Thursday, January 28, 2010

A random collection of thoughts

This post is not really about anything in particular, really it has been a month since the last post so I want to just put down some thoughts about some of the stuff that has been sitting in my head over the past year.

Project Widow has become QUITE the task, I really do not think any of us realized just how difficult it was going to become. Considering that this is a small team it is not surprising that the initial 3 month deadline was completely blown. What started as a test became a short film, it will even have its own soundtrack provided by a fairly well known artist (that is MY surprise!!), which that too is considered CC license but anyways back to the point. When the idea started to form it was due to postings on websites that asked if this technology was able to do what we claimed, then why can't we re-render something like Big Buck Bunny? Well one reason was because of the technical implications, BBB was designed for Blender - not something like Aqsis. Another reason was simply why redo something when we can create something new? I took the idea that Pixar perfected, using short films to showcase advances in their software or more accurately - create short films to take advantage of the advances in the software that they developed. Well this is sort of one of those reasons. Quite a bit of programming has been done because of this project, new ideas and methods are also being developed as well. We are doing something never done before using the tools we use and in some cases - develop. Of course we have had more than our fair share of issues as well, in many cases some of the original ideas have either been scraped or re-developed in hopes that this or that would work. In all this is a huge learning experience for everyone and not to mention great demo reel material for all those involved, at the very least something to be proud of! Hopefully before the end of the year this will be completed, we are chipping away at this even if at times we want to throw in the towel (lol) but this is something that needs to be finished.

Something else that has happened over the year or so is that there is a great deal of interest for this pipeline, not only from the average user but also from studios or at the very least certain people within these places. I really cant say who, simply because I have not been authorized to release that kind of information but to the best of my knowlage at least 3 studios are testing these tools in some form and one of them is fairly well known in the CG industry. We have even gotten interest from a member of the Blender Foundation (other than the link on the website that is). Tens of thousands of hits to this very site over the past couple years and some of them from the big studios that we all know. I find this totally mind blowing, regardless of how little I personally have done to develop actual code, this site itself has really grabbed the attention of these people and it all started because I wanted to create a small community where we could bridge that gap between Blender and Renderman somehow.

Here is the best part! We have only just begun! Really this is the technolgical TEST that in a sense has proven that while the intagration of the tools is still not completely %100 compatible and some work arounds are required to achive certain results - all of it was mainly to prove that this WORKS! Project Widow already proved this long before this current stage even, Eric made a quick 10 second small rendered video of a test shot, so the proof of making an animated video using these tools has already been done time and time again. Project Widow is no longer a test, it is a short animation. When Blender 2.50 comes around and the next build of Mosaic is stable enough, who knows what is going to happen but I can say for certain that it will only improve over time.

I promise the next posting (coming early next month) will be a bit more than personal ramblings...