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"The Beast" - animated short/book project by Roland Hess


beast1.jpgRoland Hess (aka harkyman), editor and lead author for “The Essential Blender” and creator of the BlenderPeople crowd simulation project, has been busy with yet another promising project...“The Beast”.

Roland writes:


“The Beast” is a limited scope, short animation project that is based on an original concept by Tom Musgrove (LetterRip to Blender folks).

The story is about an ugly little baby that causes some havoc at home.

...The whole point is that the baby is pretty ugly and is surrounded by choices of ugly/pretty. The toys, the dogs, etc. The set will be sprinkled with sets of objects that subtly (or not-so-subtly) display this dichotomy. There will be a choice between everything the baby sees except, of course, the mother. She's cute/pretty, with nothing to balance her.

...The real theme, though, is one of perception, and I hope to juxtapose the choices the baby makes, with the choice the mother makes, with what we think we know at the beginning and what we know at the end.

... The book project, that revolves around the production pipeline being put to use in “The Beast”, has been picked up by Focal Press.




So, [some time in 2008], “Animating with Blender - Producing a Short Animation from Start to Finish” will be available in your fine local bookstore, or over teh Interhnets for you crazy kids with computers. It will take you through the whole animation production pipeline: story -> storyboards -> story reel -> character/set design -> asset management -> animation -> rendering/compositing -> editing. Sound, too! Each chapter will have a primer for people who have no idea what they're doing, but will focus on how you implement that particular part of the pipeline within Blender — what are the shortcuts, tips, tricks, things to avoid, etc. So, people or small studios who want to supplement their pipeline with Blender should be able to pick up what they need without going through the entire thing.

This should turn out to be a great resource and, hopefully, it will help the many movie projects that we all see start up from time-to-time, actually get finished.

You can get more details and follow the production at

Below, you'll find a listing of the related blog posts, in chronological order (as of Jan. 28, 2008):


  1. I'm looking forward to the book too, I've long dreamed of a blender-specific companion to "Inspired 3D Short Film Production"!

  2. A lot of folks don't realize just how much work goes into making a short.
    This sounds like it could be a real eye opener and a great learning tool.

    This just might make it into my library as well.

    Thanks to you Roland.

  3. Looks like a lot of hard work and skill has gone into this 'Pixaresque' short so far.

    Bit confused about the so called 'dicotomy' a child/baby at that age would have absolutely no perception of what is ugly or pretty , I don't think they'd even have properly established focused eye sight at the age of the child and would be more likely to make a 'choice' from being stimulated by colour, sound and tactile surfaces.

    Ugly/pretty is a concept, not a dicotomy.

  4. It all looks pretty good, so far. What is with that pet (dog?), though? It is very creepy and looks poorly done next to the kid and especially the Mom in the photo of the three.

  5. I'm sure I've seen that baby before... in LetterRip's avatar? He doesn't have one anymore so I'm not sure.

    Anyway, the project looks pretty cool, though the character modeling could definitely use some polishing.

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