>=50 Hour Project.

I’m attending an IB (International Baccalaureate) school, and we have CAS next year: Creativity:yes:, Action:no:, Service:spin:
For creativity, we have to spend 50 hours (or more) on a creative project, and I’d love to do this with Blender. I’m thinking of a short film or something like that, maybe around 30 minutes. However, I’ve never attempted any projects of this length before, and so I’m not entirely sure about it.
I was wondering if anyone with experience of projects like this could give me some help?
As in, how long of a film is reasonable to make, how much of a story can you fit in in a certain time without it getting confusing, how complex and how many scenes is reasonable? Here are some points I’m interested in:
How much time can I allot to planning before I have to start “blending”? (I’m thinking 10-20 hours, preferably towards 10)
How long of a movie is reasonable and with how many scenes, shots, etc. ? (30 minutes? Maybe less, no more.)
What kind of story can I fit into a short movie?
Any tips on scaling the story to fit certain times?

I have more questions that I can’t think of right now and I’m sure I’ll think of more, but these are all for now.
Any tips in general on short films, using blender for storytelling, planning, storyboards, anything at all will be greatly appreciated. :smiley:

in 50H maybe you will make good still render. For animation much much longer time you need. Not counting rendering time.

Ok. So you’re saying an animation would take too long. Would it be possible witha shorter one, maybe 10 minutes, or is it best to just make a still? Because I can’t see myself spending 50 hours on a still, and it might be harder to convince them that it’s creativity. If you think so, I guess I’ll do a still instead.

I wish I had better news for you…but high quality CGI (especially animations) are more of a life dedication than a 50 hour pursuit.

This is one of my favorite short films: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDVKXmKKlhc

It gets around allot of CGI problems by 1. no voice animations 2. no voice actors 3. no photo-realistic textures and 3. limited characters on screen. Although something like this is possible with the Blender Internal engine, you will need a significant amount of know how to pull something like that off. You will need something like 10,000 frames rendered, and each frame can take a few seconds to a few minutes. Basically, even if you had a fast computer and simplistic scenes, you will still be rendering for a significant portion of your 50 hours.

And something like this ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doteMqP6eSc) done in Modo, would take an entire server farm in order to render in a reasonable amount of time. It does however look amazing.

Now on the other hand… :eyebrowlift:

If you are particularly gifted and you download a whole bunch of free 3d models you could probably pull of something like this if you are willing to give it a couple of weeks of learning and experimenting. Link: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prNNuN3SiPA) Making something move across the screen is allot easier than animating something walking and talking.

Modeling is hard if you have never done it before. Texturing is hard for the same reason and so is compositing. On top of that you will need a good computer to render animations quickly. Even then, you may end up with something that is flying backwards for some reason and has weird stripes all over it that you did not put there. After it finally does render over night, you then discover that it wrote a corrupt AVI file that you can’t even play and so you have to render it all over again. :eek:

As for pictures… I suggest you go to the section of this forum titled “works in progress” and find a picture t hat you like. Then check the dates on the thread and count up how long it took them to make that picture. It will give you and idea of what you’re in for.

IMO The quick and easy path to Blender creativity is to do camera tracking

Watch this Tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTwZO9Gi5yw

Film a parking lot and render Blender’s monkey head inside of it. That should take about 50 hours :eyebrowlift:

50 hours for an animation is very optimistic to say the least, especially if you want to make one longer than 40 seconds. Look at Blender Foundation for example. It took them a year for a team of dedicated artists and programmers to make short animations like Big Buck Bunny, Sintel - and more recently - Tears of Steel.

50 hours for a good (and creative) still image is also a bit optimistic I’d say. Some of the best artwork I’ve seen on several CG-oriented forums take a couple of months to create AT LEAST!

Creating CG art is time-consuming. If you care about quality then 50 hours is the absolute minimum amount of time one person could spend on one image.

Fifty hours of animation might produce one good sight gag, or maybe 10 to 15 seconds of dialog, assuming you know the basics. Blender Cookie sells a comprehensive tutorial called Blender Animation Toolkit but it assumes you know the basics, and gives instruction on planning, workflow and polishing. There are many tutorials available to learn the basic techniques.

You would not have time to learn modeling or texturing, so you’d need to use rigged characters made by others. You’d probably also need to use props and sets made by others as well. Fortunately, there are several sites (BlendSwap comes to mind) where you can download these assets for free.

If you count the 50 hours as production time only, and not learning time, then you have a shot at a 10 to 30 SECOND animation. If 50 hours is your total time budget, then learning how to model and texture and do lighting to the point where you can produce a good still image is optimistic.

This project took me slightly over a week to do. I didn’t do it working full 8-hour shifts, so altogether it wasn’t a 50-hour project, and I could have doubled its length easily without adding more work (I set an arbitrary 6-second time constraint). While you will not be able to make a 3-minute short, a half-minute gag piece is certainly achievable.

think of 50 hours, just a bit over a week’s worth of work, even though stuff can be done, you’re better off doing a very short 10 second beautiful piece or a still, than trying to make a short film.

Keep it simple.

Fifty hours can be quite an extended period of time, although for high-resolution renders ten-thousand hours is not unheard of. Using a tutorial site i created a high-polygon and high-resolution render and it took thirteen-thousand six-hundred hours for me to do, and it was just a still frame.

Are you kidding me? 10,000 hours is equivalent to 4 years of full-time work. A single render does not take that long.

acctualy luxrender rendering is never finished… soo…

Although i also find his numbers strange (13.6k h = 1700 8h work days = 4.8 years, every day no days off)… 10k hours may be referring to machine hours (equivalent to man hours for computers). Toy Story took quite some time to render. 800000 machine hours total.

As for the original question ; 50h is really not a lot of time. You will never make a 30min movie in that time (unless it is OpenGL-rendered with very simple assets and even then).
50h at 8h a day is just 6.25 days. Just start with some hypothetical render times. 30min @ 24fps would be 43200 frames total. At a very fast render time of 2min per frame, you’re looking at 1440h or a full 60 days of non-stop rendering. So even if you have your project complete right now, without access to a render farm 30min is looking a bit unrealistic. This length of animation is usually done by a full team of artists over many weeks or months with access to a good render farm.

2 minutes is a lot of work for one person in one week. @24fps that’s 2880 frames. @2min of rendertime per frame thats 5760min or 96h of machine time for rendering. That’s 4 days. You can slim that down with a couple compositing techniques, like still backgrounds, but that’s still a lot of time considering the time you have at hand.

Make something simple and cool you can realistically complete, rather than a huge unattainable goal that will discourage you. My suggestion to you is 30sec to 1 minute. (example)

There is some good advice that has been posted so far, some not so good (as in, a little bit off the point of the initial question).

LilSweden, you say you have to spend at least 50 hours (that means you can spend more than 50 hours on this!) on a creative project. You want to make a film, and you’d like to use Blender. Totally possible!

You also tell us you’re thinking of something around 30 minutes long, maybe less. I would recommend less!

A lot of times, people will ask what a good length for a video is. 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 10 minutes?

A video should only be as long as the ideas and the story it is communicating allows for! Picture what happens in the film. Imagine the pace of the storytelling. Don’t worry too much about how long the final film will be, just make it as long as it deserves.

Since I doubt you want to devote too much time to it, since you have school and a life as well, my advice would be to keep the video as simple as possible. If you use Blender, use the parts you’re familiar with. Don’t know how to do something? Don’t write anything into the video that will force you to learn a new bit of it, unless you have a couple days to potentially burn.

My strongest suggestion is to shoot as much of the film with a camera as possible. Your movie will be much easier (and quicker) to create. Adding camera tracked stuff into your footage is a great suggestion!

Watch short films and videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Find what motivates you, think about what you’re good at. What are your strengths? Play to them. What are your weaknesses? Avoid them.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something incredible. At the same time, realize that even simple things can require a great deal of time and work.

I hope this advice may help you.

What you will need to do definetly to make something look nice (still or animation)
Model
Texture
UV unwrap
Light
Render
Composite

Now, if you want to do an animation you will have to add in
skeleton creation
weight painting
blend shapes
just to get the character set up… then theres the animation part… which in itself can take AGES… i did a 40second short for my animation training… spent 10 weeks on just the story line (part time that is) and then another 12 weeks on the animation itself… nothing else (everything else was provided)

I highly suggest that if you want to make something that looks nice, keep it under 20 seconds long or else quality will suffer. I would highly recommend going for a still image if you are new to blender (which by the sounds of it you are)… Keep your goals realistic but also push yourself… setting yourself a unrealistic goal will just be demotivating.

Hmm. What about a loop? I’m thinking of a fish tank type render with waving algae and maybe some fish, pebbles etc. If I could get it accepted as a project I’m thinking it would be fun and a learning process to work on it. Also, thanks for all the feedback!

That is a very good idea, LilSweden! I would recommend creating a thread for it in the WIP section once you get started. I find getting feedback from people adds extra motivation, and can help a lot if you get stuck on a problem!

If you made a loop, you could possibly make a set of out-of-phase loops in BGE that run continuously but based on their going in-and-out of phase, imply different context. Or you could do like Nick Cross’ Perihelion and just make something evocative with no beginning or end. http://vimeo.com/m/62456806

I did a 7 minute animation for a school project, it took 100s of hours, not 50, and it still came out pretty bad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mddckAdWcuE

Like others have said 50 hours is enough to do a reasonably good still or even diptych, don’t tackle animation solo unless you are ready to spend all of your free time for months on it, and/or you are willing to have a shitty final product.