Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Shell script to set up Ready-To-Use Blender Git Checkouts on Linux

Recently, I've been setting up quite a few copies/checkouts of Blender Git repositories (approximately 3-4 per machine I'm using - including twice on the same machine after the hard drive failed). Doing this has made me all too aware of all the steps needed to get these things into a nicely working state for development (including how you need to copy out a whole bunch of commands each time).

Today, I can announce that for Linux users, the wait is over! I've successfully put together a script that basically automates the entire procedure listed on the wiki, making it possible to relatively painlessly grab the Blender sources, and then proceed to compile and run them.

It's actually part of a larger repo of automated configuration-setup scripts/tools I've been putting together over the past few weeks to make it easier to get my computing setup deployed onto new machines faster. For the time being, I'm not quite prepared to release the actual repo where all these are housed publicly, as I still haven't managed to fully vet that no private details have managed to leak/leech into the config files contained. Unfortunately, the final release of that may have to wait until I'm back in NZ (as it seems that I ultimately ended up forgetting to transfer some critical files for a few of the programs).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Knotted - A Short Film Idea (for testing Tools for Animating Hand-Rope/String Interactions)

(This post was split off from my post about a grand vision for the future direction of animation tools, as it was growing a bit too large for that).

For the ultimate test of hand/finger interaction with a length of string, I've dreamed up a little short film, set in a village where everyone (but the main character) is a master knot-tier. In fact, the opening scene is literally a montage of different pairs of hands tying increasingly fancy knots and bows.

The idea is that, we'd produce this short once we have the technology in place to make producing it feasible. That is, we'd have a bunch of awesome new tools that are amazing at helping animators manage such interactions (which are fiendishly hellish now), meaning that doing such shots should be much easier, meaning that we can afford to do quite a few of them to show off a bit :)  Well, at least that's the theory!

Of course, we'd first have to find a solution to that technical hurdle :)  (I'd love to have a chat with some experienced animators about this sometime in the coming months, so get in touch)

Future of Animation Tools - Some WIP Thoughts and Ideas (+ the Role of Pose Sculpting in All This)

As a follow-up on my earlier brief discussion about the general direction for Motion Path editing in Blender, I figured that it's probably time to outline a bit more my longer-term vision for the future of the animation tools (mainly in Blender, but also the wider animation industry at large) to give a bit more context/motivation to my earlier comments.

I had originally intended to release this all a bit later once I had a few more key pieces in place, but, inspired by Raf Anzovin's enlightening blog, Daniel M Lara's Easy Rigging stuff, the exciting developments in the VR-based animation space, and also the 2.8 code quest, I decided to put this out earlier.

In this article, I'm going to try to "throw the ball further" (as Emirates Team NZ would say) and take a more comprehensive view of where we need to going in the medium to long term, as well as what steps we can take now.

(NOTE: I originally started writing this article in NZ, but in between preparing a new laptop for travel, and travelling to/settling in Amsterdam for Code Quest, I've only had time to really work on finishing this in the past day or so).

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Blender 2.8 Code Quest - Here I come!

Tomorrow marks the start of my next big adventure - travelling quite literally half a world away (with a 12 hour time inversion to boot)!

As most readers of this blog would probably know by now, next week, the Blender 2.8 "Code Quest" begins in Amsterdam. 10+ core developers of Blender will be gathering in the Blender Institute/Animation Studios for several months to get Blender 2.8 ready for public use - finishing off many todo's from the 2.8 project and/or laying the foundations for the next 5-10 years of Blender development!

Early tomorrow morning, I'll be flying out to join the team, spending some 26 hours or so of bone-crunching, butt numbing long haul flying. (Alas, this is one of those times when New Zealand's relative isolation from the rest of the world is a bit of a curse). Sitting here typing this tonight (while wrapping up a few last preparations on the stuff I'll be bringing along), it feels quite surreal to think that soon I'll finally be meeting many good friends and colleagues "in the flesh" for the first time after knowing each other for over a decade, and having spent many years watching the conference/BTS content wanting to visit Blender HQ and hang out with everyone.