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Short Film Clocked In


Isaac AhLoe writes:

"The battle to remain conscious and find love in an otherwise hostile work setting reaches a destructive and hopeful climax."

This is my short film Clocked In. It was made with 100% free open source software including Blender, Kdenlive, Inkscape, Ardour, Audacity, and GIMP. It has played in some international festivals and is set to play in a few more. I'm submitting to a couple more when I get some money for submission fees.

I thought it would be useful to post here to show Freestyle renderer's ability to animate line properties. T.K. was really awesome about responding to my bug reports and questions. He implemented/fixed the animated properties right when I really needed it, and fixed some key bugs within days of reporting. People should get really excited about Freestyle because the new features that have come out since Clocked In are amazing, like selecting feature edges, geometry modifiers, etc.


  1. @bart:disqus  - thanks for posting! FYI - the video above was uploaded by my school right after i turned it in. I've since fixed some glitches where frames were missing and the motion skipped in a various spots. Most of it is not noticeable but the updated/finished video links are:

    vimeo -
    youtube -
    website -

    @cb3dde6011b034d91632e78c017a6b5e:disqus  - the blender internal edge part was fast to render as the line edges are a visual trick. The colored/animated lines took a long time. Freestyle was undergoing big changes throughout my time working on this, so render times started out staggeringly slow for freestyle and by the end of the project they were very snappy and happy. Also I kind of do render tests and render different parts as I go along, so it would be hard to estimate how long it all took to [email protected]:disqus & @8c27187beab5a0d6c1c1030e1df75a80:disqus - thanks dudes!

    - isaac/ike

  2. What is this?
    He clocks in at 8:05, then he hits the Time clock at 3:40, and finally the boss comes very upset and his watch displays 1:15 ?  :)

    Nice Video, do not chew mushrooms before going to work !

    Hope to read some quick start guide on  Freestyle, the last time I tried it, it hanged my system right after launching. Well it was may be 4 months ago.

    5 Stars !

    • HAHA, good eye! my half-assed excuse is that the boss's watch at the end was screwed up from the mass destruction. And also freestyle IS much more stable now. So much that I think it could be merged, but T.K. has some design/feature goals he hasn't finished

  3. Brilliant idea and I loved the style and design ... I had a job like that once. Luckily I found a better job before they could fire me :D

  4. Love the style. Still wish blender could render toon outlining without causing all of the mesh lines to show up. You can see it on the close ups of the eyes in your video. I have never found a way around that one.

    • I did this on purpose for the majority of the film, there were multiple times were the wires became VERY visible, you are very much supposed to see them. The regular blender internal edge is a visual trick, not actual line rendering like Freestyle. I played with the threshold to show or hide the wires ("grid" as i called it) more or less in different parts. It was black and white lines but i wanted the lines to show a softness and imply volume, in contrast to the later dream sequence that would use freestyle which is not a visual trick and actually generates lines. You don't see any grid/wire lines in that part.

      so to fix your problem, use freestyle branch, but in my case it wasn't a problem, i was able to utilize different systems for what i wanted. If i didn't want those soft lines i would have used freestyle for the whole thing.

    • i did too!, the set was a replica of an old work environment. I worked at the part-time branch so it was more laid back, but the work environment was inspired by my mom's work horror stories as well as everyone from my old job that went full time and hated their lives at that company. Besides that, it's also inspired by the song "Clocked In" by Black Flag, "...gotta face the clock.... punch in punch out... one of these days i'm gonna smash it off the wall!"

  5. Love the style and your camera moves/directing. The animation was OK, and I found the film a little long, especially with no dialogue to keep the story moving. But over all really good job and I look forward to see what you do next.

    • yeah the animation was really the first pass, i ran out of time for the finesse. so as an animator foremost, i think some of it is really good and some of it pretty rough, but it had to be turned in and i had to get it out to a couple festivals. Plus i was totally wrecked by the time i finished. The only other thing i might add is that I really didn't want overly exaggerated movement or expression in this.  But yeah i totally agree it's not bad but could see improvement, some places more than others.

      As far as the length/pace, one of my main goals was to take away the common expectation that animation has to be more concise than film. It was one of the most thought-out aspects of the project. The film is about boredom and fear, and I thought that unless I can make the viewer feel a hint of it too, then i'm failing as a communicator. I made the intro raging musically in the hope that it would subtly foreshadow destruction, leaving a feeling throughout that something violent was waiting and hiding. Then I made points of excitement to help remind the viewer of that feeling. Then I tried to deliver on that threat. It was a way I could keep the audience frustrated at boredom while still interested in fear and anticipating resolution. (then i wrapped it up in a comedic tortilla).  Looking back, I think the pace was one of the things I am most satisfied with. It's something stepping back that I still find unique and successful as a viewer.I didn't want this to be just another animation with overly concise structure and overly exaggerated movement.

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