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.