I know its been a while... i've been quite busy with commercial content. A side effect of that commercial content is that I can afford quite a bit more than I used to, such as an advanced GPU renderer and a beefy card to go with it: The video explains how this will benefit Delura's production and gives a few comparisons between the old and new.
Figured i'd put a new universal post here until I have more news to put out. In the meantime, here are some of the plans I have for Delura:
- Replace YouTube videos on the Delura website to Newgrounds embedded ones. I finally got an upgraded internet connection so it'll really cut down the amount of time it'll take to do this. A lot of the Delura videos i've uploaded here were published before NG raised their video size limit which is why everything is chopped into little pieces (IE: all of episode 4 had to be published in separate uploads). I've also learned a thing or two about compressing video more efficiently which helps as well.
- Finish some of the incomplete sections in the Delura website such as details on the galaxy itself, planets, etc.
- Keep comics rolling weekly or bi-weekly while I work on the animated stuff. I know it isn't saying much, but it's better than silence between the gaps of animated publications.
- (long term) introduce premium content to help support Delura's production needs. So far, a large majority of the equipment/software has been funded by a combination of fan support and commercial training content. Of course, this is the "holy grail" of goals in terms of animators and getting paid to do animated content like Delura rather than taking time away to do unrelated things (IE: commercial training content, product visualizations, etc) is mindnumblingly hard.
Anyhow, I may start integrating other things from the Delura site to Newgrounds depending on how things go... i'm tempted to wait until the NG crew rolls out their new site design before doing this.
The only thing I didn't really like about the whole experience of whipping up 3.6 hours worth of 3d training content + sample scenes and all that jazz is the fact I had to take time away from Delura and other stuff I enjoy making to get it done. Apologies for that; with that huge project behind me i'll be re-focusing on publishing new Delura comics and getting animated content published here on NG and our website. Thank you all for your patience!!!
By the way, the video above served as a testing ground for some new compositing software i'm using called "HitFilm 2"... for the month of January they made their express version 100% free to download and while it isn't great for video editing (it wasn't designed for that), it is awesome for applying VFX to imagery. My only gripe about it is its bulky interface which makes working with large numbers of layers a bit more tedious than it should be... but it is still many magnitudes better than working with Blender for compositing. Over time, if Hitfilm 3 comes out and they improve on the interface bulk issues i'll shell out the cash for the "Ultimate" version with more effect templates and whatnot.
Fedora Frank showcases... well, mostly his fedora.
Just another quick and dirty test. This time with a fancy model (not made by me, sample content from Lightwave3d content files).
Legs with mocap requires a bit of cleanup since there's only 1 camera tracking movement, but I have workflows in place that can fix things quickly. In this test, I tried out mocap on a character with not-so-human legs.
In this test i'm mainly looking at performance for full body tracking. This clip only received minor cleanup on the legs, and a bit of hand-animation for the hands/head. This whole thing was done in the timeframe of a few hours... a large chunk of that was spent lugging my whole computer downstairs and plugging it into the living room so that I had space to move around.
A limitation of only using a single kinect camera is that it has no way of tracking you if you turn beyond 30-40 degrees away from the camera, and if your arms or legs overlap significantly it will have to guess where they actually are (which is often wrong).
I can do most of the simpler dialogue shots I need for Delura with the computer upstairs using mocap, but a little spring cleaning is going to be needed before I can do the stuff like shown in this video without hauling the compy downstairs.
However, I'll need time to get myself familiarized with all the functions, nuances and whatnot. For right now, I focused on testing facial tracking:
The system we're using is Lightwave's NevronMotion, which is a retargeting and motion capture addon. Nevron uses a single Kinect camera for tracking body and face movements... while this is considered a very low quality motion capture solution I feel it is still a worthy investment.
I'll be posting more tests on the NG blog as I wrap my head around all the tools and features; so far they are straightforward, but it is always a matter of getting to that point of zen where you don't have to pause and think while working.
The Lightwave sample content which (purchasers get access to after buying it) isn’t something I really seriously looked at, partly due to the huge download filesizes, and also due to the fact that I assumed that the content was only really for studying from and had strict licensing applied. I was surprised to find that most of the content is actually labeled as free to use in production (commercial or otherwise)! There’s a lot of useful content I feel would mesh well with Delura (with minor modifications of course) and it would be a shame to deny them of some screentime. I just wish the artists names were paired with all of the models so that I could give credit where its due. I suppose the best that I can do in that case is to cite that some content originates from the Lightwave 3d Group. Either way, I am very thankful for this find. Good examples are like in the picture shown; some of the sample robot characters could be modded up to quickly create new mechanized Brakkian extras. Now speck finally has someone to talk to.
Also, this new NG blog system rocks! Waaaaaayyy better than before!