There are a lot of exterior space shots
in the 2nd half of the pilot episode, and I decided it would actually
be easier to do rough animatics of these in Blender than to sketch them
all — and it will certainly look better. So this week I’m doing a lot
of quick renderings in Blender. So far it’s going pretty well, although I
am still a little behind where I hoped I’d be. There’s still a good
chance I can get the animatic finished this weekend if “real life”
doesn’t get in the way too much!
One problem with an animatic is that, while it does give
you a good plan of what you’re planning to create, it doesn’t really
communicate the visual style that the final work will have. In fact, our
animatic is a mishmash of all different styles right now.
We figured it would be nice to have a few rendered shots. And there are a
couple of shots I’m capable of rendering without any help at all. The
opening space shot in Lunatics is one of these, and I’ve made a first
pass at a full Blender rendering of it this week. These are actually
pretty easy to animate — it’s just a path animation and there are very
few elements needed. I created an Earth and a Moon for this based on
NASA imagery and a nice Blender Guru “Realistic Earth” tutorial by Andrew Price.
The Moon I created took some considerable clean-up work to get
rid of artifacts, but I think it came out pretty nicely. The color data
is from the Clementine mission, which is provided by the Planetary Data
System and the USGS — I used both the “greyscale” and “multiband
true-color approximation” images. The bump map is an elevation image
created from Kaguya’s laser-altimeter measurements.
These won’t really do for the final versions of the close-up shots (not enough
polygons), but they’ll be fine for the distant shots and for use in the
I’ve also created a nice low-fidelity version of the moon shuttle
(the “service module” is from the version I posted earlier, while the
lander is an early model from Vyacheslav Yastrebcev, who has been
working on the lander). With these, I can create most of the exterior
shots for the animatic, although of course, the shuttle isn’t fully
detailed and textured yet.
I’ve now got these working to my satisfaction and will be spending
tomorrow actually making the shots I want. Then I’ll fill in the
remaining sketches I need to draw by hand, and I should have a complete
animatic sometime on Saturday or Sunday.
After that, there’s just the problem of mastering the DVD for the backers. I have used
“Q DVD Author” for this in the past, although it looks like it might be a little hard
to install now (it’s in Debian Multimedia, but not the main distribution
— and sometimes there are compatibility problems with the Multimedia
packages). There’s also “DeVeDe“, which seems to be standard in Debian now —
I’ll probably give that a try to see if it’s adequate to the task.