Animated Short Film-The Trinary Prophecy

Greetings all, I’m starting this thread as the main location for all artwork and progress updates to the short film I’ve started to create.

At this stage I’m still very much in the concept phase (trying to do it all ‘correctly’ and actually design in 2D first), before I deep dive in to Blender.

My main plan will be to document my progress and what I learn mostly via Youtube, while also posting some images here and looking for feedback. While I’ve already been working on it, on and off for over a year now, I’m only just starting to ‘make it public’ from the beginning as that allows me to be a bit ahead on content and helps to see if the progress I make actually works out before telling everyone about it.

As a bit of a jump ahead preview, here’s a current concept design for one of the main characters: Nyssa

To find out a bit of how it all started, I’m pleased to announce the first Production Diary (and as it turns out, my very first main Youtube video). To say it’s all been a learning experience would be an understatement, and it’s only just begun.

I hope you enjoy my first video and decide to follow along on what I expect to be a very long ride.

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As I start work on the next Production Diary, which will still be very much 2D concept work (as will the next few are likely to be), since this is a 3D Blender forum, here’s a look in to the future and the current early model status.

And yes, it’s a totally different outfit, for which there is a very good reason… but you will all just have to wait and follow along to find out why.

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Greetings all.

As promised, the second Production Diary has been published:

Comments/feedback/requests/likes welcomed.

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G’day,

A quick little update to show an initial cloth simulation test. This was done to explore some of the techniques and workflow which will likely be required for the full character animation.

I’m working on a more complete Technical Overview video to explain what was tested and how its done from a simulation point of view. All being well it should be up on my channel in a few days, so make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it :wink:

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As promised, I’ve just published a more in depth view of the techniques I tested out for the cloth simulation posted above.

Any feedback welcome.

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Greetings all. I’m back with the next Production Diary, on the very important but seriously boring subject of project organisation.

In this first part, I go over my thinking of a folder structure that will be needed for the production going forward.

As always, comments/feedback/requests/likes welcomed.

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Just posted the latest Production Diary episode, this one is a short “talking head” video about the changes to the overall story direction. Nothing to exciting but it lays the ground work for a mass of stuff to follow.

The next video will be Part 2 of Getting Organised, which is going to look at file naming.

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Following up from Production Diary 3, I now have live Getting Organised Part 2 which looks at a framework for naming all the files that will be created as part of the production process.

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While my Youtube channel mostly covers progress in chronological order, actual 3D production is a little more advanced.

Lately that has mostly been focusing on both improving the overall shader look and details, from the eye’s to skin and face details along with the actual fabric and weave pattern. While also working out how I’m actually going to be doing the whole texturing process moving forward.

Anyway, here’s a current render, which while I’m slowly becoming more happy with how the renders are progressing, I am currently far less happy with the texturing process and the time it’s taking.

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Don’t know why nobody comments in here, just wanted to tell you how inspiring and exciting your progress and especially the production diaries are! For someone who wants to go the same route some day this is extremely valuable. Can’t wait to see where you take this. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for being my first reply :smiley:

One of my goals was to provide some information and insight to the whole process that I was looking for when starting out.

I hope you will continue to find the videos valuable as I continue on this journey.

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For this month’s update I’ve gone a little ‘geeky’ and really done an upgrade instead. Specifically I’ve upgraded my GPU after a loooong wait.

So since I was doing so, I thought I’d take the opportunity to do some benchmarks and document it all and turn it into a video. So while everyone else always tests games, my real interest and main reason for the upgrade was Blender, so that was all I tested.

Sorry to say it’s not a 4090 but lets face it, outside of being huge, those also aren’t that cheap. But if like me, you are still rocking a 5-6 year old GPU and wondering just how much faster ‘last gen’ tech would be, given that it is now more available and at a ‘reasonable’ price, then I hope this helps.

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Another month and another new video. This time I deployed my awesome code ‘borrowing’ skills to try some early tests in visually plotting real star data as locations for my story.

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For this months Production Diary and the last for 2022, I take a quick look at some of the ‘final’ concept design for all 3 main characters.

Having only started posting video back in March of 2022, I have gone from 0 to just over 150 subscribers, am nearing 8,000 in views and 274 watched hours.

Not exactly huge by Youtube standards but I’m pretty pleased with it all, so thank you to all that have ‘pushed the button’ and watched my little videos.

2023 should start to bring a lot more Blender focused content (which I’m sure most are more interested in) as production starts to move into 3D.

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As previously stated, 3D production is at least somewhat more advanced then the Production Diaries.

So here’s the most recent updated test renders.

It may seem that things haven’t changed all that much in the past 4-9 months, and I guess in a way they haven’t. But at the same time I’ve been ‘messing’ around a lot trying to figure out and decide exactly how I’m going to do the whole texturing process, both for Nyssa and likely going forward for everything.

On top of that a bunch of tests in just how I want it to look overall. Sometimes the problem with very flexible and creative software is there are almost infinite possibilities in how something can look and at some point I need to pick one that I’m also happy with.

Plus I seem to be mostly working in a vacuum here, with only 1 reply not mine, so for all I know, it could all be total crap :worried:

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This hasn’t been on my radar for some reason, but it’s a super interesting project and I’ve bookmarked several of your videos to watch later. Some of this information you’re putting out there, you’re the only one doing it

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Thanks Joseph, yeah, I didn’t see much point in recovering all the stuff that is already on Youtube. So I try to consider adding something new when and where I can. After all, it takes a bit of time to make a video, so no point in just making another beginner ‘donut’ tutorial.

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This is likely small potato’s to many, but I am finally starting to see what has more or less been a life long dream, come true. Being able to bring my own characters to life, or as Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston called it, The Illusion of Life.

It’s just an early test, using Mocap data from Mixamo, but I wanted to ‘quickly’ see how the rig setup would all work and deform or if I had just stuffed something up along the way.

So far I’m actually really happy with it, especially considering this is still mostly just a start. I mean there’s no hair or cloth simulation, no animation on the face at all and even the fingers don’t move, it’s just a pure import of the Mixamo data.

But even given that, I think the Mocap data works and translates pretty well, giving nice overall movement, which means the general rig setup is good, I think.

Or am I wrong, anyone seeing something I’m just missing?

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For this months video (technically February, I know I missed it by a couple of days, but it was a short month and I got sick for a few days), I’ve taken a minor detour and had a bit of a look at the things I’ve learned since starting out on this journey.

So for anyone else considering a similar project, here are 7 things I’ve learned so far that just may help you have an easier and/or quicker experience with it all.

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This is an extremely pragmatic little video.

Without detracting from any of it, I’d like to interject how I’ve learned to do “storyboarding,” since, like it or not, I can’t draw. :slight_smile: (My nephew can draw a comic-book illustration on the back of a napkin. I hate him … :wink: …)

So, what I do is to think about basic sets and objects, all of them “to scale.” The correctly-sized objects, placed on the correctly-sized set, might just be polygons. (They are set up as “linked assets” from the very start.) Each one is labeled with its name, and the names appear in the frame. Multiple cameras are added, each one named, and they are never deleted (or moved) because you never know. “Stamping” is turned-on to capture the information: camera, frame number, scene, file name.

And then, I (very early on …) just “shoot film.” Quite indiscriminately. And, I never delete any of it, no matter how “bad.” Later, I grab a video editor and try to “cut together” all this stuff as though it were “real footage.” (“What the hell was that mad director thinking?”) :slight_smile:

Quite a lot of this material never makes it past this point. Yet, every now and then, it becomes a “pick-up shot.” Keep everything!

Then, I go back through the shots that “made the cut” and start replacing the dummy assets with real ones, by revisiting the linked files. In this way, some of my “original brainstorms” become “final shots.”


This video’s final admonition is also a very important one: a production diary, or as I call it, the “Captain’s Log, Stardate XXXX.” No matter how you choose to keep it, keep it, every (!) day. Because, from one day/week/month to the next, you won’t remember what you already “learned.” (This gets worse as you grow older …)

As you write each day’s entry (and do it throughout(!) each day), “be a chatterbox.” Never go back and “edit” them. Periodically, say once a week, make “snapshot backups” of the growing diary … just in case. (I do this for every project that I undertake, “CG or otherwise,” and I keep them forever. “Years later,” it is very interesting reading: learning once again about the thoughts and actions of a complete stranger.)

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