July 2017 Summary


  • Articles published about Virtual Studio, TACTIC, and Afanasy.
  • Dug trenches. Laid pipe and cable for East Run and connected power to the office/library.
  • Cleaned and repainted my office. Set up the new large monitor.
  • Katrina Niolet worked on Qt mockup for KitCAT application.
  • Presentation at ArlingCon 2017.
  • Presentation on Virtual Studio (Prepared but not delivered).
  • Tutorial for Keneisha Perry on script for controlling character rig (mainly facial expressions).

Virtual Studio Addendum

Jul 27, 2017

Virtual Studio Addendum

Afanasy Schema
Schema diagram for Afanasy render farm manager (from the project site).

Apparently, our Virtual Studio project is interesting to more than just us. I got a number of remarks about it. Since then, partly due to input I received after the post, I can make some minor changes to my plans.

Post from our Production Log about some minor changes to our Virtual Studio plans, including a different render manager backend and a solution for our repository storage limits.

Studio Progress and Development Plans

Jul 20, 2017

Studio Progress and Development Plans

Virtual Studio Plan
2017 revision of our Virtual Studio Plan (the target platform).

Happy Moon Day 2017!

It’s been over a year since I first posted this video explaining what we need in a virtual studio platform: I said then that there would be a later video talking about how to actually get there from here, and I expected to do that in a couple of months.

It’s been a very busy year for infrastructure development. We’ve mostly been working on our studio — both the physical building and the software “virtual studio” that we are putting together. This post from our production blog is all about that.

Selected Comments:

Instead of rendering files locally, RenderChan can generate a list of tasks to CGRU/Afanasy. Then Afanasy will distribute them among the managed computers of its renderfarm. It might be tricky to set up at first this integration (since I haven’t time to document it yet), but I will be happy to help. For me this could be a good occasion to make documentation page.


Video Summary

“Safety” Title Sequence

This was a version of the titles for “Lunatics!” that I created to make sure I had titles ready. I replaced them with the titles you see in the “ArlingCon” preview, and then again, with updated fonts and animation later.



  • ArlingCon Presentation Arrangements.
  • Discussion with Katrina Niolet about KitCAT design.
  • Updates from Keneisha Perry about character models, rigs, and animation.

Katrina had experience with Python and PyQt for GUI development. We talked through requirements, and I made several comparisons to existing software, and desireable features. She came up with a PyQt mock-up for the software. We never went beyond that, though.

ArlingCon was a one-day-only convention on Saturday.

Keneisha was pushing to finish animation quickly, but I’m afraid I was holding us back on a number of sequences I wasn’t really ready for on assets and so forth.

I also produced a screencast specifically for Keneisha to explain the character armature scripting that I had added — which was ultimately derived from a simplified model and rig for “Sintel”, that was published on BlendSwap:


ArlingCon 2017 Presentation

I prepared a lot of slides for a presentation about “Lunatics!” at ArlingCon, which is a small local science-fiction / fantasy / anime / cosplay event that was sponsored by the Arlington Public Library.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to present about a show concept, but I think I came up with a good presentation.

I examined some of the philosophical themes of the show, and made some comparisons to other science fiction media:

I also talked about developing the setting:

LTS Logistics Chart

And the characters and character style — the “look” development:

And of course, a little synopsis of the first couple of episodes (although, of course, the first one is split into three, now, so it’s really the first four episodes):

And I talked a little about the project, and the team of people who had contributed to it:

I’m always a little hesitant to get specific about contributors: I want to make sure not to leave anyone out. But I also have to avoid implying too much connection, particularly for peripheral contributors like the musicians whose music we’ve appropriated under the free-licenses they’ve released them under. They may not have heard of us, and who knows if they would endorse the project, so I don’t wish to imply too much!

The main event, though, was to roll this video, which combines the “Lunatics!” preview that I had at that time with the version of the credits that was current (both have been updated 2017):

Unfortunately, the presentation was scheduled in competition with a very popular program (I’ve forgotten what, but it was something a lot of people would want to attend). So there weren’t very many people who showed up. On the other hand, I got a very warm reception by the few who did show up, and I wound up playing the video about three times. There was one kid in the front row who was really into it, which is very encouraging!


Re-painting the office. First, I scrubbed the walls as thoroughly as I could. Then I applied a special fire-damage cover paint as a primer. I also learned to use a heat gun to strip paint — I needed that to get the old paint off of my office door (which is a vintage six-panel solid door I picked up from the Habitat for Humanity “Re-Store” in Fort Worth):

Then I put on the cheery new paint, and moved in the newly painted filing cabinets:

Appearance, with the desk, computer, and one file cabinet moved in:

I got a large 4K monitor — or in fact a “Smart TV”, because it was cheaper. This turned out not to be the best choice in the long-run, but that’s a story for later. It was enormously helpful to have a large, high-resolution monitor for doing complex work in Blender, though!


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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)