Friday, October 25, 2013

Animating some dialog shots

I'm working on some dialog shots, these are easy to crank out, and are necessary to balance out the film and advance the plot along.  As long as your entire film isn't dialog (unless you're making an Ayn Rand Ninja movie...)  and you've got enough action packed sequences...   You'd think these kind of shots are pretty straightforward, though there's actually quite a bit of animation and shot timing necessary to keep these interesting.  The performance of the characters, and the emotional performance of your voice actors, has to carry these shots,  and with the camera locked down there's not a lot of room to hide mistakes with an excess of motion blur here.

Modeling this cloister set was actually pretty quick, the arch elements are instanced using Blender's null object group instancer.  I made the 'master' (hidden on another layer) exactly 2 'blender units' wide, so I can move these around, snapping to the grid, and they'll stay in place.   The most complex part of the set is the angel statue, which I modified slightly from a model downloaded from BlendSwap which is a great Blender community website where users can post models, and assets (animation clips, textures, materials, etc) with various licenses according to the taste of the creator.  This one is CC0 - public domain.   A lot of the BlendSwap models are CC0 or 'Attribution' , some have Non-Commercial licence, but the site makes it clear which is which. 

For a project like Cold Dark Mirror,  I'll go onto BlendSwap and look for CC0 or Attribution models, whenever I feel like saving some time in modeling.  I ususally have to modify models to fit my own visual style:  this angel model I severely ran through the decimate modifier which cuts the poly count and makes it look blocky, then I added my 'HF' sketch method on top to give it the 'painted with polygons' look.  But this whole scene took me only 5 hours to setup from scratch, using preexisting models (the wall lamps, some of the statues in the back.)   The architectural look I've established in this shot will be carried over into a few other sets I have yet to build.

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