Maya, it is really good.

    I must now understand if the same automation can be replicated with Blender’s Python API, but that needs real reading of the books, it should be possible, eventually with one or two tricks.

    All in all, most of it can be used in Blender, I would say 70%.
    It is very good for anyone interested in TD .

    DO mind that Volume 1 is really good, well written and nice to follow, but Volume 2 seems to be a bit rushed, with 30% of the book being covered by full page images, about 35% of the book is actual content and the remaining of it is code.
    Volume 2 don’t focus much on hand rigging, sadly, but it does feature “non rigging related” chapters that act as a bonus, giving it a 4 stars while volume 1 was a 5 star book.

    I would recommend these books for people interested in TD work and people that want to maximize their workflow and time. Athough it is Maya related, most of it can be used in Blender. Volume 1 really worths the cash and more with the included DVD, while Volume 2 might be a bit expensive if you will just use it for Blender, although the DVD that is bundled with makes the price even.

    Hope it helps anyone considering buying any of the books.
    I like them and will try to take the most of it.


    — Rui —

  27. mave said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Hi there , I ‘ve been checking out the progress of project orange and it has been fascinating to see you guys work.
    I just stumbled upon this animation competition:

    and I think that project orange would be a good candidate :)

  28. Bassam said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    hey rui, thanks for the review! I’m probably going to give one or both these books a look at some point- but I’m more likely to try to preview them somehow first now that I’ve gotten your review.

  29. MrMunkily said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Re: Camera cut script,

    Why isn’t this supported natively? It’s a pretty basic feature, especially considering that blender is supposed to be a animator and compositor.

  30. Myster_EE said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    Probably because a script is so amazingly custimizable, that it doesn’t really need to be put in natively.

    Also, I guess you could argue that it is supported natively.

    Check out the scripts directory under .blender, it’s got some cool Python scripts. (You guys may want to make that a bit easier to find, (e.g. a menu in the scripts window, that when you click on it, it lists all the .py files in the .blender/scripts directory and they can just insert it there.))

    You guys are pushing blender to new heights, I can’t wait for this thing to be done, rendered and released!

  31. paul wall said on 5 Jan, 2006:

    a little late, but did you guys ever think of putting a webcam in your work space?
    could add to the exposure you would get, and the dvd’s you would sell?
    also a place for us nosey people to watch, haha!

  32. Joeri said on 6 Jan, 2006:

    @MrMunkily, who wrote:
    “Re: Camera cut script,
    Why isn’t this supported natively? ”

    That’s what the scenes are for. They are just not using it correctly. It’s hardly ever possible to get good compositions from more then one camera angle on a scene… And what if some cut needs to be re-rendered? Better create different scenes with linked data objects … :)

    Ofcourse a “director” object would be needed to flip scenes during playback… But then Matt said I was just being silly here.

    Come to think about it, the sequence window could do a thing like this. Select Scenes as strips, and have a hotkey play the scenes in wireframe. And as a substitude for the script; maybe have an option to select a camera from a scene in the scene strip…

  33. 20to30 said on 7 Jan, 2006:

    sooo …??

  34. rogper said on 7 Jan, 2006:

    This is totaly of topic but… sorry, sorry
    For celebrating the 2.4 release of Blender

    My first love

    In the year 2000 I met a 3d application, her name was Blender.
    She was not an easy one, we don’t quit understand each other at the beginning, but once I learned what made her work we start a inspiring 6 years Love Story.

    Sadly I can’t say that I always been faithful whit her. I was young and stupid… So one year later I had a period of affairs.
    The first one was whit a money eater be$## called 3D Studio Max. Attracted by her exuberant modifiers and fancy modelling functions I did it… I left my beloved Blender.

    Then, somewhere in the middle, once, when I was walking by a cinema, my eye was couth by her… the beautiful Maya. I made my move (without 3ds knowledge of course), but, sniff! Sniff! As soon as we start doing it, she didn’t like my hardware, she told to me that it wasn’t powerful enough… and the thing ended. Irony of fait the 3D studio Max left me 1 month after we met, she wanted money and so…

    For a moment I were lost. I’ve even considered stick to the more accessible 2D applications, but suddenly, I saw some Japanese dude with her… she was hum! Hum! Just gorgeous to see. Later se told me her name, I will never forget it: SoftImage XSI. I though to my self “what a cool name”, so I decided give it a try, but, of course, she was to big for my workspace and once more it didn’t work out.

    Full of regret in my heart, one year after hour brake up I crawled back to her, Blender, asking forgiven. She had made a lift up and was more attractive then ever. She accepted me back and we lived happily ever after. We still have our’s misunderstandings, but whit the help of her relatives, we always work something out. ^_^

  35. Raminder said on 8 Jan, 2006:

    Its so good, I am so excited about when the movie is gonna release. One thing is that we newbies will learn so much from it and that the blender development will be accelerated by making such efforts. Good work , keep going.

  36. JoOngle said on 8 Jan, 2006:


    Following the Node development these days is so exciting
    it´s like subscribing to real-time events and cool happenings :).

    They´re getting more and more useful by every day and
    I can´t wait until the node system is jam-packed with cool

    Way to go team Orange!


  37. rubbleman said on 9 Jan, 2006:

    It is easy to make quite amazing swirly and composite materials with these tools. You get lost in big tangle of connectors if you not careful…I am a bit confused about what happens to existing system though. Is this replacement for it? Maybe newbie is overwhelmed by noodle workings when they see it but it is definitely powerful addition to toolset.
    BTW I look today and see openEXR is in there now too :o)
    May be I was wrong and we just lock Ton away for few months and push meals under door until he is all finished to our satisfaction ;o)

  38. mfoxdogg said on 10 Jan, 2006:

    got to be one of the shortest productoins in history, Great Work
    bytheway, do you use dual monitors because the screen shots are huge

  39. film42 said on 28 Jan, 2006:

    Hey Lee,

    I was wondering if you could publish that blender theme, i mean export it as a saved .blend file and upload with rapidshare or what ever, It looks GREAT!!!!! If you could that would be the best.
    Thank You