Blender Tools,Making Of,Weeklies

Weekly Recap: November 14, 2014

17 November, 2014 |  15 Comments | by Elysia Brenner

Another week at the Blender Institute is in the bag, with more exciting Gooseberry developments! Watch the weekly round-up livecast here (in case you missed it, every Friday at 18:00 CET) and/or catch the highlights laid out for you below.

The Highlights

Model Characters

01_old_timer_test_renders 02_timer_test_render

Manu has been experimenting with different versions of the timer Franck wears around his neck to determine how long he spends in each world. (You’ll find a plot synopsis for the pilot and the feature production in The Film.) Look closely and you’ll see he’s pulled them off different styles of washing machines.



Manu also experimented with some early logos and even a neon sign for Cosmos Laundromat.

Sarah's been playing with Franck's ears, trying to make them "a little more sheepy." (The original is on the right.)

Sarah’s been playing with Franck’s ears, trying to make them “a little more sheepy.” (The original is on the right.)


Angela also worked on Franck’s caterpillar face to make sure it matches up with his sheep face. Here’s a side-by-side comparison. Remember those tear-drop eyes…

(BTW, the Blender file of Franck’s rig is available on the Blender Cloud for you to play with yourself! You’ll notice there’s even little controllers for the face…)

Pablo has been toying with the jungle look, adding lighting (sunbeam node) and tweaking the foliage. The hope is to render this whole sequence this week.

Pablo has been toying with the jungle look, adding lighting (sunbeam node) and tweaking the foliage. The hope is to render this whole sequence this week.

Here's Franck's "American Beauty" shot.

Here’s Franck’s “American Beauty” shot.

Lovely Layouts

Daniel has been experimenting with an easier way to import characters into scenes in Blender. Here’s the video he made to share his findings.

Mathieu experimented with motion capture (moving down a street in Amsterdam) to add a handheld feeling to the opening shot, where Franck drags the log he plans to use to escape his miserable existence across his sheep-filled island. You’ll can find the full 2-minute animatic of this opening layout on the Blender Cloud. (There’s no sound yet, but imagine the mournful sounds of whispering grass and whistling winds to set the mood…)

Hjalti played more with Franck’s falling hijinks, coming up with this complex and amusing but slightly disorienting shot. (You might not want to watch this one if you get motion sick easily!) The shot will be tweaked to keep the bumps and tangles but lose a little of the dizzying effect.

This week Sarah also worked on a layout of the scene toward the end of the pilot where Franck catches up with Tara at the tree tops for a little chat. Since this layout uses some voices from the actor auditions, we can't share that publicly yet (see below for an update on the voice stuff), but you'll be able to find a version of this on the Blender Cloud by tomorrow at the latest!

This week Sarah also worked on a layout of the scene toward the end of the pilot where Franck catches up with Tara at the tree tops for a little chat. Since the video of the layout uses some voices from the actor auditions, we can’t share that publicly yet (see below for an update on the voice stuff), but you can find a version of this on the Blender Cloud!

A total of 3-5 minutes has been laid out so far. The plan is to get the whole pilot laid out within a month, but there will be some tricky shots ahead! Next up will likely be the motofly scene.

Developer Updates

  • In case you missed the blog post last week, Francesco and Campbell are busy, busy with the pipeline project, starting with the new asset manager. Francesco pointed out that the last call for feedback on the project (then called Redcurrant) led to 80 comments — instrumental input as the guys put together their pipeline plan. With only 5 comments on the most recent update, it looks like everyone’s happy with the direction things are going (“speechless” even). So, if you have any feedback of your own, speak now or forever hold your peace! ;-)
  • In the coming weeks Campbell and Francesco will be working on improvements to the UI.
  • Sergey spent most of the week working on the Dependency Graph. He’s now ready to start doing granular updates.
  • Antony has been playing with the sequencer, which now allows snapping. With Ctrl + a click the green line will snap to the next strip edge:


  • This week Antony will be working with widgets, probably collaborating with Pablo on design.
  • Pablo will also be looking into new (more modern, less text-heavy) templates for this blog.
  • Lukas demoed the Alembic system again, now that he’s determined it was a connection problem making the demo so slow last week. This week’s demo was truly impressive! (See it at 45:20 in the weekly video at the top of this page.)
  • Right after this in the weekly vid, you can see Lukas’s new hair tests, where he plays with the target pressure feature…meaning, he adds “fluffiness” (that’s the scientific term).

The Voices

Ton has found a sound studio. The voice-actor contracts aren’t yet finalized, but once they are, expect a full update here. Rather than having the actors record separately, recording will be done with a boom mic so that the actors can move around more naturally and interact with each other. (Rango also did this.) The idea is to inspire more genuine performances than might be possible if you stuck them in private, white-walled chambers. Recording will be done across 2 morning sessions next month.

Team Trip

Team Gooseberry also took a partial-day trip this week to South-East Amsterdam to see Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar in “The Ultimate Movie Experience”: IMAX. We’ll spare you our long and detailed discussions about the plot. No spoiler alerts needed here. ;-)

15 Responses

  1. S J Bennett says:

    Thanks for the update! These summaries are great to have. :)

  2. Marcelo says:

    Very nice updates, thank you!!!

    As a suggestion, you should interview everyone in the crew, to talk about inspiration.

    Therefore, once at a time, he/she would suggest a few amazing animations, with comments, both from the technical and artistic side.

    Of course the animations should be available and linked online (like Youtube or Vimeo) for all to see!!

  3. JG Loquet says:

    Cool ! even more sequencer love :)

  4. Jonny says:

    Amazing Guys! I’m really starting to love this project. ;)
    Looking forward to hearing more of the awesome stuff you’re doing!

  5. Antonioya says:

    I love character import, but are you working in import several times the same rig?

    Now, you must copy the rig and link the copies.

  6. Lamoot says:

    Thank you for the recap. Sometimes I don’t have the time to go through the whole weekly meeting and it’s great to have a summary like this.

  7. Big Fan says:

    Sorry but every time I see Tara I think 4 legs looks ‘odd’ even if it is a fantasy land.
    How about adding 2 more shorter ‘arms’…. ;)

    • matray says:

      Thanks for your interest and support, we understand the problem and… (Sarah is sharpening a long knife, I’m buying you some time, run !!!) ;)

      • Big Fan says:

        Well I’m not the first person to say this..
        I was holding off my crit because…well…I thought its the artists choice…and I don’t want to complain about everything and anything, however, I have to mention, it does bother me each time I see it. Is it good to have the audience attention disrupted by passing thoughts of ‘hmmm, what’s wrong with that, don’t butterflies have 6 legs?’ I don’t know….IMHO the character not as balanced/enchanted/beautiful as it might be as it is. Ok running now………………………(we don’t want Sarah to amputate any more limbs) ;)

        • matray says:

          No problem, it’s totally fine if to express your opinions ! We had a biologist at the Blender Conference mentioning that issue too during our Gooseberry presentation, and then it was one of the most discussed topic off the conference, that’s why I did that joke. For now we’re sticking to the 4 legs because it gives her a more “nice” aspect, less insecty/alieny feeling, more quadruped/horse thing. And also because lots of butterflies loose two legs (as the biologist told us…) or have small front legs like arms (similar to a T-Rex for exemple) that are always hidden against their chest.
          But anyway it’s an artistic decision, and we didn’t felt it was disturbing the “character design”. But we’re listening ! And we had a few remarks about that already so… We keep listening :)

  8. These camera movements look incredible ! Very nice to have hand held camera in an animated short. It is too rare these days :)

    And thanks for the extensive report, it’s a pleasure to read it !

  9. Matt says:

    As mentioned above, it is really wonderful to have elysas updates. Since the last blender flick, I’ve gotten much busier, and I don’t have time to watch the weeklies. Thanks for the summary, even if I don’t have time to watch, I am happy to hear about all the progress.

  10. james says:

    i really love the way that blender works, I have only ever made a 10 second animation with a friend but the way that the program works is amazing

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