Weekly #27: February 20, 2015

23 February, 2015 |  3 Comments | by Elysia Brenner

This was a week full of guests! Get to know them yourself, and all the details of the team’s newest art and software updates, in the full weekly report here (90 minutes this time). Or, as always, skip to the highlights to pick out your favorite parts.


The Highlights


Be Our Guest

In addition to our two studio guests for the week (familiar faces), we were visited by several members of the Mr. Lee animation studio team: founder and Creative Director Douwe van der Werf, Technical Director Pepijn Schroeijers, and 3D Modeler & Animator Tommie Kerstens. Their studio (a mere 5-minute bike ride from the Blender Institute!) focuses on creating animations of social and environmental issues for NGOs and others. (Their goal is to build a completely transparent agency that helps world issues achieve the same level of captivating, high-quality media exposure that commercial products receive.) And they’ve been experimenting with using Blender for their projects as well.

By the way, if you are in or around (or will be in or around) the Amsterdam area on a Friday at 6pm, you are also invited to join us for a Friday weekly (and dinner with the team afterward)!

The Latest Cut

This week, rather than taking 17 minutes at the beginning of the increasingly lengthy weeklies, our guests from Mr. Lee got their own private screening of the latest cut of the film before the weekly began. For your own private screening, visit Mathieu’s weekly folder on the Cloud. The second part of the film still contains many live shots from the actors; the biggest change you’ll notice is the very end where [SPOILER ALERT!] you now enter the last washing machine glimpsed…and see Franck as a fish.

Mathieu also spent time tweaking Franck’s eyes. See all the steps in his folder on the Cloud, and check out the result in this animation render test:


From the Producer

  • The Gooseberry project has passed the Film Fund technical review! Now we wait to hear whether we’ve passed the artistic review. But chances are high that this next round of subsidy funding will come through!
  • Ton would like to start planning the new teaser/trailer. His goal is to have something ready to share with the world in April.
  • The production cycles will officially kick off within the next week or 2.
  • Now that all 3 settings are solidifying, for March the entire team will shift their focus to animating and finalizing the shots for the first setting: the island.


The Island & the Laundromat

Mathieu has been working with Hjalti to finalize the layout and movement of a couple of (tricky) key sequences. One of those is Franck dragging the branch he intends to use to kill himself. (Using a rope rig by Juan Pablo.) In this video you can see the movement test from various angles (by Hjalti) as well as a test with some fur (by Mathieu). Feel the struggle.

Next up for this scene: more tweaks to the rope rig, facials, making sure the head and neck are following the proper arc, and animating the ears.
Speaking of the log pulling…Lukas has been working more hair magic to get the (pseudo-)collisions between the branch and the grass it’s being dragged through just right. Here are his tests from this week…both with the smiley hairs specially requested by Pablo, as well as more realistic grass. His “cheat” was to create a forcefield around the branch’s mesh surface. Check it out in this video:

Are you a fan of the smiley hairs? You can download the .blend file from Lukas’s weekly folder on the Cloud.
Hjalti and Mathieu also worked on the final scene in the laundromat. Hjalti has continued to perfect Franck’s movement, to get his long, spindly form to do all the things he’s supposed to do in this scene (and look natural doing it). Mathieu has, meanwhile, been toying with the way the final scene of the story plays out, adding extra interactions with the glimpses of the washing-machine worlds we see, from added bubbles to actually traveling into one of the machines with the camera in the last shot. You can find these tests cobbled together in this video (although Mathieu’s does not yet incorporate Hjalti’s Victor animations).

Andy, meanwhile, created this 360 render of Franck in his sheep form on the plains of gloom:

And he also filled in those plains of gloom with more environmental details. (Find a bunch more renders with different views, etc., in Andy's folder on the Cloud.)

And he also filled in those plains with more environmental details. (Find a bunch more renders with different views, etc., in Andy’s folder on the Cloud.)


Jungle Love

Sarah and Pablo have been working on the jungle versions of Franck and Tara, making sure that they not only each look good, but that they look good together.

Franck's new texture was inspired by orange skin! See how Sarah made it in her infographic on the Cloud.

Franck’s new texture was inspired by orange skin! See how Sarah made it in her infographic on the Cloud.

Sarah modeled this heart leaf for Franck to land on when he first wakes up in the jungle. See Sarah and Pablo's weekly folder on the Cloud to find out what went into it.

Sarah modeled this heart leaf for Franck to land on when he first wakes up in the jungle. See Sarah and Pablo’s weekly folder on the Cloud to find out what went into it.

Pablo has been incorporating Franck’s new caterpillar textures and Tara’s latest tweaks into their treetop dialogue scene. Here’s a short test animation of that, and you can find a bunch of renders from this scene and each of these characters (including Tara’s new freckles, courtesy of Manu) in Sarah and Pablo’s weekly folder on the Cloud.



Manu has created new timers for both Franck and Tara, which you will find in his folder on the Cloud. In addition to these and his paintover of Tara’s freckles plus a model of Victor’s cigarettes (Antony’s branding suggestion: “Lukas Strikes”), you’ll see the full evolution of Victor’s new watch model. But we’ll just skip to the final bling here:

Victor's bling

Dat branding! (Backplate detail by Andy.)


New Developments

  • Andy made an adjustable environment map that allows you to easily adjust the lighting of a shot. See Pablo demo it at 1:08:35 in the weekly video. (Andy already put it to use in his cliffside Franck renders, which you’ll find in his folder on the Cloud.)
  • In addition to his pseudo-collisions, Lukas has updated the particle instance modifier so that it now supports index and random values for shaders. This means you can now use a custom attribute layer to randomize shaders.
  • Francesco and Gabriel have continued their work on that last 1% to get the internal render farm working as intended, including UI improvements that will give users more information about activity status, etc. (This includes a floating navigation bar.) The alpha release of brender is still coming soon (expect a blog post about it this week), and it has been added to most systems in the studio, which will now be busy rendering whenever the artists aren’t working.
  • Francesco has updated the Cloud repository so that it shows the production (rather than pre-) pipeline. And it works with BAM!
  • In addition to bug fixes, Antonis has been working on a new Viewport project — which he will share at the next weekly. The goal is to make animation curves show up as X-rays above the scene to help Hjalti and the other animators more easily insert key frames and tweak the motion path while working in the file.

3 Responses

  1. Mr Blue says:

    As I said in the hangout chat during weekly when it was about posters, it would be so good to get also fully quality landscape portrait in order to do some wallpapers !

    Awesome work, as allawys.

  2. Tom Telos says:

    That wooly sheep’s fur is looking good enough
    to make a pretty realistic sheep depiction!

    It’s so good, in fact, that the cartoon face of Frank
    becomes, comparatively, an anticlimax.
    Maybe the next Open Movie project could aim for
    a more realistic imagery (not story, not necessarily).
    Don’t you think more realism would build up Blender’s reputation in the movie industry?

  3. This open movie project is really impressive, a lot of thought, work, and talent is put into every aspect of the production. It’s very rewarding to be able to follow the production this closely. Expecting astounding results !

Comments are closed.