Venom’s Lab 2: new training DVD!

by - 2012/05/21 10 Comments Production, Random

Pablo “venomgfx” Vazquez is working here in Blender Institute on a new training DVD; episode two of “Venom’s Lab”. It’s aimed at people who know Blender’s basics and who want to learn al the techniques to create wonderful characters in Blender.

Here’s the trailer:

The DVD is going to be finished in 3 weeks, pre-orders are being accepted via the Blender e-store now! The profits of our training DVD series goes directly to making project Mango possible :)


by - 2012/05/05 20 Comments Production, Random

Today was the first day of production in the greenscreen studio at No filming yet, but building the sets for the first day of shooting on monday. Romke brought in his awesome stuff, 2 truck loads full of assets, props and sets. The team had some really hard work to do today!

The studio is super great, with a giant greenscreen, a white limbo, separate rooms, and first floor for catering. The guys from even put a Blender logo at the door! :)

Result: random video with lots of green pixels. Plus some Russian punk from “Green Team”.

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.


Mango Finished!

by - 2012/04/01 19 Comments Random

The mango project was almost single handedly finished by Sebastian today.

Click here to see the incredible video!

Thanks for all your support, guys. Couldn’t have done it without you.

A Tale of Teslas

by - 2012/03/31 28 Comments Production, Random

Yesterday the courier arrived and we received the two – sponsored by Nvidia – Tesla computing units we’ve been waiting for days! It’s been a nice afternoon at the institute, with Sergey configuring the correct drivers in order to unleash the power of two cards and Ian making fruit smoothies to relieve the tension. More interesting information comes after the documentary “A Tale of Teslas”.

If you skipped the video, here the render time for the BMW benchmark file:

  • 1 Tesla: 1 min 4 secs
  • 2 Tesla: 34 secs

Although this result is not really comparable to the one obtainable with a GTX 580 (23 secs),  there is a main difference: Tesla cards have 6GB of memory, each. This means that in the dual configuration we could render a test scene (the bridge scene) with several GB worth of textures and data (otherwise impossible on a GTX).
The time for rendering such scene was:

  • Dual Tesla config: 5 mins
  • Dual Xeon rendernode: 15 mins

We are going to get Brecht over here very soon to see if he can improve the performances of Cycles on this cards. Will we eventually be able to replace the whole renderfarm with a GPU-based solution? We don’t know yet!

Currently we’ve put the cards next to more humble GTX 260’s in two workstations, this will help designing a lot. Special thanks to Nvidia for giving us these cards to test!

Call for review: Blender Demoloop

by - 2012/03/29 25 Comments Random

Hi everyone!

Although this is not strictly Mango-related news, I would like to share it with as many blender users as possible. A few days ago Ton asked me to collect some nice blendfiles to use as Blender feature showcase for one of our sponsors: HP computers. This is called the Blender Demoloop and will be displayed on booths,  computers in stores, and so on. It will eventually fit on a USB stick as a portable demo. It will also be available for download under CC-BY license. I’m asking for support to the community for two reasons:

  • testing the demoloop and providing feedback
  • provide more/better contents for it

How to test the loop

You can download this archive (~300MB) and try opening either _start_demo_CPU.blend (cycles render will be done with CPU) or _start_demo_GPU.blend (cycles will use GPU). WARNING: you need a very recent (trunk) version of blender, which you can download here. Please be patient for a few seconds after you open the file, since the loop could take some time to start. If you encounter any issues please make sure to mention your blender build, OS and basic hardware config (RAM, GPU, ecc).

How to provide contents

Just leave comment here with a link to the content you would like to point out. We can accept only CC-BY, CC-0 contents. Your work will be properly credited of course.

Please help spread this message so that we can create an awesome showcase and prove Blender’s industry-level capabilities.

Amsterdam photo refs

by - 2012/03/21 7 Comments Production, Random

Here’s a small selection of the thousands reference photos shot during the last weekends.

Boats, bridges, canals and the Oude Kerk, of course. but also many refs from the architecture and design of the Amsterdamse School (1910-1930~)

Especially interesting are the street furniture pieces (like the electrics box and the street-lamp in these pictures ) partly used directly as typical dutch environment props , but also as a base to build sci-fi and tech pieces (some of those shapes and geometries seems made just for that !)


Sample Chapter from “Track Match Blend”!

by - 2012/03/21 6 Comments Random

For all of you who are already waiting for  too long for the Track Match Blend DVD here is a little preview chapter about using manual undistortion for a better camera solution and using reference images from Google Maps to check if the solution makes sense.

I am working hard to finish the DVD within the next days! Sorry for the delay!

Here’s the link to footage and blendfile:

Lazy sunday in Amsterdam (and some research)

by - 2012/03/11 17 Comments Production, Random

Today we did a little tour to the Oude Kerk here in Amsterdam and enjoyed the first sun of spring. Blogging in the sun while hanging around in the beanbag in the Blender Institute is also quite pleasant, I can tell you!

Anyway, the light in the church is beautiful! We have to find a way to put this in the movie while at the same time have it destroyed by robots. Also the trees and bicycles in front of the church and around the redlight district might become a masking nightmare too. Or we just cover them with futuristic tech-stuff. But let’s see what happens.

I couldn’t help but film and track something in the church. But I have other things to do than putting something in it, so if you guys are interested in some compositing fun, here’s the track and footage. Do something cool and link here! :)