Here’s my June entry for the 11 Second Club, using the CG Cookie rig with some custom added texturing. I did a bit better with this one, 77th out of 190, I’m pretty happy with that. As usual though, I’d have liked more time on this to smooth a few problems out and give their faces a bit more expression. I’m still trying to figure out a good workflow with Blender as far as character animation goes. I’ve read various methods from different animators, so I’m just trying to settle on one that I’m comfortable with and is the most efficient. It’s very easy to get lost in keyframes for all the body parts early on so you need to use your time wisely.
This time round I worked up a rough 2D version in DigiCel’s Flipbook first. This helped when I started the blocking phase in Blender, and also helped me to iron out a few parts where I wasn’t sure how the body was going to move and what timing it would take, it was a very big help in the breakdown phase too.
My May entry for the 11 second club. I actually managed to enter this one, but only placed about 120th out of about 240 entries. Tried to concentrate on the lip sync on this one and keep it simple. A bit more time would have been nice to polish it up more.
Blender 2.66 with a slightly modified Cookie rig.
I know I usually throw up indie shorts here, but I couldn’t resist highlighting this when I found it. Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote in full 3D glory. Some may say that it’s sacrilege, it doesn’t have the heart of the originals etc etc. Personally, I think that third dimension adds a whole new spectrum of funny to Wile E.’s escapades, and I think they’ve done a great job of keeping the look of two characters faithful to their 2D originals. You can decide for yourself…
Here’s a cute camera tracking experiment with Blender, directed by Mathieu Auvray. All done in Blender, except for the compositing which was done in After Effects. This is a perfect example of how far on Blender has come in the past couple of years as a stronger production tool.
A fast-paced action chase ensues when a girl takes her new boyfriend home to meet her father. ‘Meet Buck’ has a gorgeous cel shaded look, with backgrounds that are reminiscent of a Warner Bros cartoon. It’s beautifully cut together, and the soundtrack works well with the piece, although it could have been beefed up a little during the forest part of the chase. Other than that, it just leaves me wanting to see more!
This week saw the release of the 4th short film from the Blender Foundation called ‘Tears of Steel’. Traditionally these shorts test out and implement any new features that have been in the pipeline for latest versions of Blender.
This time round, we see a slight change to the style of the short. The first three films were all exclusively 3d animation, but with Tears of Steel the focus is on visual effects. In the later versions of Blender, the Foundation has been gradually working on some major new features, most notably the 3d camera tracking system. Along with the various node and compositor improvements, the purpose of this short was to try out the with visual effects enhancements.
Although the film has generally received favourably, it has been slightly slated for not having much of a storyline compared to the previous shorts. The acting is slightly hammy in some places, but the music is beautifully produced. As a demonstration of Blender’s current abilities though, it’s a great showcase. In the short time that the small team had to produce the Mango Project, its working title, visually looks great and they’ve managed to cram a great deal of concept into the 12 minutes. Although Sintel stands as the more inspirational of the four films, because of its combination of great design and storytelling, Tears of Steel still manages to create a feeling of pride amongst the Blenderhead community.
As a bonus here are the links to the other three films, have your own little Blender film festival and enjoy!
Here’s a commercial I produced last year for a local DIY event, based on a concept and storyboard by Stephen McCreight over at GraphicsGarage. The tape measure was built and rendered in Blender 2.5. The logo was comped and the commercial was finished in After Effects. I still know After Effects too well to be finishing commercials in Blender. I’ll maybe get to the stage where I’ll become proficient enough with the video sequencer and nodes, but in the meantime, I’ve been using After Effects for about 15 years now so I’m way more confident with it.
It was quite tricky to get the animated shape of the tape measure. From what I can remember I modelled a straight length of the tape then used a curve modifier on it. I then used the Rotobezier plugin to animate the curve into the shapes of the house and the pound signs, while the mesh moved along the length of the curve. It was pretty fiddly in places, the transition of the curve from shape to shape almost had to be keyframed every frame to make it move the way I wanted it to. But once I got the hang of the Rotobezier it got a little easier.
Here’s a beautifully made 3d short about a ballerina who learns that she must be content with her life in a clocktower since she plays such an important role in the life of her village. Made a few years ago by Californian Cara Antonelli, for her senior thesis animation at the Ringling School of Art and Design. Cara is now a conceptual illustrator and 3d artist, and is currently working on Madagascar 3. You can check out more of her work over on her blog at Carakhan.com.
Great characterisation, nicely rendered, and brilliantly funny, and although it’s 3 years old now, it’s still one of my favourite 3d shorts. It was 4 years in production, and you can check out some behind the scenes podcasts and even get a special edition DVD over at the Pigeon Impossible website. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in how a short is put together.