Alright, working off of a lot of the skills I was able to polish in my last couple of short projects, I’ve found the perfect project to take my work to the next level. I want to show you what all lies inside the attached box.
I’ve written up some story boards, and am really excited about the concepts and how I’m going to drive them home through animation. I’d like this project to become one of those projects that really makes a statement for the capabilities of Blender and takes blender users floating around at my skill level on a journey through a lot of the features they might not have tried before as well as a lot of the design decisions that go into a great project.
What skill level is that? Here is my last animation piece, which was created over a year ago. Even in the final piece, compared to how I think now as far as making every frame valuable, the animation was downright horrid. Still yet, that 3rd dimension and the compositing really turned some heads and the super-boss on my research campus was left asking, “so what do you have planned for next year’s video?”
That project was my very first production…ever. Since then I’ve done a lot of work on my modeling and animation skills as well as experimented with a lot of different styles for advertisements, where that dime-to-time ratio is critical. 30s to win. Period. I think I’m at the level of maturity as an artist to be able to pull together a project with no graphical busts and no glaring compromises.
Where am I at right now?
I put together my set of storyboards last night and today was sequencing some audio clips to be sure I have enough time to do everything I want to do. I find that sequencing audio is an excellent place to get a feel for just what can make it into the finished product.
Once I see what can fit, I start allocating time around a little bit based on how much time I think it will take to pull off the animation without completely confusing the viewer’s eyes. Animations that are too fast won’t ever make it to the brain. Animations that are too slow are a waste of precious time.
The style that I’m working with is kind of similar to kinetic typography. It’s inspired by what I find in so-called motion-graphics. I like having audio and visual marching along in unison such that every word in the audio is being slammed home through the visual. This results in a very busy product, but maximizes what can be packed into the available information streams and retained by the viewer. Animations absolutely have to be able to be recognized instantly. Otherwise the ad becomes painful to understand, and the brain will take the first exit that is available.
What’s on My Wish List?
Although I aim to pull everything in my storyboards off without letting up, I also recognize that I have a lingering weakness in materials and rendering. The level of ambition is similar to that of my first animation, which was what I used to teach myself blender I was able to make the quantum leap that time, but only just barely. Since I’m going to be representing Linux, Blender, and pretty much all of the entire open source universe with this project, I don’t want to take chances, and that’s why I’m going to reach out for some guidance on implementing some things in my story boards that I know will take some learning.
- Volumetrics – I need fog, and I need fireflies. No models for the flies. Just little lights. I did a tornado once, but it took days to render. What are preferred/succussful implementations in contemporary Blender?
- Imagine I have a handful of little ships moving around in the ocean. Since they all have the same hull shape, they should have the exact same effect on the water moving around them. Does anyone have a good idea for how to approach this problem? Would simulating every ship turn into a CPU slugfest?
The water is another challenge altogether. I’ve never run a fluid sim and am not sure if it’s the preferred way to go in this case. I’m aiming for a visual style of cartoonish for this scene. No photorealism required or desired.
- Crowd of people. I’ve never tried this before and don’t know where to start. I’m thinking of setting my target quality level at…expressivist painting. No major features, just good enough where you can tell they are people. I’m a pretty proficient modeler at this stage, so building up the different characters from scratch is actually one of those activities I’d find almost soothing (^_^)
- Expressive/Artistic rendering. I developed some of my own pixel shaders and was making some major headway in this area for real-time 3D before my last hard drive catastrophe. I want to do a quick scene that resembles artistic media. I can explain to you how my shader works in Cg if you can tell me how to get the effect duplicated in Blender. Open to any other documented workflows if they’re better:D Attached is an image of what I was doing in real-time.
So that’s it for the challenges I have immediately on the horizon. If I can get everything implemented with time to spare, I’ll go to work bumping up the quality and adding a little bit of fire to the animations in the form of delicate lighting/material touches and some added compositing.
All that said, since I started learning Linux back in 2004, open-source has been the thing that has allowed me to pick up skills I never expected to even be capable of learning, so I’m taking this project pretty personally.
In order to ensure that I pay back for whatever direction I receive, I’m promising right now to donate all of the materials I develop to the blender material repository and fully documenting the entire project, from story-boards to watching it played on a big screen somewhere, on a nice website that will also be my outlet of shameless self-promotion. Uploading the entire blend file(s) in all of its components and detailing the decision process for every part from why I chose the concept to how I implemented it.
As solutions come in, I’ll go to work implementing them in a pre-production form, but with all of the bells and whistles necessary for application in a professional project. Thos blend files will get attached to the thread and I’ll scratch off my wish-list until I have all of the features I’m after working. A lot of things not related to getting the feature working will probably look toyish. Don’t sweat it. If I’m not asking, it’s because I’m confident I already know how to make it shiny in the actual production.
Back to work. Looking forward to getting some help in my weak spots. Peace v(^_^)v