Weekly – August 29, 2014

What a great weekly we had! There’s definitely a team spirit growing now, ideas are boiling and cooking more efficiently, productivity going up, people communicating better, roles being established, you know… the stuff that happens when you put a bunch of talented people together after a month or so!

Watch the entire recording of the weekly here.

Getting the right visual concepts for for a film is really tough – and although we’re far from ready it’s getting more clear what direction the film is heading now. Really really awesome. I’m also really happy to see a more tangible outcome of the hairsim project now. Yeah.. we all went happily smiling and chattering to our well deserved friday evening with beer and pizzas. Highlights pasted below. (Expect much more complete posts about style, characters and code work coming here soon).

victor_008_deevad timthumb-2 timthumb-2 timthumb timthumb Dragonfly_mendio_02 rene_concepts  frog_sarah_02 tara_sarah_11small

New people: Matias and Julia

Fresh arrived today from Buenos Aires – with terrible jetlag – Matias Mendiola. He will work with Mathieu on storyboarding, during all of September.

Also new: Julia Velkova. She’s working for the Swedish Södertörn University, department Media & Communication Studies. She is an Open Culture researcher and will be here four days examining and interviewing us -  sharing this here on the blog with everyone too.

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Weekly – August 15, 2014

Aaand another week went by!

Ton and Francesco were away for SIGGRAPH last week, but that didn’t stop the Gooseberry team and developers at the Blender Institute from having fun.

On the Gooseberry side we’ve been working on character design and script, solid foundations for this week’s goals of defining the look of secondary/extra characters. On the development side, Dalai worked on Multiview and even got time for a little request from Mathieu to make anamorphic bokeh (check pic below!). Antony worked on Pie menus (now on master!) and Video Sequencer goodies. Lukas continued working on the display and render of the new awesome hair system.

Weekly Gallery

Here are some of the pictures we shared during the weekly.
pies victor_sarah_06 4_anamorphic 1_compo_output frank_sarah_02 tara_pablo_01 tara_sarah_08 tara_sarah_09 frank_06 08_sheep_or_something test_anamorphicbuild_24mm_anamorphX3_radius0.1  victor_sarah_01

Video Stream

Every Friday at 6 PM (Central European Time) we stream live from the Blender Institute. Be the first to know and join us by subscribing to the Gooseberry channel on YouTube.

Last but not least: We’re borrowing the best animator in Iceland. Hjalti Hjalmarsson (from Caminandes: Gran Dillama fame) will be joining us starting tomorrow! So expect more awesome stuff.

That’s it for now, share it around!

Weekly presentation – August 8 2014

Today’s weekly we welcomed visitors from Monkeystack studios in Adelaide (Ben Dansie says HI!). Thanks to Ben they’re (starting to be) working with Blender now too.

Mathieu gave us a quick intro to the new condensed script – which will help getting us the right focus for the Pilot story, otherwise things grow out of control into a 20+ minute film. The main events now are the island with salesman and the caterpillar/butterfly world.

Here’s some artwork I could quickly copy from the session!

frank_04 frank_03 frank_01 Concept_1 Caterpillar&butterfly Caterpillar_Research Blanche_body_2 tara_mat_01 franck_mat_17-18 franck_mat_11-14-15 franck_mat_01 01_frank_008

Cosmos Laundromat

timthumbWe’ve just completed the first “weekly” – a short presentation of everyone here about their past week’s work. You can find the full live stream linked here. Was so great to see the team together for a first presentation!

Today we’ve released the (tentative) film title: Cosmos Laundromat. How precisely the laundromat – and laundromanager – will play a role in the film is awesome and funny! Just stay tuned to learn more about it later.

I will need some time to collect the material for a nicer ‘weekly’ post and to update the gallery here. Will do tomorrow. We also will work hard on setting up the system on blender cloud, which we’ll use to store our progress, and which the subscribers then can watch updated daily. Feedback and commenting systems will take a bit to add as well. Give us a break – we have a whole new shop system to be fixed and supported as well. Poor Francesco has 100 support mails waiting still!




Gooseberry Pilot kick-off – first day

The Story Room

This morning the story team arrived for the kick-off. I’ve temporary rented an empty unit from our neighbors, this office has long walls that can be filled entirely with storyboards and concept art. A great place to work undisturbed from the other activities in Blender Institute – which is mainly Blender coding20140730_114019 and Blender Cloud work right now. I know how sensitive and vulnerable story development can be. Giving the director, writer and and artists an own place might well help a lot in the end!

Plan is to work the months of August and September there, have a final script by the end of August and a final storyboard a month later.


20140730_172154Is the Pilot a teaser? Is it a short film? Or is it a trailer with the highlights of the real movie? Well – it’s basically all of it, more or less. That made it such a hard thing to develop and write the past months. We certainly will go for quality first – not quantity. Rather a bit short than lacking impact, sophisticated design and acting quality. But a usual – when you write it out – things get too long as well. The last draft from Esther goes into the 14 minutes already!

However, if needed we’ll involve one or more of the external units – who were ready to join Gooseberry this year anyway. This is one of the big decisions to make the coming months.


20140730_172125We spent an hour to map out for each person in the meeting what we expect them to be contributing, and to hear them about what they’d like to do.
Pablo Vazquez: concept art and character concepts and designs
Sarah Laufer: concept art, story boards.
David Revoy: concept art, looks development, prepare for having ‘his world’ in the final film.
Francesco Siddi: production coordination, project and asset management.
Esther Wouda: writing the script, closely work with director on getting the story and characters as strong as possible20140730_172349
Mathieu Auvray: director, having a final creative control on every aspect of the film.Ton Roosendaal: producer, make sure we all collaborate to the best of our abilities, well empowered, sticking to previously made agreements and plans – with Blender and other free/open source software, in open production – to deliver a Pilot that will help to fund our feature film.

Lined up to join as a storyboarder is Matias Mendiola, he will get a planning confirmation from me tomorrow or friday latest.

Sharing & Openess20140730_171952

Oh yes… people are feeling nervous already!
Should we already scare this script now? The characters? That important pivotal scene? The movie title? How to prevent it to become a massive energy drain that drags us down?

All of these doubts are valid and honest. We certainly will have to respect the real emotional attachment of an artist to his or her creation – which shouldn’t be ruthlessly be torn away and thrown at the wolves out there.
On the other hand we’re confident with a long past experience of sharing – which really never has harmed us or our work at all – in contrary, looking back it only worked awesome!20140730_173111

So yes – we’ll share. And we’ll share it all. It’s just a matter of setting up the right systems here for project management and versioning. Just the first basics to share text and images, which could be just a matter of days to have working.
As promised – our supporters will get the same level of access as we do for ourselves – via Blender Cloud. But we’ll share here in the blog as well – more of the highlights, and also preventing too annoying spoilers to be published or discussed.

Stay tuned! :)


Call for feedback: Redcurrant high-level requirements

Redcurrants by Vicky Brock 2

Animation projects are increasingly run by ad-hoc groups of artists from all over the world. And once these projects become complex enough, Dropbox or SVN won’t be enough to run such ‘virtual teams’ on. You need a serious asset management and collaboration tool if you want your project to succeed.

With Redcurrant, the Blender Institute will create such a tool. Using only open source technology, it will allow artists to collaborate on any kind of digital project. It will manage the assets, provide centralized team communications and streamline their workflow. It will also allow the Blender community (or any other community) to follow any project and to contribute to it.

Designing this tool has proven to be a difficult task, with each artist having different ideas of what’s relevant for such a tool. We have now taken a step back and created a set of ‘high level requirements’. We want to check these within the Blender community before creating more detailed specifications.

Have you worked in an animation team before? Or do you have experience with asset management systems? Then we’re especially interested in your feedback!

Please read the high-level specifications and leave your thoughts in the comments below.


PS: Wondering about the name? The redcurrant is a small, red berry. It seems to go along quite well with gooseberries!

Image: Redcurrants by Vicky Brock (Creative Commons)