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Progress on Animatic and Some Renderings

There are a lot of exterior space shots in the 2nd half of the pilot episode, and I decided it would actually be easier to do rough animatics of these in Blender than to sketch them all -- and it will certainly look better. So this week I'm doing a lot of quick renderings in Blender. So far it's going pretty well, although I am still a little behind where I hoped I'd be. There's still a good chance I can get the animatic finished this weekend if "real life" doesn't get in the way too much!
Progress on Animatic and Some Renderings

Ce n'est pas la lune! (Rendering test of our Moon model)

One problem with an animatic is that, while it does give you a good plan of what you're planning to create, it doesn't really communicate the visual style that the final work will have. In fact, our animatic is a mishmash of all different styles right now.

We figured it would be nice to have a few rendered shots. And there are a couple of shots I'm capable of rendering without any help at all. The opening space shot in Lunatics is one of these, and I've made a first pass at a full Blender rendering of it this week. These are actually pretty easy to animate -- it's just a path animation and there are very few elements needed. I created an Earth and a Moon for this based on NASA imagery and a nice Blender Guru "Realistic Earth" tutorial by Andrew Price.

The Moon I created took some considerable clean-up work to get rid of artifacts, but I think it came out pretty nicely. The color data is from the Clementine mission, which is provided by the Planetary Data System and the USGS -- I used both the "greyscale" and "multiband true-color approximation" images. The bump map is an elevation image created from Kaguya's laser-altimeter measurements.

These won't really do for the final versions of the close-up shots (not enough polygons), but they'll be fine for the distant shots and for use in the animatic.

I've also created a nice low-fidelity version of the moon shuttle (the "service module" is from the version I posted earlier, while the lander is an early model from Vyacheslav Yastrebcev, who has been working on the lander). With these, I can create most of the exterior shots for the animatic, although of course, the shuttle isn't fully detailed and textured yet.

I've now got these working to my satisfaction and will be spending tomorrow actually making the shots I want. Then I'll fill in the remaining sketches I need to draw by hand, and I should have a complete animatic sometime on Saturday or Sunday.

After that, there's just the problem of mastering the DVD for the backers. I have used "Q DVD Author" for this in the past, although it looks like it might be a little hard to install now (it's in Debian Multimedia, but not the main distribution -- and sometimes there are compatibility problems with the Multimedia packages). There's also "DeVeDe", which seems to be standard in Debian now -- I'll probably give that a try to see if it's adequate to the task.

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