More Fiddling with “The Barrier” Animation – 2014 September 21

I made a little more progress on the new version of scene 1 for “The Barrier” this week. I have both a truck and a car for the scene now. I added a lot of trees and played around with the terrain a bit. I posted a test animation.

My first task Monday was to design and create the truck. In the current version of the movie, Arthur calls the truck a semi, but I decided it would be easier to do a cube van.  It was easier to do than the car and went fairly quickly.  When I imported it into the Gladstone set, it came out huge and I needed to scale it down. Later in the week, when I did some modifications later in the week, I did the re-scale before the import. I did the same for the car. I did a test animation with both the car and truck.  I messed up the animation of the truck and it jumped around a bit, so it was hard to get at a good idea how it would look.

I made some changes to the truck Tuesday, including some headlights. I modified the car as well. I added a steering wheel and head lights  to the car.  I modified the car’s front bumper as well. I pulled the revised vehicle both into the Gladstone set.  I had to fiddle with scale, but it wasn’t as difficult.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I modified the set extensively. I trim out sections of the terrain that I didn’t think I needed. I added hundreds of trees, I wanted to give some of them different colors, but I ran into trouble with that, so I just let them be. The terrain still has some open spaces, but the forest does look more realistic.  I added some rocks along the river and gravel along the side of the road. They didn’t look very good. I will have to try something else. I modified the water so it would be move so it would looks like flowing water. All these additions to the set slows down the animation render quite a bit.

Thursday I revised the animation plan. I calculated the positions of the car and truck at key points on the time line. That proved to be slow tedious work, but I think I have it right now. It will come in handy when I start to work on the animation.

Friday I discovered that the car, the truck and the elements of the set were of different scales. The truck was easy to fix. The car wasn’t so easy. After I re-scaled it, the car looked too squashed down. I didn’t want to re-scale the height, because then the tires would look oval. Instead, I moved the top of the car up relative to the rest of the car. I think I might raise it up a little more. I was worried that the trees were out of scale, but when I did a test animation, they looked OK to me.

One thing I still don’t really understand about Blender is how the co-ordinate system works. I had to work out how to convert the co-ordinate system for the roadway to the co-ordinate system for the whole set. I need to do that so I can use the time and positions of the car and truck for the animation. After some fiddling about, I came up with a couple of formulas to do the conversion.

Saturday I put more detail into the animation plan for what happens to the car after it avoids the truck.  I suspect that once I have everything set up, that I will need to make some further adjustments.

I am still not very sure how I will handle camera movement. Three of the five cameras I plan to use for the scene have track the car and will need to move during their shots. One idea I had was to link the camera to the car but I am not sure that will work. I’ll have to experiment with that. My other idea is to set the first position of the camera relative to the car and then do the same for the end point. That should give it the same speed as the car and have it not move relative to the car.

One camera is a close up of the driver’s seat and I expect that will be the most difficult. I plan to composite in the image of the driver, and if there is any relative movement, the shot won’t work. On the other hand, the drivers point of view shouldn’t be very hard.

Finally, I created a short test animation to see how it all looks. It isn’t a shot I plan to use in the final scene. Please have a look at the test animation and let me know what you think of it.

Note: You can watch version 0.6 of “The Barrier” here: I hope to have a final version done some day.

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