Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » Development Update (odds and ends)


Development Update (odds and ends)

on January 6th, 2010, by ideasman42

Since my last post and over the holidays I have mostly been working on smaller things which I didn’t even think it worth posting about, some of these were requested for specific tasks, others were just for fun. Recorded 5 videos, read on for the other 3.

And before you ask, all this is in the public subversion builds.

Shape Key Transfer

Grease Pencil Depth

Camera Switching

AutoDepth (back from 2.4x)

Baking (back from 2.4x)

Other developments

  • Solidify Modifier (much requested, after the editmode tool)
  • Sequencer copy Paste, needed for comparing 2 versions of the animated storyboards.
  • Presets, Render/Cloth/SSS
  • API Reference, now generate using the sphinx documentation system (used by Python)
    Access by Right Click “View Docs”, Can be searched unlike old API docs.
  • Fast ray cast, function that can be called from python.
  • Passing on maintenance of Rigify to Nathan, development continues in smaller fixes and refinements.

– Campbell

75 Responses to “Development Update (odds and ends)”

  1. spacetug Says:

    (his channel, all the videos are on there)

  2. shrinidhi Says:

    am spellbound !! greasepensil is just awesome.. thanks a lot campbell 🙂 . dont know wot u term as “worth posting”.. waiting to see tat 😛 .

  3. Francisco Ortiz Says:


    Take care on the streets.

    Most Blender users are male and maybe someday you just can’t avoid a crowd, rushing for kisses.

  4. Mike Says:

    Although, I still think the NLA is better for managing camera angles.

  5. TobiDn Says:

    Wouldn’t it be kind of neat to be able to change cameras from within the sequencer? To be able to have one or more strips for each camera view, and be able to edit the sequence using the opengl display, before even rendering! You could then just press render, and have a finished product. The different transitions should of course also work (you’d just have to render double the number of frames during the transitions).

    I think it’d be nice to have something that close to regular movie editing, anyway 🙂

  6. Cris Polecat Says:

    Great great guys! Just wanna ask something: how long takes a build that you’re current using to be compiled from graphicall? Maybe is a really stupid question 🙂

    Thanks for your all magic work

  7. Fabio Says:

    I think what Cris meant to ask is: when can we expect to see a stable release of this? Do you work on a schedule, is it possible to give us a release date? Based on what you’ve done, can you take a wild guess in, say, months?

  8. ideasman42 Says:

    @me: regarding camera switching. I think we’re on the same page mostly.
    It could work like this…
    – Camera slots are managed internally, users can just key cameras from a scene camera dropdown (as a number of people suggested).
    – Blender would update on deleting objects and adjust the animation curve too when slots are added/removed.
    – Use animated curves, otherwise we need to have some different animation system/interface which IMHO is too much just for this feature. The camera names could be displayed on the left of the fcurve view, curves draw with sharp changes to show its switching from 1 camera to another.
    – Users don’t need to be aware of these camera slots unless they use the curve view.
    – This way we get nice camera keyframing that fits into the existing animation system.
    This isn’t that big of a project so could be done before durian ends if I get some time.

    @acro, the problem with camera switching is that it needs to be implemented in a nice way, dont think its especially hard. Above I mention a way that I thinks nice enough.
    Glad you like the mouse warping. This will be in any recent graphicall build. I added this mainly because I remember having angry moments when transforming some objects and having the mouse hit the screen limits… grr. Its also much better for a vertical layout when you have buttons that drag horizontally.

    @TobiDn & Mike, a track view could be nice for switching cameras however the sequencer and NLA both are dealing with different kinds of data so it doesn’t not make sense to put camera switching in these, and defining a new kind of track view JUST for camera switching is overkill IMHO. Some kind of animation event system could be good but this is a much bigger project. – Almost like game logic in the animation system if it was done properly.

    @Cris & Fabio, Artists have a desktop icon on their ubuntu systems which downloads and compiles an up-to-the-minute blender. So fixes can be used within a few minutes of developers committing them.
    As for releasing – blender is a huge project and each of us only maintains a small part. Its very heard to say but more then 6months at least.

  9. Skwerm Says:

    Wow! All I can say is “Wow!”

    Camera switching question: When rendering out to file (images or video) is there a mechanism for file naming that would be used to differentiate which camera rendered which files?

  10. Bao2 Says:

    Impressive work Campbell !!!
    2.5 is going to be really impressive. Thanks for the videos.

  11. Dong Jum Ill Says:

    Dude, switch your viewport rotation to ‘turntable’ please, It’s killing me in your videos. That way the screen won’t go all tilted every time you rotate!

  12. Dong Jum Ill Says:

    I forgot to add, thanks for the Baking!

  13. yoff Says:

    Good job, nice bunch of features 🙂

  14. Rudiger Says:

    The grease pencil looks really cool and I would love to see it developed further.

    Sure, it wouldn’t have priority for Durian, but here are some features that I think would be cool:
    1. Let it be possible to set properties for them like width and color and allow them to be directly renderable.
    2. Pressure sensitive to control line widths
    3. Animatable (step or interpolated)
    4. Ability to close shape and create fill
    5. Ability to tweak lines after they’ve been drawn

    Just imagine how quickly you could throw together an animatic with real blender camera moves with these features.

    I haven’t used Blender much but intend to start when 2.5 gets more stable, so apologies if any of these don’t make sense. I know Python pretty well, so maybe I could write it myself.

  15. Saverio Says:

    (sorry Rudiger)
    6. Ability to convert the grease pencil contour on the mesh surface in actual mesh geometry (a bit like the retopo tool…i’ve seen a similar feature in a video on youtube, i think the 3d package was zbrush)

  16. Achim Luebbeke Says:

    @ Campbell: This might be small steps for you, but they are big steps for our imaginations! 😉
    @ Rudiger: I thought about requesting your points as well, but had a look at the grease pencil to see how it already works within the current version that I use: 2.49b. – And – what can I say – your first three feature requests are already available – except allowing them to be rendered.

    I would like to see that we can render the grease pencil, too. Maybe, simply convert them into particles which show up only in the given frames?
    But, probably you only need to add a button to switch the visibility in the render options?

  17. Rudiger Says:

    @Saverio: Great idea!
    @Achim Luebbeke: Animatable? Really? I must investigate!

  18. me Says:

    That would appear to address my main concern.

  19. Guybrush Threepwood Says:

    Thanks Campbell!
    The videos are very good to understand your new features and make it easy for us to understand the benefits.
    Hope everybody is healthy. In my region of germany (Stuttgart) many people have been sick over the holidays.
    Aussies, enjoy the snow 😉

    2010: The year of Durian.

  20. Niko40 Says:

    Great features indeed… So I did test some of it already and I think that the autodepth rotation in trackball could use some more work. Now if I rotate around from something that’s in the center of the srceen it works great but when I rotate around surface that’s near the edge of the 3d viewport, it rolls the screen around like it would normally do when rotating from near the edge of the viewport. I’d prefer that the trackball center was under the mouse when rotating from the edge. I don’t know how this is going to work though but at the moment I can’t really work with this. With turntable it works fine but I prefer trackball. How to do rolling then would be another thing…

    It would be nice to have autodepth separately for both rolling and panning as I’m really attached to the old trackball (but I’ll try this out more of course). I already found the new panning a lot more easier. Also new zoom with Ctrl is really something I could use but I would prefer mouse wheel roolling do the original zoom. Some more options would be really nice.

    But anyway. You do great progress. Thank you all.

  21. Mr Mowgli Says:

    I really love the new additions!! Great job!

    I don’t mind using the change current camera from the timeline, however I agree with @me that it would be much better to go to a frame, select from a list (Not a dropdown) the active camera and set the keyframe for it.

    I would also love it if it if the markers were added to a bit; for instance change color if a camera change occurs on it, color coding the name to differentiate between types of markers, or even a layer, color or tag system for markers perhaps, to group things like dialog vs animation, or transitions etc.

    Just a thought!

  22. Eagleshadow Says:

    Great work I’m loving the new features!
    I have been using autodepth a lot lately, and i have to say it’s incredibly useful but sometimes in some situations it’s a bother so what would be best in my option would be to have additional option to have autodepth on only when some key is held. I don’t know how much work it is to make that but it would be megawesome 🙂

  23. Walshlg Says:

    Wonderful progress!
    Grease pencil with depth -> can we use it to make a path?
    Perhaps a rough mesh object?
    Perhaps to (re)define bone paths in animation and select bone position for a given frame along the path? (wish wish)

  24. MTracer Says:

    Funny, I thought mouse wrapping was a bug. And not a welcome one at that. But then, I don’t think the version I was using was very stable, it probably works better now…

  25. Frank_robernson Says:

    AMAZING it all is amazing there is nothing bad about your project just stunning outstanding and fascinating!!!!!