8 to 14 November 2015, your time has come.

Story dev is very nearly almost done – I know I’ve said that in the past, but this time for sure. The gag bank is absolutely packed so I’ve been able to get through the middle act and massage in another “rule” which makes the gags even more satisfying. The whole thing where bad luck strikes because Gronky is helpful yet unlucky has been switched over onto Pointy – whenever Pointy’s ungrateful or mean, that’s when his luck turns for the worse. Much less explaining to do means more time for funny!

I haven’t done an animatic yet so I haven’t seen the overall shape of the film in the rough. It would be exceptionally foolhardy not to make an animatic, but on the other hand certain key scenes I’ve got are locked enough to start pre-production on. Those scenes are not in doubt at this point, so I can happily start figuring out how to make them without having to worry about discarding them later.

I did the little beetle guy from the pre-title scene last Sunday. I needed a rig that could scamper and tumble. I’m happy with how this quick animation test turned out – the skitter looks good, the tumble mechanism works, and the rig is OK to work with. The surfacing is just a placeholder for now and will be polished up once it’s time to render everything.

There’s another gag which involves wind blowing sand off something. For this I tried using a particle system with Cycles particle density. The particles don’t whip up and disperse in a way I like yet and the cloud is way too dense, so this one will take another try.

That’s all for now. See you again next week!


So that idea I’ve been hoping to have, something I can turn into a short movie.. I had it. And I’m doing it.

The project is working-titled: “A Moment In The Sun”. These are the two main characters. In the script their names are Gronky and Pointy.

My production diary so far:

30 April

  • Came up with the nugget idea during a tea break at work and sketched down a big monster being yelled at by a smaller monster. The smaller monster is standing in the larger monster’s shadow and ranting “You’re blocking out the sun!” – this is the central idea. It is a small thing. It is perfect for a “junior” animated short.

1 May

  • Drawing the two characters and figuring out what they should look like.

2 May

  • Did a sketch of the musical soundtrack, or at least something like a musical soundtrack. Won’t use it. It’s rocking but I wanted something a bit more sedate.
  • Drew that nectarine dragon thing. Decided it wasn’t Gronky enough.
  • Successfully carried off a nifty rigging experiment, the significance of which I shall reveal in good time.

3 May

  • Drafted up a script. It was three pages long and really elaborate. Vowed not to produce that script because it was too elaborate. I just want to make a little film, damnit. Just a little one to begin with. Is that too much to ask for? Is it? IS IT??!?
  • Got sketching some more. Figured out that Pointy should look like an arrow. Also figured out that Gronky should have more of a hump.

4 May (today)

Sunday is my focussed creativity day, so it was all systems go!

  • Resisted the urge to model the characters. Modelled an infinite white backdrop instead. Yeah!
  • Wrote a simpler iteration of the previous day’s script that went for half a page. No gag at the end.
  • Split the script up into story beats and shoved the beats into a spreadsheet. (I believe this may be known as a “beat sheet” in the biz.) I ended up with 23 story beats, including an ending where [REDACTED]
  • Drew storyboards from the “beat sheet” using Krita – any given beat took anywhere between one and seven drawings to do.
  • Compiled a story reel in Blender with the storyboard drawings timed out.
  • Viewed the story reel. The ending was.. rubbish.
  • Rewrote the ending. The events leading up to the ending are a set-up and the ending is now a pay-off. Comedy!
  • Re-drew storyboards, recompiled story reel.

I ended up with about seventy storyboard drawings in the end, and timed out they add up to a movie that runs about 65 seconds (1560 frames) long. Works for me!

This is not a profound tale of profound significance through the ages. It is merely a light-hearted tale about a gentle giant and a one-eyed shadow-hating idiot.

Maybe the full working title should be “A moment in the sun between a gentle giant and a one-eyed shadow-hating bastard”. AMITSBAGGAAOESHI for short. Or in French: “Un moment au soleil entre un doux géant et un salopard borgne qui déteste les ombres.”


It has not been a weekend of vertex-based victories then.

My biggest frustration with 3D modelling at the moment is that I’m not too terrible with ink and pen. If I could just get my bloody 3D models to look like my bloody 2D drawings…

Anyway, this is a quick doodle of Ktish I knocked out in Krita while I was having a play. It doesn’t follow the same model I’ve been using for Ktish so far, but it’s based on the same shapes, just moved around and reproportioned a bit. And with a bit of cheek fluff for appeal. Doesn’t really look like a mulgara anymore but eh, experimentation. Krita looks really good, by the way.

I’m still worried that the design I _am_ modelling is underwhelming. The 2D versions make him look wise, humble, funny, sleepy… yet the stuff I’m getting out of Blender makes him look crazed or sinister. Haven’t captured the character in vertices yet by a long shot.

Better keep trying.


This is a cityscape. Well, it’s the start of one. I was using a “throw particles that suggest glowing bits of a city at the camera” technique for a bit but that didn’t particularly work, so I’m going with using a particle system to grow a city on a grid – only the lights of the city are visible. The emitting surface is the outside of a cylinder – the cylinder turns, the building lights go by in big smears. Needs something else behind it as a silhouette, though, but not just straight sky – more dots, maybe… clouds in the abstract.. I don’t know. Still figuring out where to take that whole scene, feeling out the interplay of technology and art and so on.

My current instinct is to trim down that hallucination sequence timewise, since it’s only really there to induce a particular mental state in the audience and if they resist that induction it’ll bounce them out of the experience entirely. I want to leave more focussed and interesting questions unanswered in the audience’s heads, not just broader “who is this guy and where is he and why should I care?” ones.

I’m trying to fit in a movie every day after work lately, a classic if possible – though it’s usually whatever I can watch on QuickFlix that I don’t have to pay for beyond the monthly subscription. It’s been educational, even if the movies have had nothing to do with the genre and characters and setting I’m working with, I’ve always picked up something – not to mention having enjoyed a bloody good film, too.

I’ve devoted the majority of actual pre-production work time since New Year’s wrapping lines around the main character in the form of ink sketches. I’m still not ready to show too much off yet, but in a nutshell I’ve been drawing different facial expressions and body parts to make sure I have as much of the “character space” as possible. So many times I’ve carved a character out of verts without giving enough thought to all the different faces that character’s going to have to pull, and what their relationship is to one another, so I’m doing a lot more concept art than usual (probably still not enough) to better illustrate what forms and shapes the mesh will have to wrap around. (The mouth is going to be an interesting challenge…)

It’s good fun though; every so often I draw Ktish making a funny face and it instantly cracks me up. But it’s not just trying to make myself laugh – I have to figure out how his face stretches so I can do all that in Blender. The giggles are a welcome side-benefit. 🙂

I’m holding off posting much character concept art here until it’s more final. I still have a lot of bugs to work out of the design and besides which it’s mostly Ktish pulling faces with the odd full-body diagrammatic sketch. Nothing particularly worth showing off yet in that regard; nor is the first draft storyboard of another scene I did on New Year’s night.

Honestly I’m tempted to jump back into development on this first episode and make it much more special instead of leaving it so open-ended. Feels lazy. People are spending two minutes of their precious time with their eyeballs on my humble creation – it’d be a shame not to give them something wonderful in return..


Episode 0 starts out with a building hallucination. I wanted these streaks to look kind of 2D and flat with the intention of giving depth to the stars in the next part of the sequence, but these ended up looking pretty 3D after all.

The particle colour gradient was inspired by contemporary Commodore 64 demoscener art (Edge of Disgrace is a good example). It’s not unheard of for C64 artists to use gradations of colour like white-yellow-cyan-green-purple-brown-black – the luma keeps dropping but the chroma skips all over the place on the way. (The Commodore 64 only had 16 colours but even today people are still figuring out novel ways of using them.)

The glow bleed makes it look vaguely old-school optical instead of digital – that’s post-processing with Fog Glow, Blur, Directional Blur set to spin the image and Add nodes to comp it all together.

The minty green, yellow and white sit together well in the same frame and the gentle sparkle and swirl when it’s all animated version is quite pleasant. It’s just not what I want narratively – it’s at least three times too fast, and the impression of depth I don’t care for either. Still, as failed experiments go, it’s a nice one. 🙂