Sunday, June 28, 2015

Last day

Chester Poon, Sarah Schoofs, Felicia Hudson. (Chester isn't in full costume during this rehearsal.) We're green because Laura, the True Queen of the Marsians felt it should be green (remember when we thought that back on Millennium Crisis while shooting against a greenscreen? Yeah, live and learn. No screen (looking in this direction) on this picture.

Travis Pilar let me take a picture of his groovy shirt. I told him my sister was making a deck of cards based around house cats.
Felicia Hudson, Chester Poon, Sarah Schoofs, inside Varl's ship watching the sun rise.

Felicia Hudson, Chester Poon, Sarah Schoofs.
 We shot over an hour. The slate was up for a bit over 8 hours. We used a LOT of lights on this small set. Laura insisted on hitting us with a 650 Fresnel, two chiclets, and a pair of LED lights. There was a lot of whumpus on set at 400ISO.
Sarah Schoofs new dating profile pic.

Felicia and Sarah looking out on the desert plain.

Laura did this very pretty vertical line of whumpus on Chester. Jason Birdsall's set really held up.

Felicia gets shot twice in this movie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So many things

Bulletproof is no more. Everything Stu says about this makes sense. I know the feeling of things just not working out. Oof.
Creating a force field in After Effects.
Reloading the AMD drivers in Bootcamp did not solve my crashing problem. But. Oof. Seems like my Focusrite Scarlett might be the problem. That is a bummer.
It's a bit of a process to restart Windows 8.1 in safe mode.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Revolutionary Robots Review

This review of our movie Robot Revolution by The Movie Guy on Amazon is a pretty good review. I mean, I think the review is thoughtful and reasoned and dude didn't even like the movie.

I'm taking this time to comment on a review to see what we can learn from it.

In this case it is best to read the DVD cover prior to watching the film so as to understand some of the background.
 Oof.  If that really is a consensus opinion then we did do too bad a job explaining the backstory. That's a rough line to toe because you can come off way too heavy-handed and "on the nose" if you over sell the backstory. But if you under-explain the backstory it'll irk a lot of people (interestingly, not all people).

There didn't seem to be a message or theme to the madness, possibly because the story was poorly developed.
 The whole idea is that the bad guys don't exist -- they're created by the government in order to keep people in line. Granted, that's explained very briefly at the end of the movie. So I don't know if that was a mistake on our part or if The Movie Guy just missed it.

The film wasn't half bad up onto the point they had 7 people in a room basically doing nothing for a far too long period of time. After this the film lost me as far as entertainment value and continued on a downward slide.

Dang. I felt that part worked in this movie. It's always a problem in low-budget pictures like this that you have a quiet part in the middle. But I thought we'd earned enough with these characters to have that 7 people in a room talking scene.

This is a somewhat low budget film, that used some decent effects, including a cleaner robot that didn't seem to be CG. The shooting was framed well, the sound was good, I never saw a microphone.

Somewhat low budget? I think we spent $8000 on the picture altogether. I'm glad he liked the sound and the framing. Ha! I painted out most of the boom mics but the dialog was almost entirely with wireless lapel mics. But saying the cleaner 'bot didn't look CG? That's quite a feather in my cap. It's a CG robot -- it's in the creative commons even -- made by Ian Hubert.

Friday, June 5, 2015


So. I've been working in Blender for a number of years now. And I just discovered something pretty basic.

See, we render frame sequences. This means that each frame is a new file -- typically a .png image. This is better than rendering out a movie in .mov or .avi format because if/when your computer crashes or otherwise stops the render it doesn't automatically destroy the whole render -- you can pick up the render at the last frame the computer was working on.
All this time, though, I was looking in Explorer or Finder for the last frame rendered, and then I would set the first frame to start rendering on that frame, and start up the render again. But it turns out, I don't have to do that!
If you don't check the "overwrite" box in the render panel the render will automatically skip the already rendered frames. The way I thought it worked was that it would render all those frames but put like a "_1" at the end. But no, instead it just does what you want it to do.

Does it make up for the fact that you can't render out shadows without making the thing the shadows are on visible in Cycles? No. No it does not. But it's something.

Under things I must do this weekend:

Render Robot Swarm B
Render Robot Swarm C

Monday, June 1, 2015

Shadows and you

Ugh. So it turns out you can't just do a shadow-pass on an otherwise invisible plane in Blender anymore using Cycles. This is apparently because Cycles only understands "light", not shadows.
If you enbiggen the image above you'll see that our little robot does cast a shadow. But that square thing is sits on does not belong there. So I'm gonna have to render out all this nonsense and then so a crazytime job of creating an alpha channel and blah-blah-blah. This is really annoying because that's a major bit of functionality which is gone from Blender.
The environmental lighting seems much better in Cycles. But I really wish there were an easier workaround with this dang shadow issue.