Ton Roosendal's Mission: Bringing Hollywood to Blender

Point 1: This thread poses a single question: Are we making good animations? With the advent of great, easily-stretched rigs like Mancandy, the potential is there.

Point 2: Ton Roosendal in a video interview a while back was asked if he hoped to get Blender into hollywood. His response was that he would rather (paraphrased) “put Hollywood into Blender” instead.

Point 3: Art is only as good as the artist. The computer is just a high-powered pencil.

Point 4: Check out John K’s recent bloggings on the topic of getting more entertainment for your dollar: Pookie, the 50 cent TV hand puppet, is funnier than Shrek, the most expensive puppet ever created.

So, I say look to the roots of great animation! Check out John K’s blog in full, which is a wealth of information on juxtaposing your character poses, caricaturing or underaturing your character designs, making good storyboards, designing gags, color theory and how to paint backgrounds, et cetera…

WARNING! There are LOTS of pictures (load times), and some of the mature ones might off-put your wife or kids or co-workers etc…

interesting, although shrek is a cg character not a puppet. :wink:

Animation wise, we are improving, but we arn’t doing well.

I suggest we develop a better instruction strategy much like Hash’s Bootcamp.

I’m not sure what he meant by putting ‘Hollywood into Blender.’

He is a cg character. Which is a puppet. You could also call him a digital marionette.

I think Ton means with the words, “Put Hollywood into Blender” that all the stuff needed for producing a good hollywood cg movie should be in 1 package which is called Blender. :slight_smile: It would be indeed a dream, but I think we have a huge way to go before that will happen.

The second thing we can do to bring artistic touches to Blender is to look at upcoming technologies that are more intuitive than what is already out there in Maya and 3dsmax.

IEEE: Computer Graphics magazine is another huge wealth of information. Many times, the white papers published include all the necessary calculus formulas for you (if you know code) to start playing around with their ideas and build a prototype of your own.

It would certainly give a lot more meaning to the name “Blender”, as a blending of all kinds
of stuff needed for producing Hollywood movies.

Dreaming doesn’t hurt…:slight_smile:

I think Ton meant that he wasn’t trying (specifically) to make a package for the big studios to use- rather, that he is trying to make the software capabilities that those studios enjoy available in blender, for people who aren’t in those studios. This is already a reality to a huge extent; you can make animated movies and do sfx work and compositing work in blender at a very strong/high level.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with trying to be better animators (or modelers, texture artists, compo- folks, etc.) than we are, or with establishing some kind of training/educational effort (or joining other animation schools, like animation mentor for example, or both)
above all practice! you get good from doing, and pushing for better quality.

^what slikdigit said ^

I can’t wait to read through the links posted in this thread, I think I’ve probably read over ten thousand pages worth of information in the past couple months, and am only recently going beyond the blender specific stuff into other programs and general animation material, and I think I’ve probably read over a thousand pages worth of that stuff through cgtalk,, keithlango, carlosbaena, ed hooks and the other hundred or so bookmarks I’ve made.

I know I can make ok animation, and ok models, it’s only been a couple months with blender, in my spare time, but I can see the improvements through leaps and bounds, and now that I’ve been reading more animation specific things, and the materials for other programs, I can see how much more I can improve, and how quickly that can happen, even if someone else says it takes years. Look at the things our kids are learning today, well, I’m not much more than a kid myself, but even the things I learned in school in the 90’s would put the top students from years before to shame. Learning growth is exponential, don’t ever let anyone tell you how long it takes to learn something. Passion, fire and determination can allow you to learn more in a few weeks than it takes most people a year, that, and you are learning on the shoulders of giants, so the step to become a giant yourself is that much shorter.

When I see “hollywood” movies, and movies like elephant’s dream, polished, professional movies, I see that I can do those things. Sure I haven’t done much yet, I’m still learning, but I see it all coming together. My next great search after overloading myself with modelling, rigging, animation, arcs, timing, spacing, is materials and texturing, when you see the base meshes from these movies, and then the finished products, there is so much difference in them, the texturing and materials really help to bring life and professionalism to the characters, sure the animation and modelling does too, but I’m talking about the polish that comes from a professional looking animated character. When I see mancandy rendered, he looks like he belongs in a movie, a good movie, his material, texture and life shine through to greatness, even without UV wrapping, normaps and bumpmaps that a character like Proog or any of those in a hollywood movie needs. When I see cg movies now, since I’ve seen and read so much here lately, I visualize the techniques used, and how they relate to blender or maya. Sometimes I see where they didn’t take quite enough time to make sure a move wasn’t choppy. Blender has enough in it already to make a hollywood blockbuster.

When I see those posts where people say, “oh that’s blender”, I secretly think to myself, how could anyone be so obstinate to not think that blender could do that. Then I see posts about say Blenrig 1.0®, and that it looks like something out of Pixar, that to me is an insult to blender, we can see that it is capable of it, we know it is capable of it, but we haven’t produced it, given it the polish it deserves.

And one last thing, I dunno about you, but I’m about damn sick and tired of looking at tutorials sites and seeing some old ass blender tutorials when there are so much better out there. You look at the maya, 3ds Max, XSI, etc. and you see some of their best tutorials and work, but then you see the blender tutorial section and it’s the old ones, which are still great IMO, and give you the basics, but blender has grown and can do so much more than those tutorials show, and when you look at them in comparison, it makes blender seem like a haggard toy in comparison to those other professional tools, Blender is a professional tool, it is capable of professional animations. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but it is the community that must band together to achieve these great things. There are beautiful artists here, and great animators, but it seems that there is little direction, a great movie needs a great director, even if the participants are miles apart, I believe it is achieveable, and doesn’t need to take years.

Ok, I’ll shut up now, I know I talk too much even when I’m not really saying anything. I’ve only started 3 threads here, I know that I’m not great, I’m ok, maybe, well, at least not crappy, but I’m drinking milk, heheh. Ahahahahahaah, well, I know I’ll get better, can’t get much worse, :eyebrowlift2:

*edit, and btw, I think the bootcamp is a great idea, but the format used on the forum wasn’t quite what is needed.

The following proves that technology is making your job easier and easier. That means that your competition - no matter how computer-illiterate - could still make something better than you. Your only weapon is your talent. Understanding design principle theory will help you control your viewer’s eyes psychologically.

See? Here’s some brand new emerging technology that your competition will have too. You may as well try this out!
FiberMesh, Takeo Igarashi’s newest sketch-based modeling tool.

The real meat of things lies in your composition.

Juxtaposition elements with anything you like! texture, SCALE, shape, color, or whatever. The image on the left here even shows you a thing or two about how to meet your margins. When doing moving characters on a screen, it’s good to divide your screen up into threes.

Use backgrounds that don’t attract themselves with too much detail

Compose your characters’ poses together so that they work together!

I can’t stress enough… Go see John K’s blog if you havn’t yet! You’ll learn more about ART and a lot less about how to use your high powered modeling clay (i.e. Blender) so you can actually start MAKING something with it. Operation technique isn’t everything - that’s why looking at (even good!) Blender tutorials isn’t giving you any sustenance!

Tip: I highly recommend that you go to an art supply store, pick up a cheap large sketchbook, and some NICE drawing utensils. You will find that using a regular BiC mechanical pencil versus a few different drawing pencils set and a smudging nub will really bring your talents out! Then revise, redraw! Really think about your work. Then bring it into 3D once its met your expectations.

Thanks for the links, awesome stuff = ) The color theory and background page was very eye opening and entertaining at the same time. Everyone can benefit from this information from complete newbies to more advanced users.

Read it!

Thankyou Ven0mSevenX. I think you get where I’m going with all of this.
The question isn’t “What did Ton mean?” or “Why do people thing that Blender isn’t professional-grade?”
The question is: What “features” are you lacking as an artist?
The proposal is that you go find that out for yourself, apply and contribute what you learn, and then we can get to talking about what Blender actually is missing.

Blender is wonderful, but I don’t think I’m the only one that never actually uses it for anything - because we’re lazy - or the work flow seems awkward. Almost thirty years ago, Tron pulled off stunning 3D in film with nothing but graph paper and a small army of technicians. The trick is that the director of Tron was a bonafide traditional 2D animator and understood that animation takes a painful amount of time. I think that Ton’s mission is to help you endure animation less painfully.

Hollywood awaits.

Watch this commercial found on cartoon brew.

This is a technique that I’ve sort of used once before. I’m sure that even though this was made in a vrelatively short amount of time, the time put into the storyboards was equal. Pieces like this one are very easy to do in Blender - especially with the focal blur node and onion skinning for camera keyframes. Try it!

To set up textures, make a 24-bit PNG with transparency, apply it to the face with UV mapping and alpha, and make a generic material set to “texface” and “Ztransp”!

To artist Blender lacks nothing. To professional designers Blender lacks nothing. To artist and designers who want to work in a certain profession or manner that is “professional” on many other “levels”…Blender is missing a thing or two. I would refer to these types as “specialist”. And often these groups of designers and artist are tied into pipelines that don’t effect your average computer artist. If you are just a 3d CG artist who wants to create what you want to create, Blender has everything you need. The only real limits are your imagination as far as pushing your ideas to the next level.:yes:

Blend on.:smiley:

I think it’s more like this. As a creative type you start out with a thought. Then comes the invention of that thought. From a simple concept you build many layers of detail. Now your application for this creative invention can be practical or purely artistic. It’s up to you. You can stop at three levels of inspiration or progress in an indefinite manner. It’s up to you. Your finial piece is then delivered up to your audience. If it’s a service oriented project you adjust it to suit your clients needs. If your work is personal in nature you let your work stand as is, frame it and call it a day. Next. You work on something else.

This method of a cg workflow can involve many different approaches. The artist, production team, clients, etc. set limits as to the end quality of a piece. It can be anything in between whatever, as long as it works. Relax, we are talking about art here.:smiley:

True. True. I’m not trying to break everyone’s balls here. You also made a good point about specialists.

Here’s another point about artistic value as it pertains to things like textures. Paralax mapping, which was pioneered by Paul Debevec nearly ten years ago, is now part of game engines like Unreal 3, and there’s even a tech demo included in the revamped Blender game engine. Its an interesting tool, but consider the following.

“A two-dimensional medium lacks parallax, and thus depth. For example, this lovable joker is always pointing at you due to lack of parallax. You cannot avoid his gaze or finger. In real life, you can always move to your left or right to avoid the pointing finger. Here you are stuck looking at this character.”

“To get around the limitations of the two-dimensional medium, artists use a variety of techniques in order to produce the illusion of depth. They employ cues that the brain uses in processing visual information. These are listed below, using the listing as found in Seeing the Light by Falk, Brill, and Stork (John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1986).”

  • Size - distant objects appear smaller (smaller image on retina).
  • Linear Perspective - receding lines appear to come together.
  • Variations in Lightness - shading is a depth clue (shadows).
  • Variations in Color - distant objects are less rich in color.
  • Variations in Sharpness - distant objects are less sharp
  • Patterns - can provide perspective and shading effects.
  • Overlay - close objects cover distant objects.
  • Previous Knowledge - experience provides depth interpretation.That was taken from my physics teacher’s e-text. Doc. Mike Ruiz. “The Physics of Light and Visual Phenomena” at UNC at Asheville North Carolina

Size / Scale

Variation in color


Linear perspective (versus) Previous Knowledge


I suggest we develop a better instruction strategy much like Hash’s Bootcamp.

while A:M may have incredibly buggy(sucky) software, blender documentation should definitly take some steps in the direction towards hash’s geniously written tutorials.

If I were a creative movie minded professional who studied the Melvin Van Peebles, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino type schools of thought I’d see many possibilities in Blender and open source software. I wouldn’t be looking for absolute artistic “validation”. This approach kinda used to be an average Westcoast/Californian artistic mindset years back. I love the movies from that seventies that took that I don’t give a care - bam here it is approach to artistic expression.

I’d be like if I make it move, it’s a movie. Pop that bad boy out of the dvd burner and hit the streets. The only thing that’s next is marketing, while you keep your day job (back of the car hood pops up…). Copyright protection…I’d figure something out.:evilgrin:

But I’d get it out there. BTW, people are hungry for entertainment and cg media from anyone and anywhere. Don’t take my word for that one.:evilgrin:

So if this is your deal, “do the right thing” and get down on it already.:evilgrin:

With Linux and Blender you can make stuff happen.:yes:

I’d love to see Blenders documentation become as robust as say Ubuntu’s docs online.:yes:

This is a great discussion to see happening here… My 2 cents:

Regarding Blender’s documentation - I’m sure there are holes but I was just commenting today, to a fellow artist, that if I was stuck, all I had to do was type “blender wiki [insert search phrase here]” and more often than not I could find my answer in minutes. I think the docs have come a long way for us.

One of the remarks I keep hearing from my cohorts at work is that there’s no “support” for blender. Who to you call when the app just doesn’t do what you need it to. Of course, he’s comparing it to an XSI maintenance contract. Lately I’ve been doing some modeling and a lot of UV unwrapping in Blender and using Collada 1.4 to transfer to/from XSI. There have been some hang-ups to my workflow but nothing compared to our animator’s gnashing of teeth using MotionBuilder/XSI. I’m not an animator, so I have nothing to compare it to Blender-wise.

Anyway, I’m rambling… just wanted to say Blender is installed on our workstations and, for me, is the tool of choice when I need to model and texture.