Hello everybody! I’ll be going to Portland/Oregon and OSCON 2012 where I’ll be giving a talk about tube and meeting up with various great people- including tube contributors Chris Webber and Oscar Baechler. chime in if you’re going there, and let’s have tea.
This week was quite full. we’ve got a beautiful anim team who are going through their shots (perhaps I should post some snippets?) and we are now at only 17 shots left for character animation. (not counting assigned shots that are in progress) This might mean we will make our goal of getting 90% of the character animation done by the end of the summer… we shall see.
This was also the week of infinite recursion! Two blender crashers turned out to be due to infinite recursion errors in our files, to whit:
- we couldn’t link anything into one file without crashing. Joshua Leung found that one by looking at the backtrace – turned out we had a file with a group duplicator inside its own group.. tsk tsk.
- instantly crashing files! this is because newer versions of blender can’t cope with nodal materials that are referenced in their own groups. I found this one by looking through the bug tracker.
The rest of our team haven’t been idle: we have more progress on lighting , new effects in some shots using various techniques, such as dynamic paint, smoke, modifiers and careful keying. Our new sparkly pipeline is (mostly working) and we’ve introduced it to our new anim team. Since this is a rush post, I’m going to copy ton and post a few random images, with no explanation
next week might be slow, because of oscon, but I’m hoping we’ll make more animation progress, add a couple of small rig enhancements, get some new shots into animation, and continue our work on models and layouts.
For some the calendar is based on the sun; for some, the moon. For we of the Tube project, the calendar is loosely tethered to the inscrutable workings of the Hampshire College academic year. Hosted as we are by its Computer Graphics Incubator Space, the project has fallen under the influence of local rhythms. In the crunch to get ready for the ambitious schedule on which we embark with the start of this new term, the blog has fallen a bit quiet — so there is a backlog of cool developments to relate!
Tube is in part an experiment in distributed collaboration, with a team spread all over the globe, but we also have a great and growing cluster of people collected at the “drome”. Look out for numerous additions to the ‘team’ page, including several satisfying adjustments to the chromosomal divide. We have also been very pleased to welcome Jarred de Beer back from South Africa for a second stint, upgraded from Intern 3D Generalist to Senior Vice Volunteer. And in more good news, yesterday his travel papers came through, so Pablo Lizardo joins us next week from Argentina!
Before things really heat up around here, Bassam and I took a little holiday to visit family in the UAE. On the way back, a long layover in Amsterdam allowed us to drop in at the Blender Institute where the Durian open movie is underway.
Ton kindly made us coffee and invited us to Durian’s morning meeting. They are hard into the grind, and we wish our brave compadres all the best with their fantastical enterprise!
Updates about the exciting progress of our own work will follow soon, stay tuned.
Before going into animation, shots need to be layed out- cameras, set, props, positioning of characters and vehicles, etc. before we are ready to animate. Typically I will want to pose the character in the basic position for the shot, just to give an idea for the animator to start.
Of course, we are currently not ready for animation- we are missing too many models, and even don’t have a final blessed character concept- nonetheless, I decided to take an aproach that would not ‘block’ too much at these details, and to do basic layouts with a generic character, to be replaced with ‘the real’ rig once we have it done.
I started with Nathan’s excellent generic biped rig, and modified a little bit to make it roughly the right length (170cm by the scale of the project, instead of the default 2 meter giant ) and also to suggest that the character is a female. If you want, here is the biped rig with our modifications, to use with the same terms Nathan has for his Biped rig.
Tube had one false start before the team effort. Based on an early script I decided to go it alone, and started work on preproduction. For the animatic I used blender, mainly because I wanted to plan the shots in 3D. Some of those shots are still there in the current animatic, though the overall structure of the movie has mutated considerably. As you can see, the animatic was structured as a ‘typical’ blender project, with a lib folder containing linkable groups (in this case set/character/other simple proxies) and textures. All the shots were in one sequence directory with blends numbered for shots (the ‘crap’ in the blend title stands for ‘crapimatic’- a reminder to myself not to do something too polished at this early stage.