Short Low Poly Animation
Joonas Järve, Zanis Ali Khan, Allan Mitt
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A short animated movie about an elderly man and his beloved piece of art.
- HD with some mistakes :(
Scene descrptions with lighting and camera positions
- week: Idea and storyboard
- week: Each one makes a character
- week: Creating scenes and car physics
- week: Finishing scenes and models and then adding them to the main scene
- week: Filming animation reference and recording voiceover
- week: Animation and render...
- A problem with quads. As Blender uses quads for modelling but triangles in render than the render result was a bit of a problem:
After some struggle I found a quick hack- I used smooth shader but changed the smoothness to zero
That really helped to get render similar to the view in object mode!
- A problem with adding automatic weights
And the solution for this was to create a new character from beginning. We could not find a better solution:(
- A problem with IK
And the solution was not very complicated
First character, a car, a distance shot of the town, the main scene. (Not ready yet)
- Dynamic painting for the hills in the far scene
- Noise map for the river water
- Procedural forest(not done yet)
- Sculpting for sculpture
- Weight painting
- Soft particles for hair (and cloth)
- Node editing for materials and color correction
Crash physics progress
- first try
- second try
- Dynmic paint modelling is a way of modelling when an object is used to paint on a canvas which results in the re positioning of the polygons.
IK (inverse kinematics)
Blinking and eye rig
- The result is rendered 720p in Blender but it came out 360p 24fps and 32 pathtracing samples.
- Eevee render vs Cycles
- The look of cycles is a lot better in our case but the render time of Eevee is super fast. Not real time but for instance it took 45 min for the dialog scene of 1500 frames and cycles took 11h with faster computer. It might also be that we just did not know how to set Eevee up, so that it would produce a better result as well.
- Final edit was done with Adobe Premier Pro
- Joonas Järve
My speciality on this project was modelling, animation and story writing.
The first and maybe the hardest part was to find an idea in where we could try out as many main features as possible. So, after about week, I got inspired and we had a storyline. As I have some experience already in making short films, things like storyboard and set planning came easy.
During the modelling part, I started to understand the program and feel comfortable in it. It took a character to learn the keys and shortcuts and another character to finally produce something like a character. Although I have no prior knowledge about modelling, Blender truly seems powerful in it.
Blender has so many ways how to model and one of them I wanted to try out was dynamic paint. It is a very useful tool for environment creation if you do not want to do it randomly or by noise maps. It was hard to make it work in the first place but soon I understood its quirks and even got a proper result out of it.
We had some continuity issues at some point- meaning that we did not always follow what others were doing. The biggest problem of this kind was that I had made a desert like environment in the far plane and Zanis had made a town in totally different style. Nevertheless, it got fixed soon.
Animating was not that much new for me, I had done some basic animating in After Effects before and understanding timeline and keyframes in Blender came quickly. In the other hand, I had never animated 3D characters- that was rather hard in the beginning. The walking animation was firstly done more or less like I just felt. Then I realized it does not look very appealing and I used our own pre recorded reference material for it. The new walking was a bit better but still a bit rough. But I did not perfect it as there was still lot to do. Other parts of animation were much easier and I feel that they came out better also.
The big helper in animation was the Blenders option to use audio files for animation. This is how I did lip syncing- I took our recorded audio file and removed all noise, then imported it to Blender and adjusted the wave to fit to the chin bone. So I added some constant movement to characters hands and neck and chest to make them look more like real humans as we actually at some detail always move. I call it adding noise to bones, using audio.
For one of the character I tried out the shape keys feature also. I made Zanid's eyes blink and mouth show emotions at some scope. Shape key is a super tool and crucial for detailed and mesh animations.
The rendering part was not difficult but surely took time as I used my own computer. (There is a plan to render it 1080p and 24fps and 128 samples before the presentation)
Final edit was done with Adobe Premier Pro. All the sounds were added there as Blender is not so convenient for just video and audio editing.
I gained some experience also in using soft bodies and rigid bodies too but not much. Only thing I did got any chance to use was sculpting but I will definitely try it out in the future.
I learned a lot with this project about Blender, animating and teamwork! Very nice!
- Allan Mitt
As this project was a teamwork and every member had different tasks to complete, I did not get to practice every technique that was being used in producing the final product. At the same time I did get the general idea how things were put together and what was required.
Even though the project is composed in Blender, I personally did very little modeling. I used a car model I created many years ago for a racing game. That was a bit on the cheating side but no copyright violations. I did have to learn how to animate objects, apply the rules of physics to objects and environment (smoke/fire).
From my perspective Blender is a powerful tool but not so noob friendly right out of the box. A lot of time was wasted on the fact how some things are being calculated real time in the background but the user is not being informed it happens. That can lead to some frustration. For example if you do make changes in animation related to smoke and hit the play right after, they are not really present. You would have to wait for a while for a computer to implement the updates. It would be OK if the user would be notified with such work in progress but it’s no where to be seen.
Some functions also take too much extra knowledge to get them working right away. Yes it is easy to create a fire, but once u try to render it, it’s just smoke — no fire. One needs to jump into the world of node editing to even enable it. For my taste these features should be built in functionality. Don't want to go out and axe a tree to start a small campfire.
Overall I had a good time with this project. Teamwork actually did happen! We did meet up more or less weekly and gave the report of our progress. We planned out our end goal at the very beginning and did stick to the plan all the way through, very little drifting compared to our initial goals. All the tasks were divided between the team members so that everyone had a set path and everyone did pull through. If there was some confusion, help was always found.
- Zanis Ali Khan
Blender is of course not as much up to the level for professional use but for starters or who just want to get knowledge of how things work in animations then it is quite a good tool, quite easy to use, a lot of helpful material available online, in fact almost help about everything is available and community is quite helpful. Some issues that I faced were while creating a mesh for the character there was a minor mistake then I couldn't assign auto-weights and for that, I had to start from scratch because I couldn't find the solution. On the other hand for a beginner like me, it is an awesome tool.
After sculpting five different sculptures, it was quite fun and tools available for that are amazing and easy to work with. For creating the main scene, a making of houses took time because of adding more quality to them, as you can see even windows are not the simple one. Trees were quite easy to make. After making these things, I moved to make a table and chair etc that was then quite easy for me as I got quite fluent in making things in the blender. It was quite fun after that, at start yes any tool will be difficult to get on with it. If you don't want to put a lot of time in textures as I did in "cash" then materials are very fast for most of the things like for house or table you don't need any textures. Making of character for "Allan" took a lot of time as the problem with mesh is mentioned above but after doing it again and watching it work was quite worth it. Last but not least these good-looking eyes of "Allan" was very interesting to do so that they should look like a bit real ones. Moving mouth of "Allan" was quite easy using shape keys.
Overall I had a great experience and I learned a lot, thanks to the faculty. It is always a joy to learn something new that you know you can use it somewhere somehow. Inverse kinematics is an amazing feature in it and makes motion quite real. If someone gives time to this tool then it is a very good tool for the person who wants to join this industry.
If you are not good in shortcuts in this tool then it might take a lot of time even for small things and if the project is big then it is almost a lot difficult.