The year is coming to a close, and everyone is going (has gone) on vacation. Meaning: this is it for 2014! This weekly started two hours early (a) so that Mathieu could participate before leaving for France and (b) so the rest of the team could leave early for a studio trip to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in IMAX 3D!
Now, just a handful of people remain in the studio, and there won’t be another weekly until January. So let’s take a look at what Father Christmas (aka Team Gooseberry) has laid out under the tree to close out 2014…
Total Story Makeover
We started the weekly with a look at the full animatic…which has changed dramatically since last week:
- As it stands, the film is now a neat 14 minutes.
- Most of the dialogue has been removed for this version, since the script has been changed and it all needs to be re-recorded. (Perhaps with placeholder dialogue again via team members, but the professional recording sessions are also already booked for early January!)
- Victor and Franck’s first meeting has been changed: it no longer takes place at the cliff’s edge, so there’s less imminent threat of death and Franck has a little more room to show his personality and resistance to Victor’s offer. Other details will also change, like Victor will explain less and will fumble for matches instead of showing Franck his business card.
- Franck’s intro to his new caterpillar body and jungle world has been compressed: he now falls only once, and instead of meeting a flock of caterpillars and a caterpillar-eating frog, he comes face to face with a dragonfly buzzing by, foreshadowing his upcoming ride.
- The dragonfly chase scene has been better resolved, from how Franck gets on the dragonfly in the first place to how he tames the beast so that he can drive it in pursuit of Tara.
- The frog has been removed. We’re all sad to see him go, but it was going to be a tricky character to animate with not enough return, in terms of story. (RIP cool Costa Rican see-through belly.)
Watch the beginning of the weekly video above for Mathieu’s live commentary, or find this version of the animatic whenever you like on the Blender Cloud.
Angela has been making more model improvements — this time to Tara! Check out the Cloud for another Tara infographic…involving teeth.
Manu has been working on grass with Lukas, creating mock-ups of island scenes like this one (and the three others you can check out on the Cloud). Manu of course wants to emphasize that his final versions will include a LOT more of his magical details.
Lukas has been further developing his hair and grass physics features (with Manu’s help dutifully crashing the system as much as possible to help Lukas make it better/faster). He’s also created some presets for the hair dynamics (stiffness, damping, etc.) In the video here you’ll see a more realistic reaction to both steady and buffeting winds. Manu’s then applied this to a slice of the island grass. More refinements to come, but see what they’ve done so far:
Antonis has continued his work with face maps, a new type of Blender vertex group (the blue areas here). He’s added a toggle for face maps, which can now each be directly linked to a bone with the same name. This is meant to replace custom bones as a rigging tool to move invisible bones, but it is still a work in progress.
Back to BAM
Manu has been working on a logo for BAM — this is not the final version, but you can see where he’s going!
- Bastien concluded his in-studio time with some “pre-asset” work, improving asset loading, etc. The system can now show all objects in a folder, apply filters to results, plus preview .blend files (per object) in the asset manager before opening. You can now also import from different libraries to a single shot…though there are still some crashes with very large objects (like the dragon from Sintel). Check out the demo at 37:00 in the weekly video.
- Campbell has now created a BAM Python package, so that you can incorporate the asset manager’s functionality into your own (proprietary) system. Watch the demo at 45:05.
- BAM will now zip together all files related to a master file, wherever those files might be available on the system. (In the weekly they show off by going straight for the full animatic.) This package can then be opened and used as is from any computer (with the software installed).
- Francesco is working on incorporating this functionality into the Cloud…but that is still a work in progress!
- Francesco will release another update about the BAM planning (with Campbell being back in Australia and all) on this blog in the next week or so.
Comings & Goings
Campbell and Bastien have, like most of the office, returned home for the holidays. Only…they won’t be coming back (any time soon). Never fear, though: they’ll still be knee-deep in Blender work from Australia and France, respectively! AND there will be more new faces in the studio to replace them in the new year. Watch this blog to find out who will be joining us in Amsterdam next!
Have a Happy New Year, and see you in 2015!