New from Tangent Animation: Next Gen. Is this Bender?

Daaaaanng this looks good. I know some of you are tempted to watch this trailer without sound cause it isn’t in English but resist that urge and put your headphones on.

Thanks so much for posting this Chris! You rock!

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Thanks from me as well. Awesome to see it at last. How exciting.

All the best.

more of blender :heart:

is something in the trailer that i dont like ,animation was poor i mean compared to agent 327
also facial expresions was poor compared with other animation movies ,why is that hapening? blender its not enough capable for this?

Could you be more specific? I didn’t notice anything in particular that looked bad or off-putting. That being said, don’t be so quick to pin things on Blender - bad animation can also be because of bad animators.

I do really like this trailer. Can’t watch it with sound right now unfortunately, but it gives me Big Hero 6 vibes.

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I can’t talk too much about the movie prior to its release, but I can confirm a few things on the technical and production side.

As people surmised, this is indeed 100% Blender for the core work, including Cycles for all rendering, supplemented with other software in a few areas, specifically:

  1. Substance Painter and Photoshop were used for a good chunk of the surfacing and texturing work, with Blender paint tools used for the balance
  2. Houdini and Fume FX were used to generate VDB and Alembic data for import and render in Cycles. Stefan Werner and Luca Rood (who did a fantastic job on improving the cloth sim in Blender that was used heavily in NextGen) worked on adding proper support for VDB voxel data, and improving the Alembic support, including importation and exposing attribute data for use in Cycles material networks

On the development side:

  1. Stefan also did some incredible work on volumetric rendering efficiency, adding the Intel Embree core to Cycles, and generally improving the Cycles renderer for user on NextGen. Render times were extremely reasonable and manageable, even with full 3D blur and in-camera DOF used throughout the film
  2. We added a number of other features to Blender to benefit the film, such as support for Cryptomattes (we render everything in camera, so Cryptomattes are a godsend in compositing), improved animation features, and a variety of other features in various areas of Blender

Tangent itself has never been a Maya studio, though a previous incarnation of the studio used Maya. I was one of the first animators to work on Maya at the R&D phase back in 1994-1998, and I’ve utilized Maya as the core piece in 5 different pipelines in various studios, so to switch to Blender is a big deal for us. The ability to redirect spending from commercial software to custom development is huge for our projects.

We will be working with the Blender Institute on re-incorporating our changes into Blender where possible, as we believe that it’s important for the community at large, and we welcome others to improve on the work we’ve done so that we can benefit from those improvements on our upcoming films.

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Thanks for the information use Tangent Animation blenders compositor because last time i tried cryptomatte it was not compatible with fusion.

I completely disagre. You’re entitled to your own opinion but I love the animation style. The facial animation was one of the first things I liked about it. Not sure what it is that you’re seeing.

You asked if there was some problem with the animation tools that was preventing it from looking good yet you think the Agent short looks good. So if the Agent short looked good then how could it be an issue with Blenders animation tools?

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And you’re really not just making this up? Who are you?

I’m pretty sure this is Jeff Bell himself. Watch the making of Ozzy video above.

@twitchmedia Thanks for the info! It’s much appreciated. I’m super stoked about this if you couldn’t tell. :wink:

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Please, my question was directed at him.

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I hope to see the improved Cloth Sim and the other enhancements make their debut in the patch tracker in the coming months. Even if people here don’t see your projects as their cup of tea, we can all at least support them in the vein that it’s playing an active role in ensuring major improvements to future Blender releases.

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@gull1ver - @Indy_logic is correct. I’m Jeff Bell, one of the co-founders of Tangent. I’m happy to answer other questions regarding our use of Blender that are not related directly to the content of the movie itself.

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Well, then I hope to see your code improvements committed to the Blender master soon. :bowing_man:

I don’t have any questions at the moment, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an extensive video featurette on the use of Blender in this movie, or at the very least a general in-depth making-of documentary. Maybe even in time for the Blender conference. I don’t know if you have any say in this, because the movie seems to be 90% Chinese-made, judging by how Alibaba Pictures and other Asian companies’ names plastered all over the posters, but know that a lot of people would love to see that happen. (The Blender Institute included I bet.)

great news, been wishing this was blender & cycles since I read that article -maybe a month ago-
was not able to see the trailer back then, it looks fantastic

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Congratulations on announcing the movie, the trailer looks great! Thanks also for all the information about what software you used and how your developers improved Blender. Thanks so much for contributing so much to Blender, as the work you are paying developers for benefits all of us. I’m looking forward to some of your Blender improvements from Next Gen getting into regular Blender one day :slight_smile:

While I’m sure your priority is to develop just the features you need to the standard required, rather than aiming in particular to get their work merged into Blender’s master branch, is there any consideration for getting all these juicy new features merged as you are developing them? Do your developers work fairly closely with the BF developers, or are they mostly in Tangent just making sure features get added so your artists can work more efficiently?

Are you planning another talk for Blender Conference this year? I’m sure we’d all love to here more about Next Gen’s development.

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Congratulations ! You assumed a great challenge and were successful.
For a development like this, they work only with their own staff or they hire freelance as well ?
Thx in advance.

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Thank you - we (Tangent, Baozou, etc) are very proud of the end result and are looking forward to everyone being able to watch the film.

We work with the Foundation as closely as we possibly can, and our intention is to spend the time checking in every feature that passes muster with the Foundation/Institute. Tangent is also active in sponsoring development at the Institute: eevee was one of the development efforts that Tangent was involved in sponsoring, for instance.

We did not concentrate on esoteric features that would only be of use for our production. For example, we looked at mechanisms to speed up Cycles and improve its reliability and performance that would be useful to anyone rendering with Cycles, whether for personal projects or for large productions.

We will definitely do a talk at some point - the film has to release in all markets before we can consider this though.

Mostly in house in our Winnipeg and Toronto offices, but we did utilize freelancers for certain work as well, in Europe, the US, and Canada.

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@twitchmedia what is your opinion for blender rigging and animation tools?
are on par with the competition?