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Mysterioso's Last Trick


Tony Mullen wrote: Here's a little animated short I did recently and submitted to the CFC Shorts Non Stop shorts competition. You can vote for it here.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. no bad. Nice modeling and lighting. To my taste I see some issues in the animation. A bit slow movements, however it might be because the dramatic nature of the feature. I like more fast pose move and then slow down for dramatization. Well who knows, it might be myself kind of picky. Good work.

  2. The sky looks weird (though nice), the grass looks very nice. The model has the same style than other models I've seen from Tony. I liked a lot the render quality.

    The best: the ending was very nice :)


  3. The lighting was inconsistent; the clouds would have diffused the lighting. Plus, the grass is unaffected by the shadows.

    @1:40 Mysterioso scares me, his simplistic head/body with those complex wrinkles just don't work well together.

    Tony must be making a stylistic statement...

  4. Every movie needs to contribute a lot of time, well done! But I can't understand the meaning of the story, sorry.

  5. Very good story, Tony :) Very touching, and just enough animation to tell it!

    Only thing I miss is seeing a nail drive into the wood during the hammering - other than that, it is very enjoyable to watch!!!


  6. very nice story...not very well executed...the sky freaks me out/it's like....bad 3d, man...unless it is meant to be this way as a in you could do better but this was done on purpose...

  7. Hmmmm I really liked it .. I thought the "Kid" was going to turn real .. I really liked the music and the story ... awesome

  8. Nice work Tony..your short had a well planned combination of elements that I thought worked well together.. enjoyable. Thnks!!

  9. Hi everybody,

    Thanks for the comments. I pretty much agree with all the crits, and I hate to say it but no, the problem areas aren't a deliberate statement I'm trying to make, just evidence of the limits of my skills and the time and effort I was able to put in.

    The wood dropping was a pain in the neck. Each piece of wood should interact with the others and I eventually gave up on keying that convincingly. I tried to come up with a simple solution that would yield nice curves, but I couldn't hit upon a solution that didn't require tweaking the curves, and that tweaking led to some crappy animation. I suppose I would have had to take some videos and study them to figure out how bunches of hard things fall, but that was too much time and effort for this personal project.

    The sky I was reasonably happy with, although different shots are composited slightly differently which leads to some inconsistencies. This was my first ever effort at sky matte painting by hand, and, well, I think it could have turned out a lot worse. I definitely did not want to go with photographic or generated sky here. But I'd love to learn more about high-quality sky matte painting, so good references/tuts/books on that are very welcome.

    The character design also I was reasonably happy with but I agree that I haven't really struck the balance between cartoony/stylized and realistic that I would like to. Gotta keep working on that. Of course, part of that is style and part of it is skill/technique, so both areas need to improve.

    The lighting is also inconsistent as people have pointed out. Not much to say about that. More time and effort would have given better results.


  10. This is an amazing animation, maybe not the most technical one. But the story is great.
    A bit sad and the music is awesome. Maybe there are some errors in the animation, but who knows! ^^
    Thank you for telling us the story of Mysterioso

  11. @BonE, probably could have, although that's got its own challenges when you want to work it in seamlessly with keyframed animation. The character holding and throwing the wood needed to be keyframed, so I'd have to switch to simulated Ipos with just the right arc... basically I didn't see a simple way to use Bullet to make things easier. But maybe that would have been the right answer.

    @Johan, I don't have precise stats. I did render everything on my Mac Pro at home, dual quad core. I got crashes on some shots when I tried to render at HD, so I wound up rendering at %50 size with HD dimensions. Most shots were completely rendered overnight, some lasted into a second day, but none longer than that as far as I recall.

    I composited to minimize ray tracing and vertex counts and baked a lot of textures but I'm sure I could have done much more to make things render more efficiently.

  12. Hi! I've enjoyed very much your short. Cool idea! :)

    Using armatures and constrains, in theory, you do can use the bullet simulation until a point and, changing the influence of the constraint, key frame the rest.
    I'm talking from the mind, so this could not be exact, but basely you just need to add a bone to each wood object and constraint it with a Copy location and copy rotation to the simulation object.

    Great work ;)

  13. I liked it! The story layout was really good, sound was good. The sky was not exactly what I was expecting, but on the other hand, I've seen animation (non blender and non-3d) where the sky is styled this way (and it still works). There is just enough 3d detail in the story to tell the story, and like the old line magicians tell their audience: "We can show you how we did the trick, but then we'll have to make you disappear!"

    Good work!

  14. Incredible

    I loved the sky and the grass. The music fit in perfectly. Great style and quality. You did a good job.

  15. Tony, isn't there a way to simulate physics and save them to ipos?

    didn't read all thread, so maybe someone else said it

    Apart from that and that I didn't get the story, great effort!

  16. this movie was mesmerizing,
    esp. with the music and the melancholic touch to it,
    theres something in this movie wich makes u feel sorry for the magician,
    if i got it right he made himself disappear...
    anyway awesome idea and wonderful narration...tho its short and stuff its got everything,
    somehow mysterioso is alive (dunno how to put it but the character has got some feel to him)
    wonderful movie!

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