Tag Archives: modelling

Hello cocky!

It’s been 30 July to 5 August 2017. I took this week away from the day job to relax and recharge, catch up on some movies, maybe get Shot 3 of AAAAAAAAA done. but mostly I wanted to get on top of an impending backlog of soldering.

The soldering I managed, and I made at least some progress on the middle goal too!

Do you think their arms get tired while they’re in T-pose?

This cute little cockatoo will be riding the cactus in Shot 3. I want to have it rigged and ready to animate tomorrow. Since I have no more synthesiser kits to build, that could very possibly actually happen…

On Monday I’m back at the day job next week and I’ll be hitting the ground running, so we shall see whether this cocky gets to dance or not. Hope so!

Funny signs and Making Time – the quollism version

18 to 24 December 2016 has zipped by. Things are very definitely getting summery here. We had a stupidly hot 42.4C day on Wednesday, there’s bushfires all over the place, and I’ve finished up at the day-job for the year as of yesterday afternoon. It’s been another fairly light week for AMITS activity.

I made that “do not bury” sign I was talking about last week and slapped it all over the bus stop. I’m liking it. As long as I can convey that the signs are specifically for Gronky, it has the making of a good ambient gag and it has merch potential too.

The new bus stop, complete with instructions for Gronky not to bury it.

Aside from tweaking the action in the bus stop scene, figuring out how to fix broken file references and a false start on building a pitchamatic, that’s about all I got up to this week. Lately I’ve been summer-tired and super distractable – learning the open-source stenography system Plover has been nifty but time-consuming, and the day job had an end of year ramp-up before booting me out of the office over Christmas for the first time ever. I’m hoping with the coming week away from the day job I can get some more planning work done and recover some momentum.

Jason van Gumster’s excellent Open Source Creative Podcast spent its latest episode talking about making time for personal projects and it’s well worth a listen. Much of what Jason talks about I’ve done myself over the last couple of years.

Making time to make a movie

The time to make A Moment In The Sun is very much consciously set aside. I don’t watch a lot of TV and when I do it’s half-hour episodes of light and fluffy stuff instead of something heavy and long like Westworld. I go months between gaming, then I binge on something hard for a week or two. (The most recent one was Grand Theft Auto V back in September.) Gaming or watching TV and the odd movie pass the time just fine, but actually making stuff is a more fulfilling use of my time and energy.

As a night owl I tend to work late into the night instead of waking up early. I also need more than five hours of sleep a night (unlike Jason) so if I work a few late nights, I make a point of catching up on sleep over the weekend. This is easier to get away with in summer because the days are so hot that I can do laundry later in the afternoon and it’ll be dry by dusk.

My working hours depend on the stage of production I’m at. If I’m writing and playing with ideas, the work is more nebulous so I’m less strict with myself. As soon as the tasks get more concrete and tangible, there’s spreadsheets and lists of things to do and that makes the path ahead much clearer.

On weeknights I try to start work on AMITS by nine o’clock and finish up by midnight. (If I’m really inspired and enthused, I may even get straight to work once I get home.) On Sundays, I like to have started by midday and I’ll keep going until late evening with a long meal break somewhere in the middle. I’m fairly militant with my family and friends about Sundays being my movie day, which means any shopping and laundry and other life maintenance gets squeezed into Friday night or Saturday.

Every day I log time spent and activities performed so that I have a record of what I did and when and how much of it I did. Among other things, it makes writing these little weekly updates much easier because there’s less to remember. 🙂

Enthusiasm is also a massive factor in getting work done, but that will get a blog post of its own. Bye for now!

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!

Welcome to 16 to 22 March.

This is a rough mock-up of the first shot of the film featuring a quickly modelled burrow with stones around the entrance. It shows the framing pretty nicely and also gives me a list of things to see to. This should be alright for layout and animation purposes but there’s a ton here to pin down and fix before render.

Not much happened this week in the way of movie making. I made a few minor adjustments to the story and otherwise let things settle for a week while I got on with dayjob stuff.

I switched over to left mouse button select in Blender on Wednesday just to give it a try. The biggest changes are that RMB becomes the cursor/scrub button and Face Select doesn’t work as nicely in Weight Paint mode. Other than that it’s mainly a muscle memory change for selecting elements and scrubbing/placing the cursor.

Nothing much else to report then. I had a few attempts at making poffertjes which didn’t work out but that’s neither here nor there.

Welcome to 9 to 15 March 2015.

This week I finished off the first draft of the story planning in comic form. I’ve been drawing it in a little A5-size watercolour pad.

Drawing ideas visibly as a comic is less frustrating than hammering away on invisible ideas at a word processor – I’ve got the ideas in front of me as images and I can supplement them with captions and word balloons from which I can get lines of dialogue. Once the different comic pages are scanned and pasted together it’s very obvious where the humour can be pushed or where things aren’t working. I like this way of working a lot.

It’s not technically a storyboard though; the framing is inexact and the detail is very low to keep things quick. It’s visual writing. Maybe the visual ideas are strong enough that I can jump straight into layout/blocking and discover the framing and other things there, or maybe I need to do more detailed layout breakdowns to pin things down before moving on. I’ll find out soon enough. 🙂

I’ve also been polishing up my procedural texturing/surface knowledge, which meant swotting up on linear algebra and seeing how other people do it. I made a preliminary procedural road texture for the final scene of the film and did a couple of other experiments. I can do another pass on the materials when it comes time to do lighting.

Yesterday I finally did some animation to test out the readiness of Pointy’s rig. It needed pole targets on the legs and there’s a glitch in one corner of the mouth but aside from that, it’s looking good. 🙂

Today I’m working on some distant scenery. So far I have one set of hills turned into a mountain range using lattice deformations and scaling. It’s just going to sit in the background and cast shadows against itself so it doesn’t have to look particularly pretty from any angle aside from directly ahead.

So the short is in pretty good shape and progressing nicely on multiple fronts. The dayjob on the other hand is going a little bit crazy so I want to back off on the creative stuff after hours until I’m up to speed with the new tech stack we’re using. So it goes.

Edit: Thanks to snapai for this comment:

It’s thumbnailing, though west coast US studios sometimes call it storyboarding (particularly for animated movies). Soup provided the storyboarders with thumbnails to make their boards from, so don’t worry, it’s a standard part of the process 😀

Hello and welcome to 2 to 8 March.

This week I started sketching out the story from end to beginning using crude comics. The final scene takes place at a bus stop. I’ve photographed a few crappy concrete bus shelters around my neighbourhood and done a recognisable model of one, complete with daggy bright orange bus stop marker. I also finished the numbers for the project font. Alas, kerning is still not very exciting.

Today is Sunday, usually my make-movie-stuff day. It got munched by a family gathering. It was also one of those days where I set out to make a node-based procedural hexagon shader in Cycles and ended up creating a nifty halftone shader instead. It’s been known to happen.

Not a hugely eventful week then but things are progressing. 🙂

A couple of WIP models of a bus shelter with normals vs displacement. Liking displacement version a lot better even though it’s much higher poly. The texture is kind of like the real thing but needs more displacement to really work.

Does anyone else have these crappy concrete bus shelters? They’re all over the place where I live.

So. 26 January to 1 Feburary. Mainly this week I played Far Cry 4. A lot of Far Cry 4. There’s not actually much to report because of all that Far Cry 4.

I did a bit more modelling on the quoll during Australia Day.

On Saturday evening, I finally sat down to chart out the rest of pre-production. I now have a diagram of the tasks left to do (stuff like music, sound effects, dialogue, character voice dev, thumbnail, animatic)

with dependency relationships indicated (e.g. I need both scratch and thumbnails before I can do a rough animatic pass).

What came out of creating the dependency diagram is that I’m way behind on the art direction side of things. Art direction in pre-pro covers everything from from gathering reference to producing concept art. It’s something I can do whenever, much like Pointy’s voice development.

It’s way better having a plan of attack laid out in front of me instead of a series of doables with vague connections looming amorphously in my head. Even once I’d finished the rough version, I felt dim for not having made it sooner.

Perhaps I’ll smarten up the diagram and make it something I post weekly. At any rate, that’s it for now. I’m off to go bouncing around Kyrat again with a grenade launcher again liberating radio towers until I get so bored with it that I don’t want to do it anymore.

Here is a glorious golden retopologised quoll, mostly done. Some of the topology around the neck.. well.. we won’t talk about. And there’s a reason the hand is out of shot. It is so not done yet.

But I did spend Australia Day modelling a quoll and now I know a bit more about how to use Contours and Polystrips so.. uh.. yay! 🙂