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Lib-Ray Editions of the Animatic

As mentioned in my last update, Lunatics is on a hiatus while I work on Lib-Ray goals. In the process, though, I'm finishing up the last Kickstarter rewards for Lunatics as well, which are the three copies of the animatic in prototype Lib-Ray format. They're basically done, but there's a couple of minor problems I'm sorting out with the menus and the packaging. After some analysis, I've also got some (hopefully much more realistic) predictions about Lib-Ray and Lunatics schedules for 2013.
Lib-Ray Editions of the Animatic

Cover art for the Lib-Ray Edition of the Animatic

Lunatics Status and Future Planning

We've completed all of the pre-production work that was funded from our first Kickstarter, back in December 2011. Since we finished in late December and delivered rewards in January, that makes us about nine months later than we originally predicted. On the other hand, what we delivered was a lot more complete than originally planned (we had expected to have only a temporary soundtrack with Rosalyn and Terry doing all of the voices, but instead we've been able to deliver the full-cast audio). We raised $2410 for Lunatics in that Kickstarter, and in 2012 we actually spent $5700 on Lunatics expenses, all told -- so our personal contribution to this was about $3300, which covered equipment expenses, some advertising and promotional expenses, and the seven $200 commissions for 3D-modeling work.

There were considerable problems going into the production fund-raiser in the Summer -- essentially we just weren't ready, and there was no way to make that up, though we tried valiantly. Looking back on it, I would say the big mistake was advertising the campaign launch date in advance, and thus being forced to launch before we were ready. A delay of just a week or two might have made a big improvement then, although it's unclear if it would've been enough, because we still have a lot to prove about our capabilities, and we didn't have enough available. So I think it was perceived as too high risk.

That's why I have not yet announced a launch date for the campaign we plan to run this Spring. Instead, I'm basing my plans on completing a checklist of requirements. And of course, I won't even be working on those until I finish the requirements for Lib-Ray. So, basically, this is what's driving the schedule:

Lib-Ray Milestone Requirements (and Status):

  • Working software player (50-70%?)
  • Informal Description of Lib-Ray Standard ("Introduction to Lib-Ray", with enough detail to make one -- 95% done)
  • Master "Sita Sings the Blues" (70%?)
  • Master "Blender Open Movies Collection" (10%?)
  • Describe mastering process in detail (80% done -- this is just updating and extending the series I wrote for Free Software Magazine in 2012)

Overall, I'd say I need at least  two weeks for this still, possibly as much as four weeks (and if it takes more, it just does).

Then there's the following needed before I think we can launch a new campaign for Lunatics (in more-or-less the order they need to be done):

  • Demonstration of Digital Puppetry Technique (0% done -- this is probably the most critical risk and needs to be resolved)
  • Teaser Trailer (40% done? We have the models, but they need some rework and re-integration, then animation)
  • Blocking Model of Colony (20% done -- I have a plan for this set and a couple of module models started. Not hard, but time-consuming)
  • Finished CG model space shots of LTS, Earth, and Moon (60% done -- you've seen these in the animatic, but they need detailing)
  • Audio voice recording and mixing for second episode "Earth" (50% done - still have to mix. Of course, we already have this for the pilot, as well as the animatic).
  • Detailed cost-breakdown and projections of production schedule and expenses (more bean-counting and more accurate/conservative schedules! I have some ideas in my head, but I need to write them down and do the math)
  • Re-connect with the team, and recruit new members as needed (some will have gone onto other projects).
  • Produce a campaign video using all of this material and higher production values (no more last-minute campaign videos!)

That, I figure is at least a couple of months of work, which I'll have to do on my own. Also, there is real-life happening at the same time. Realistically, this might take until May or June at the present rate. As I tackle these things, I may start posting to see if I can get some help from the community -- particularly on some of the finer points of using Blender.

So that's where we stand.

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