Weekly #34: April 10, 2015

13 April, 2015 |  12 Comments | by Elysia Brenner

It was a short week, thanks to Easter — and also, for once, a short (less than 60 minutes) weekly! (After all, we had a windmill to visit.) You’ll find the full video right here, and then a look at the highlights below.


The Highlights


Gooseberry Guests

In addition to regular guests Sybren and Martijn, we were joined again for the weekly by Douwe van de Werf from Mr. Lee studios (with his son Jesse) plus first-time weekly visitors, two freelance 3D artists from Utrecht, Jasper ten Kleij and Jasper van Nieuwenhuizen.

Will you be in Amsterdam on a Friday at 6 pm and would like to join us for a weekly? Get in touch with Ton!


New Edit & Trailer


In Mathieu’s weekly folder on the Cloud, you’ll find the latest edit of the film, with more advanced animations replacing the layouts and even some low-res renders included. You’ll also find two versions of the trailer (with one scene difference between them). The trailer has dramatically changed from last week’s version! This version will be replaced by finished animations to create the final trailer.


Tornado Watch

Andy’s got the tornado-making method down, and is now concentrating on the details: color, shape, spin, etc. For one, cutting back the number of extraneous smoke explosions to give the storm a more clear shape.

In addition to the video here, you’ll find more recent still renders (like this post’s featured image) in Andy’s folder on the Cloud.

Andy’s latest render (the featured image) also includes a new model of the washing machine drum by Manu, full of glorious detail. Manu, ever the perfectionist, would ideally like to add even more detail to the rim of the drum, which is the only part you really see in the storm.

Washing machine drum

In addition to this, in Manu’s weekly Cloud folder, you’ll find a close-up of this image as well as an image of the wires he used to create this pattern and an illustration of the simple rig he prepared so that the drum can spin.


More Details!

Taking a slight break from the tornado, Andy spent time this week further grooming Franck. Here you can see what Franck looked like before and after getting some highlights, to add more visual depth and detail to the fur:


In Andy’s weekly Cloud folder you can also see the results of the new textures Andy added to the interior of Franck’s mouth, to give it a more worn and realistic (ignoring that sheep don’t have top teeth) look.

Pablo then input the fur effects into some low-res renders of the scene where Franck reaches the cliff. Pablo also shifted the position of the sun in this scene so that it won’t be in Victor’s eyes (forcing the animators to add a lot of squinting) when he’s talking to Franck.

Tip: Pablo has begun using the camera culling patch developed by Sergey to eat up less memory by dropping everything (you tell it to) behind the camera. If you use this, however, just remember to consider reflections and light blockage when choosing what objects to “turn off”! In Pablo’s weekly Cloud folder you’ll find before and after images of all of these changes plus the difference camera culling can make to a render.

Here you can see Manu’s high-res still of Franck getting his timer before and after the lighting and fur changes:



Sarah has been working with Juan Pablo on the models of the other sheep seen in the island flock. In the interest of saving time and memory, this has been narrowed to five additional models with only minor variations (which use the same rig). Sarah spent some time this week polishing the faces and removing the body variations. The sheep will now be differentiated by their faces, color, fur textures, and relative size. Here you can see what’s sure to be everyone’s favorite: the baby. The rest you’ll find in Sarah’s weekly Cloud folder.

Baby sheep model


Animation Advances


Sarah and Beorn have continued working together on the two sides of Franck and Victor’s first conversation. You’ll find each perspective of this WIP animation in Beorn’s and Sarah’s weekly folders on the Cloud.


Hjalti has made progress with the sequence where Victor replaces Franck’s rope with the timer, where he has been blocking the body poses (like Franck’s feet) and Franck’s facial expressions. In the videos in Hjalti’s weekly Cloud folder you can in see how the animation has evolved over the week, with and without the added camera movement. (Watch Franck get manhandled!) He will spend this week completing this shot.


In Development

  • Antonis has continued his work on supporting proportional editing in the action editor, which now also supports extending. Plus he reorganized the option menu so that the graph editor and action editor each have their own option for proportional editing. Now you can press X to clean keyframes, as the O key now turns proportional editing on. See the demo at 27:26 in the weekly video. You can download the test file he uses to play with yourself (with the latest Gooseberry build) from Antonis’s weekly folder on the Cloud.
  • Antonis also responded to a bug report that was not a bug but a missing feature: now when you unwrap a mesh, you can separate two islands that don’t have the same winding. (See Antonis demo at 28:25 in the livecast.)
  • Francesco has been continuing his work on the ATTRACT system. A new update to come hopefully this week.
  • Julian, in his second and final week in the Institute (this trip), devoted a lot of his time to bug fixes for the sticky keys feature, which has now been merged into the Master build. Julian also created a new feature for the graph editor: for images with a background in the graph editor, you can now control the opacity (and the animation curves will appear on top, of course). Press W to access the widgets (to drag the background image around and resize it). PLUS he did more work on widgets, such as the widget previously developed by Antonis that allows you to attach it to an object (like a bone). This allows you to create and reuse custom widgets attached to specific bones or other objects. This is still a WIP, and Julian will wrap this up from Germany. He demos all these features at 38:21 in the weekly video, and you can find screenshots in his weekly Cloud folder.
  • Lukas has now made it possible to cache hair systems. (See Franck in the background in the image below — he now renders with the cached hair!) In two demo videos he shows 1) Franck with cached hair with only length restraints and movement, and 2) with wind and stiffness added. See his presentation at 43:28 in the weekly video, and find both videos in the weekly Cloud folder for Lukas. Child hairs are now cached but not automatically deformed by the parents, so this is still on Lukas’s to-dos.

Franck cached with hair

12 Responses

  1. Antonio says:

    Definitely the version of Frank walking toward the sun is much more dramatic and the lighting is much more interesting. Moving victor position and playing with that (awesome) camera movement could avoid that Victor has the sun directly in front of him. That lighting over Frank worth a little bit of more work.

    Besides, in the flickering version, it produces the fake effect of grass being moved due the wind. I do not know if that grass could be moved or if you had that in mind, but it would make a perfect shot.

    You are doing something amazing, thanks, because Blender needs this kind of high level production.

  2. ferran says:

    widgets = awesome!! So is the rest, but this looks like we will be actually able to make Presto style rigs without external addons finally :D At least for shapekeys

    …do you guys know that the “sticky keys feature” link redirects to wikipedia’s definition of WINDOWS sticky ketys?

    • Julian Eisel says:

      Glad you like it!
      Re Presto style rigs: Yes, this is sort of the direction we are aiming for, although there’s still a long road ahead ;)

    • Elysia Brenner says:

      Just to explain to those who don’t know the point of the feature!

  3. Kevin Grinder says:

    The washing drum seems like a pivotal part of the film, especially with all of that detail. Yes I intended the pun. I’ll be here all week. :) But seriously that is really nice detail in the washing drum. I’d love to see a time lapse of that being made or a tut in the future.


  4. Mal Duffin says:

    Would be great to see a separate blog post just about the widget system, why it is currently being developed, animated gifs from the current implementation and future plans etc!

    • Julian Eisel says:

      @MAL DUFFIN, yes, a blog post about the widget system would be nice indeed, in fact I’ve already started writing one. But I’d like to wait a bit more until we know a bit better into which direction we want to go and until we have a bit more visual stuff to present.
      I don’t think this will take that long, it just depends on the time Antony and me are able to spend on it.

      • Mal Duffin says:

        Sounds great, glad to hear one is in the pipeline!
        If you have enough content for more than one blog post, splitting it up into a series and getting the initial intro one up there could help raise awareness of the cool work you’re doing, and get more visible feedback from future users etc.

  5. mojtaba says:

    Good job quality
    Good luck the blender team :)

  6. Warren says:

    I am very interested in the camera culling patch, as it could be very useful for animation render optimization. does the patch use only frustum culling or is it also occlusion culling?

    • Only frustum for now. You can try it out on the Gooseberry branch ( https://builder.blender.org/download/ ). Each object has it set by default on the Cycles Settings panel under Object properties, but it’s only taken into account if the global setting “Use Camera Cull” is enabled in the Performance panel under Render properties.

  7. asep says:

    its great to make movie from blender, good job brother…

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