Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Whirl Part 1 completed.

So long time no post.  My brother has been hard at work again with his class of students.  I think they did a superb job with the time and resources they had.  There is a lot of blender in here.  I did a lot of the rendering, the particle systems and modified the famous Agus3d scene to render the fly down the river in cycles.  Most of the river shots were done in Blender Internal, but the rest was rendered in Vue.  The king rising out of the river, smoke and transition from water to solid was done in blender with mostly cycles and Blender internal for the smoke and fire.

I have been working on the film in my spare time but have been busy moving and other various things.  I have actually completed most of the animation for two shots of the film.  Right now I'm putting cycles hair on my characters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ant World Update Update

So, having completed (well good enough for now) the materials stage of the ant landscape update.  I decided to try adding automatic foliage.  I haven't started coding the python yet, but wanted to manually create a scene to start coding.  I created a simple scene with materials from the script and then added trees with a manual weight map.  To create auto tree generation I've got to auto generate the particle density weight map in python with two criteria, height and slope.  I've also got to auto generate a tree from simple geometry and finally give that tree a foliage like material.  Then I apply a particle system to the terrain with the tree as the object(this is the easy part since I already have all this code from the cloud generator)  Anyway I did this manually to see how it would look before I start and here is what it looks like:

Ant Landscape with trees.

Note: right now the script is broken with absolutely current version of blender from graphicall or buildbot.  I am waiting to fix it when 2.64 comes out so I can tell everyone to use the release version.  Cycles changes so much I need a stable release with current features so I don't chase my tail so much.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You know you have a son when...

So blender nation had free clone troopers and my son wanted to see what 1 million looked like.  I dupliverted 280,000 and slowed blender to a crawl, so I just copied an instance 10,000 times, here's only 10,000, as close as I could get to a million.... yeah I know, this movie ain't ever getting done with so many tangets, but hey, why not....

Edit: So last night I got dupliverts working and I maxed out at 280,000.  I'm going to try the VBOs with the array modifier next (thanks for the input)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joe is shape-keyed!

I did a rough shape key of all expressions I need for starting a scene and threw him into a rough set here:

When I say rough I mean rough.  I still have a LOT of detail to add to this scene, but I wanted to get a general feel for the layout of the scene.  I recorded the dialogue earlier and I'm ready to start animating him.  Obviously I need glass in the window and materials on the chairs and plates and stuff on the tables etc, but I was quite pleased with the over all feel.  From the blender artists thread for Joe I received feedback that I need to work on his hair.  I had pretty good hair from blender internal,but I no longer want to mix blender internal with cycles, so I'll go for polygon hair and if cycles gets real hair support soon I skip over to that.  I really want to try this set in Lux instead of cycles as it looks better in there, but I don't know if I want to pay the higher render time price.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shape Key Tool Script

So I've been rigging a character lately and I really needed a way of copying individually selected vertex positions from one shape key to another. What actually happenned was I had to fix a topology error and bmesh screwed up the positions of the edited virtices in all the shape keys. I started to manually edit the position of each vertice to put it back to the basis position and this took forever so I wrote this script to fix each one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Free Buildings on Blend Swap

So I uploaded some of the buildings to blend swap for everyone's enjoyment!

Let me know if there are any problems in the model:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Another Test Render

Another quick test render of a character in the set.  I'm ready to start animating and trying out scene's on the set.  A few more cars and I figure I'll work on some moving vans and possibly a semi tractor trailer truck too.  I am really struggling with the lighting... any comments welcome.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another shot at the truck...

It really is amazing how hours and hours of work shows little change.  The material on the truck is entirely procedural (except for the license plate).  I'm slowly adding in more and more detail as I have time.  I need more cars and buildings of course, but at some point I'll reach a tipping point and it will actually look good.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

ANT Landscape Update

So I've made a bunch of progress on the ANT Landscape cycles update.  The materials need a little work, but the basic engine is running.  Here's a demo video:

Monday, May 28, 2012

53 Dodge, Audi TT Roadster

Taking a break from the ANT update, I modeled a 1953 Dodge pickup.  I grew up learning to drive this trunk and it's really FUN to drive.  My dad just finished restoring it and it inspired me to model it.  I also retopoed the AUDI TT roadster in the background.  All for good fun:)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Python Generated Materials!

So I've come a long way on the script.  I submitted four bug reports and they fixed two, said one wasn't(and it wasn't) and the other is still pending.  Anyway the two they fixed enable entry of materials via python.  Here is my first python generated material.  If anyone is interested in having the script, leave a comment and I'll post it up.  All you need do is add a monkey and run the script and it automatically applies this material to it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I finally figured out dot product node setups in cycles.  I really need believable mountains on my skylines so this is what I came up with a procedural material in cycles.  I am contemplating modifying the ANT landscape script to include adding materials like this automatically, no promises, but considering.

Here's a look at how to do the material:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slow Progress......

I finally got some time to start the courthouse, and added some street lights.  I'm pushing how much I can get into the GPU.... so far so good.  I plan a major courthouse at the end of the street.  I also need a bunch more cars.  This is still less the 5 minutes per frame.  I've also been reading and rigging Joe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still working on the street.

If you're following the blog, please forgive the way too many works in progress, I guess I'm using this as a sort of diary, even if no one besides myself is reading it:)  I am prone to getting off on tangents, but I've really enjoyed doing virtual tours of small town america looking for buildings I REALLY LOVE.  The buildings here come from Baker City,OR and Bozeman Montana.  All of this still fits fine in GPU memory (2gb) and each of these renders were under five minutes.  All of these buildings are linked into a main set and then particulars of characters and cars are linked into a shot file, works great with cycles.

I kind of have a fun time looking at this as a sort of scrap book.  I would LOVE any comments on how to make it better etc though if you're interested.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working on the street outside the cafe.....

Slowly replacing the boxes on the streets with buildings.  One nice thing about CG is you can take every building you've ever liked and put them in one town on one street.  Still have a ton of work to do, but I was impressed with cycles as it rendered this in about 6 minutes on the GPU.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sue is RIGGED!

Hooray, talk about a difficult two weeks.... I shape keyed her once, then retopoed her and shape keyed her all over again.  Got all the drivers working nice.  Only have to do Joe now and I can start my first scene:)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mining Robot

So I built this robot for my son as a fun project.  It's a mining robot and since I used to design mining equipment I tried to make it in the same style as that.  He isn't rigged yet or have a hydraulics system, but I thought I'd post it up as a fun aside for the movie.

As for the movie, I have spent the last few weeks rigging and shape keying Sue's face.  I had a major topology error that prevented her from smiling properly, and the corners of her mouth had too many verts, so I retopolgized her last week and am remaking all of her shape keys.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A friend of mine modeled this in solidworks and I added tires materials headlights etc for fun.  This car has non ideal topology, but looks fantastic.  It makes me wish blender had better curve control.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sue AND Joe

So here's Sue and Joe in the cafe.  This is the first test shots of the animation.  I've figured out lyp synch, but I haven't rigged their heads yet for motion.  I threw them in the scene to test out if Cycles could be used for everything.  This is GPU rendered about 1000 samples 10 minute per frame render.  Obviously I have a LOT of work to do on the set for detail, but this gives the be ground work to start working out the animation portion in a fairly low poly scene.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vermeer is interesting...

I have decided to start studying light.  I was inspired this Christmas season by Vermeer and  his use of light.  I still have a long way to go, but am enjoying it....