Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The ball starts rolling

Since the last post there has been quite a bit of activity on the net in relation to the Blender to RenderMan projects, chatter on websites and our group has seen a very large increase of posts. Seems that we are bigger than we thought, that our collective efforts are starting to get noticed and paying off. I for one can say that I have underestimated the effect and reach this website has. So I am taking this time to inform people some of the things that are going on around the world.


This is a newer Linux distribution that I only recently found, why I only just found it I can't say, however from what I have seen on the website this seems to be much like my idea of having a Blender to Renderman Linux distro. Not only is this available NOW but they have been following this site. This is right up our alley! This is exactly what we've been trying to influence! Best part is that I don't have to do the hard part as I have never even tried to make my own Linux distro and I wouldn't know where to start. This is here now and only getting better.

So.... I am making an unofficial statement of which Animux would be considered as the Blender to RenderMan "primary" Linux distro. The reason is that they have established quite a bit to make it workable for artists and TD's alike, for all skill levels not just the Linux guru's. That was one of the main issues I felt was important. They also have quite a roster of people that are either developing it or advising, some of these people are very important to the success of the open source 3D movement.

One of the coolest things I have seen is their IKEA renderfarm how-to! This is something anyone could, and SHOULD build.

One aspect of the Blender to RenderMan pipeline that kind of got overlooked was Digital Asset Management, something of which is VERY important for any kind of studio. They are working on what is known as ADAM, short for Animation Digital Asset Management. They seem to be well on their way to something very special for us 3D artists.

That is all I can say about that right now ;)

"Project Widow"

This is very much an early announcement (something I was going to hold back for a little longer but got excited tonight over the Animux finding). Though if anyone has been in the forum group section, this really is not much of a surprise. This is a short 1-2 minute "test" that some of us have been pulling together, something that has taken off quite fast. This was started as a Blenderartist forum topic discussion where the debate over whether or not Aqsis was being used to render the new Blender Foundation Open Movie "Durian". Well no is that answer. Either way over the next week the subject kept coming up and somehow a test was thought up. But it is not like any normal test, this is a short story, very short but it is still a story and not just some walk cycle. I felt it was more important to use an original story to make our statement heard and that is Blender to RenderMan WORKS.

Over the next couple of weeks a LOT of progress has been made. We have Paul Gregory and Chris Foster from the Aqsis team backing us up, we are also using Aqsis 1.5.0 development builds to be the test bed for that version. They are helping us with the technical issues, we are helping them find some obscure bugs. We also have the help of WhiteRabbit (Eric Back) who is furiously busy writing the next version of Mosaic, again we are going to test that version out as well. We have a talented modeller, Daniel Wray, that has built the vast majority of our assets so far, including the main character model. We also have the help from Cedric, an animator. Not only that but we also have the help from a couple of concept artists and a sound fx engineer. We are still on the lookout for some more animators and RenderMan users. This week I am busy with my local film friend punch out the final storyboard so we can start blocking out camera shots. My own tasks are quite varied but it's been in the shading and TD area, writing the pipeline documentation and testing things in both Blender and Aqsis to make sure when we get to that stage - it will work without too much trouble.

The short is being done to test the pipeline, to put it through a real world situation that involves a number of people working together on different parts of the "production". The nice part about this short is that we are doing this over the internet, which also has made it very challenging.

For more information and to watch our progress as we plug along on this here is the website.

Things seem to be starting here and I have been wishing for this day for a very very long time, so it is nice to see a little progress here.

"It's a very exciting time!"
- a quote from one of my favorite movies.

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