Archive for the ‘Members’ Category

Project Gooseberry

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Open Movie Project

Last week the Blender Foundation has launched the fundraising campaign for Project Gooseberry, the next Open Movie Project. But unlike the previous Open Movies this will not just be a shortfilm, produced in the Blender Institute, this is going to be full feature film, with12 studios around the world working on it.

Pipeline Tools

Of course a project of this size requires tools for pipeline management and online collaboration. That’s why the Blender Foundation decided to not only improve Blender but also work on the following things:

  • Content and Asset Management
  • Project Management tools
  • Deploy Open Source Cloud technology
  • Efficient (video) communication channels
  • Sharing of internal CPU and GPU computing

For studios and freelancers around the world these would be incredible useful tools, allowing much better workflows and improving working in a team.

Blender

But also Blender will improve dramatically. Even though the feature set and quality of the software is already remarkable, there is still a lot of areas that have to be improved. Since Gooseberry will be mainly a 3D animation movie it’s time to finally tackle Blender’s dependency graph and also develop a fully multithreaded animation system.
And to render out all the cute and fluffy animals the hair simulations will be improved, as well as other simulation tools in Blender. Of course all that will have to be rendered somehow, so the Cycles render engine and the compositor will be worked on too.

gooseberry

Benefits

We think Gooseberry is an extremely exciting project.
Especially because everything will be open and free .
That’s an important aspect in today’s industry. If you look at what Autodesk has done to Softimage, and what is happening around the globe to big VFX houses, which have to close their doors, it is important to not only have an independent 3D application that really belongs to YOU, the user, but also to establish a remote CG pipeline, so that teams and freelancers around the world can work together on bigger projects without the need to have huge facilities with hundreds of thousands of dollars for licensing costs.

Support

Of course such a project costs some money. To be more specific, it costs about 3.5 million Euros. Doing it entirely via crowdfunding would not be feasible, so the Blender Foundation managed to get government funding sponsoring. But still, 500.000€ have to be raised by the community to make Project Gooseberry possible.
Being Blender users ourselves we really want to emphasize how important it is to make this project a success.
If you are benefitting from Blender in any way, please think about a donation.
That can be a 20€ donation, which would give you early access to the film, or 175€, for which you would have your name in the film credits, or even more. It is not exactly cheap. But think about what you might pay for commercial software… ;)

The Blender Cloud

The other way to contribute and support the film is to subscribe to the Blender Cloud. For 45€ for 3 months and then 10€ each following month you will get access to all the training material ever produced by the Blender Foundation, to all the assets of every Open Movie including the work in progress of Project Gooseberry. The content is still being uploaded, so you won’t find everything there right now, but they are working on it.

Trailer!

And here’s the trailer!



Please support Project Gooseberry!

Video Retouching with Blender

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Here’s a little breakdown of a small FX project that I recently did for the German TV Station MDR. They needed to have a photo exchanged in one shot from a documentary about Roland Freisler: www.mdr.de/geschichte-mitteldeutschlands/filme/freisler/roland-freisler104.html

Kay Dombrowsky from trickkiste.tv was doing the color grading for the whole series on his DaVinciResolve, and since we share the same office space he asked me to do this little shot.
Everything was done in Blender. First I did a quick 2 point track of the original photo. I combined that with a few hooks, which I then hand animated to get the deformation of the photo right. Masking and fake shadows were done in Blender’s MovieClipEditor. Feathering could be better at some points, but for the time and budget I think all in all it turned out pretty good.

freisler_retouching

GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst: Gliederpuppe [Manikin]

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Here’s a 3D Character Animation of a medieval manikin, commissioned by the GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig, which is exhibiting the original figure.

The original manikin is made of wood, with strings inside to keep the limbs together. It was once possible to pose it and use as drawing and anatomy reference. The detail is astounding. Even though the whole thing is just 22,5cm large, it had actually been possible to move the toes and fingers. Now of course you better not move or deform it, otherwise it might just break, being almost half a millennium old. That’s why it is exhibited in a fixed pose in the museum.

To find out how the manikin was constructed and built inside, it has been scanned by Prof. Dr. Klaus Bente at the Leipzig University, in cooperation with Graduate Conservator Christian Jürgens at GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst. The resulting 3D model made it much easier to see the inner workings of this figure.

To illustrate what poses and movements might have been possible with it, I cleaned and edited the mesh for animation in Blender. The rig has been done using Rigify, Blender’s automatic biped rigging system. Rendering was done with Blender Internal, with slight postprocessing by the built-in compositor.

If you want to find out more about it and see the original manikin, visit the GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst Leipzig!

Training DVD: Rendering & Compositing

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

It’s already been a while, but still I want to announce my new German Training DVD form Galileo Press: “Das Blender Training: Rendering & Compositing”.

Blender Training DVD

You’ll learn everything about Cycles, Pathtracing, LightBounces, Node-Materials, Compositing Render-Passes, VFX, Tracking and much more.
The DVD was recorded with Blender 2.66, but it will also work for 2.67 and 2.68.
You can get it at Amazon for about 36€.

Blender Institute Training: Lighting & Rendering

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

 

Two weeks ago there was another Blender Institute Training in the Blender Institute Amsterdam. Last December there were already 2 Trainings, one about animation, one about VFX in Blender. They were quite successful and people really liked it so we were happy to do it again.

classroom

This April 8 students came to Amsterdam to learn about Lighting and Rendering. Pablo Vazquez showed his tips and tricks to master Blender Internal, which can still give great results, if you know how to use it. And Pablo really does. I’d say he is the true Master of Internal, and he really taught the students how to effectively make use of it. Especially the volumetric rendering is something that still can’t be done with Cycles. Yet! Because someday that is going to change and we’ll have it all: SSS, hair, fur, smoke, fast and noiseless cycles renders. But until then the two can coexist in peace and harmony.

 

sebOf course you can’t do a course about rendering without touching Cycles. So that was my part. In a 2 hour theory session I explained how light bounces work, how it affects Global Illumination and how you can use that knowledge to optimize the render performance. I showed the students how to use the material nodes, how to fake certain effects with Ray Visibility and how to use the Light Path node. There’s so much you can tweak in cycles to get rid of noise and fireflies without loosing too much of your overall light situation!
A big part of the course was also to teach the students how to setup lighting artistically to get more interesting images. And of course how to make use of the compositor for denoising, post effects and color grading.

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FMX 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

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.

Tears of Steel presentation

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.

Cycles 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.

Talks

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.

3D Printing with Blender for Angela Merkel

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

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

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. :)

More images here: http://www.rapidobject.com/de/Referenzen_Showroom/3D_Projekte_9082.html?sid=Sf1Urnop1bvIXqYsI74JZPjqiSThmvhQ

“Tears of Steel” Online Premiere!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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!

Here’s the teaser:
YouTube Preview Image

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!

http://www.tearsofsteel.org