Kickoff Workshop: Day 5

by - 2012/03/09 54 Comments Production

BAM! Here we are, the finished kickoff film, only 5 days after starting.

Is it perfect? Nooooooo- we’d tweak this thing forever if we could- but we finished all the big stuff, and made a short film!

Today was a day of last minute tweaks and battling the render farm. At one point we had every computer in the place up and running rendering shots, along with the render farm. I suspect we would have been rendering on folk’s cellphones if we could.

Francesco is going to be cleaning up the SVN database this weekend, and we’ll be putting that all up for all of you to browse! The models and everything we made will be going up then as well.

We’re also going to be rendering a full HD version of this thing over the weekend. We ran into deadlines (as can happen! When render farms! Are! On fire!)- so some of this stuff is only 50% full res (nothing you’d miss on YouTube, probably :P). But yeah, the “Official Artist’s Version” is coming early next week.

And with that- it is time for dinner! And Mango proper! Because, just again, this isn’t Mango! It’s a short kickoff project to test the pipeline and get to know each other and figure out what needs to be worked on! And pester Sergey with requests! 

Kickoff Workshop: Day 4

by - 2012/03/08 42 Comments Production

Quit blender!

We’re releasing today’s video amidst quiet protests from the team. Once you get this close to done, it’s hard to release it before it’s all polished and perfect (and understandably so! The closer we get to the end, the harder it is for the community to know what’s done or not). But! We’re uploading the video every day, and here’s where we’re at! As usual, lots of shots are actually further along than they appear; most all the destruction simulation and shards are completed- they just aren’t rendering at the moment.

A lot of work left for Friday, but definitely manageable! We’re making sure everything necessary is being sent to the render farm tonight, so we can lay in the image sequences tomorrow! We still have one shot left that really needs a bit of work, but with everyone working together tomorrow morning, it should totally come together.

Stay tuned for the final!

For all those confused:

by - 2012/03/08 22 Comments Production

The movie we are currently making isn’t Mango! Mango is going to take us more than a few days!

We’re currently doing a 5 day kickoff film to work through the entire pipeline- the end goal hopefully being that all those mistakes and lessons we’d have learned from Mango, we’re making and learning now. It’s also cool from a momentum aspect (us artists would spend the first 5 days just calibrating our monitors, if we got the chance)- and gives us a much better sense of perspective in terms of time estimation. We’re learning first hand how long certain tasks take.  Just a sec- lunchtime.

Back! To see the original script and Ton’s initial announcement, check here!

So yes, full fledged Mango pre-production continues next week! If you check back later today, you’ll see some cool robot-y updates.

Kickoff Workshop: Day 3

by - 2012/03/07 30 Comments Production

Day 3!

The hump! Everything’s coming together, but we’re at the dangerous point where we go, “Psh! Filmed and edited in 2 days! We have nothing but time!” I suspect we’re going to wake up tomorrow, look at everything that’s left, and start sprinting.

Totally amazed by everyone’s skills today. Destruction and dust simulations, tons of motion tracking, even more bug fixes, insane compositing- it’s wild. And I’m not just saying that in the polite, “Go team! Everyone’s great!” way- no. My day was a daze of revelations and discovery!

And the Video Sequence Editor is surprisingly awesome!

Huge CG jump coming tomorrow!

Below is my current wallpaper.

Kickoff Workshop: Day 2

by - 2012/03/06 31 Comments Directing & writing, Production


So we filmed the script this morning. The current edit is looking pretty darn similar to the animatic from yesterday (with a few minor exceptions). Everybody was awesome! This is a pretty incredible team.

Destruction simulations, amazing robot texturing, 3d motion tracking, editing, great animation, and insane bug fixing abound! The film has really taken shape- but tomorrow the CG shots should really start looking closer to finalized! Also! Getting audio locked down!

If this is where we’re at by the end of the 2nd day, with any luck we’re going to be able to do all the polishing we need!

Developer meeting

by - 2012/03/06 19 Comments Development

Yesterday I sat down with Brecht and Sergey to go over the main development topics, checking if we’re still on track and still have the big picture in mind. Because of the current workshop week we didn’t go over issues extensively with the artists, for that we’ll have plenty of time later. Here’s a short summary of what we discussed.

  • Motion tracker: is in good shape already, a new solver is underway to test. No bottlenecks.
  • Cycles render: will be seriously used. Brech is unsure how fast it’ll be in our production setup. We will do GPU and CPU (farm) comparision tests. Missing features are known topics (like shadow & id passes). He’ll also check volume render. Antialiasing and sampling (FSA) is an issue. A more detailed Cycles review we’ll do in 1-2 weeks here with the team.
  • We will need light probes or environment mapping (and stitching). Worth to investigate is efficient methods to extract light conditions from footage. Sergey loves to dive into this.
  • 3D viewport: Brecht will check on overlay methods to enhance selection/active info, especially in rendered display.
  • Compositor project: some nodes – required by tracking – will need porting to opencl still. Might become a bottleneck.
  • Green Screen Keying: we will investigate best practices and state-of-the-art articles on this. My suggestion is to connect keying (mask extraction) to the clip-editor, using markers and tracking info and temporal filter options etc. Jeroen Bakker and Pete Larabell  are interested to help too.
  • Depsgraph: we’ll try to focus on solving the crucial failures. Like the ‘dependency cycle conflict’ for piston cases and essential driver updates. As a bonus – when there’s time – we can try multi-threaded anim updating. The “proxy armature” also will have to get attention.
  • Getting Alembic to work would rock too… it would allow to combine a lot of real-time characters in a shot for animators and shade/lighters.
  • Color pipeline: the confused code for alpha and color spaces will have to become stable and useful (also on UI side, to clearly communicate things). OpenColorIO needs to be investigated still by the team.
  • Asset managing: continue work with Andrea Weikert on it (or gsoc student?) or help out ourselves.

We’ll keep you posted, next week we can do an artists’ version of the above :)

Kickoff workshop: Day 1

by - 2012/03/05 14 Comments Random

We started with a briefing at 10 AM and around 8 PM the mango team finished the animatic. Here are some photos and a short video. Tomorrow we will do the filming, so stay tuned!

Kick-off week

by - 2012/03/05 32 Comments Directing & writing, Production

Kickoff meeting!

Monday morning, 10.00h. I delivered a script to the team, which they’ll have to turn into a short film within 5 days. Premiere will be here at 18.00h friday, on youtube an hour later! The process of making it will be shared as open as possible. So: here’s the script already linked to the right. Written by yours truly, playing here in the Blender Institute! By the end of the day it should become a full storyboard and shot breakdown.

Tony Mullen will be here filming to deliver a documentary making-of!