The Bird and the Butterfly.

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MObirdbutThis animation was created for the aniBoom contest, based on an older animation which I made in 2006. Originally I was going to post the 2006 animation but due to some circumstances mainly my computer crashing and me being unable to access the data on the Hard Disk, all the original .Blend files and supporting files where lost, to never return. At that time I was committed and the only option left to me was to begin from scratch.

Modeling the scene and bird was a snap, keeping in mind to keep things as simple as possible. Problems started with the particle system… I hadn’t touched blender in a year and a half and found that it had taken another big lead forward which meant me having to do some learning. The advancements in the particle system had improved considerably due to the release of Big Buck Bunny, hair system now allowed the use of features like combing which truly sped up the process, the speed at rendering the hair too was phenomenal.

The next major problem was rigging and me forgetting how to do most of it. It slowly, over a couple of days came back to me and I was able to rig the legs without problems. Another obstacle came with the wings and how they would fold. The wing rig itself truly turned into a complicated work of art, which after spending a whole week on, I ended up giving up. Instead I would lock the wings into position manually and surprisingly the simplest answer gave the best and quickest results.wingrig01

After all the rigging and animation was done, it was time to render out the animation. A full render took about 1 min 20 sec, it was slow but that included hair particles which where used to render the feathers on the bird, the moss on the tree and bit more for the Butterfly. It was fast for a particle rendering which contained many thousands upon thousands of hairs. But still the fact remained that the hair was slowing down the render. I then started braking the scene up into its main elements, taking a render of stationary objects, the moss and tree, then taking a render of the branches in the background. If it did not move then there was no need to re-render it. I hid the moss(note tree and moss are separate objects) with its particle from the scene, and applied a new material to the rest of stationary objects that would only receive shadow. Combined everything back into the compositor and there I shaved off the render time to 50 sec. Further time could be saved by playing around with the Octree resolution settings(default is 128) and settings the number of render part. Rendering was now down to 43 sec.

Tip: Viewing you animation in realtime all depends on how powerful your system is, but to quickly preview a piece of animation, press Ctrl and click on the render button in the 3D view, it will render out the files a lot faster than if you where using the standard renderer.

birdbutAfter Rendering over a night, I woke up to find that it had stopped at frame 325. The reason: after my computer crashed I changed my Linux OS from Ubuntu to OpenSuse. Suse asks you to partition your hard drive for system files(on my system its about 7GB), by default blender puts all renderings in the tmp directory, but the tmp directory is located in the system files. It only took 325 frames to fill up the remaining space. Luckily I had used a couple of file output nodes(which exported files to my home directory) in the compositor and was able to salvage the renderings.

Finally the sound was mixed in Audacity, then combined with the rendered animation in the sequencer editor and rendered out using FFMpeg.

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