Konrad Haenel contacted us about a beautiful promotional animation he helped produce alongside Felix Böhm for IconParc GmbH. The video was produced to show off at trade fairs and on the IconParc GmbH website. The animation is entirely produced in Blender!
The animation itself can been seen on his website here along with a short write up on the project. The animation was briefly discussed at the 2006 Blender conference, the recording of that session can be downloaded in .torrent form here. Konrad gave us a behind the scenes look at how the animation was produced and we also have a lot of eye candy to show.
I'll let Konrad do most of the talking:
The most complicated part was shading the earth. The obvious choice were NASA's Blue Marble textures, but only applying them would look flat and boring. I wanted different shading for the landmass, the oceans, the clouds and the lights on the dark side. And for the final touch I also wanted some slight atmospheric effect.
The newly available node-materials and node compositing made it all possible. I used one model for the earth, where all shading was achieved in one giant node and another sphere for the atmosphere which was then applied in compositing. The lights on the backside actually react to light sources and are automatically visible wherever there is darkness on the surface.
The latest Blender build back then enabled us to work cooperatively. Felix Böhm modeled and shaded the earth in a separate scene while I was using a linked stand-in to work on the animation.
We hit a major roadblock when we realized that the scene I was working on would crash on his machine. I used gentoo Linux 64-bit and he was working on Windows. Only then did we learn that there were file-compatibility problems between 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Blender. We nearly ran out of time due to this because we could only render the whole thing on the Linux-64 computer.
Usually I would render different passes and compose everything together afterward, but thanks to the powerful compositing in Blender it was more convenient to compute the whole animation in one go. For another project we even skipped cutting and only moved the camera from position to position so we could have a finished movie in the morning after a nightly render.
In additional news there's already another project in the works (strictly industrial-viz again) and I'm in the process of getting just yet another on the road. Exciting times for professional-Blender here in Germany, I'd say.
If you have any questions please contact me, I'll gladly answer any questions.
Definitely exciting times for Blender. We hope you contact us again Konrad. And if anyone else has commercial projects produced in Blender they'd like to share, please don't hesitate to contact us.
I really need to read up on how nodes work
*goes looking for tutorials*
Great work though, really professional looking!
Great Composing and materials. Congrats!
I did exactly (really, exactly) the same thing with nodes about 2 months ago. Cool to see! It definetly took me a little while to figure out how to use light to control the mix factor of the lights texture.
Don't you know that users of free software can't use flash unless they install proprietary software, which defeats the purpose. It would be nice if you offered a download in a free format.
@Esben: My old page featured exclusively XviD compressed video downloads which almost nobody I knew could watch or was willing to install. As big fan of Open Source even I have come to accept that Flash is the de-facto standard for internet-video since the dawn of Youtube and similar webpages. The plugin is free (as in beer) and easily available on 32-bit Linux, Windows and Mac which provides as much audience as I can possibly reach with a single encoding solution. The fact that it's directly watchable in the browser is an added bonus. I work in a mixed Win/Linux/Mac environment and if the video runs fine on all my machines (which it does) I'm quite happy with it.
However, you can find a downloadable version on the IconParc homepage, and I think it should be XviD encoded (not sure, though): http://www.iconparc.de/content/uploads/IconParcFront/contribution/contrib_3441/IconParc.avi
Its nice, but please understand that Earth has NO specular :-s its hurts my eyes. Good stuff in the begining tough
@ZanQdo: Oh I know Earth doesn't look like this. We just thought along the lines of "more specular, more spectacular". No really, we liked it better this way. Earth also doesn't emit giant blueish flashes of light.
ok stupid, i know.. but lately here the screenshots and all pictures that pop open in that flashy stretchy system have been quite big. maybe limit them slightly smaller standard size ... something like.. say 800x600 at max?
am i just stupid? should i just stretch my browser window?
i don't know.. just feels a bit unuserfriendly. like blender.
@basse That's my fault. I should take into consideration that not everyone has a large widescreen.
Thanks for the download link konrad_ha. While I agree flash is the standard for internet video I still feel its good to offer a downloadable version for those with a slower internet connection and also those who prefer not to install flash. Mabey you could do what Redhat does and offer a flash video along side a download link to the ogg theora version.
brian: well.. i run 2560x1024 desktop but i usually keep my browser somewhere around 1024 wide.. because sites dont use the space anyway.. not even blendernation, (except the huge popups nowadays heh heh)
I'll keep the size in mind from now on basse :)
@brian: I use the mighty lightbox-plus on my website, it automatically resizes big images to the browser's screen size. I'm quite happy with it.
I like big images. And I didn't get cable for nothing, nobody forces you to click the thumb basse :P
But sadly my first reaction was the same, but mainly because you need to resize the window to reach the X. Then again, the shortcut for X is C! ( C for close... )
Nice work konrad.
wow love that