some “real-world” stuff

so i thought i’d share a bit about what i do in the “real world”.
which is ironic because what i do in the real world isn’t really in the “real world”, or at least not until it becomes a print*.
let me explain…

in the last half of 2019, the company i work for (in the marketing and art department) had a need for a somewhat realistic looking 3d animation but when we explored the cost of commissioning a job from a studio, my employer balked at the rapid ballooning of his budget and squashed the idea.

however, the idea stuck with me, and having previously learned and loved Google Sketchup, and thus feeling armed with a fairly decent understanding of 3d modelling, i searched for an animating package at a decent price and re-discovered an application called “Blender“.
“re-discovered”, because I had downloaded and installed it in an earlier version some years before, but back then it was pure geek wizardry and witchcraft to me. The interface was more like the workplace of a nasa software engineer than someone concerned with just making pretty pictures.
also, at the time, there was no youtube to help you, and help was certainly what i neeeded for coming to grips with the complex software it was already growing into.
this is because Blender is both a powerful and deep application for the 3d modelling and animating, VFX and video editing community, rivalling the likes of 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, etc, but also the likes of Zbrush, Houdini, Premiere Pro, After Effects and even Photoshop, or Blackmagic Fusion, if you know what you’re doing with it. it has all the basic interface usability you could want for getting brilliant looking plug-and-play effects in no time, but then it has a node setup not unlike Houdini or Davinci Resolve, or 3ds Max, i’m told, for making incredible procedural artwork, while for serious geeks, there is access to all the Python scripting you could dream of, for really getting your hands dirty with the parts lying deep under its hood.
Blender is solid and has been around for 25 years, and here’s the best part about it…

it’s completely free.

if you use any of these tools i mentioned on a daily basis, chances are you probably already know about Blender, and although it isn’t (yet) completely compatible with the software and workflow pipelines of major animating houses such as Pixar (which has its own custom-built from the ground up ecosystem, anyway) or Disney, or Marvel – there are more and more scenes cropping up in the movies we watch nowadays, that had their genesis or experienced a part of the creative journey in Blender.

think about it. what I’m trying to say is, we are seeing the work of open-source software in major cinematic CGI nowadays and we didn’t know it. open-source software that is becoming a part of my daily life and about which i am thrilled and delighted, because as it turns out, i’ve been dreaming about getting to do this all my life.

so, back to me…

i googled and youtubed like a demon for the last 5 months and got to know the package fairly decently (parts of it anyway. it is both seriously deep and seriously powerful at the same time, as i’ve already mentioned). thankfully, because it’s free and youtube has had time to grow up with it, there are a lot of free tutorials around within an opensource community that practices its opensource mantra by sharing experience and teaching, which is the kind of community that the other (expensive) packages lack (at least to an outsider…).

with a “foam” particle system of 360,000 particles, 8gb of RAM won’t take you far – luckily there’s motion blur to help sell the realism…

in this time, in these last 5 months, i have managed to demonstrate to my employers the value of including Blender output in our creative workflow, and while I am still building a business case for a decent machine to run it on, the results we are achieving on an old laptop, with opensource software, are amazing and are certainly adding to our brand capital already. *and yes, this includes physical prints such as rollup banners, folder inserts, etc.

anyway, i am going to be sharing some of my creative journeys with Blender, on some of the projects i have been working on, in this blog, and i will be doing it between my sometimes asinine and juvenile rantings, and so i wanted to preface it all with this introduction.

firstly to give you a glimpse into who i am in the real world, and secondly to begin singing the praises of an incredible piece of software that deserves respect and should command way more attention than it does.

oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, i decided to give up on capital letters this year, except for some exceptions.

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