noob to animation making short film

ok so this is not an animation, its a frame from the storyboard from a 8 to 10 minute short film i’m making. I’ve been blendering for years but only with raytracing for single images. This is my first serious dip into charachter animation. I’ve got the sets mostly finished, the charachters made and rigged, and i’ve just finished the blender rendered story board. next i’m gonna finish off the simple sets, and do the audio. then , i’ll do the animation and the final render. The reason for my post is two fold.

first, does anyone have any advice for a first time charachter animator in blender? I’m trying to keep the render times under 1:30 seconds per frame… and i’m keeping everything as simple as possible considering there is only one of me.
also, i’d love to know how to make the fur look less like its made of metal wire, and more like its made of soft hair. I’m speaking about the way it reflects light specifically. is it my immagination or does fur react to ‘shadow only’ spotlights as if they are not set to shadow only?

Second, i’d like to ask if there is anyone out there who wants to help animate. I’m guessing it will take two or three months to do it by myself. would you guys say thats an accurate guestamate? should i animate bones first, then facial expression… or both at the same time?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


for the fur try the new strand shader in svn, your image looks OK for a storyboard, mabie a little ott.

for the final render try using a displacement map on the bark, or sculpt the details manually.

first you should have a rough sound track, post your animatic on you tube or so you can get crits on it. also post renders/ wireframes off all the charictors here. the fatial controler bones should be part of the main armature. block out the animation first, getting the timing corect, then add the detail later.

you shouldent have posted in the animations forum until you have some animation to show.

thank u for the reply, sorry for putting this in the wrong forum i didn’t know where to put it

You could use the displacement for the bark on closeup shots where a bump of normal map would fail. But I would recommend using a bump or normal map where you can get away with it to help bring render times down… You can use so create your normal maps,. You can actually use it to create your displacement map too. But be careful, while its a great piece of software, if the texture using has shadows and highlights, or really any extreme lighting in it. That will through off the normal/displacement map.
As far as how to go about animating, focus a lot of time in your anamatic working on timing and post it for crit. I agree with hessiess that the more input the better. As far as moving into the actual animation, I know people who prefer going pose to pose with the ananmatic and leaving the facial animation to the latter part. While other will put in the basic facial expressions in each pose and then continue on adding keys with the breakdowns… To be honest there really is no right or wrong way. And this being your first aniamtion I would suggest doing one scene one way, and the next in another. Find out which approach you like and build from there.
As far as 2/3 months for 8 to 10 minutes…Mmmmmm, maaaaaybe… I hope you have a lot of free time if your the only one working on it. Beside keyframes, breakdowns, and polish work it could take much longer. But each animator works at a different speed. So who knows.
But really focus on preproduction material. Your storyboard, anamatic, concept art (although you seem to beyond that). The more you focus in on things here the smoother production will go (Although there are always surprises) and the final product will be polished. Best of luck on your project!