Tag Archives: Animation

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.


Render of the week February 22

I just spent some time with this image playing with lighting and experimenting with different rock textures which resulted this render. All done using cycles and very little work in the compositor.seaside1a

animating a 2d Photo in Blender

I am always looking for interesting ways to be creative with Blender and make my projects look decent. I found one way of doing this is with animated photos. There are several ways of achieving a photo animation ranging from camera mapping to compositing animated 3D elements into a photo. Camera mapping is the most common which involves mapping 2d images to 3d geometry. I have also used the blender smoke simulator to created a moving atmosphere in a 2d photo.

Animating 2d photos can be helpful with motion graphics, creating an establishing shot for a film project or animation. It is often less expensive to go out and take a photo as opposed to shooting on location.

I ran across a great exercise for animating a 2d photo on YouTube I wanted to share with you. The exercise is pretty straight forward and it will give you the experience of using some of the modifier tools available in Blender.

I am very grateful to Sardi Pax for allowing me to share his work with you. He has a lot of helpful tips and tricks available on his you tube channel. I hope you visit him on youtube and find something that can help you become better using blender.

I ask him how he got started in blender and he shared his road to using blender with me.

His Answer

I’ve been interested in 3D art since the early days of home computing. I started by coding (in Z80 machine code) an attempt to display a rotating cube on a very old computer called a Sinclair ZX81 (my pride and joy at the time).

Much later I acquired a PC (somewhere around Windows 3.1) and simple home 3D software started to become available. It would still take hours to render something that today would take seconds.

I dabbled with 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, Bryce 3D, Poser and Lightwave and learned many of the basics with those packages.

I actually encountered blender several years ago at about version 2.4 but back then it was not such a friendly interface for the novice and stayed with 3DS Max.

About 18 months ago Blender underwent a big change at around version 2.55 (or possibly 2.6) and became much more newbie friendly.

I couldn’t get Cycles to work at all to begin with, just got the typical black screen. So I started watching Youtube tutorials (for example the excellent Andrew Price), and realised Cycles was all about Lights (eureka moment).

I then spent (far too many) hours playing with particles, juggling vertices and working out what Normals were and around a year ago, decided it might be a fun way to motivate myself to learn more by making simple tutorials. And I’ve learned a great deal along the way.

I try to post a tutorial every week, as well as find time to make images and videos for my own pleasure. Most often my subscribers want a tutorial for any new video I post so they help a lot with deciding the subjects.

This tutorial introduces the Wave modifier and shows a way you can integrate a 2D photo into a 3D scene.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the insight of the featured artist in this post.

A Guide To Preforming Better in Blender For Begginers

Blender Default Screen

You are sitting there looking at the Blender default screen wondering what to model. You look through some photos for inspiration and the discover you have no clue where to start. You begin to search for tutorials and you discover hours have past and you have rendered nothing and worst of all  tomorrow it will be some of the same as you have gained no experience. How am I ever going to do anything with Blender. Should I just quit. The short answer is no. Believe me Blender takes a long time to learn and added to that the fast development of the ever evolving software makes it ever important to stay in tuned to the changes coming through the development pipeline.

So don’t fret when your render results don’t look like the one’s in the tutorials.  It may not be entirely on you as some tutorials are not well done, skip some steps, and face it not very well explained. so be mind of the tutorial source as their experience level as advertised.

Remember the old saying you have to “crawl before you walk“. Well it is true. Instead of your first goal being to model an epic scene with Blender. It should to learn your way around. Knowing how to navigate through the software, and how to use the available tools are a must before you can create anything. Think of carpenter who has no clue what a hammer is for or a photographer who doesn’t know what a shutter is. To master a trade you must first master the tools.



The type of computer you have isn’t the most important aspect of using Blender but being able to optimize it for what you have.  I know for a fact that performance will vary  from machines and operating systems. The key is to make Blender first work well on your machine before investing a chunk of your hard earned money on the newest and latest systems. Here is an example if you can’t model a decent scene on what you have currently why spend 750 dollars on the Nvidia 780 ti. The only thing you’ll accomplish there is bad renders faster and now your poorer.

Now let’s jump into getting better. A good place to start is here  Blender Basics – Introduction for Beginners  

This six part course covers everything from downloading and installing to rendering with cycles. This series should give you the understanding to go and conquer Blender.   Andrew Price of Blenderguru.com gives his take on becoming a better artist in  this Blog entry  7 Simple, Practical Tips to Becoming a Better Artist   I am working on applying these to my own learning experience.

sea side
sea side

Imagine, visualize what you want to do,

Learn, get all the tools to bring the scene or project together.

Create,  make your project the best you can.

That is my motto for 2014 Learn, Imagine, and Create. Now go arm yourself with knowledge, put it into practice and help someone else.

Photo credit to Nick Ares



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                                    http://www.makehuman.org/

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

samples banner

          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 result.now 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