Type in Wires for Empathy

Hi folks, I’m currently continuing the work you saw in the last update – building a library of time-lapse assets and tools. So far I have posters, aging tiled walls where the tiles break and fall out over time, security cameras, a guard tower, and various types of ‘wirey’ messes, like the stuff that is […]

Hi folks,

I’m currently continuing the work you saw in the last update – building a library of time-lapse assets and tools. So far I have posters, aging tiled walls where the tiles break and fall out over time, security cameras, a guard tower, and various types of ‘wirey’ messes, like the stuff that is tucked away under the platform (but is visible in shots) and the wires feeding into lights, etc. I’m currently working on integration and interaction: creating tools to easily put them into shots, and methods they can ‘talk’ to each other, so that, e.g. a falling tile rips out the posters in front of it. All of these result in ‘normal’ blender animation curves, even though many are using animation nodes to build.

In the meantime, I’d like to show some earlier work we did, namely, our imaginary language/font we’re going to use in the film:

Early on we decided the film would be wordless – no written or spoken words – and we would rely on images, shots and animation rather than language.

Our location is everywhere and nowhere – but it still needed diagetic written words: signs, advertisements, propaganda, etc. Not as language but as texture.

We want the dream to be universal – inspired by specific events, specific places, and deeply colored by them, but not speaking ‘only’ to one group of people. So instead of betraying that desire by using a specific language, it became more obvious that we should use a unique typeface with glyphs that don’t really correspond to an existing script. Since our film is based on the epic of Gilgamesh, we thought it fitting to imagine a modern Sumerian language, evolved from ancient writing over thousands of years to the point of unrecognizability.

Initially I came up with some rough designs, mostly jokey references to 3D graphics elements (axis, cursors, rotation icons, nodes, etc.) mixed in with slightly corrupted versions of letters in English and Arabic, languages that I understand. Last summer, one of our interns further made several quick variations on those ideas, experimenting further.

I spoke with a number of well known font experts in the free software world, and one of them advised me to avoid the following:

  • Difficult to read or write symbols, as those would give the feeling of an ‘alien’ font
  • Symbols too close to existing letters
  • Joined scripts as those are tricky to make work

As a result, I went back to square one (or is it zero) and tried to come up with a design that worked better with those restrictions. The result is a typeface I’m calling “Soomerian Modern” that we can use with Blender, Inkscape, Krita or Gimp to make our various 2D elements. The first instance of this is on a train ticket, visible torn on the ground in the first shot.

Look forward to stencil and other variations of the font, and to seeing it appear on the poster assets I’m now coding/noding 🙂

Propoganda timelapse dev continues

Greetings comrades! So as promised, here’s a more in-depth update, about poster timelapse . In our (hopefully just in the movie, but you never know…) dystopian future, the subway walls need to get peppered with images of successive ruthless dictators, bent on making us love them through propaganda. This effect is sometimes very close to […]

Greetings comrades!

So as promised, here’s a more in-depth update, about poster timelapse . In our (hopefully just in the movie, but you never know…) dystopian future, the subway walls need to get peppered with images of successive ruthless dictators, bent on making us love them through propaganda. This effect is sometimes very close to the camera, and sometimes in the background, throughout many shots.

Posters need to be added to the walls over time, then removed, and perhaps just have other posters put on top of them, with attention to the images (which image in the succession) overlaps (they need to be on top, rather than intersecting each other) and order of removal (posters under other posters can’t go first). In addition, the materials of the poster need to age, and posters under other posters can’t e.g. accumulate dirt, and could get ripped when the top poster gets removed… and .. and…. and…..

*deep breath*

So I’m building a poster control ‘machine’ using a brilliant blender addon called animationnodes – that also allows mixing nodes and python via script nodes. This is what my code and nodes look like right now:

Python Script NodesAll the animation node trees

And this is what they do:

There’s a lot of hidden stuff there too: they make oclusion masks using vertex colors and vertex groups so the posters “know” when they are under or over each other. This will allow me to combine it with…..

….my poster material nodes! :

Cycles poster material nodes

Lets see what those look like in animation:

Phew! pretty cool – still missing a few details and tweaks, but that’s the basic idea. the strange purple rectangle represents an occluding poster. the image is tweaked from a beautiful poster made by Michael Kalinin for the movie, and is just a ‘test image’. The text is using our custom made font “soomerian modern” which all the text in the movie is written in.

So what’s left? well, combining the animation nodes for the posters with the poster materials.

In addition I have similar systems (not shown here) for the wall itself, that have to interact with the posters, so for instance, the posters change the dirtiness levels of the walls, and falling tiles rip out the posters.

Hope you enjoyed this mini update!

Introducing Dr. Inception

Hi Everyone! After one too many eggnogs I decided to make a long-planned addon. It fixes my pet peeve with Blender: that it can blend anything but itself. Now blender *can* blend itself. You’re welcome. You can get the addon from here: https://github.com/bkurdali/the-doctors It can be activated from the Help menu (but you need to […]

Hi Everyone!

After one too many eggnogs I decided to make a long-planned addon. It fixes my pet peeve with Blender: that it can blend anything but itself. Now blender *can* blend itself. You’re welcome.

You can get the addon from here:

https://github.com/bkurdali/the-doctors

It can be activated from the Help menu (but you need to have a compositing window open) or from the compositor itself by pressing OS key(the one with the window, OS icon or other pic on it) D in the compositor.
Once you’re done blending blender, hit ESC. changes are not permanent until you save your user/theme settings.

Dr Inception – along with previous favourite Dr Epilepsy are both licensed under the GPL V2 or greater, for your delighted delectation. If you’re curious, check out Dr Epilepsy below (warning – contains strobing images):

 

Summer 2016 Interns

This summer’s interns have been selected, so I would like to give a short introduction for each of them to familiarize everyone with our new team members. Shown below each one is an example of their work as well! Lamont Robinson, 17, currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and is interested in studying 3D animation. Having […]

This summer’s interns have been selected, so I would like to give a short introduction for each of them to familiarize everyone with our new team members. Shown below each one is an example of their work as well!

Lamont Robinson, 17, currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and is interested in studying 3D animation. Having watched a lot of 2D cartoons, he was heavily inspired to pursue 3D once he saw what it could do. Lamont especially enjoys sculpting people, and objects like vehicles and robots. He found out about the Tube project through BlenderNation, and is excited to learn more about the process of rigging, materials, and character animation.

Lyndon Daniels lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, where he has participated in many different projects and taught at the University of Cape Town. Having worked in 3D animation for several years, Lyndon has created a wide range of work, including models, applications, and animated shorts. He was inspired by the open movie Elephants Dream, and became interested in the world of open source software and animation. This interest eventually led him to find out about Tube.

e_greyPhone

Alice Langois lives in Belchertown, MA and just finished her freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has worked in a wide variety of media, but hopes to pursue 2D and 3D animation. She has also gained increasing interest in stop motion, and creating models from found materials. She discovered Tube through BitFilms after seeing the short Caldera. Interested in the free culture behind Tube and Elephants Dream, she hopes to learn more about the use of open source software and the community behind it.

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Congratulations, and thank you for your help!

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Python Tutorial: Mesh Addon in Blender

This year at Libreplanet I gave a small talk about Python in Blender. My primary goal behind was to talk about the ways that Blender, by exposing its Python API directly in the interface, there for users to discover, gives a new meaning to ‘free software’ not just in licensing or community (though these things […]

Me Presenting at Libreplanet

This year at Libreplanet I gave a small talk about Python in Blender. My primary goal behind was to talk about the ways that Blender, by exposing its Python API directly in the interface, there for users to discover, gives a new meaning to ‘free software’ not just in licensing or community (though these things are important) but also in the design of the program itself. How many programs do you know that have an ‘edit source’ button for each interface element?

One of the elements of the talk was a tutorial on how to use Blender’s Python API, and add a new primitive type into the Add Mesh menu. This is made very easy thanks to the template scripts included in Blender, that allow you to create your own with just a few edits, and by the fact that you can grab data from Blender, and pipe it into your script directly.

I’m not sure if the video from the conference will be available from the FSF; they are slowly putting talks up on the FSF mediagoblin site – I’ll post something if it does. In the meantime, I recorded a Python tutorial for just this part:

Going back and recording the tutorial actually made it better than what I presented at the conference. I used the Addon template, instead of the Operator template, which makes it even easier to share the code. Interestingly, during the presentation, I found a bug in the operator template, which I fixed after it was over. The fix is now in Blender 2.77, a nice way in which a presentation about a free software project leads directly to a contribution 😉

Finally, here are my files, slides, etc. for you to follow along:
The Gnu Mesh in .blend format
The finished “add_gnu.py” addon from the tutorial
Slides from LibrePlanet

©URCHIN 2015