Python scripting, model sheets, and some writing

This last week, I mostly spent getting
up to speed with Blender’s scripting interface for Python. I have to
admit to being a little anxious about this, but it’s really pretty
simple stuff once you get started (that’s always the hard part!).
Daniel’s working on the model sheets. And I’m starting to write the
structural parts of the book we’re creating as part of the production


Python scripting

I felt it was about time I started getting comfortable with python
scripting in Blender, because a major part of our concept for producing
Lunatics is the use of “real time animation” script extensions, and
particularly Brett Hartshorn’s “Pyppet” script which is currently under
development. It’s even possible, given that I do have some Python experience,
that I really ought to be helping to write it. Even if I can’t get that far, though,
I certainly will need to install, test, and maintain the software. And that means I
really need to know how the Blender API and scripts work.

Just to complicate things, Blender went through a major API change
from 2.4x to 2.5x, so I’m actually going through a two-part process:
first, I’m learning how the 2.4 API works (partly because I have book on
this), and second, I’m translating my work to the 2.5 API using the
documentation from the Blender 2.5 wiki.

So far, I’ve written a script to make pie-charts from data tables
using the 2.4 API. Not the most exciting project, perhaps, but it does
exercise the necessary skills and I do use charts to support my writing
work from time to time, so it will get used.

Model sheets

Daniel is continuing to work on model sheets. This is going a little
slower than originally estimated, but there’s no sign that that is
likely to be a problem. He’s sent me a bitmap of the “Sarah Allison”
plan views, which I’ve attached. The original files are in Adobe
Illustrator format, which I think I will be able to import into SVG (not
yet tested on these sheets, but I have worked with .AI files before). I
originally expected he’d be working with pencil on paper (or bristol,
really) as he did on the concept sheets, but working digitally has some
very nice advantages, so that’s actually a happy surprise for me.

He’s got about four other sheets in progress — I think he’s working
on them in parallel. As usually, I try not to crowd the artist too much
as long as things are moving forward.

Starting the book

We’re still not exactly sure what the book that we included as a
Kickstart reward will be called, but at minimum, it will include the
character and set design art, the script for the pilot episode, and a
writer’s guide. It will probably also include a “prospectus” or
“business plan” for the project, which talks about some production
details and how we hope to make it self-sustaining on fan-support.

This week, I’m starting on outlining the book. I want to figure out
what really needs to be in it. I’ve already decided that it needs to be
under 300 pages, so that’s my upper limit. Knowing me, that means it’ll
be 299 pages, but I’ll try to use some restraint.

Of course, this book is not just for fans, it’s also meant to be a
guide to help keep us on track on the project, and to collect a lot of
critical information together for our use. So it’s also a production
tool. Not to mention the fact that explaining our business model
reassures me that we have one that consists of little bit more than
“full speed ahead and hope for the best”!

So it feels a little bit like I’ve been flailing around working on a
half-dozen different things at once. But I’ll soon be able to settle
down a bit and focus on one thing at a time. I’m looking forward to

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Terry Hancock is the director and producer of "Lunatics!" and the founder for "Lunatics Project" and the associated "Film Freedom" Project. Misskey (Professional/Director Account) Mastodon (Personal Account)