A moment in the sun Journals Stuff I made

It’s just 1 to 7 May 2016, don’t be afraid! Have some new art!

Remember last week when I said I was ready to jump into 3D layout again? Turns out that was wishful thinking. There’s a step between pitchamatic and 3D layout which I thought I might skip for expediency’s sake, but it turns out
I don’t want to skip it after all.

That step is the 2D animatic, also known as the story reel or the Leica reel. It’s where the movie starts to get timed out. In the workflow I’m using (borrowed from the Blender Institute), the file which begins as the 2D animatic eventually gets filled up with more and more complete footage until finally the movie is all done. That file, masteredit.blend, now exists. Woo!


To kick that off, I made a spreadsheet for the shots and another spreadsheet for lines of dialogue, based almost entirely on what was in the pitchamatic. I reference the relevant storyboard but the shots have all new shiny names now based on a scene, a camera setup (shot) and which instance of that camera setup I’m up to. If I’m using camera setup 2 for the third time in scene 1, that makes it shot 01_02_C. These will go on to become parts of filenames when I start moving 3D assets around.


Since I already had storyboards and most of the dialogue from the pitchamatic, it took me a single day to rework the pitchamatic file to cobble the animatic together.
Compared to building the animatic from nothing over a couple of weeks, this was much nicer!

The rough running length is
about 3:40. It is no longer the monster seven minute animatic I was facing down a year ago. I
almost cried with relief, truly.

Over the course of the week I’ve been reviewing the animatic to figure out what’s missing, what isn’t timed right, what doesn’t work as well as it could… that sort of thing.
The animatic has shot names attached to markers to make reviewing easier.


And here’s how that works – set Metadata to stamp output, tick Marker..

…then put markers in your timeline. M places a marker, select and Ctrl-M renames it, G while selected moves it back and forth. Noice!

The intercostal strain makes it uncomfortable to sit in a chair for too long (especially after sitting in a chair all day at my dayjob), so I’ve been doing most of the review work from bed. Nevertheless, I have a to-do list! Much of it involves audio work.

This has also been a week for switching technologies. I’ve switched from Bittorrent Sync over to Subversion to synchronise the movie’s file repository across multiple computers. There’s also an ugly but functional Subversion client for Android which lets me export single files to phones and tablets if I want to have the latest animatic in my pocket.

And after Tumblr advertised discount toilet paper at me I’m checking out WordPress. The dream is to host all the things on, ad-free, but still allow people to participate.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

A moment in the sun Journals Stuff I made

Welcome one and all to the circus of 17 to 23 April 2016. Have some fresh new storyboard images from this week! Gronky is meant to be finding Pointy a hat. He finds something else.

This week I finished a second draft of the pitchamatic. More thumbnailing and boards on Sunday and Wednesday, new narration written and recorded on Thursday, more notes coming in on Thursday and Friday night.

The changes for this week’s draft included an extra gag at the climax and a longer introduction to set up the character dynamics, explain Pointy’s predicament and drop a gag involving a random toy kangaroo.

The feedback has been encouraging and useful. General impressions are that the short is still funny and the ending is great but the introduction still wants some work.

In the introduction, I have a fine balance to strike between pacing, humour and context – introducing the situation, introducing the characters, introducing the dynamics of the characters, introducing the rules, dropping a few gags, not being too verbose..

Basically I want to set everything up concisely for what’s to come and make the introduction flow together effortlessly, making it fun for the audience without being a tiresome info-dump.

Unfortunately I haven’t found anything as killer as Elmer Fudd tiptoeing along and shhing to camera and excitedly announcing “Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits!” – so I’ll keep working at it.

Thanks for reading! See you again next week. 🙂

A moment in the sun Journals Stuff I made

I bid you greetings this week of 3 to 9 April 2016. Let us pause a while and reflect upon it. Have some images too!

This week I’ve been working up to a
. A pitch-o-matic is the high-tech equivalent of someone pointing at physical storyboard images pinned to a board with a pointer and talking through them. It’s not unlike a PowerPoint presentation – narrated instead of voice acted, still images instead of moving (like you might get with a story reel), and above all it’s fun.

The point of a pitch-o-matic is to pitch the story to other people to get notes on what works and what doesn’t at a story level. I did a few pitches at Blender Conference 2015 and Beorn’s advice was to use something more like storyboards than the planning comics I was scrolling around. So this is that. 🙂

The cleaned up images for the pitch-o-matic have been done since Sunday. There are 116 images to pitch with, 111 of which are narrative. The story is looking tighter and leaner than it’s ever been.

The first time I get to see how the story executes however will be when I put together a story reel. I’m quietly optimistic. 🙂

been a hectic and energy-sapping week at the dayjob so the narration’s had to wait until the weekend. I’ll be compiling it and sending it along to my usual reviewers shortly. 🙂

Aside from that, not much to report! More pictures!

Thanks for reading/looking. See you next week! 🙂


Here’s an image from the new story reel, done entirely with Blender’s recently upgraded Grease Pencil, and a behind the scenes screenshot.

A planning process like this is different to going between Krita and Blender. There’s no need to do scene numbering or other stuff ahead of time to get filenames, for a start – I’m just drawing on different layers as I go. Each time I want to change a shot, I just blank out or redraw all the layers.

And yes, it’s in colour. Which is also new. 🙂

That green strip in the Video Sequence Editor is the scene I’m drawing in. The purple chunks above the green strip are the old storyboards. Wherever there’s a gap in that strip, I have to draw new art.

To render out the story reel with grease pencil, I have to use the OpenGL render button in the VSE panel. (The OpenGL render button in the 3D View only renders the scene. Big thanks to Olson and JA12 on #blender for patiently helping me suss that out.)

Back to it then!


Rough boards are finished. Yay! This is a spoiler-free version of shot 105. The spoilery bit has been replaced with a chuditch.

Now to go back and figure out some dialogue timing.