• Ruben

Storyboard and Animatic: Blender

The Blender animation was supposed to be an extension of the animatic based on the script. However, due to everything being taught online now since Christmas, the unit project took longer and about halfway through the course the course leader changed the requirements to pass. Instead of the storyboard, only a short car scene must be handed in, in which we present our skills of camera placement.

While it was a relatively simple task it turned out to be one of the most stressful one so far. Mainly, because I’m staying at my parent’s place since Christmas and only have a meek laptop with a tiny screen compared to my comfortable set-up in London and Blender can be already very frustrating to work with. Secondly, the change of the minimum requirement to the Blender animatic threw me off. I ended up having not a real plan as to what the car scene should look like.

Setting up the scene in blender was fairly simple. Along a Bezier curve is a car and some environment constructed using the “Array” and “Curve” modifiers. The car drives along the curve with the “Follow path” constraint. I used the Bezier curve already for my intestine in the eyeball soup and was already familiar with it.

A large point of frustration was having a camera follow the car. It should be simple: apply the same settings to the camera as the car has, off-set the camera, so that it’s outside the car and click play. However, the car always outran the camera. A couple of days, I spent on fixing this simple issue. In the end I just deleted the car and added a new one. Problem solved.

The teacher used two cars in her example, sort of chasing each other. Trying to follow the example, I added a second car on a separate path. I gave this Bezier curve more turns, as if the second car was trying to overtake the first. Similar to the camera problem, this car was faster than the first and they would clip into each other.

Growing ever more frustrated, I took a step back, decided to keep it simple and focus on what matters, the camera angles. Eventually, I looked at car commercials for inspiration. I settled for simple narrative in my shots.

The camera looks upon an empty road as the car roars over it. It then cuts to wide shots of the car driving along a Scandinavian coastline, giving a feeling of freedom and wilderness. The shots would slowly cut closer to the car until the front is fully revealed, the most characteristic part of the car. This is then followed by a side shot, showing the car neutrally as a whole. At this point the commercial could talk about its technical features until the car comes to a stop on the road with screen space for more product information.

The Landscape is based on this picture, I found online.

The challenging part was to have this irregular pattern of grass and rock. I used some textures from and with this setup based around a noise and gradient node mixed them together.

In the end the resolution is not as high as I would have liked, but on a smaller scale the patterns start to repeat quickly. For a simple animatic it’s enough to sell the point.

I also bought a subscription to quixel to add some beautiful rock formations. After importing them into Blender, however, they toned down significantly.

For the water effect, I followed this tutorial: Had I more time, I would add more shots of the ocean. Now, it’s just briefly visible in the corner.

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