combining blender with traditional animation

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Tiznaught
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combining blender with traditional animation

Post by Tiznaught » Tue May 16, 2006 8:03 am

After studying the techniques used in recent Ghibli films (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle) I am very curious about any possible capabilities blender might have in combination with traditional 2D animation? Such as subtle steam and water effects, for example, or realistic camera zoom and truck.

SirDude
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Post by SirDude » Wed May 17, 2006 10:34 pm

Sure you can get great results. This is more upto the artist at this point though
I think. Or do you have specific things that you think should be improved in
blender to help this?

For example South Park the tv show is made with Maya, which seems somewhat unintuitive.
http://www.spscriptorium.com/SPinfo/Mak ... thPark.htm

Tiznaught
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Post by Tiznaught » Thu May 18, 2006 12:27 am

it's more the integration of media that confuses me, I've only been able to find tutorials and examples of creating purely 3D media, rather than those pertaining to mixed media, hence where my questions arise. and I heard that video can be imported to blender, but it needs a plugin for tracking to create effects?

UglyMike
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Post by UglyMike » Thu May 18, 2006 1:33 pm

YEARS ago, there was a kind of Blender Benchmarking scene which was called "Blacksmith" or so and it featured a very nice mix of 2D animation (Amiga format?) and 3D animation. I'm sure it must be around here soomewhere....
The people at Blendernation will surely be able to help..

SirDude
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Post by SirDude » Thu May 18, 2006 2:35 pm

This is more a user question you should ask on the user forums.

The blacksmith demo is a good example though and can be downloaded here:
download.blender.org/demo/old_demos
or
ftp://ftp.cs.umn.edu/pub/blender.org/demo/old_demos

Tiznaught
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Post by Tiznaught » Thu May 18, 2006 9:05 pm

thanks a ton guys :) I'll check out blacksmith for sure.

alt

Post by alt » Fri May 19, 2006 8:53 pm

Couldn't resist..

In all animation, including traditional 2d, separate layers are created and composited later on. 3d can be used for rendering some effects for later compositing or creating matching backgrounds for already animated characters or making 3d characters for painted backgrounds.
In any case, drawn animation is rarely brought to 3d app for final rendering, instead material from multiple sources is composited and graded in compositing app or in 2d animation package (like TOONZ).

Basic workflow with the Blender would be making a card (plane) and loading an animated image sequence as a texture for that card. Then you can place it (face to the camera) in 3d world.
Use that blacksmith for details.

Tiznaught
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Post by Tiznaught » Sat May 20, 2006 3:59 am

thanks Alt, it makes much more sense now. I'll go elsewhere for any other questions (sorry, I only found Blender at the beginning of the year and didn't have as much time as I wanted to explore it; I didn't hear anything about Blacksmith until I posted here). thanks again!

osxrules
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Post by osxrules » Sat May 20, 2006 1:03 pm

I tried this recently because I was mixing 2D characters with 3D scenery and I just ended up doing still shots. The problem is that any camera movement in a 3D scene changes the perspective and throws it off the perspective shot by the 2D artist.

I'd imagine the easiest way to do it with a moving camera is to render the 3D elements first and then draw the 2D elements around them. For a static camera, it's easy enough to match the 3D camera to the 2D perspective and then mix the layers.

One of the biggest films that did this sort of thing was Iron Giant. Even with something that professional though, you can still see where some 3D elements don't quite blend in. It's very difficult to do.

What you need to make sure of first is that you have a powerful enough toon rendering engine. I didn't find Blender's to be good enough as it wasn't very good at detecting internal edges or transparency so I attempted to get it working using a 2-pass Renderman method.

It sort of worked and I got better edge detection plus transparency but I ended up using a lot of post-pro and it didn't look all that good. One of the biggest problems with toon shading is aliasing because if you use an unstable edge detection algorithm then between successive frames, edges can 'pop' in and out of shot and so you get flickering (temporal aliasing).

If you do 3D characters then Blender might be ok. Sago at Blenderartists has done some really nice toon style renders with it. Compositing will still be a big part of it so the next Blender version should help a lot with it supporting render passes (another reason I went the Renderman route).

joeri
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Post by joeri » Mon May 22, 2006 4:19 pm

There are some special features in blender that make importing 2d animation on planes easier then in other apps.
Z-offset (for having correct 3d space camera movement position but making sure the foot gets rendered over the ground)
ctrl-D (display alpha as a wire)

One of the first projects we did with blender is morkramia2, it had (drawed) 2d character animation implemented inside a (photoreal) 3d world. That's where the blacksmith scene comes from. Sometimes the 2d cardboard characters where to flat, but it worked in most of the shots, specially because the paralax is always correct when the 2d characters are in the 3d scene.

one of the presumptions you might want to let go of is that the 2d needs to fit the 3d perspective (as osxrules seems to forget). If you need them to fit then you are going to need crafted 2d animations.
You can hardly see the 3d in heffalump (winnie the pooh). But it's there in alot of places. Planes with 2d drawn textures and a 3d camera moving around that is. All lots of fun.

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