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    Community Sprint: Background Characters!

    on March 25th, 2010, by Colin Levy

    Heeeeyyyy guys!

    Welp, the modeling sprint we had last month was pretty awesome. Even well after the sprint had officially closed, models continued to flow into BlendSwap. There’s a total of 29 pages worth of models in the Durian category, and they’ve already been a great help!

    During the last sprint we discussed briefly doing another, with a different focus. As it so happens, we need some help with character modeling and animation for our market scene. We need tons of background characters!

    Here’s a stupid video we threw together talking about it a little bit:

    So to recap in text, this will be a two-part sprint for modeling and animation. We will supply a few rigs to be animated. The actions that are animated will be able to be applied to a variety of characters. So if you animate Sintel like a weak old man, we can take the old man model that someone else makes and just give him that animation. πŸ™‚

    Before the Sprint we will post a document with more details about the actual *content* we’re looking for, with model sketches, a list of actions, models you can download, a few screenshots and a description of the scene. Also more details about how it’s gonna work.

    Again, we will be meeting in the #blenderdurian IRC channel on the FreeNode network, on Saturday, March 27th, between 1-2:00pm GMT+1 (Amsterdam), 12:00-1:00pm GMT. (Refer to Getting Started in Blender IRC if you’re not familiar with irc.) We’ll be in and out of the chat all weekend.

    Sorry this is a bit more last-minute, but hopefully we’ll still get a decent turnout! Looking forward to it.


    63 Responses to “Community Sprint: Background Characters!”

    1. Dykam Says:

      Private vid…

    2. Pablo Vazquez Says:

      YouTube is taking some time to make it public, and for some reason seems down now, just give it a few minutes πŸ™‚

    3. Dykam Says:

      Noticed yah… why not use Vimeo, never saw Vimeo being down.

    4. RNS Says:

      you guys are too early for April fool yet. here is a good one- 260 blender will go commercial with NewTek LightWave.not funny uh?

    5. spacetug Says:

      too bad, I will be trying to manage the delivery of 6300 bags of mulch to 200+ people that day…

    6. johantri Says:

      YAY !!! so there’s gonna be re-targeting animation indeed !! this is soo orgasmic ^_^

    7. tyrant monkey Says:

      ha I knew something like this was going to happen, I remember asking about background characters and all. I wish there was more time for this I am not exactly the speediest modeler but am sure I could knock out a character.

    8. Denny Lindberg Says:

      An animation sprint? This sounds interesting! I might try to help out and learn a bit more about Blender. I’m used to handling graphs and characters, I hope I just need to learn the basic keyframing and manipulate controls and I should be right at home!

      See you on IRC on Saturday!

    9. Agus Says:

      At 9:10am -3GTM Youtube is still down, WORDLWIDE!

    10. tin2tin Says:

      Wow, the entire is down!

      The site throws an error:
      Http/1.1 Service Unavailable

    11. pine Says:

      Lol, quite some power behind us Blenderheads, to take out youtube even =)

    12. JoOngle Says:

      Well, now it gives a message about “This is a private video, if you have been sent this video, please make sure you accept the sender’s friend request πŸ˜‰

    13. Tea Monster Says:

      No, it must be a secret plot by the people at Dreamworks!

    14. D Says:

      I hope this will be as successful as the first sprint.
      Hi new team members! πŸ˜€

    15. Lee Says:

      Should work now guys, looks like youtube is back up (I wonder if it was hacked??).

      Let us know if there’s any more problems!


    16. Hermoor Says:

      Yeah youtube seems to be down, what if everything has crashed beyond recovery!! And youtube will have to be recreated…so many videos will dissapear. Since every minute about 10 000 videos are being uploaded.

    17. domy_graphy Says:

      very friendly office

    18. Jacob Says:

      @Dykam Vimeio takes time to convert it πŸ™ it has like a 45 minute wait time…

      Thanks for the news!

    19. Bao2 Says:

      I hope we don’t have only two days to make an animation or a character… In that time I could do nothing.
      But waiting for further instructions, I am interested in the animation one.

    20. acro Says:

      Hah, someone freakishly read my mind! I was practicing animation and walks with Nathan’s biped a few days ago.
      Would anyone consider posting a sprint-compatible rig and some setup instructions some time before the sprint starts? I managed to make an inept, kludging linking mess when trying to play with the last rigged Sintel posted (the facial rig post). I’d hate to tune in on Saturday only to spend sprint time trying to set up a scene file to work on.
      Anyway, this looks great and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. Cheers!

    21. Agus Says:


      COLIN, what happened with the next Directorial Address? hope you can make some time for make it, community deserves it!
      By the way, Great job!

    22. Frank_robernson Says:

      Well, if you look at other things, like game company’s use repetitive background characters to fill in that empty scene with lower poly-count too speeds this up, sequences would have video playing in the background, with the polygonal characters composited on top.

      Hooded figures are used a lot in games and movies this brings a lot of cultural and depth of people not wanting to be noticed an UWP, Unidentified animated person but also someone or some people who are seen just not important enough to remember, so there simplicity is the key and which keeps your main characters important.

      Sorry I can not contribute as I’m busy busy busy .

      Best of luck with the sprint.

    23. Bernard Says:

      So the new title is Sprintel ! great πŸ˜‰

    24. George Kim Says:

      You would definitely need to ensure a consistency in the “style” of the new characters. Why not give us a basic “mesh”–that is–a fully formed and rigged human character that sprint-participants can adjust its facial features, hairs, and so on to give it a needed individuality. I believe it would save a lot of time.

    25. P@ddy_anim Says:

      bring out the ‘few rigs’ to be animated. I’m sue the community can move them. this is a great idea. love it. what time is 1pm amsterdam in Sydney Australia? (3am?)

    26. Jan - 2 Says:

      youtube is up and running now. Hey ‘Angus’ that was a mini Directorial Address, I bet Lee’s mum and dad are ecstatic they they got a hello over in Australia. Another sprint great can’t wait to see the results.

    27. P@ddy_anim Says:

      What version of blender are we using – i’m getting lots or crashes with my latest….svn 27718

    28. Simon Says:

      Aw you guys got a ball to play with! Do want. So much fun….

    29. belich Says:

      im in!!! =^.^=

    30. loopDuplicate Says:

      I’ll bet lots of people can help because it lasts all weekend.

      By the way, for those of us in the US, Noon in GMT (or 1PM in Amsterdam, GMT+1) =

      Pacific Coast (california) = GMT-7 = 5AM
      mountain = 6AM
      central = 7AM
      eastern = 8AM

    31. gustav Says:

      It would be nice if you could post some references (saw some awesome ones in the video) or at least pictures of what style you’re aiming at.

    32. thedaemon Says:

      What if I can’t make it to irc but I still want to animate?

    33. Paulo Bardes Says:

      Dolf was working in something we couldn’t see? Looks like the splash image of alpha 2….

    34. Paulo Bardes Says:

      Other question will we have another life stream???

    35. kABHIr Says:


      The environment is really cool i guess its really cool and fun to work in open movie projects.

      Anyways all the best for the project and have fun.

    36. Rob Cozzens Says:

      Sounds great. This weekend is a bit busy for me, but if I submit some stuff on Monday or Tuesday, you’ll still be able to use it I hope.

    37. Fabio Says:

      Looks like you guys’ve been smoking a lot of devil’s weed out there. You’re having a lot of fun. Good luck with the animations!

    38. M@xo Says:

      Well! being only twelve, I won’t be doing really great rigs or anything, but it shoul be fun!

    39. ElephantsDream Says:

      Please tell me that there will be a Proog / Emo cameo.

    40. Lee Says:

      These videos are basically the only way we can contact the outside world these days, so we usually take a moment from our busy schedules to contribute a little πŸ˜‰ see you at the sprint guys!!

    41. Becca(RedJay) Says:

      I noticed Colin’s haircut. Nice! (He mentioned it on Twitter the other day)

      I love how the video ends.

    42. ChicOrtiz Says:

      @Elephant’s Dream: 1+ vote! We need to put characters from other Blender projects hidden in the crowd! Or in the scenario far far away, like Big Buck back to a window or something… : ))

      For me isn’t clear yet if this weekend will be entirely for animation or modeling or both… πŸ˜•

    43. Paulo Bardes Says:

      I hope they put some easter eggs in the movie!!!

    44. Octavio Mendez Says:

      Great!! i can’t wait to begin!

    45. Rudiger Says:

      Anyone want to have a go at modeling the giant snail? It would seem a bit boring to have only humans in the background at the market in a world that has dragons.

      Good luck with the sprint everyone!

    46. jeff Says:

      Hahaha, the giant snail is a great idea, I remember that thing from the early concept artworks πŸ™‚

    47. Jayden Says:

      Thanks. i remember mentioning this to Lee on the IRC Chat. Can’t wait. the only problem is that it is at 9-10pm at night for me! ARHH! But I can’t wait. I hope I can get some good animations done, and some models done, for you guys to use in the final picture. Nice work so far!
      And the video was good! It actually worked! It works now.

    48. Magic_Man_3d Says:

      +1 to the easter eggs! i think it would be fun to try and find all the things you could hide in the movie.

    49. W Says:

      Easter Eggs a definite must. No doubt. Putting in Proog & Emo should be no problem, and you could have the BBB rodents scurry across as well.

      I love the idea of another sprint! I don’t have enough faith in my animating abilities to participate myself, but I might stop by the IRC and see how things turn out.

    50. kike sanz Says:

      @ W
      imagine having big white bunny from BBB
      in the snow scene walking around like sasquatch in the background πŸ™‚

    51. RH2 Says:

      Join the dark side, and be there by 6AM…

    52. Lamhaidh Says:

      What level of detail are Team Durian looking for? Are we talking people walking about and thinking etc. or are we talking about the bryan and the merchant haggling (or not as the case may be) over a fake beard?

    53. ToastBusters Says:

      One thing to remember is that if these are background characters they must NOT be distracting, but they should still move in such a way that they feel real and alive, I’d imagine going about their routines of haggling and trading in the marketplace.

      Characters further away from camera don’t need to be as detailed in their animation but anything right up close, say immediately behind the main action, should be rather refined.

      But not distracting! The last thing we need is for the audience’s eyes to wander away from the main action.

    54. Rod Naugler Says:

      Its a city of clones! the HORROR!


    55. Jayden Says:

      Can you please upload everything early before the sprint like last time, so people in other parts of the world can have the weekend too? Because if you upload it at around 1-2pm your time, I will only have less then a day to do something, and I want to model something and make some animations! Because I didn’t have time to finish my steep rocky mountain ridge for the modeling sprint. but if you upload everything early like before, that would be great.

    56. Shinobi Says:

      Please, post as soon as you can everything we need for the sprint.

      We just need to know “early” what do you aim at to be productives so give us concept sketches, styles, models, rigs and everything cuold be useful for visualize and organize our work.

      Because the sprint asks a hard task this time and give us very little time to realize it. So please, be complete and exhaustives πŸ˜‰

    57. Obscure Says:

      What would be really useful is quality criteria.
      For instance, Body and Clothing separate meshes or all in one.
      Maximum sculpt levels/ polygon limits. Hi res vs low res.
      Given your going for a Bazaar/market cultural diversity is probably not an issue??
      Full bodies or are just faces fine.
      Any other limitations that need to be set to get what you want.

    58. Paulo Bardes Says:

      @kike sanz

      Loved your idea!!!

    59. Paulo Bardes Says:

      Can Angela and Nathan make a quick tutorial about how to model and rig a back-ground character? It would also help us to have an idea of detail level and realism…

    60. Jayden Says:

      Paulo Bardes: If you don’t know how to model and rig a character, you shouldn’t be trying to do that for the sprint. They won’t have time to, because they are working to make durian better, and to make a tutorial, takes a while. It would be really long. Plus, that is the type of stuff they include on the dvd, when that comes out. Not now.

    61. Paulo Bardes Says:

      Yes, I know that is impossible to teach how to make good models and/or rigs in one short video, but the idea is just to give quick tips and tricks… Even when you think you know all you need, you can learn something more… ^^

    62. Jayden Says:

      Paulo Bardes: Go over to They have lots of free turoails on rigging and modelling in blender 2.5. Go check i tout!

    63. Mike Says:

      Are you going to have any Dogs or Cats or birds etc hanging around too. Walking through a market there’s always a lanky dog and a yappy little ankle biter hanging about the stalls. Seagulls hang around nagging for food also….. Just a thought.