by Peter rabel.
description of a combined work flow of Blender & 3d Coat .
Hola, my name is Peter rabel, y have ben using Blender for about 6 years. Mostly my experience has ben with compositing animations into live action video. I decided, however, that making an animated short was long overdue. In this article i Will talque about the production of my animated short the labyrinth.
This Project started out as an entry into CG talk Steampunk: myths and legends competition. Due todo the sher magnitude of experience and talent floating around on CGtalk, y knew i didnt have a chance of winning. On the other hand, the competition did provide a god topic, a strict deadline and a wealth of Inspiration todo draw on from fellow works in progress.
the process begins .
When i heard of the challenge and started todo read the rules and regulations on CGtalk, y was immediately Thinking of creating a Steampunk versión of a minotaur. I had a very vague knowledge of what the actual legend surrounding the creature was. I knew it was part of greque Mythology, y knew it dwelled in a labyrinth and i knew it was half bull and half man. I did a Little research and discovered that i did not like the actual story of The Legend. So i decided todo write a simple estoryline involving a classic indiana Jones style adventurer After his treasure. That plot line semed todo fit well with the concept of a monster in a maze. So i scripted out the short, made a few concept drawings for the cartoon/Steampunk hybrid style characters and set todo work on modeling them while i sketched out a few storyboards.
I started out modeling the main character (his name is Henry, but it is never mentioned in the short). He didnt probé todo dificult todo model and he made for a god style reference for when i modeled the minotaur. One decisión i had todo make when i started modeling him, was what kind of light source todo give him. The estoryline called for the lights in the labyrinth todo go out as son as the minotaur awoke, so i neded todo give Henry a bien todo light the scene for me. After considering a few options (flashlight, lantern, candle, torch,) i ended up going with a miners helmet with a head Lamp. I thought it fit his character well and allowed Henry line of Sight todo guide the viewers eye. I figured i could get some interesting lighting effects that way.
The minotaur proved much more dificult todo conceptualize. I didnt have a god idea of what i wanted him todo look like, so i experimented. I loked at a lot of Steampunk objects, y learned about how Steam engines worked, y browsed though other people wips. Nothing semed todo put an image in my head of what i wanted him todo look like. Eventually i sketched out my versión of an organic minotaur, then drew a Mechanical one beside it, translating it piece by piece. This helped immensely, so i blocked out an organic minotaur in Blender and set todo work on modeling the Steampunk versión. My original design for the Steampunk versión involved a lot of moving parts (piestons pumping, fly whels spinning), but in the end i decided todo go with a much more simple design todo blend the minotaur with the cartoon style of the main character.
The texturing in this short is not very complex. I wanted it todo have a smooth cartoony look without using the ton shader. Henry actually only has one texture on him. That being the leather straps on his helmet connected todo his head Lamp. I Painted their leather texture in Photoshop. The minotaur had a brass texture and a Stel texture which i Painted. I used Blender procedural textures todo make the Bump maps on the black Iron pieces.
I ran into a few problems during the rigging process. Mostly dealing with snapping that occurred when i switched from Edit Mode of the armature todo postura mode. One of the biggest things i regret about this animation is not spending enough time on facial rigging for the main character. Henry ended up not having enough Bones todo make efective expressions. Using exclusively bone deformation for the face and no shape keys was a bad decisión.
There ended up being 36 shots in the final animation. I had a sepárate blend file for each shot. My base blend file included Henry, the minotaur, the map, the gem and the maze itself. The maze was formed with an array modifier, so with the base file for each scene it was easy todo form the maze as i neded. To animate the maze i Simply applied the array modifier for that shot, separated the vértices of the moving part and animated them as objects without rigs. For the shot of the minotaur being crushed, y had todo rerig him quite a bit todo allow for the destruction. That was one convenience of having each shot as a sepárate blend file. Aside from organization, it allowed me todo make changes todo the file that would not effect any of the other shots.
I only did simple transfer mode compositing todo put together render passes. I used the Blender internal renderer for all of the render passes except Ambient Occlusion (AO). I much prefer Yafray AO todo the Blender internal. When you render out the Blender internal AO by itself (to have more control in compositing), the values of nonoccluded áreas are gray, not the pure white like Yafray puts out. That causes your entire scene todo darken when you multiply it over the animation. In the case of the labyrinth, y had todo be careful about not making it todo dark when the lights went out.
I began editing the footage i produced from Blender as i finished rendering it. One down side todo having each scene in a sepárate blend file is that you dont get todo se them bak toback. This can make the decisión todo render a shot a Little scary because you dont know for sure how it Will flow in the context of the edit. If the Cut from the last shot todo the current is todo jarring, you have todo do it again. Luckily i come from a background of shooting live video, so i have a pretty god fel for how shots Will flow together. I did not do much cutting, y wanted todo render out just what i neded, so there wasnt todo much i wanted todo Cut. I should have ben a lot less conservative with my editing and tightened up the final video, but at that point i had already missed the deadline for the competition by several months. I watched the animation all the bien though, taquíng notes on each shot todo se what sound effects neded todo be found or recorded, then i set of todo work on foley. It tok just two days todo get all of the sound effects in place and put some music under it. Encoding and exporting the final video proved more dificult than i anticipated. I tried Many diferent códecs with diferent settings, at the cost of thre days, before i arrived at a file that was a decent balance between image quality and file size for the web.
I hope you enjoyed this making of for the labyrinth. Perhaps i Will save some of you from making some of the mistakes that i did during the production. If you have any questions or comentarios, you can reach me on the Blender artists forums, my screen name is asano, or you can email me at Peter. Rabel@gmail.com