My 3D film debut: Claymation / Stop motion

I’ve been working on this one for a while. It’s modeled 100% in Blender and rendered in Cycles. I ended up writing my own renderfarm software to make it work because each frame took hours to render on my computer.

I targeted 10fps because I wanted the jittery look of stop motion. I got better as time went on. (I can tell with a glance which scenes I did first and which I did toward the end) Oh well. The next one will be even better :slight_smile:

Very very nice :slight_smile:

Thank you :slight_smile:

I also want to thank michalis for helping with the beard sculpt. I couldn’t, for the life of me, get it right. He saved the day with his amazing skills!

Vell done, guys!

Very very nice, indeed.
Love it.

Very, very well done. Your textures look convincingly like actual Claymation. Your animation suits the constraints of Claymation as well. How long did the project take?

Well, it was hobby time, so it took well over a year. If I were to do it again and work on it full time it would probably take one or two months.

Things really picked up after I started using the render farm. I could set up shots and have them rendered in a few hours instead of waiting weeks. I will never go back!

Jesus’ hair is really amazing looking

Michalis is a great sculptor. He did Jesus’ hair because everything I tried looked wrong. I tried doing particles - more like yarn. It didn’t work. A little bit of vertex coloring on top of his great sculpting made it look pretty convincing, I think :slight_smile:

Hey, I noticed, you already be able to sculpt such hair. Piece of cake. Really glad I helped a bit.
It wasn’t the right time for me to help further though.
Maybe, a baking workaround could significantly reduce render time.
BTW, some nice drapery there. Simple and effective.
(not that simple, I know, lol)

I thought about baking, but there were several issues:

1: When things move around the scene the global illumination should change for ultimate realism. My animation didn’t have a ton of action, but it wasn’t as simple as a flythrough either.

2: A lot of the rendering time was for the clear eyes. (I wasn’t sure about clear eyes vs the more traditional “clay” eyes. Ultimately I want with clear eyes because even though they don’t register as quickly as claymation, I think they add to the appeal of the characters.) While it is possible to mix quick, baked materials with complex materials like the eyes, I was worried that I’d lose more time than I saved.

Ultimately the rendering was cheap enough that I could just model it and render it. Next time I’m thinking of possibly doing more baking with the background scenery or using a physical set and making use of Blender’s camera tracking to place the characters in the set.

Looks great, but I would chose your lens more wisely. To many shots were ultra wide angle and made everything look like iphone shots (no telephoto or zoom). I also liked the subtle exposure change on frames, gave it a flickery feeling.

Thank you so much for the feedback. Could you tell me a little more? Are you saying the shots would look better with a tighter lens? I honestly just move the camera and adjust parameters until the frame has what I want. But if there is a better way I would love to learn. Are there rules of thumb to follow for this sort of thing? Or is it more you know it when you see it?

Check out this short tutorial, it touches on some issues.

That link about cinema photography advice is very good. Thank you.

For discussion’s sake I will ask about accuracy vs. artistic direction. I already know that it is often necessary and even desireable to sacrifice reality to tell/show a better story. In the case of stop motion I would expect to see wide angles and a lot of DOF. In this case does a tighter camera angle tell a better enough story to trump accuracy? That’s an open ended question. I’m curious what you all think.

Because I hope to make more of these I’d also like community feedback on a few other aspects:

Depth of Field: too much, not enough, about right?

Eyes: I went with clear eyes because I think they make the characters more appealing. Would this look better with more traditional “clay” eyes or do you like the clear eyes?

Personally, I find that the “clear” eyes add character to the, err… characters! Very nicely done.

I’m curious if there are any other critiques. I’m writing the story board for my next project soon and I want to bring in lessons learned from this one.

If you were to change one thing about this film what would it be?

Very nice animation! Great job. :slight_smile: