Project Gooseberry has finally launched, and Gecko Animation is on board! We’re teaming up with the Blender Foundation and 11 other studios across the world to produce the world’s first open source feature film. Over the course of about 18 months, we’ll be putting together one part of a film about a sheep named Michel, who longs for a more exciting and interesting life. Directed by Mathieu Auvray, and overseen by the Blender Foundation, at Gecko we will be working with art director Jonathan Ball (Poked Studio) to create a weird, silly addition to the worlds that the film will take you through.
The project is currently seeking crowd funding, and we need 10,000 people to help change film history by making the worlds first open source feature film possible. In return, you’ll receive unprecedented access to the film’s production, as well as a whole bunch of extras. By signing up for the Blender Cloud, you’ll get unparalleled access to all of the Blender Institutes digital resources (including training material and assets from previous films), as well as production data from the Gooseberry Project as the film is made.
You can learn more about the project at gooseberry.blender.org. Go sign up for a membership or a make a one-off donation and help make this movie happen!
Last Friday Jonathan and I did a talk and a workshop at Campus Party Europe, a tech/hacking/gaming convention with around five thousand attendees, held at the O2 here in London. Keynote speakers at past Campus Party conferences have included Buzz Aldrin, Al Gore, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee – okay, we were obviously on one of the smaller stages, but it was very cool to be asked to come and present all the same. We gave a talk on Blender’s modelling tools in the morning followed by a workshop on sculpting and texturing with Blender in the afternoon.
The talk was recorded and live-streamed over YouTube; you can watch it below.
The workshop was great fun, it was really nice to see people getting to grips with blender, some of them for the first time. After I’d spent a little while confusing people with GLSL materials and texture coordinates, we mainly looked at sculpting on a basemesh of a simple character. People seemed to particularly like the new dynamic topology tools, which were quickly used to add horns, tails, tentacles and other appendages to our character!
Blender Master class will begin shipping next week, and for a week starting today you can get the book (Print or E-Book edition) for 40% off at Nostarch.com. Just use the coupon code WILLITBLEND at the checkout.
For more about the book, check out this post.
If you’ve noticed I’ve been updating the site a bit less frequently of late, this (and busy times at Gecko Animation) is pretty much why. Along with the talented and patient folks at No Starch Press, I’ve been writing a book about creating art with Blender and GIMP. It covers everything from modeling to sculpting, through to textures, materials, lighting and rendering.
The book takes you through three different projects: a gruesome bat monster, a robotic spider, and an overgrown temple deep in the jungle. But this isn’t just a simple step by step tutorial. Whilst you can use the book that way, I chose each of the projects to provide a unique set of challenges, and I use the projects to help explain how to use GIMP and Blender in your own projects. The book is filled with examples from my other works too, as well as detailed descriptions of blenders tools, and guides to getting the most out of Blender and GIMP with your own custom UIs, Brushes and Materials.
Plus, the book comes with a DVD containing all of the project files and resources used in creating each of the projects, plus some extra goodies like brushes, mat-cap materials, textures, and sculpting alphas.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what’s covered in the book:
- Introductions to Blender and GIMP for new users.
- Working with reference images and concept art in Blender and GIMP.
- Modeling, from blocking out basic forms, to creating complex meshes.
- Sculpting both organic and hard-surface models.
- Retopology to turn complex sculpts into simple models with good topology.
- Creating hair and fur with Blender’s particle systems.
- Baking textures (Ambient Occlusion, Displacement, Normals, Colours) from models.
- Painting textures using both Blender and GIMP.
- Creating materials for Blender Internal and Cycles renderers. Creating materials for BI with the Properties editor, and building up complex cycles shader with the Node editor.
- Lighting, again with both Blender Internal and Cycles renderers.
- Rendering and compositing the final scenes, adding post-processing effects with compositing nodes and adding final touch-ups in GIMP.
The book will be published in February/March. You can pre-order it now from Amazon, the Blender.org Store or from the No Starch Press website. If you order from No Starch, you get a free E-Book edition of the book when you purchase the print edition.
It’s been a big project putting the book together, and I hope it’s resulted in something really useful. So if you’ve enjoyed the tutorials on this site I hope you’ll give it a look.