Hey folks, for the first time, the Digital Artistry Workshops at Siggraph will feature a blender session, on Sunday, August 7th at 2:30, some info can be found on the siggraph page, and more details are available here. I’m quite excited to be teaching this course, an 1+1/2 session intended to introduce people from other software to Blender, focusing primarily in my strengths (rigging). I hope it’ll be fun, we’ll try to do fun setups for atypical (and some typical) animation needs. The other sessions look quite interesting too.
Hey folks, just a quick update here- some of you may have noticed spammy google chaches for the site, and some nasty redirects on non existent pages. It appears spammers somehow managed to modify someÂ files, resulting in spam pages depending on the useragent (which is why google cache shows the spam but browsers don’t). We’ve found the offending files, changed passwords, locked down access, reinstalled wp, etc. and think that we have cleaned up. I don’t think there was any payload in form of viruses or trojans to PCs browsing the site. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and a close eye to make sure things are back to normal.
I suppose it could have been worse. If you do find anything suspicious, please let us know.
So Bassam’s been away in Bulgaria for a couple of weeks and Henri and I mostly had the studio to ourselves.Â I’ve been working on a mushroom generator for a couple of timelapses – not that tube will be filled with glowing mushrooms, more that we wanted something half way between the ivy generator and a fully fledged particle system.Â Henri modeled some funky mushrooms and together we spun together a quick demo video just to show off some of the effects that are possible, and to exercise our fetish for indirect lighting and luminous pink.
The script is still heavily in development but if you like alpha stuff and you’re happy to do your own debugging, then feel free to download and run.
UPDATE: Find the latest build here.
UPDATE: release 4 is fixed for r31856 [Fri Sep 10 16:54:53 CEST 2010]… don’t expect it to last long though!
Essentially you need to model a couple of mushrooms (just a generic term – you can model flowers or trees or robotic arms) with some shapes for their animation which will be blended sequentially, some shapes for random variation, some shapes in which they bend up the y axis, a painted vertex group for shrinkwrapping the base of the mushroom, all scaling and rotation applied and the origin at the base of the mesh.
above: creating the shapes for auto animation
above: adding manual animation to a mushroom
You also need a target mesh which has nice topo (ideally no elongated tris or nasty convex quads), optionally painted vertex groups named OBmymushroomname… and MAmymushroommaterial… to control the distribution of your various materials and different object types, optionally a limit vertex group (ie only faces within this will receive mushrooms), and a lot of patience.Â Select the mushrooms then make the target active and tab into edit mode, select the start face(s) then hit spacebar>Mushroomer (remembered to run the script first).
above: mission control, godspeed
Adjust the settings and hit go.Â I suggest you run blender from the terminal so you can watch for progress and any hangups.Â You might well want to abort if it starts slowing right down from too many mushrooms.
above: when its done
Development on this script has been a bit of a nightmare.Â Currently it is not possible to create multiple linked objects and have different shape key and material animation blocks on them without having to duplicate the mesh and/or material blocks (thus unnecessarily eating up huge amount of memory and removing the possibility to edit the mesh for one mushroom and have all of the update).Â This is in the blender bug tracker as #23546 and #23547.Â If they get fixed you can uncomment the deep data path keyframe adding and enable all the code for migrating actions to object level.Â Another limitation which slowed development is that it is currently not possible to merge two actions into one.Â This is necessary if you are moving mesh level and material level animation data back to object level.Â Essentially you need to combine two actions into one.Â Not only is this not possible, but its also not possible to copy an fcurve in its entirity, but rather python has to iterate through very slowly copying every handle one by one, and even this is susceptible to some bugs (not yet reported).Â This is because the collection of fcurves is read only even though each fcurve itself if read/write.Â I was also held up by bug #23532 which prevented me from doing the action block combining in the NLA editor, and for a short while by bug #23548 which caused blender to crash when creating new fcurves.Â Finally the script can’t currently support animation data on the mushrooms’ materials due to bugs #23593 and #23594 [UPDATE Campbell fixed these, great news! Material & texture animations are now supported!] – I’ve chosen to block this feature rather than risk an inescapable hang and data loss – uncomment those lines at your own risk!Â Fingers crossed the devs will iron these out sooner or later and the mushroom generator will be running faster, with lower memory requirements, smaller file sizes and more stability!
Its also been a sad day today as we waved goodbye to Henri who is on his way back to France as I write.Â Its been great fun working together for the last 2 months.Â Luckily we’ll only be a stones throw apart when we’re back at our separate homes in Toulouse and London.Â If all goes well we’ll be at the Blender conference this October as well.Â Rest assured, the world hasn’t seen the end of the glowing mushrooms saga – I’m hope we’ll have another chance to work together soon!
Calling all students (18+), recent graduates, and professionals wanting to ply their 3D skills in free software:
Applications are open to join Bassam’s team this fall, hosted by the very cool Bit Films Animation Incubator Program at Hampshire College, Massachusetts.
Helmed by Chris Perry, formerly of Pixar and Rhythm & Hues, the program draws together a number of interesting projects and a lot of talent, so although the internships are unpaid, it promises to be a very stimulating and fruitful space. For applicants to Tube, there is a possibility that housing can be offered.
The official internship period runs from September 20 to December 17, 2010. Applications are due (via email) no later than Monday September 13, 2010 at 5pm (EDT)).Â We understand that this is short lead time for those in need of making visa and travel arrangements. Because the project is ongoing, the internship period is flexible; if in doubt, apply!
Although it may not provide as immersive an experience, we are open to considering applicants not able to join us locally, but interested to join the already semi-distributed team for a remote internship using our web-based project management software, SVN, and IRC.
Full announcement and FAQ here. Still have questions? Leave a comment, or email me, fateh [ at ] freefac [ dot ] org.
I’m Josh, one of new crew members for tube.Â I travelled over to the US from England last week, and I’m here until mid September undertaking cultural studies, and working on the models for the film.Â While I attempt to mediate transatlantic differences (such as introducing the rest of the team to Branston Pickle and Marmite, explaining the etymology of ‘bangers and mash’, and justifying why I need a knitted cosy for my teapot), my hosts are offering an American exchange programme complete with drive-in movies, fried dough, Independence Day Celebrations and Root Beer.Â In my time away from the screen I’ve been out enjoying the fresh air, beautiful countryside and very un-British weather.Â I’ve been running to and from work each day (8 Â½ miles each way), and when I had a few hours to spare last weekend I biked up to the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Fresh out of finishing a long and traumatic Architecture degree at Cambridge University, I vowed never to work in the industry again.Â My first task in the studio, however, was to design the station roof and columns, and to provide general advice to the rest of the team on all things architectural!Â Being British, and naturally strongly resistant to change, I was slightly thrown when I realised the team was working with up to the minute svn builds of Blender.Â Back home in my own work I’d been hanging on to the 2.49 vintage with its historical interface not unlike the quirky 400 year old tumbledown cottage I lived in at uni.Â 2.5 comes with its own breed of glossy newness, an impersonal homogeneity with other 3D apps akin to the monotony of the skyscrapers in downtown LA and a feature set which sprawls on and on like the city-edge of Phoenix, Arizona.
Bewildered at first, I was tempted away from the path of the righteous by the glowing red devil’s tail of Maya on one side and the swirling captivating vortex of 3DS on the other, but eventually I found my way through the valley of darkness.Â I still miss many of the 2.49 features which haven’t yet been ported – skinning loops and multi-knife-cuts to name a few, and in my first few days I’ve spent a considerable amount of time filing bug reports, hopefully for the greater good.
There are still some very simple features I wish had been integrated into the new release.Â As what Pirsig might call a â€˜mechanic of the photographic mind schoolâ€™, all of my previous organisation and labelling systems have been tainted with a certain amount ofâ€¦ dyslexic logic.Â To make life easier for everyone else on the project I have to name every object, bone, group and file according to a strictly prescribed style, not least so our python automation knows whatâ€™s going on!Â While I donâ€™t mind accumulating road miles on my way to and from Amherst every day, I hate the unnecessary mouse miles blenderâ€™s UI demands.Â Iâ€™ve illustrated one of the key issues (which could be solved by a simple hotkey and under-mouse-dialog) using an analogy that will be familiar even to non-blender users.
After breaking free from summers spent as a CAD-monkey in local architecture firms, I now find myself pining for the logical and consistent snapping and tracking systems I was so familiar with from hours spent in front of Rhino, Vectorworks, AutoCAD and the like.Â At least the resulting â€˜errorsâ€™ present in my incapable use of Blenderâ€™s snaps often results in a more derelict and aged look!Â Hereâ€™s a work-in-progress snapshot of the interior of the train which Iâ€™ve been working on today, by virtually bashing it up:
Thatâ€™s all for now,