Weekly – April 20

by - 2012/04/21 23 Comments Artwork, Production

This weekly was even streamed live via Google Plus! We have already like 700 followers there. Will do that next time again!

Further; just enjoy the pictures! A full animatic (minus last minute) should have been online already too.

Powerlib addon for libraries management

by - 2012/04/20 10 Comments Development, Production

A very important aspect in daily production, is to keep assets organized and easily accessible. We needed some system to link complex environments into a scene and being able to toggle the visibility and complexity or their components.
With the vital contribution of Olivier Amrein (oenvoyage) we realized an addon called Powerlib, that allows toggling visibility and level of detail (high and low resolution) of subgroups contained in a linked group.


Smoke simulation tricks

by - 2012/04/19 23 Comments Random

I’ve been doing some tests with smoke simulation lately, and I met an interesting case I’d like to share. After doing some simple smoke emissions, I tried to get smoke trails. For unknown reasons a flickering was ruining the shading, no matter which resolution I was baking the simulation.
I showed the file to Daniel Genrich (Genscher) and Miika Hämäläinen (MiikaH) who provided a fix and a simple explanation.

The flow object Absolute Density had to be turned off and the Density parameter had to be turned down from 1 to 0.3: this prevented emitted particles to overlap in space and generate part of the flickering effect.

For the Domain object, the “color” texture had to be tweaked so that in the Voxel Data panel the source appeared to be Heat instead of Velocity.


Production update – April 19

by - 2012/04/19 16 Comments Filming, Production

Man o man, so much coolness is happening and I can’t talk about it in detail yet :) Here’s some stuff:

  • We now have young Thom, old Thom, Celia and Barley via Kemna Casting. Each of these actors is *awesome*. I rather not reveal names before we have the paperwork done though!
  • There are two online audition submissions we’d like to invite for the film. They get a mail today. The rest hereby gets my honest thanks and *respect* for doing it!
  • New filming crew members as confirmed sofar: Assistant director, Focus Puller, Gaffer and Best Boy (light), Grips (cranes). Sound and Make-up/hair is in process. Full bios, pictures, names, etc will be posted here later.
  • After careful deliberations & testing & discussions, we decided to film the bridge scene on location after all (not in studio). Is going to be daytime now, not evening (which was terrible complex for lighting and which makes city of Amsterdam nervous because we do this in middle of red light district).
  • Flying camera shot around church will be CG. We have permission to climb in tower next week to photograph the view from tower (to make a nice 3d projection map!).
  • Last minute news; we *might* still get the former energy museum location to film some scenes. We know more tuesday!
  • Pablo Vazquez is coming over today again! He’s going to work here on a 2nd edition of famous training dvd Venom’s Lab. I’m sure he’ll lend us some hands the next months too :)
  • Tonight: all of the team going to the Dutch premiere of Iron Sky!

Picture: I found a great store in Amsterdam where they sell or lend the craziest things. Might come in handy for the props department!

Robot Hand Integration Test

by - 2012/04/18 43 Comments Development, Production

During these weeks before the filming and the actual work on the shots starts we are doing several tests to check out the production tools. One of them is obviously Cycles. In this particular test we wanted to see how far we can go with the integration of the robot hand in a shot.

Of course it is obvious that the hand is fake, after all it’s a robot hand, so we also put in objects that could in theory be actually standing on the table. We went for a mirror ball (because there was an actual mirror ball in the scene, so, easy to compare) and a plastic toy.


Updating the ol’ Animatic

by - 2012/04/17 20 Comments Directing & writing, Production

Currently the animatic is set up a little weird!

We’ve linked in scenes from every blend file into a master timeline in the video sequence editor (making significant use of the mapping cameras to timeline markers)- which is both cool and not-so-cool. On the plus side, it gives immediate updates. Whenever anyone updates an animation or a model, all we have to do is update SVN and bam! It’s in the animatic.


Modifier Tools – Script

by - 2012/04/16 16 Comments Development, Production

One of the things we learned from the kickoff project was that animating the parameters of modifiers for a bunch of objects can be very, very time consuming. So we asked Sergey if he could make a button that copied the animated parameters of the actively selected object to the whole selection. 5 minutes later he had fully working feature that did exactly that :)

And here it is!: ModifierTools.py

In the image above you can see an example of how I am using the script to make fractured shards look more organic (less straight). This is good for mid ground fragments.


Weekly – April 13

by - 2012/04/14 48 Comments Artwork, Production

This week was spent on a lot of modeling and testing efficient ways to recreate photo-realistic parts of Amsterdam. How much to do with photo/footage projection? How much is real modeling here? A lot depends on the final shots of course, but it’s crucial to master the art of recreating realism in Blender asap, before actual filming. The tests I’ve copied above are just first trials, it’s research in progress. As soon as good results or conclusions can be shown it’ll be here on the blog within a day. :)

We’re also very happy to have the help from production designer Romke Faber for the sets! Ian produced an extensive briefing. Together we should visit the studio asap to inspect the possibilities there.

For next week the main question to answer is “Are we going to film the bridge breakup scene in Amsterdam on location, or in a studio with greenscreen?”. Lots of factors to weight here, including financial ones!

Oh: anyone knows where to get the best quality chrome balls to photograph reflection maps?


Netherlands Film Fund and Cinegrid support Mango!

by - 2012/04/13 36 Comments Production

This week we received two times great news!

1) The Amsterdam Cinegrid consortium – researching 4k media distribution and creation – grants us support of 20k euro. That’s to encourage us to at least use a 4k pipeline for filming, storage and conversion, tracking and keying in our studio. This makes it possible we deliver (parts of) the film in 4k, but this depends on factors we will only know in a few months.

2) The Netherlands Film Fund today confirmed we get a wonderful grant of 30k to support the filming process, and another 30k for the animation/CG side of our project.

With both subsidies, our current sponsors, and the ongoing DVD sales (yes, we still need you!), it means our project now is financially being covered in a decent way; allowing us to hire a good film crew, good hardware, great artists, and of course development time!


Online casting for Mango

by - 2012/04/11 73 Comments Filming

We are working with Kemna Casting for finding us the right people for roles, they’re awesome and for sure they can get us the right people. For the five older roles we will do a casting based on their portfolios, for the two young characters – Thom and Celia – they’ll organize a casting this week for us.

Chances are very high they’ll find us the awesome  actors, but we shouldn’t rule out the chance something magic happens online as well. So, here’s your chance if you want to become a movie star! Rules to participate:

0) You have to be available in Amsterdam Studios on one day, either 7-8-9-10 or 11 May.
1) Pick a character from below’s list
2) Record yourself acting out at least the lines of text, upload it to YouTube/Vimeo as Creative Commons
3) Paste here the link to the video
4) We pay in eternal fame; lots of fun and a great movie credit.