Animation is a bitch

Animation is a bitch

by Zach Harvest

(btw I know I've done balls in a box before. Better even. But this time....its ANIMATED

This week I put some balls in a box. (ohh and some other stuff)

There’s more too this lol.

It started with some inspiration of a slick little animation on instagram and said “Hey, maybe I can do something like that.” I had some ideas on what I wanted to do and as usual, started figuring out how I want to actually implement it. I knew I was going to have to use Cycles because for animation, you need to render on the GPU if you want it to finish in before you hit your 80th birthday. The idea was some emissive spheres amongst other non emissive spheres kinda rotating around in a box for maximum shadows. So I opened blender and promptly smashed my face into the keyboard repeatedly until I got the boids working in a manner that pleased me. After 6 hours of fucking with this particle engine, I went to bed bloodied and battered. I mean how long can it take to get a pleasing result out of a particle engine? FAR TOO FUCKING LONG. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what a shit engine! I mean really guys. It’s probably terrible because they spent most the dev time working on the hair side of the engine (which is fabulous btw).

Now I have to render the thing. Fuck this is going to take forever. There is a lot of work that goes into rendering an animation, a lot more than just a still image (obvi) Things include: Reducing polly until just before you can notice it, turning off all the goodies like volumetrics ect, getting the render tile size just right for your scene, making sure your animation is baked, making sure your exporting in the correct format. Re-rendering so many times to see how many samples you can toss at it before it hits my magic number of 4:30 per frame, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW TO USE MOTION BLUR BEFORE USING IT LOL. ← there went like 12 hours of render time this week. The list continues but the gist is there are a lot of things that need to go right for an animation to playback when it’s done. I wasted about 8 hours of render time exporting to a format that doesn’t even really exist. If VLC can’t play it, it doesn't exist right? Lol. But yeah. Once I got everything rolling it actually went very well. My main computer is very stable so it didn’t crash. And it stayed stable. Every night I got about 7 seconds of video out, I would set a new one for the day while I was at work and usually end up with about 10-12 seconds as long as everything went right. I did have have consistent calculations for render times. One time I planned it so it would finish when I got of work at 4. When I got home at 4:05 I had 3 frames left which is about 10min. That means I calculated out 240 frames to within 15min. Not. Fucking. Bad. I mean there were some problems with dropped frames (I blame the encoder) but I was able to just render out those specific frames and plug them in in premiere. Speaking of post. I did very little. I was too busy working on the scene and I didn’t really have time to do a proper edit. Plus all I had to work with was non color adjustments, brightness, contrast, curves. I’m sure I’ll do an edit later but I’ll just put it in renders for yall. Over the week I made adjustments but I really hit a peak when I added glass. I had this dope vision of rings which you will see in the media but it became too busy too quickly. I’ll end up re-rendering the best animation (the long 10 second one) with higher sample and res. Eventually I want to make a sick instagram post with like 4 or 5 different animations.

That’s it for the animation but now it’s time for the other small thing I did this week. A stupid fucking rocket hangar or something. Idk. But with dropping all of the cloth last week. I wanted to do that some more. I saw brad making something that looked like a rocket ship so I made a hangar in tandem. Little did I know he was making a bullet. BUT I continued on my path. I was in too deep. I mean I mad hand rails and everything. But I made it so I could drop cloths on stuff. So I made a pile of classic tubes and dropped a cloth on it. LOOKS GREAT. Cool. Lets do it again with something else. I wanted to put some guns under a cloth so I made a Bastion from Overwatch. I can’t ACTUALLY model so I made a shape that resembled Bastion. It actually worked. I spent 10 min on it and it really kinda has a gatling gun look under that clay ass tarp. This next week I might dive into texturing again. I won’t get better unless I try and the results out there are promising. These clay renders are cool but I NEED TO TEXTURE if I want to get better. This is going to be a REALLY long next couple long as I don’t blow my brains out on my monitor.

Overall I had great success. Most everything went to plan and I got some of the longest animations I have ever produced AND they look cool. I’ll put that one down as a win.