This year I was a speaker at FMX2013, Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Transmedia in Stuttgart. The Blender Foundation had organized two talks, one with Thomas Dinges, talking about Cycles rendering, and one with me. I decided to talk about the production of Tears of Steel, as well the VFX tools in Blender.
I was surprised that there were quite a few people in the audience who didn’t know about the open movies nor Tears of Steel. Well, gladly I could change that.
The talk went really well, and I had even enough time to demo the tracking and keying tools in Blender. And as always the tracking tools didn’t fail to impress. In just 8 minutes I managed to demo a full object track so I could put our beloved Suzanne on top of the Captain’s head, which was also a fun way to end the presentation.
Thomas Dinges had his talk on Thursday.
He got support from the nice people of CADnetwork, who gave him a 16core, dual Tesla rendering beast for his talk, so he could demo the blazingly fast Cycles live viewport rendering. Thomas showed how well Cycles performs in different scenarios, how to use SubsurfaceScattering and how to use nodes to control the light paths.
So all in all I think Blender left a really good impression at this year’s FMX, and I hope we can repeat that next year.
I really enjoyed FMX2013. Not only is it fun to meet some fellow blenderheads like Thomas Dinges, Andy Goralczyk or Julius Tuomisto, but it’s also great to see presentations and talks about the VFX on recent or upcoming movies, such as IronMan3, Life of Pi or Oz the great and powerful. And of course, definitely a hightlight, seeing the newest Pixar short „The Blue Umbrella“. So beautiful! Will be a great to start an evening of Pixar animation deliciousness once Monster University comes out.
This year started off really interesting.
After lots of training projects and a new Cycles and Compositing DVD that will be out soon I started to do some modeling for 3D printing, ordered by a 3D printing company based in Leipzig (www.realityservice.de)
They get a lot of different requests and jobs, with different topics, and as a freelancer I can do some of the modeling work, while RealityService gets the printing done. Some people want to have 3d prints of certain flowers, others want some architectural visualization, and some companies want to have their game characters 3D printed, like for example Wooga.
Wooga is ‘one of the largest social game developers for web and mobile in the world’, based in Berlin. During the last months I transferred some of their 2d game characters to 3d models, using Blender’s excellent toolset of polymodelling functions as well as the powerful sculpt mode. The interactive Cycles Viewport Rendering was a great way to generate previews for the client.
I’m very much looking forward to Blender 2.67, for which Campbell Barton is developing tools specifically made for 3d Printing. That will make it possible to measure the volume of a mesh, check wall thickness, do automatic mesh cleanup and more.
During the last 2 months me and René Hänsel, a colleague of mine, modelled 3 characters, and did the cleanup and printability improvements for a 4th character that the client provided.
As a little extra these 4 characters where then put on a small platform. Last week, during Cebit, the German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Wooga in Berlin, where the 3d print of the 4 characters made by realityservice was presented to her as a gift.
Angela Merkel with 3D Modell © f.büttner/wooga
Isn’t that awesome? A Blender modelled 3d print in the hands of Angela Merkel? I don’t know, I think that’s pretty cool. :)
Today is the release of “Tears of Steel”, the fourth Open Movie from the Blender Foundation.
It has been seven months of hard work, 3 months preproduction, 4 days of shooting and 3.5 months of postproduction and lots of fun. I was responsible for matchmoving, footage conversion, keying and roto and digital compositing. Actually I wanted to do a long and detailed blogpost about my time in Amsterdam, but maybe I’m gonna do that later.
Instead, I am happy to announce that today, September 26th, at 19.00, “Tears of Steel” will be officially launched online. The premiere will take place at Youtube.com!
Two days later we will have the Hollywood premiere. Well, kind of :)
Here’s the press release, and of course the link to our blog!
After 4 months of work the Mango Project team can finally present the teaser to the shortfilm “Tears of Steel” that will be finished end of August.
We have worked hard to get our pipeline to work and to create the tools we need to produce this movie. Since everything has to be done with Blender, the developers had to write the much needed tools for rotoscoping, masking and keying, as well as further develop the rendering system, compositor and physics tools. But it all starts coming together now and we think that we can actually finish it more or less in time.
For more information go to our website www.tearsofsteel.org/.
Here’s a little timelapse of the keying workflow in Blender:
This tutorial explains my workflow of how to get texture-baked 3D models into Google Earth, completely based on open source/free software. There are other ways to do that – maybe less complicated ;) – but this is the way I finally achieved my goals.
I will start with an overview about the workflow, adding more details step by step. The tutorial will grow over time and I can take possible questions into account. That would be a pleasant way for me, because I can start directly and I don´t have to prepare the whole tutorial at once…
Intro 1 : The Software
In the course of this tutorial we will use three different softwares: SketchUp, GIMP and Blender. I’m assuming that you have at least basic knowledge in each of them, because I won´t go too much into details.
SketchUp : Free 3D software provided by Google
SU is the easiest way to prepare 3D models for Google Earth, because it has a direct import/export function for GE. In addition you can upload your geo-located 3D models directly into the 3D Warehouse if you want to share your model inside the GE 3D buildings layer. You can visit the 3d model of St. Mary´s Church in Google Maps (+GE PlugIn) or in the 3DWarehouse
GIMP : Open source Image Manipulation Program
Gimp is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring – we will need it for editing our textures.
Blender : Best open source 3D Software ever :)
Blender is a free open source cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation. We will use it for the texture baking process, because this rendering function is not provided inside SketchUp.
Intro 2 : The Overall Workflow
A short overview about the whole process:
1. Download terrain data from Google Earth into SketchUp
2. Model your 3D building with SketchUp
3. Export your 3D model to Blender
4. Unwrap UVs with Blender
5. Export UV Layout to Gimp
6. Texturing UV map with Gimp
7. Applying UV map in Blender
8. Set Lighting and Environment in Blender
9. Bake Full Render in Blender
10. Export 3D model with baked texture to SketchUp
11. Upload 3D model to Google Earth/3DWarehouse
12. …be proud that you made it through all the mess :)
To be continued…
If anybody knows how to simplify the process, please feel free to comment!
Finally my new official Blender Foundation training DVD “Track, Match, Blend” is shipping! It took a little bit longer than expected, but here it is!
It contains around 10 hours of training for Blender’s Motiontracking module. It covers everything from simple 2D-Tracking, image stabilization and setting up a classic 4-corner-pin-shot to advanced camera- and object-tracking, including face-deformation and marker-removal. Here’s a link to the content page of the DVD: http://www.blender3d.org/e-shop/images/TrackMatchBlend_Previewsite/
Watch the trailer! And then buy the DVD! :)
In 2012 the Blender Foundation will create another Open Movie, codename “Mango”. For me this is especially exciting, since I will be part of the team this time, responsible for Motion Tracking.
The focus of Project Mango will be VFX. A lot of development will be done to create a rock solid tracking system, a photorealistic production renderer, a fast and reliable compositor, keying, roto-tools and who knows what else.
It’s an ambitious target, and as always the Blender Foundation is depending on donations.
One way of getting the funds to produce that movie are traditionally the pre-sales. You can purchase the DVD now, and when the movie is ready in September you will receive the movie and all the production files in a nice box of DVDs. It’s only 34,-€, so get yourself and the CG-community a nice christmas present and pre-order the DVD! It will also give you a place in the credits in the film! Eternal glory will be yours! :)