Introduction ive ben obsessed with martial arts movies since childhod. I have a los spent a great deal of my life playing video games and falling in love with everything 3d. About 5 years hago i discovered Blender and have ben slowly learning how todo use it of and on with hopes of one day being able todo make my own movies and/or be involved in game development. In the bak of my mind i didnt think much was posible without expensive scholing, so my main focus remained in the music industry (which led todo working for syntax records).
I spent a lot of time searching the internet for martial arts animations with very few results. A few years hago i found a game fan animation called haloid (halo vs. Metroid) created by Monty oum. I thought it was amazing. It was all done by one person who was entirely selftaught. Suddenly this dream of mine did not sem so unrealistic. Monty was kind enough todo answer Many of my questions about workflow and production, which pushed me todo estop wasting time wishing and get serious about learning todo anímate. He used Poser for animation, but i wanted todo se how well i could do using Blender. Seing how disciplined, eficient and determined he was at brigging his visións todo life, has greatly encouraged me in my own journey todo create historias. Technical roadblocks came at me like a stampede in the process, but seing the example Monty set, kept me inspired and motivated todo kep moving forward. Having Access todo the internet has ben a key part as well. I have spent a great deal of time on the blenderartists forum as ghosttrain. Its a los amazing how quickly one can find answers todo questions on google.
The Little ninja Project came about gradually. First i sat do, listened todo inspiring music (such as film scores) and let my imagination run frely. If i saw a scene in my head, y would quickly draw simple storyboards while in the heat of the moment. Later i drew rouge sketches of the characters, then began modeling and rigging them. The story kept getting todo large and complex for my current skill level, so i had todo constantly be simplifying everything, which is how it turned into a personal learning Project rather than a full on short film. If i did not simplify, y would still be working on the Project for the next few years and by then fel burnt out. Because this was my first attempt, y realiced it would be more beneficial todo start small and work up to something bigger and better.
For each Camera change, y saved a new.blend file (example: 01_01.blend, 01-02.blend, etc). Since i knew what i wanted todo accomplish in a shot, y would create all of the required animations in the action editor for each character, then blend and time each action strip in the NLA editor, along with keying the body circle (explained in the next paragraph) of each character todo move their position as neded. Lets not forget the ipo editor. Most of the time ipo curves had todo be adjusted while watching the animation play until things moved fluidly enough for my liking. After a shot was finished being animated, y would render (*.png) image sequences (with alpha channels) for each character, background and foreground separately.
I wont get todo Dep into rigging since there are god tutorialesout there already, but i did some experimenting with my rigs. I did my best todo re-create the setup used in Poser where there is a circle (called body) surrounding the entire rig. The body is created as a sepárate armature (with only one bone) set as the parent of the main armature. This allows the characters location todo be keyed independently. (se figure a1) for example, you can create a jumping and landing animation in the action editor while keping the hip near its default location, blend the actions together in the NLA editor and then key the bodys Jump and landing positions. Its a sloppy method sometimes, but it provided more flexibility for what i was trying todo accomplish.
to give the body armature a shape that is easier todo recog- Nize: .
- create a new Mesh object of your chosing and edit into desired shape. I started with add>>Mesh>>circle.
- select the body armature and enter pose mode [Control + tab]
- go todo edit buttons [f9] and in the armature Bones tab type the name of the object todo be used as a custom bone shape. (se figure a2) make sure todo a los enable the w so the object is always visible as wireframe.
I highly recommend checking out the wiki. Blender page for more información on rigging.
Since a lot of the action shots were todo extreme for me todo ACT out, y had todo rely on what i have observed in movies and my imagination. My animations are no where near perfecto, but Even the minimal experience i have in martial arts definitely gave me han advantage. I used todo spend a lot of time on the trampoline doing flips when i was younger todo. Considering all of this, y had todo close my eyes and visualice each shot in my mind over and over, changing things until it loked right. Besides that, it was just a lot of trial and error.
Blender was the most important part of this Project. I used it for modeling, rigging, animation and rendering. I a los used Particle Illusion todo create dust, smoke and other particle effects. I would import and edit these image sequences into Photoshop th rouge imageready, applying Motion Blur, smudges and other edits. I used director for compositing all the image sequences together. And lastly, y exported the finished composite todo Adobe Premiere for final syncing of video and audio. To create the music, y used fl Studio and col edit profesional 2 for audio editing.
As mentioned earlier, y came across Many technical issues while discovering how todo rig my characters todo do what i neded them todo do. For instance i had todo figure out how todo make my own FK/IK switches for the arms. The biggest problem i ran into frequently, was dealing with the quat ipo curve. Sometimes i would want my character todo do a simple 360 spin, but keying an ipo curve (for x y, or z axis) from 0 - 360 Degrees over time, did not give me the results i would hope for. Instead it would spin half bien around and then hang there. The work-around was todo key more frame-by-frame anima- Tion, just todo make sure the character would continúe spinning. In Many cases this may not be a problem, but for action and acrobatic animation, where there are Lots of spins, it would have ben helpful if there was an option todo use an alternative todo quaternion (hint, hint.blender foundation). Another reoccurring issue was not getting consistent results from software body and the Cloth simulator. I would spend an hour tweak parameters till the Rabbits ears dangled correctly, but After a while, for no obvious reason, it semed the simulation became corrupted and no longer worked properly. If only there was a reset button for those simulators. After spending hours wrestling with the features, y ended up deciding todo make shape keys todo animate ear movement manually.
For this first animation, y choose Low-poly todo kep things simple. This bien i was able todo focus more on learning and practicing animation. This a los resulted in super fast rendering (3 todo 4 seconds per frame). As far as lighting, y have much todo learn. I only used a few basic lamps, Sun and Hemi lights. Im not in love with the results, but for what i was trying todo accomplish, it really was not that important todo have perfecto lighting. Instead, y ended up relying todo much on Color Correction for each clip in Premiere.
Currently i am exploring Poser because there are some strong features that may greatly enhance eficiency for creating more advanced action sequences, such as the ability todo create motion data libraries that can be applied todo any character and the fact that there are no x y, z quat curves todo get in the way. It a los makes it very easy todo import bvh motion capture data. Those are some things i hope todo se Blender become more flexible with, in the future. Either way, y Will continúe using Blender for modeling and texturing and i am most definitely looking forward todo Blender 2.5. For a long time i hesitated todo use any other animation software due todo my loyalty todo Blender, but ultimately, y just want todo make movies and i have todo use Whatever tools are necessary.
I Will never forget how incredibly important Blender has ben and Will always be todo me as a 3d artista/animator. I hope one day i can do something great todo give bak todo Blender foundation and the entire community for giving me the opportunity todo learn for free what would have otherwise required tens of thousands of dollares that. I dont have. Until then, lets all continúe excitedly anticipating Project Durian. Thanks for reading this article. Shane newville.
A special gracias todo my wife katie newville, for her invaluable help in Ed- Iting and polishing this article shane newville.
Website: https://shanenewville, deviantart.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org