Soldado walking in the Main Plaza

April 24, 2016

Animation of a soldado walking in front of the San Fernando church in the Main Plaza of San Antonio de Bexar.

Continuing my study of animation, this render is an improvement of the previous try.  The feet make good contact with the ground thanks to a feature of MakeWalk.  I fixed some problems with the skinning of the model to the rig and I used the Blender compositor to reduce the render time by only rendering the foreground for the full sequence.

 

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Soldado animation

April 18, 2016

This weekend I took a break from model texturing and investigated the workflow for animating my Alamo characters.  The video above shows a test in which an early soldado model was animated by retargeting a motion capture file (BVH) from CMU using the MakeWalk add-on in Blender.  The character is one of my first characters based on MakeHuman.  I created the clothes in Blender and textured them using Substance Painter.  The result was animated and rendered in Blender (Cycles).

There are some obvious deficiencies: the skinning to the rig breaks down in places, the feet contact with the ground is not perfect and the motion blur seems extreme.

Despite these problems, the process was fairly easy.


Testing the model in Unreal Engine

April 6, 2016

Rendering animations in Blender can be time consuming.  Depending on the quality and image size, one frame can take 1 to 3 minutes (or longer!)  Since a second of video is 24 frames, it can take hours or days to render a movie of any interesting length.

So I am studying the use of more realtime solutions that trade some quality for speed.  In particular, I have explored Unity and Unreal game engines.  At the present time, the consensus seems to favor Unreal for graphical quality so that is what I am concentrating on at the moment.

I have spent the last few weeks developing a workflow for translating my model to Unreal (a.k.a. UE4).  So far, I have created a terrain model by making a height map from my Blender mesh and worked out the techniques for porting assets (objects and textures) to work with UE4 materials.  Some additional details that have been worked include the lighting, animating a camera, and rendering an image sequence that can be turned into a video.

The video above is a first test render of the Veramendi buildings on the un-textured terrain.