Sunday, 19 June 2011

Meet The Composer: James Whittle

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that James Whittle is producing the soundtrack for my current short, due to be completed by the end of next month.  James is an incredibly talented composer, instrumentalist and singer, and has just finished his degree in Music at the University of York.  James has worked on some fantastic projects and its an honour to have him on board, so draw the curtains, turn the lights down low, put on your best headphones and take a listen to one of his recent works, 'Violent Cannon'.

VIOLENT CANNON by James Whittle

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Things That Go Bump In The Shed

Thank god for Bullet Rigid Body Sim, saving animators' time.  Only 38 crashes and two corrupted files (thankfully I had backups) later and I've got a second and a half of falling spades to show for it (I've hidden all the characters by the way, so as not to spoil any surprises).  Sometimes I think there are demons in my computer.

Those warped meshes on the right aren't me forgetting how to model, they're just shadow catchers for the comp over the matte painted backgrounds which should be pretty funky.

Big thanks to this post on blenderunderground which reminded me how to use Bullet - its been a long time.  Looking forward to a merge of Aligorith's Bullet GSOC soon.

Edit: on second thoughts, this had my little brother and I in stitches... we're easily amused.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Jut to say that I'm following Bassam's example over at the tube project and now using blender-aid to keep track of which files are linked to which in this ever-sprawling project!  Above is 'Blake' the dog's list of dependencies. Thanks Jeroen!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Freestyle Rendering

Got a shock to find this one staring back at me today.  Some wrongly connected nodes and textures giving a freaky render.

Here's a preview of the node graph I'm using to mix up the AO, Shadow, Flat Color and Freestyle Passes, otherwise known as the 'spaghetti system'.  It masks the freestyle pass using objects from the sets, edge detects to give a line round the shadows to match the Freestyle line, and adds a slight transparency to the characters when comping them over the backgrounds.  The backgrounds get a slight blurred underneath and just around where the characters are to help the characters stand out a bit.  I'm also mixing in ink and paper noise as freestyle's textured stroke rendering isn't supported yet in blender as far as I can tell.

I'm working with three Freestyle shaders (and a common functions module) which I coded based heavily on T.K.'s fantastic examples in the blenderartists thread.

I'll post the source when I've got them finalised.

Back to animating.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Spin me Right Round, Like a Record

Not 100% there with the look so far but it will probably do for the national gallery version.  I should have just animated the whole film like this with their feet sliding along the floor like this and everyone in their default T pose.  It would have saved time on the rigging and the animation would probably be just as good as it is now!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Cloth Sim for the Farmer's Coat

So manually animating the coat didn't go so well.  Instead I've created a low resolution version of the lower half of the coat mesh,  put the armature, then the sim on that, then a solidify modifier on top of that.  To connect the high resolution coat to the low resolution sim mesh I use the normal armature deform for the top half of the coat (arms etc), then use the low resolution mesh with solidify modifier as a mesh deform cage for the lower half of the coat.  You need to do all sorts of weight painting and multi-modifier tricks to get the two to play nicely together, then you need to have a doubled up copy of the armature for the coat with copy transforms otherwise you'll run into a dependency cycle (this depends on your rig of course).  If you're going to use cloth simmed objects linked into files as groups with proxied armatures you need to then link in the cloth sim object and the collision objects again after you've done your usual group linking.  Overly complex I know, but it works... just.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Rigging Done

He's multi coloured in proxy form to help me spot mesh intersections.  The coat was an absolute nightmare to rig but now I have a fairly nice fake wind effect using displacement textures and animated textures, all controllable at animation time.  Time to start animating.