One of One: One a Day (Two… But also Three.)

This ‘One of One; One a day’ article comes to you rather late; after struggling for bloody ages yesterday, making all kinds of things, my brain went ahead and forgot about something very important; time! That’s right, after only ONE DAY, I managed to break my promise to you. But, as is the mantra of every schoolyard lothario, ‘Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’, and my guess is that after a night of loneliness, you’re ready to forgive me of my trespasses and indulge in some much needed lovin’. Textual lovin’. The best kind of lovin’.  

Before I commence though (and reinstate my position as lord of your hearts), I’m guessing that new readers probably aren’t aware of where they are or what’s going on. The answer? A short film! A short film is going on. A short film with tall ambitions, a smaller robot, a great big city, and an even bigger hole in the middle of itl! It’s true, it’s what we’re doing, and if you haven’t checked out our previous articles about the subject, I think I might cry. (So do it. Please.) For now though, this is my time to update you all on the uphill struggle that is; modelling a bunch of post-apocalyptic buildings, with no human contact to soothe my woes.  

In the last article, I mentioned that I’ve been modelling a series of 3D objects in Blender (the open-source, 3D application) to populate the backdrop for our short. Most notably, I’ve tasked myself with the construction of (at least) 20 original buildings to repeat and rotate and scale, and to fill up the scene to the horizon line. Last time I’d spoken to you I was on a grand total of 3, but I’m happy to say that I’m no longer doing so pitifully, and my Mum’s started talking to me again. We’re on 9 now, textured and ready to render, complete with gurt-big holes all over the place. I’ve also modelled the base-meshes for two more buildings, and flat-packed them ready for photoshopping at a later date.

Here yesterday’s four (and some of the others) , all in a row!

scene 3

(Dat compression doe)

Now, as I mentioned in earlier posts, these buildings aren’t particularly detailed (as far as the mesh is concerned) so they look a bit like sick close up. However, there’s a good reason for this; with god-knows how many buildings I’m going to need to populate the scene, I need to keep the file-size to a minimum, and keep the render-times at a manageable level. Also, these buildings are (for the most part, I think) going to be displayed at a much greater distance from the camera than you’re seeing here. I mean, sick looks good from a distance, right? Like lumpy yellow snowflakes I’d imagine… All unique and delicate, and filled with magic… However, that being said, it might be the case that the world doesn’t quite agree with my imagination, and it just looks like vomit. in which case, a few higher-detail meshes will need to be made for closer buildings. But, that’s not such a big deal, and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

scene 4

scene 5

Anyway, something I managed to do today (as exciting as this is) was to get rid of a disgusting amount of clutter from the project file itself. In the last post, I briefly went over the fact that this isn’t the first city I’d tried to build for this film, and that the last attempt was pretty badly thought out. Turns out, it was so badly thought out, that when I cleared all the buildings from the scene, I managed to reduce the file size from 1.9 GB of data (which is kind of like loading John Goodman into Blender) to a much less morbid 90 mb. (A Steve Buscemi sized package). Having done that, the use of things like ‘RayPump’, a kind of external render farm (although they insist it’s something different) actually becomes feasible! Top stuff.

But, as everyone does, after ages decorating buildings and giving myself a heavy dose of RSI, I needed a break from the manic world of building creation. I decided it was high time I start thinking about special effects; namely, smoke! Originally I’d hoped to render smoke inside Blender, and have it do things like pour from One of One’s chimneys, but for a long time, Cycles (the renderer that I’m using) was incompatible with the internal smoke simulator. However, with the release of Blender 2.71, I can resume that bad ol’ habit that was so hard to quit (if only virtually) and strike a match on these buildings. Wanna peek? Here you go. (The render was taking too long so this is all you’re getting!)


For a first attempt, I guess it’s not totally awful, but I’m sure I can do better. I’ll update you as I experiment. But, as you’ve caught a cheeky glimpse of the 1st building I’ve made today, why not throughly embarrass the second? Take a long hard look (and make sure not to blink)

scene 6 copy

I’m sorry to say that this is pretty much everything for today, but I WILL be back tomorrow, to join hands with you again. (However, as I’m moving my Dad into his new flat, our time together might be brief), As ever, feel free to like/share/follow us (because we need all the reassurance we can get) and make sure to leave any questions/comments/insults you might have in the comment box below. I’m so lonely I might just reply. Maybe. (Definitely.)

Thanks for reading,

Lots of Love,

Henry Gale

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