A moment in the sun Journals Stuff I made

Stories, shovels and scene-referred display

It feels like I didn’t get a lot done this week of 4 to 10 December 2016, but gut feelings are often self-deceiving lies – I got many things done. 🙂

As of Sunday evening, I have four A4 sheets of thumbnails telling a simpler, shorter  story than before. The only extra bit I’ve added since Sunday is a new stinger ending, recycled from an abandoned version of Sombrero that’s about a year old and the version of AMITS I abandoned just before that – except now they’re mixed up together. Yay bus stop!

I’ve been trying to pin down the exact design of the robot as well. It’s tricky. Rather than stay stuck, I created a military shovel for Gronky. Here’s a gallery of renders of the proud new shovel owner.

Why more than one render? The super cool thing this month in the Blenderverse is Troy Sobotka‘s nifty filmic LUTs. Read this for more info on why it matters. Big shout out to Troy for creating the filmic LUTs and evangelising them like a boss!

The Cycles materials in the render are all temporary placeholders, but the wider dynamic range is very welcome. Check out #filmic_blender on Twitter for better examples.

To finish up this week, here is the shovel in “pick mode” tumbling through the air thanks to a rotation pivoting system I rigged into it. Look out! 😀

Shovel FLY!
A moment in the sun Journals Stuff I made

29 May to 4 June 2016. We’ve been expecting you…

This week I took Sunday off to catch up on a backlog of movies but I made up for it during the week. I’ve now got more shots covered in layout than not. The end of June target for full layout coverage looks achievable after all. Woo!

This layout feels nicely different to anything I did in 2015. I’m treating it much more like animation

– using stepped/constant keys instead of interpolated keys. This gives it a much rougher yet snappier feel. Hopefully steppy layout will carry through to snappy animation!

It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia. I’ve taken an extra day off from the day job to stretch it into a four-dayer. There’s at least another twelve hours of work to get full layout coverage and I’ve got three free days to play with.

So. Will I smash through the remaining 39 shots like a demon or will I go and look at quolls on my day off? Hopefully both, but find out next week for sure! 🙂


Hi Gronky!

(The more places on the Internet this is, the better the Internet will be.)


I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’m not going to say that Gronky’s rigging process is over. It’s never over. But the rig is now fully functional, let’s put it that way.

There’ll probably be bugs to work out that will only surface during animation. Also there’s no IK controls for the hands (not that Gronky needs IK controls for his hands, he doesn’t touch anything). I’m happy to go to animation without IK-controlled hands because today, vexed by a painful shoulder injury, I decided to just downscope the hell out of the character rig and finish off the bare essentials.

1 – 7 September has been another huge week, though.

Kicking off with a major annoyance in the form of a misbehaving arm, I spent a couple of days in research mode and figured out how arms work. I ended up with a solution that uses four bones per arm – non-twisting “direction” bones leading out of the shoulder and elbow, and non-directing “twist” bones leading into the elbow and wrist. The twist bones are weighted to smoothly take effect up towards the elbow and wrist. It took a couple of tries to get it working but once I realised the trick was not to let the twist bones have ANY effect anywhere near the joints furthest from them, it got better.

In the process of gathering wisdom, I also learnt some new rigger jargon – specifically “candywrapping”. That’s when a cylindrical mesh screws up like a candy wrapper under the influence of bone twist, losing volume in the process. A common problem in the arm area, I found out.

By Saturday I’d come down with a rather evil little shoulder injury that stopped me from sitting up at my desk for too long, so I had to begin pacing myself as I continued rig-weighting vertex by vertex to fix up deformations around the elbow. It was even worse on Sunday but I soldiered on, taking frequent breaks while rig-weighting the neck, setting extra constraints to stop the rig from deforming in ways that make the mesh break, and nutting out a quick and awesome solution for giving Gronky that smooth shape he needs despite the rig weighting being all over the place.

So yeah, the rigging is about 95% done and the remaining 5% will be minor troubleshooting after I hit animation. Maybe I’ll end up building that IK system for the arm after all, but I don’t think I’ll need it.

This week’s videos:

If you’re ever in the mood to watch me make “A moment in the sun” in timelapse, non-stop, you can always check out the YouTube playlist.

Moviewise I watched David Cronenberg’s “A History Of Violence”. It was pretty great – somewhat reminiscent of other movies like “No Country For Old Men” or “Fargo” where bad things come to small town USA. I also watched Terry Gilliam’s solo debut film “Jabberwocky” which was surprisingly good – a dark cousin to “Monty Python and The Holy Grail”.

I finished the week off with a walk cycle which I posted here. It’s still not lumbering enough yet but I’m still getting to grips with animating a big heavy character. It’ll come. 🙂


Gronky is still somewhat lumpen but he’s getting better every day. 🙂