Tiny Nick writes:
BLOWN APART! Is an independent animated comedy created by Nick Alberelli and Youp Zondag. Feature Gianni Sallese as Beethoven and Napoleon, plus music/sound by Michael Ferguson. This is a passion project, that is both an exploration of interesting workflows, and a creative outlet for us. At Tiny Media, we pride ourselves, in finding ways to work smarter, not harder. Our latest episode BLOWN APART! Bonaparte vs Beethoven in B flat is out now!
–Animation and Characters!
We rig every new character in the show to add them to a growing list of characters. Blender currently doesn’t have a simple cut out animation system, but using several time offset modifiers in combination with a 3D rig it is achievable. We have an internal addon we use to control these rigs, we may release a rig addon in the future. But as cut-out workflows are unique to their art styles, there is a lot of work to be done.
We love the new Pose Library system and have been utilizing it to speed up our animation, so we can focus on the story of our episodes. As Blender’s internal tools get better and better, the need for writing custom addons to do specific production level tasks is quickly diminishing.
-Line Art & 3D Environments
Because we are a small team doing this work in our spare time, 3D backgrounds and NPR techniques really benefit us. Using Line Art allows us to achieve a very specific look. Line Art is great feature instantly transforming our environments.
Grease Pencil’s anti-aliasing has really been a challenge, especially when doing camera moves. We are really looking forward to see grease pencil integrated into “Eevee next”.
-Art Direction on the Fly
Using tools like Geometry nodes we are able to quickly generate different buildings to populate our backdrops.
These are full 3D Buildings which allows us to re-use them in many episodes into the future. We use geometry nodes a lot to populate hallways, bookshelves and other easily repeatable assets.
Because in our process we prioritize creativity, we have adopted a sequencer workflow. Blender already contains 90% of the the features we need, so including a sequencer in Blender allows Blender to be the only program we need to make majority of the series. This workflow allows us to quickly navigate between shots, in the same blender file. We had to write some custom python add to be written to adapt the sequencer workflow onto our system of 2D Characters in Line Art. If there is interest we may share the full add-on eventually.
Some challenges we have with Line Art in the sequencer is that Line Art doesn’t render from sequencer perspective. Our workaround is to bake all of our sequencer cameras down to a single camera using python and assigning that as the custom camera for Line Art.
-Why we love Blender
There is no such thing as a perfect software, and Blender is just like any piece of software in that way. But it is the direction of the Blender Foundation, and their values that keeps us using Blender. As you can see above Blender allows us to create faster, it’s robust data structures and common GUI elements make it easy to scale. When I learn something in blender I can be confident that I can re-use that knowledge in other parts of the program. There is a sheer consistency that is unmatched by any other software, open source or paid.