Tag Archives: RYGCBMK◯

How now, RYGCBMK◯w?

It’s been 16 to 22 April 2017.

I spent Sunday doing the last chunks of animation, including the new snake intro,  and Monday was almost all sound mixing trying to get things at a nice level. Then it was done: RYGCBMK◯ appeared on the Internet around 5:35pm Western Australian time (11:30 UTC) on Easter Monday.

Well, sort of done. Now I make an effort to at least try to connect RYGCBMK◯ to its potential audience with a bit of promotion. It would help if I knew where that audience was and to have a clearer idea of who they are (some of them are probably stoners if I’m honest), but this is something I made for myself. I didn’t start out with an audience in mind, just a yen for something happy and playful. Any broader audience was an afterthought.

Ringsnek says hi.

This stage of the creative process – promotion, marketing, etc – is where I’ve got the most to learn, and it’s where my own projects often grind to a halt. Truth is, I’m beyond my comfort zone tapping a series of people on the shoulder to say “excuse me but I made a thing and could you well um watch it perhaps?”. It brings up all these artistic insecurities and related questions. Does it show that it’s newbie work, or will people enjoy it for its happy simplicity and not care? Do I stay matter-of-fact with the write-ups on the project or do something more playful? Should I re-render it and get a DCP done and try for something like MIAF or Punto Y Raya, or should I wait until I’ve created something more polished? Should I use the shots as Animation Nodes tutorials in order to build up some creator awareness, and if so what can I cover that hasn’t already been covered by someone else?

Lots of questions, then. But what about the elephant in the room? When will I be back on the Pointy and Gronky short?

The closest answer I can manage is “probably soon”. I’m midway through a break from my day job until the beginning of May. I’ve finally got the opportunity to relax and unwind and recharge and even creatively potter around for a bit instead of focussing my efforts on a bigger project which is many months away from being completed. So yeah, “probably soon” is the most certain I can be about AMITS right now. 🙂

RYGCBMK◯ is released!

My little two-minute serve of abstract rhythmic procedural animation is available for all to see! Yay!

You can watch it above on YouTube, download it off Vimeo (CC-BY licence) or listen to the soundtrack on SoundCloud.

If you’ve got Blender 2.78 (even the current 2.78 nightly at the time of writing) with the Animation Nodes plugin, you can download this zip file full of shots to play with. There are even some shots in there which didn’t make the cut.

The final shot running order is as follows:

  • quollism ident: combination of 050, 264 and 452
  • morse code: 120
  • ball snake: 471
  • ring snake: 472
  • doughnut wave: 454
  • braille fireflies: 431
  • bouncy dot: 450
  • do-si-do spheres: 020
  • infinity looper: 470
  • purple attractor: 453
  • rainbow sine balls: 070
  • flippy pink doughnuts: 051
  • grooving amoeba: 060
  • splitting rainbow ball: 170
  • hexagonal echoed rings: 140
  • metaball pipe: 160
  • cool abstract bubbles: 181
  • weird stripy thing: 171
  • grooving bubble tank: 180
  • ring with lasers: 200
  • keke spheres: 220
  • happy bubble snake: 210
  • multicoloured ring explosions: 250
  • spinning mandala: 260
  • travelling mandala: 261
  • receding mandala: 263
  • approaching mandala: 262
  • fake oscilloscope: 264
  • alchemical symbols: 280
  • scribble ball: 270
  • rainbow ring: 290
  • rave curves: 320
  • heartbeat: 300
  • balls on wires: 330
  • random object sine: 331
  • migrating acid eggs: 371
  • jelly boomerangs: 380
  • galaxy: 350
  • ballswarm argument: 370
  • three pulsing objects: 400
  • ball and stick creature: 410
  • colour morphing sinewave: 402
  • neon cell: 473
  • folded circle: 420
  • line swoop: 401
  • travelling mandala: 451
  • reverse flashing rings: 430

I’m not sure what else to add at this point other than I hope my colourful little dancing spheres and toruses brighten your day. 🙂

Time can also be space

It’s been 9 to 15 April 2017. Happy Easter and if you’re in Australia, remember: bilbies not bunnies.

Squishy Mandala says “Save the bilby!”

It’s just a couple of days until RYGCBMK◯ comes out and I have just a few shots to go. Looking back at some of the earliest shots I made, they jar badly with the overall “round shapes on black” aesthetic I ended up adopting. The hand-drawn shots also jarred a bit. With the extra time afforded me by the Easter break, I’ve started replacing the most out-of-place crappy shots with nicer updated shots. The replacements often retain the original idea but re-execute it in a way that feels like it belongs with the rest of the reel.

Stills really don’t do these shots justice.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about how to do interpolation between two values in Animation Nodes.

Here’s a shot that I did last night.

Pretty sure I had one of those balls in the 1990s..

As the purple rainbow ball moves across the screen, the small ball move towards it and grow larger. The node setup that places the nodes looks like this.

Kind of went crazy with the animate nodes for Scale there..

The key to controlling movement and size is in the Animate nodes. I’m feeding the Time input of the Animate Vector node with a Distance value instead. Instead of changing a value according to how much time has gone by, I’m changing it according to  how far the “attractor” object is to a position which is pre-calculated for each ball.

If the ball is closer to (before) the calculated position than the “duration” (a minimum influence distance), the Animate node interpolates towards the “Start” input – the rainbow ball’s position, or a larger size. If the distance is greater than (after) the “duration”, the node interpolates all the way to the “End” position – the small ball’s calculated position, or a resting size.

I used the same interpolation trick to send little pulses of light down these wires, even though the start and end points are constantly moving.

Animate nodes: not just for animating!

That’s all for this week. I’ll post a mini-update on Monday with the details of where you can see the finished reel, but that’s all for now. Back to it!

Sine functions to the left of me, matrices to the right..

It’s been 2 to 8 April 2017. I got a new semi-modular synthesiser this week so I lost a couple of evenings to playing with the new toy adding to the RYG-O soundtrack.

Music is never as exciting to look at, is it?

For this week’s shots I moved away from procedural meshes and back to working with lots of duplicated objects. I made a spiral galaxy, swarms of weird little swimming eggs, swarms of psychedelic kidneys and swarms of little balls having arguments with one another.

They are strangely individual swarms of balls.

One of the useful discoveries I made this week was figuring out that I could parent objects to other objects as part of Animation Nodes. The node setup for parenting is even pretty simple.

It’s as easy as setting “parent” in the Object Attribute Output node.

I used parenting to create the galaxy shot. I started with a spiral-making loop I made on Sunday. I created three sets of spiral objects with different colours of spiral and different sizes of blob. I parented each spiral to a different empty and set the empties spinning, then parented those empties to a master empty which moved them across the screen. Initially all three spiral bits were parented to one empty, but everything rotating at the same rate was dull to look at. It helped a lot to experiment with the rotation using empties as a guide instead of having to maths it.

It’s been too long between OpenGL renders…

Also this week I found out that constant updating can be switched off. This is useful when working with thousands of duplicated objects at once. The spiral was slowing my computer down pretty badly.

Over to the swimmy eggs now. Each of the eggs swims towards the top of the screen at a randomised rate which is peculiar to that egg. Of course, when certain aquatic animals like jellyfish or octopodes propel themselves through the water, there’s a push forward then a lag as the “water” absorbs its momentum.

This is an early version of the eggs which looked a little too much like an LSD hallucination of a thousand screaming mouths.

To mimic this, I added a couple of sine functions to make things more interesting – one controls the compression and expansion of the eggs’ shape, and the other offsets to the position to make the motion speed up and slow down. The two sine functions are out of phase – they both have a period of 12 frames, but they reach their respective extremes at different points. The actual node structure that makes this possible is a bit hard to follow, but this is the node setup I used to figure out how to tweak it so that it not only fit the swimming action but the beat of the soundtrack.

This is me hiding my mess.

Here the complexity of the maths and node tree is kept away from where I have to think about it, and that’s how it should be.

Good factoring also means putting messes in their own separate node tree to make it easy to reuse them in another file.

The psychedelic kidney swarm was made possible thanks to Omar Ahmad’s excellent write-up on transformation matrices in AN. I’d wanted to get the eggs swimming in different directions, and that meant having them turn to whichever direction they were headed in. I was getting nowhere with that on Thursday night, but finding Omar’s tutorials inspired me to give it another try on Friday night. Even though I couldn’t get the kidneys to change rotation/direction mid-swim, I did manage to get them turned to face the direction that they’re swimming in a straight line.

At least they’re not screaming mouths.

Here’s a more presentable version of the swimming trick, where timeOffset (can be positive or negative) is added to the Time input of “Animate Vector” to move the kidney from A to B.

Sinewaves – is there anything they can’t do?

Finally a word about materials! I have been using randomised colours a lot in RYG-O and that means using the Object Info node’s Random output a lot. The problem is that Random only outputs a single random number and I need three (hue, saturation and value) to make an entire colour.

To turn a random number into an entire random vector, I follow the Random output with multiply, modulo and add nodes before they hit Combine HSV. Multiply stretches the incoming range by an arbitrary amount to introduce a little bit more randomness. Modulo clamps the output of multiply to a particular upper limit, effectively setting a range from 0 to the modulo amount. Add offsets that output upward and sets a minimum.

For instance, in the following node setup, my random colours will have saturation between 0.6 (add 0.6) and 0.8 (modulo 0.2 + add 0.6), and values between 0.5 (add 0.5) and 0.8 (modulo 0.3 + add 0.5).

Three random numbers from one – bargain!

The quantiseHue group does a modulo, multiply, round and divide operation to quantise any random number input to 0.0 (red), 0.166 (yellow), 0.333 (green), 0.5 (cyan), 0.667 (blue), 0.833 (magenta) or 1 (red again). That’s how I’m sticking to my assigned colours. 🙂

That’s all for this week. See you at Easter!

Circles circles everywhere (and lines and boxes too)

26 March to 1 April 2017 has been RYGBMCKO’s most productive week yet. In a couple of weeks when this goes up onto YouTube, you will be able to identify this week’s little segments by things getting very circle-based.

And this week I actually have a minute to talk shop and post some node setups and related screenies. Amazing!

Here is one of the variations of node setup which I use for plotting a circle. For input it takes a range of integers (the values don’t matter, just the size of the range), and it can create a set of points with different radiuses at different offsets around the circle and follow different objects. (obSize, hide and elementAngle are all left over from old versions of the group.)

let r = radius, for z = 0 to 2*pi: x = sin(z*r), y = cos(z*r) — and so much more!

I started using Animation Nodes for procedural geometry as well as animation this week. Up until now I’d been duplicating objects but not actually making them. The geometry workflow isn’t super obvious but the AN documentation is pretty good. Here’s a loop that draws lines (including a random factor) and its output points to a generated object.

Float goes in, geometry comes out..

Take the circle values and run them through the line drawing loop, add a colourful material, and get colourful space tinsel!

Hm… does this need a glow effect perhaps?

Or how about a little heartrate monitor?

This could probably use a glow effect too..

For this I created a sawtooth wave that synchronises to the 12 frame beat.

A synchronised sawtooth node chain with bonus Animate Float node

I fed this into an Animation Nodes group to get a vertical offset value. Here’s how Inigo Quilez’s impulse function looks as an AN node group:

function(k,x) { return k*x*pow(Math.E, 1.0 – (k*x)); } but with boxes and lines

I duplicated the blobs with slightly lagged inputs to form a trail, put some glow on it and there we go.

See? Totally looks better with glow.. hey.. wait a minute, that’s just gaussian blur in Add mode!

Finally, one of four mandala thingies I made on Sunday alone. Here’s the node setup. It looks complicated but it is super repetitious.

From this zoom level, it’s just lines and coloured boxes.

There’s three or four objects being fed into the ringmaker loop. The ringmaker arranges stuff in circles around a reference object with a particular radius, making the objects a particular size, etc. The differences and variations come in the size of the circles, how fast they’re moving around the circle and in what direction, and whether either of those things are changing over the course of the shot.

And this is the output.

Inspired by stuff I saw one evening on the backs of my eyelids…

Today was the original release day, but after the week I had and with the reel as it currently stands I’m glad I gave myself an extra couple of weeks to learn even more.

Speaking of releases, I’m still on track for showing off the all-singing-all-dancing RYGCBMKO-1 reel on Easter Monday. Even though it’s a progress reel, it’s still good fun to watch. 🙂

RYG-◯ turns a corner!

Greetings from 19 to 25 March 2017.

So many bubbles…

Things are very different this week for RYGCBMK◯. Ironically it’s going so well that I don’t have much time to write about it.

So many colourful round things…

Between having a much-needed breakthrough with the soundtrack and playing with Animation Nodes for two days straight last weekend, I went from not having much of a clue what I’m doing to kind of knowing what I’m doing. My confidence is way up and the project has gone from being mildly disappointing and grindy to actually kind of fun. Hurray! 🙂

Frickin lasers!

Something else I’m noticing this week – I’m getting so much more bang for buck out of my loops by allowing things like scale, location and other stuff as input parameters. It’s the difference between a time-saving setup and a truly powerful setup that lets me experiment quickly.

Meet Bubble Snake, whose segments are based on the sine function of their world x position.

The final product feels less like a movie and more like a progress reel – a little underwhelming at first while I’m figuring things out, but then the fun kicks in once I get my bearings.

Now, I wonder if anyone would be interested in getting their hands on the .blend files after this is all done…

Beat as in “tired”… or as in “rhythm”?

That’s been 26 February to 4 March 2017. And it is both tired and rhythm. One because the other.

On Wednesday, I made the decision to step away from “A moment in the sun” until I finish this heinously draining temporary internal transfer at Easter (mid-April). A narrative animated short film is the wrong project for me until the work stress eases off. Something little and time-boxed would be much better.

So it’s time again for a brief change of creative direction.

I took a couple of months at the beginning of last year to sculpt and do character animation and that refreshed me nicely. This time I’m going to learn Animation Nodes with the intent of making some groovy procedural animation.

The working title is RYGCBMK◯, though RYGCBMKO is fine too. You can probably guess what the letters R G B and C M Y K stand for. The circle is just a circle. The finished piece will be pleasing rhythms for the eyes and ears.

I’ll be working on it until Easter and I’m targeting an Easter Monday release. I’ve written a project brief and set particular limitations around creative methodology, but I’ll talk a bit more about those next week. 🙂