It’s been a huge amount of time since my last post, I’m guessing that’s because I’m back at work and other family related stuffs. Nevertheless our decision to move over to Blender this year has been absolutely vindicated, my students have completed a wonderful range of work so far including a new unit on character design and creation alongside the transferral of all our animation delivery. As well as the learning that comes in the classroom my spider rigging task at home has been trundling along nicely; I abandoned the driver legs from previous experiments mostly due to finding it tricky to keyframe them on and off, and went instead for a more straightforward setup. Throughout the whole project I think my knowledge of the following is now good enough to be able to effectively deliver and use rigging, sculpting, animating, weight painting and rendering, the latter is still a question mark in that I do love the quality of renders achieved in cycles but compared to Unreal it is incredibly slow.
Addons in Blender have been an area of significant investment throughout this project, a few that I have been implementing are Inverse Lock Bone and K-Cycles.
The first one locks bones in global space if they are being moved by a root bone, especially helpful if a stationary walk-cycle that’s been dragged across the scene needs the feet planting, quick side not-I spent weeks recently trying to get ChatGPT to write the script for me to lock a bone in place, it was an amazing experience to be able to type requests informally, receive friendly responses then see the python code elegantly spill out. I did manage to get some way close with a panel that locks an object in place but hierarchy of bones were too much for it and switching between pose and object mode. Hopefully in the future this will be simplified like in Maya.
The second addon is the most extensive addon I’ve yet bought; it has a seemingly new whole renders system that boasts greater speeds and loads up as a bespoke version of Blender itself, rather than an extension setup. As such I did read the frustrated commments regarding the hefty price tag and need to re-buy in new versions as Blender itself updates as the implementation is alot of work. That aside I bought it primarily for its light-linking functionality, being able to cast light in a scene and specify which object are or aren’t affected by it. It worked like a charm and I was able to have the light constrained to the eye bone and emit just onto the inner eye whilst the outer remained in darkness. I now see that 4 weeks later Blender has finally released an experimental process that has been much requested over the years, light-linking. Such is life.
Lastly, through watching some excellent yt tuts by Polyfjord I’ve discovered Davinci Resolve, it’s a brilliant piece of free editing software that allows you to intuitively drag and edit audio to the final rendered video, the interface and playback are excellent and the ability to quickly alter the pitch and substance of each clip to avoid repetition worked perfectly with my clinking spider steps. I l also managed to get a huge library of Adobe sound effects a while ago which really helps, here’s the final vid-