General animation and compositing questions

Ok, so im new to blender and animation in general. I have plans for making a animated show (about 15 mins per episode) that is based off a book. I will be having to create a huge city and an area outside of the city. I have a few questions regarding the best way to go about doing this.

My first question is: What would be the best way to animate this? Would it be to animate the characters and have the background scene composited in? Or to animate everything together in sequence? Most scenes, from what i have planned, wont consist of alot of background environment animations. Maybe a few people walking behind, or horses or vehicles etc, but a lot of the scenes wont have any of that, at this point of planning.

My second question is: Is there a way to do the compositing with special effects and all that jaz with linux? I’m trying to stay on linux because when i get on windows im tempted by the evil we call games! lol Thus, getting off track,

My third question is: Will i see any performance issues with a project this big with a Phenom II X4 945 with 8gb of ram? Like with all the poly’s and modeling going on? If not, what kind of system would you recommend? I understand rendering is going to take forever on a project this big and im hoping when the time comes that i will have the money to build a farm.

A lot of the stuff my test project will consist of will using some of the same features and techniques i plan on using in my series. Any advice or comments are always welcome.

I understand this isn’t going to happen over night and is going to consist of a lot of work, time, and dedication.

Thank you in advance.

Q1:
there are a few resons that people render characters and background separetly:

  1. If you mess up, or want to revise some character animation, you don’t need to re-render everything.
  2. If it’s a still shot, you only need to render the BG once.
  3. It helps to apply slightly different colours to FG and BG objects to increase depth

Q2:
If you’re going to be compositing within blender then yes.

Q3:
it looks like you’ve got a pretty decent computer there.
if you do FG and background separetely like I suggested, then you should have no problem. You might want to look into the Multires modifier… and take a look at renderfarm.fi

good luck :smiley:

oh wow, i didn’t realize blender had a compositing tool. Learn something new every day. How in depth is it? Can i create my entire video within blender? Or do i have to import everything into a video editing application to put my scenes in sequence and add the audio?

and Multires modifier? what is that?

You can do almost the whole thing in the Blender video editor-VSE. But it depends on how quickly you want to finish the job. While the VSE is good it isn’t feature packed, so basic editing can be more fidly and involved than it needs to be. If you produce many episodes, then over time I guess you would get quite fluent with it, but that would take time. Honestly I would cut on a dedicated edit system over Blender, but that may change with the next Blender Foundation project, that will develop the VSE a bit more.

It’s going to be probably 2 years before i 1) have the funds, 2) have the knowledge. I’m going to be looking at about ten 15min episodes (max time for youtube) but if i don’t have enough hits within the first 3 episodes i may not continue it. The trick is finding some volunteer actors and actresses to do the voices. I imagine it takes a lot of work to be able to get the mouth movements correct for speech. I’ve only ever dabbled with modeling; never animation or lighting. I’ve created a pod racer in maya, and robot in max, and attempted a car back some years ago (i think it was 3ds max 7, maybe 8). I messed around with blender a bit a couple of years ago when ubuntu 10.04 was out.

When i read that blender runs off the cpu and not gpu like maya and max i was a little relieved because my graphics card lags in both maya and max (8800gtx) and didn’t want to upgrade to a quadro, yet. But i did read that blender has plans of taking advantage of the workstation cards in the future which is when i will probably bite the bullet and get a quadro 4000 or better.

Back to topic though, does VSE have a lot of good features? or is it kind of amateur’ish like movie maker?