This week, we share a selection of Blender projects we’ve seen about dragons, myths, dreams and soup making!
We start with a fascinating concept piece called Wayward Gods, featuring a mechanical worm/dragon-like creature tamed by an electric guitar and a character called Tetsugun, by Create! Nate! Create! (released 24 February) – the color contrast and the themes are spectacular –
A mythical tale from another dimension, Crest (released 30 May) by Zertox, also explores the relationship between humans and beasts, this time a strange flying dragon –
A film by nobodycaresaboutyou called Limits of Perception (released 11 May) is a magical take on a stream of consciousness shared with us as we watch. A grainy patina is applied to the images to create the sensation of daydreaming through this piece –
Finally, a film that was nominated for the 2023 FIN Kids Youth Film Competition and Best Director at the Barcelona Indie Filmmakers Fest. It was also a finalist at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival. The film is called The Soup (our feature image for this post), by John Torres3D, and focusses on the farming life of a robot waiting for vegetables to grow so it can make soup –
This week’s film review focusses on a story made with building blocks and without voice acting… and yet, what a spectacular story! The game world is Minecraft of course, and the story is based on Telltale Games’ episodic release called Story Mode. Made by @SquaredMediaAnimations , we discuss the production values emcompassed within the film, why we think adding voice acting would have enhanced the film and a number of other things we nit-picked but conclude that its really no wonder Squared Media are one of the top machinima producers in Minecraft.
YouTube Version of This Episode
Links and Notes
Film, by Squared Media Animations, released 6 May 2023 –
This week, we’ve got a few things for you to add to your tools list and some info about things you’ll be keen to watch out for… but before you check those out, we share with you a showcase of Unreal’s MetaHuman and a rather creepy demo of tendons in Blender!
This is a creative piece, made using Unreal’s MetaHuman, that will give you goosebumps – note the very detail of the facial animation and especially the whistfulness captured in eyes of the character. You could almost see this guy opening a bank account using facial recognition tech! The short, based on a poem by Mike Antic, is called Blue Dot and has been created by Epic’s 3Lateral team in collaboration with Serbian artist Radivoje Bukvic (released 15 June) –
In this uncanny valley special demo created in Blender, Chris Jones‘ shows a ‘throwaway WIP’ – its great but if this is modelled on someone’s actual hand, well, I don’t really want to know more…
Reallusion has released free ZBrush and Character Creator plugins. Both are excellent tools for refining your animations, and the ability to link these together makes for exciting new possibilities for improving your workflow. Here’s the link to the downloads and here’s a video explainer –
The popular open world game, No Man’s Sky is now also available for Mac. This may or not make it more accessible to creators because, of course, most of the tools folks have are still only PC but nonetheless its a start!
Onwards and Upwards
Unity, in collaboration with Apple, has devised a Beta programe for creating ‘spatial experiences’, intended to support development of content for the Apple Vision Pro. You can sign up to participate here.
Unreal features a neat demo of its massively scalable procedural generation framework (PGC), which ships with version release 5.2. This looks great – the demo is called Electric Dreams, and also illustrates its amazing Substate system. Video link here –
Worth Waiting For
Blockbuster Inc., seemingly made in the mold of that well-known machinima creator studio released way back in 2005 called The Movies, has released a demo which is now on Steam (it is being developed by indie studio, Super Sly Fox). Here’s the link – the full release date is reported as being later this year.
We’re all eagerly awaiting Blender 4.0, right (due November 2023)? As part of the release, Grease Pencil 3.0 will be included in its 2D animation toolset, originally an annotation tool that has evolved to do quite a bit more. You can read the update on Blender’s develop blog here.
Still Here… a chilling dystopian tale of a world devasted by climate crisis and wealth inequality. This week’s review is of a film by Guido Ekker, featured on the Film Shortage Channel (YouTube), and is one of the few shorts we’ve seen that attempts to make a point beyond pure entertainment. We identify some of the stereotypical tropes used and discuss the creative potential of machinima and virtual production for this kind of political messaging – all with our usual critical bonhomie.
YouTube Version of this Episode
Show Notes & Links
Film, released 17 April on the Film Shortage Channel, YouTube –
From AI to sci-fi to dystopian world stories, this week’s selection demonstrates creative tools and processes being used to realize these shorts.
Our first selection this week is a beautifully rendered morphing AI film called The High Seas, made using 60fps/4K by Drew Medina (released 9 Apr 2023) – one of the few we’ve seen so far. Embedding has been disabled, but please do follow the link here.
Constelar is by Oskar Alvardo (score by Lee Daish), released 4 Feb 2023. This has been made using Blender and an interesting approach to storytelling, with an almost 1970s noir feel to it –
The next film is a cinematic tribute to the makers of StarCraft, called Judgment Cinematic by Nakma, released 23 Mar 2023. The music (which we note is uncredited) adds much to the story telling but it also needs some understanding of the StarCraft world to fully appreciate the nuances in the plot which is vaguely Star Wars-ish. Nonetheless, a great effort, especially since it took just three months to make this machinima – there are some great shots and editing is well done –
The dystopian world of Valve’s Half Life, made using Source Filmmaker, has been used in our next two film selections. The first is called Combined and draws on the lore in the game. It is quite violent but does well to ‘humanise’ the characters. The animation looks surprisingly old-style, even if it is only 2021 – a reflection on just how quickly the cinematic aesthetic has changed in such a short period of time. In Perimeter (our feature image for this post), which also portrays the Combine, there is quite a different aesthetic finish to it. What’s interesting about this film is the inspiration it drew from: concept art by Vyacheslav Gluhov. Both these films are great examples of how a game inspires creators to take one aspect, in this case the Combine character in HL, and extend the narrative into new and interesting directions.