behind the scenes at StrangewerksFilms

Giving Life to Lifeform…

We’re in the midst of creating 3D animations for our film Lifeform. The software we chose was Blender–a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software product used for creating visual effects. Here at our studio we’re doing the animation, lighting and compositing. Modeling and rigging were handled by talented Blender vets Kevin Hayes and Nathan Taylor, respectively. At last count there were forty–odd (and we do mean odd) 3D fx shots in the film, which, while it doesn’t sound like a lot, is a HUGE amount of work, not to mention render time. Currently we’re averaging a day-and-a-half to two days of render time per shot, so you can imagine how long it’s taking to wade through the list. Still, it’s worth it when you see the results…   One of the more interesting facts is that you actually output the animation as a series of still images, .pngs, which you then import into Aftereffects, in order to create an entire animation, who’d have figured that? When we designed the actual creature, I was looking to invest attributes from actual creatures in nature, in order to give it a more authentic feel. Some dinosaur plating here, some praying mantis there, a scorpion tail over here… Now we’re trying to emulate some of the physical movements these creatures make in the real world to bring the illusion home.


One tip I would give to any fledgling animators: don’t forget to use the animation curves to smooth out the model’s movements. You can use the bezier tools to make them less “roller-coaster” like–some of mine were looking like the Cyclone at Coney Island before I smoothed them out!
tip_simplify_curves_feature
The goal is to finish all the 3D shots in the next few months and then on to color correcting and sound mix! Ugh…

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4 responses

  1. Joe Falcon

    Touch it up with motion blur and vola, done. Have you thought of just digitally replacing the practical prop so that you have more consistency in appearance from shot to shot?

    January 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

  2. How many seconds (minutes?) does it take to render each frame? 😉

    January 27, 2014 at 3:18 am

  3. Is there a way I can contact you?

    February 4, 2016 at 5:22 am

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