Coyote Falls – Sunday Short #10

I know I usually throw up indie shorts here, but I couldn’t resist highlighting this when I found it. Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote in full 3D glory. Some may say that it’s sacrilege, it doesn’t have the heart of the originals etc etc. Personally, I think that third dimension adds a whole new spectrum of funny to Wile E.’s escapades, and I think they’ve done a great job of keeping the look of two characters faithful to their 2D originals. You can decide for yourself…

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Franssiss – Sunday Short #9

Here’s a cute camera tracking experiment with Blender, directed by Mathieu Auvray. All done in Blender, except for the compositing which was done in After Effects. This is a perfect example of how far on Blender has come in the past couple of years as a stronger production tool.

El Vendedor de Humo – Sunday Short #8

The Smoke-Seller is an animated short film made ​​entirely by students at the spanish animation school, PrimerFrame.

Meet Buck – Sunday Short #7

A fast-paced action chase ensues when a girl takes her new boyfriend home to meet her father. ‘Meet Buck’ has a gorgeous cel shaded look, with backgrounds that are reminiscent of a Warner Bros cartoon. It’s beautifully cut together, and the soundtrack works well with the piece, although it could have been beefed up a little during the forest part of the chase. Other than that, it just leaves me wanting to see more!

You can see more over at their website
http://www.salesmanbuck.com/

Tears of Steel – Sunday Short #6

This week saw the release of the 4th short film from the Blender Foundation called ‘Tears of Steel’. Traditionally these shorts test out and implement any new features that have been in the pipeline for latest versions of Blender.

This time round, we see a slight change to the style of the short. The first three films were all exclusively 3d animation, but with Tears of Steel the focus is on visual effects. In the later versions of Blender, the Foundation has been gradually working on some major new features, most notably the 3d camera tracking system. Along with the various node and compositor improvements, the purpose of this short was to try out the with visual effects enhancements.

Although the film has generally received favourably, it has been slightly slated for not having much of a storyline compared to the previous shorts. The acting is slightly hammy in some places, but the music is beautifully produced. As a demonstration of Blender’s current abilities though, it’s a great showcase. In the short time that the small team had to produce the Mango Project, its working title, visually looks great and they’ve managed to cram a great deal of concept into the 12 minutes. Although Sintel stands as the more inspirational of the four films, because of its combination of great design and storytelling, Tears of Steel still manages to create a feeling of pride amongst the Blenderhead community.

As a bonus here are the links to the other three films, have your own little Blender film festival and enjoy!

Elephants Dream

Big Buck Bunny

Sintel

Improve Your Home Commercial

Here’s a commercial I produced last year for a local DIY event, based on a concept and storyboard by Stephen McCreight over at GraphicsGarage. The tape measure was built and rendered in Blender 2.5. The logo was comped and the commercial was finished in After Effects. I still know After Effects too well to be finishing commercials in Blender. I’ll maybe get to the stage where I’ll become proficient enough with the video sequencer and nodes, but in the meantime, I’ve been using After Effects for about 15 years now so I’m way more confident with it.
It was quite tricky to get the animated shape of the tape measure. From what I can remember I modelled a straight length of the tape then used a curve modifier on it. I then used the Rotobezier plugin to animate the curve into the shapes of the house and the pound signs, while the mesh moved along the length of the curve. It was pretty fiddly in places, the transition of the curve from shape to shape almost had to be keyframed every frame to make it move the way I wanted it to. But once I got the hang of the Rotobezier it got a little easier.

The Clocktower – Sunday Short #5

 

Here’s a beautifully made 3d short about a ballerina who learns that she must be content with her life in a clocktower since she plays such an important role in the life of her village. Made a few years ago by Californian Cara Antonelli, for her senior thesis animation at the Ringling School of Art and Design. Cara is now a conceptual illustrator and 3d artist, and is currently working on Madagascar 3. You can check out more of her work over on her blog at Carakhan.com.

Pigeon Impossible – Sunday Short #4

Great characterisation, nicely rendered, and brilliantly funny, and although it’s 3 years old now, it’s still one of my favourite 3d shorts. It was 4 years in production, and you can check out some behind the scenes podcasts and even get a special edition DVD over at the Pigeon Impossible website. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in how a short is put together.

iRover in the garden

I came out to the back garden yesterday and found this lovable guy playing on the patio!

Another test for Blender using the camera tracking feature. I’m still practicing with this quite a bit, and trying to check out its capabilities since I still get quite excited by the results. Considering this was footage just shoot on my iPhone 4s it turned out pretty good. Blender currently only has camera presets for the top end cameras, so finding sensor sizes and focal lengths for the iPhone on the net can be tricky. However, I found a post over in Blenderartists where Malcando has been collecting settings which seems to have worked perfectly.

I took the opportunity to test out my iRover rig too. It was a productive experience since I’ve discovered a few things that need sorted out before I use him again, particularly his feet. They need some tweaking since they don’t seem to rotate around the z axis without twisting. I had also previously added IK/FK switches too, but I don’t think he’s going to need any FK control for his feet. I may simplify the rig and remove the FK controls. I also need to add in some custom control bones to make the rig easier to pose. And I still have to work on his textures, particularly his eyes, which I intend to have as a digital style display.

Passive

Here’s another motion track using Blender 2.62. I thought I would try something a bit more static to test a better example of how well the object is moving with the camera. Another little lesson learnt with this one, I managed to figure out how to pull out a reflection pass to add to the comp. These tracking experiments are as much an experiment in use of Blenders’ node system as they are in testing out the tracking. Of course, I couldn’t just have a completely static object, so I had to throw a little bit of character animation in there as well!