Here’s the Pointy Angel sight gag in layout. Note the amazing special effects halo added with the Grease Pencil.


Here’s an unprocessed render of a frame from Scene 1 Shot 10: Gronky has just seen something in the distance. Now, what about that 30 March to 5 April 2015 then…

First, hooray for the Easter long weekend. For me it is four days of shunning invitations from relatives in order to bang out as much layout as I can without having the rapidly mounting stresses of the dayjob chomping away at my energy.

Gronky’s buggered shoulder last week turned out to be a mysteriously unparented bone.

So far this week I’ve managed to get Scene 1 laid out. Between that and Scene 7, that’s two scenes down so far.

The more layout I do, the quicker I’m getting. This is nice. I was looking down the barrel of at least an hour per shot in layout earlier in the week, but the last few shots I’ve managed to put together much quicker – around twenty minutes each – with no resultant loss of quality. Noice!

The more I work on layout though, the more I feel the need for production management.

Scenes have dependencies – characters, sets, props and dialogue. Right now I’m keeping track of everything as a spreadsheet, but I’m tempted to knock together some quick and dirty production management software to keep track of it more comprehensively. (A large part of my dayjob involves building and maintaining content management systems, so I’m comfortably experienced with this sort of thing.) But then it becomes a question of whether the time and annoyance saved from having a more formal production management system is more than the time and annoyance it’ll take to design, build, bug-test and use it day to day.

Which is also time I’d lose from actually making the short.

A decision for another time, perhaps. Right now it’s time to grab some food then figure out exactly what I need to scream and grunt into a microphone to make Scene 6′s layout happen. Or possibly I’ll lie in bed to rest up and try to figure out what to establish with Scene 4.


Here is the 23 to 29 March 2015.

This week’s image does not appear anywhere in the film, but I thought as long as I had a big and a small character and a bus stop set there was an homage to a certain movie hat had to be done. Hopefully it makes some of you happy. 🙂

This week I dragged the movie kicking and screaming into layout – if you’ve ever seen the making of of any animated film, layout is the stage where the characters slide around expressionlessly in crappy OpenGL-o-vision or move robotically from pose to pose. It’s where the camera moves, staging and framing are worked out within the 3D software for the first time.

Earlier in the week I numbered off all the scenes and shots for the short with my trusty scene-setup-and-shot numbering system. (I developed that last year when I was doing detailed storyboards and scratch.) As per the new “no writing without images” pre-production rule, I was describing images which had already been drawn – before now, I was making stuff up inside the spreadsheet. Not anymore. That’s now a no-no. If I want to put it in the spreadsheet, I have to draw a rough comic of it first. This is working out pretty well.

This weekend I did all the layout work (including rough music and scratch dialogue) for Scene 7. Every other scene aside from Scene 4 is laid out in rough comic form. Scene 4 is taking its time to come together, but the inputs and outputs of the scene won’t change – it’s safe to push the rest of the film along to layout.

It’s nice to finally be at layout, but there’s still a ton more to do – fixing Gronky, building the rest of the required sets and set dressing, etc. No time for smug self-congratulation – I’ve got a movie to finish. 🙂

Edit: Whoops, how did the crappy road make it into that render? Have a nice road instead.