The week of 25 to 31 Dec 2016 slots neatly into the end of the year. No split year entry, hurrah!
It would be nice to say I’ve been hard at work on my week off from the day job, but I’m having a quick gaming break instead. I’m really happy that Blender doesn’t crash as often as Fallout 4 does otherwise I’d probably give up on 3D animation altogether. So frustrating!
This week I started drawing layout images for AMITS: Robot. I’ve already got a sheet of rough thumbnail images with dialogue and action which map out the story. During layout, these rough thumbnail images are fleshed out into clearer images like the one above.
The layout images serve multiple purposes – they make my pitchamatic and story reel much clearer, and once I start rough animation I use them for a blocking and staging reference. They’re almost key pose drawings, but not quite…
But this is 3D animation! you may wonder. Why not go straight to 3D and skip all the drawings nobody will see?
For one, the right expression is much quicker and easier for me to find with line drawing, whereas 3D character animation is an ongoing battle against the character rig’s limitations. A good character drawing is a tangible visual idea which gives that battle a focus and an aim. With that tangible idea in front of me, I can concentrate on the task of bringing the character to life; without the tangible idea, there’s potentially too much for me to invent out of thin air.
In short, experience has taught me I’m happier and more productive when I’ve figured out what I’ll be doing before I open up Blender, and layout drawings are a key part of that planning process. Also, funny drawings are more interesting to look at than words on a page. 🙂
This week I also experimented with Blender’s new micro-displacement feature for the desert ground cover. It shows some promise but I feel like I’ll end up using a mixed solution with procedural shading and geometry, especially in the foreground. Here’s a sneak peek at the ground cover in progress.
That’s about it for this year. Here’s to a tolerable 2017, hopefully made actually nicer by me finishing an actual movie for people to watch.
Now, back to hiding from Super Mutants and wishing I’d put more points into melee..