Category Archives: Blender Experiments

exploring different features in Blender

Back at it Again (learning animation)


After a long debate with myself, I lost by the way, I decided I would share my adventure in animation over the past few week. I picked up using Makehuman 10.2 with the MHX2 Add on and blender version 2.72. I’ll explain a little more about each later. I jumped into blender with the hopes I would come up with a two minute story but my imagination was on vacation. so little by little I started just posing a make human character working on some basic movement. I have really had a problem mastering the walk cycle and I was not happy with few attempts.

So I decided to go on and work on some other poses. I got some audio from 11 second club and did some rough blocking no real polished animation. I am a new to the craft and I just wanted to establish a workflow. I looked at it and thought well okay so so.  Now do I let anyone see it ?  Sure why not. After telling someone else  “You should not have any fears. you have a least satisfied a few rules of creativity 1. you did something. 2. you shared it.”  Here are my rough animations.

So I will continue my quest to learn animation, until my next post in which I will go into the mhx2 add-on .  Take care all.


Blender Foundation Crowd Sources Project Gooseberry



As if you didn’t know, The Blender foundation has started work on project Gooseberry. Project Gooseberry is the code name for their 5th open movie project. The project is large undertaking in which the Blender foundation wishes to produce a feature length animation using just open source software.

The Blender foundation will attempt this project with small studios worldwide. 12 independent studios who already use open source software  will contribute to the production of this feature length film. They will work with a staff of artist and developers to see if open source is ready for a feature film.

The film is about Michel the sheep, who’s longing to get an interesting life. It will be a funny, absurdist and adventurous love story, directed by Mathieu Auvray. ( Listen to Mathieu on Blenderguru podcast)

The Blender foundation plans to offer supporter full access to the whole production and all training assets that are derived from the project.  The Blender cloud will allow subscribers to access data from from previous films and also data from the Gooseberry project.

For 45 Euro or 62 U.S. Dollars you get three months access to the data from previous Open Movies and Workshop training videos. The Gooseberry team will use it to cooperate, to share data and to get you involved.

More About Project Gooseberry

Blender Development



Make Human and Blender What Happened?

Make Human and Blender
What Happened?

Blender and Makehuiman
Blender and Makehuiman

After Posting a tutorial on texturing Makehuman characters in Blender I noticed a lot of interest in the topic. I wondered if people were using Makehuman in any projects. I searched good ole Youtube to see if anything new had been uploaded and to my surprise I didn’t see to many of interest. I recall about a yaer and a half ago that Makehuman, Blender, and motion capture were the buzz of the internet world. I even caught the bug when I saw the short “ Don’t call me babe” . It was done by Thomas Larson one of the developers of makehuman. When I saw it, It had already been floating around for about 2 years. I tried searching for a link but it is no longer available.
Along that same time the Blender foundation was working on it’s third open movie Sintel. The 14 minute feature which was realeased in september of 2010 and was done all in blender like the two previous film done by the foundation. Although sintel did not employ any Makehuman character it prove that Blender is a very capable animation suite which could be employed in any production pipeline and inspire the need to be creative.

We fast forward a couple of years and I stumbled on these films while trying to learn blender. So I thought would not it be cool to animate a short. One problem though I couldn’t and still can’t model a convincing character. After a few tutorials and rough attempts to model character I was about to give up. When I seen something about Makehuman and how it was the thing to make character generation easy. So I downloaded Makehuman alpha 6 I believe it might have been 5 but who really remembers a couple of years ago.

So I set off to make a animated short with no modeling skills no animation skills. I had two pieces of software that was going to make this work. (So I thought) I watched a few tutorials on walk cycles and keyframing and f-curves and there I was overloaded with information, ambition and no clue. So off I went and at the end of june in 2012 I posted this video on Youtube.

Now looking back I think I should have tried to hone my skills a lot more before posting but the one thing that holds true in that video is a quote in the intro “ I AM NOT AN ARTIST. WORKING WITH BLENDER MAY CHANGE THAT WITH PRACTICE AND LOTS OF TIME.” I posted two more video using Makehuman and motion capture data from Carnegie-Mellon Graphics Lab.

I gave up on making my animated short film because of the time I would have to spend on the project which I didn’t have much to spare back then. The software as well had issues as Blender was improving and Makehuman was racing to keep up. In the time between Blender 2.64 and 2.67 the compatabilty of some makehuman add ons was questionable at best. I am sure that alpha 6 doesn’t even import into Blender 2.68 or 2.69.
On the plus side however the makewalk addon replaced the old mocap and it works better and has a few tools to refine mocap data. The models appear to look better more so if rendered in cycles. It has the morphing tool which I haven’t tried and makeclothes which I could never get to work. I posted a video of a few experiments I tried with alpha 7 and 8 in the new blender. I thought I would share them before I deleted them all.

Download Makehuman                          

Discuss Makehuman

Learn How to create Zombies in blender and Makehuman

Share your thoughts on makehuman or links to any cool projects

Cycles Render Samples

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          I often see post of images with render times and the number of samples for the finished scene. I have seen post where 1000 samples were used and some with as few as 50. I know that some sampling is determined by the complexity of the scene.  The computer and hardware has a little to do with it as well.

Since I have no technical background in the coding for cycles nor could I give a definitive outline of the best hardware everything here is based on my own test and research.

If you are fortunate enough to have an up to date nvidia graphics card you will more than likely get the benefit off lightning fast renders with reduced noise. For those of us still rendering on cpu the challenge is finding a balance of quality and speed to get the most out of cycles.

The first test I did was the Mike Pan bmw bench mark. I used cpu rendering as I have an older nvidia card which is not supported.  The computer he used is basically the same as mine and with 200 samples his time 8 minutes and 9 seconds for the scene set at 200 samples. My render time was 6 minutes and 50 seconds.  If I used these setting to do a 10 second animation it would take 1 day plus 5 hours  and 17 minutes.  For about 180.00 dollars you could buy a gtx 570 and render the scene in 53 seconds  or the 10 second animation in 4 hours.

So with all that said, who wants to spend hours working on a scene and the wait another half a day to see the finished me personally I do not have the patience. I have tried to learn Blender and use cycles but for some of the things I would like to do, cycles just seems to take forever.  After viewing this presentation a tried a few things not in any particular order and I came up with this.

200samples50_52 This image was done using path tracing 200 samples and took 50 minutes and 52 seconds.

20samples2_52 This image was done using the branch path tracing itegrator 20 aa samples 1 diffussed  5 transmission 1 ao, mesh light and subsurface. it took 2minutes and 52 seconds.

10samples1_32 This image is basically the same as above but it only used 10 aa samples and it took 1 minute and 32 seconds.

This 30 second animation took 4 1/2 hours to render. The bottom line is spend the money and get a good graphics card.

Now it may just be me but there isn’t much difference in the image quality and all render times naturally included the compositing. I would like to get to where a scene takes 30 seconds or less to render which would be very practicle for animations