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Using Blender for Corporate Explainer Videos

15

nathanieldiazrua writes:

I have been learning how to model using Blender and keeping up with the community for over 5 years now. I am amazed at how awesome the tool has become and in awe of so many great artists that use Blender.

I love 2D animation and, lately, I have become fond of hybrid animation. A great example would be Poet Anderson. To me, that is one of the best 2D animations I have seen and I was so happy to find out that they used Blender in their pipeline.

As a motion graphics artist and freelancer, I have always used After Effects, but I grew tired of having to bounce back and forth between applications and plugins for AE. I have always been a believer that Blender could be the one application "to rule them all" so in my last client project, I decided to take a huge risk and use Blender to create the whole project. I had never done anything ambitious with Blender so I was very satisfied with the results. The only things done outside of Blender were the color bar transitions and color correction which were done in AE. Also, I did the video editing with Premiere. I am not quite ready yet to take the plunge and edit solely in Blender.

I had been looking for any other motion graphics and animations created with Blender, but there were not that many. Most people choose to go the photorealistic rendering route. That is what prompted me to upload and share my work with the community so that it can be added to Blender's repertoire of NPR renderings and animations- a testament that Blender can do this type of work.

I had to do one revision to the client logo. They wanted it with a white background. I am not too satisfied with how that part came out, but the client was happy and that is what is important.

I conceptualized, modeled and animated a wood cutting machine (complete with an LCD panel). My wife asked me as to why I was spending so much time animating so many moving parts when the machine was only going to be on screen for just a couple of seconds.

I told her that, even though that was true- that I knew it was there and it was satisfying to know that. Also, it would add a lot of secondary animation to the scene. If I did not do that, something would be percieved to be missing in that scene. In addition, if the client asked for a different angle, it would be less work for me in the long run.

Although I modeled everything in the explainer, I want to do an honorable mention of the Elaine and Porl characters from BlendSwap. They made an appearance as a machine operator (Porl) and a forklift driver (Elaine). I really want to thank the person who created them. That was not in the script or storyboard, but I went above and beyond and added the Machine and the Forklift to the scene.

I was thinking of creating a behind the scenes video, if I get requests for it, then I will go ahead and create it.

Here is my humble artwork:

I want to thank all those people who have posted their video tutorials online, CG Cookie, Jonathan Williamson and specially to Brian Ericsson (from HoverBox Creative) who has become a great friend and mentor. I could not have done it without you guys.

During this project, I learned a lot about Blender's capabilities and my own. I gave myself the challenge and I was able to get over the learning curve and the mental limitations I was self imposing. After this personal challenge, I now realize that I was my own enemy, and after all these years going around in circles and taking tutorials- that I really "know Kung Fu." All I had to do was to stop taking tutorials and actually challenge myself to do something great with Blender. I am so glad I actually decided to step into the void.

I look forward to embarking in more creative adventures with Blender and to growing as an artist. I am also at the edge of my seat waiting for the future versions of Blender.

-Nathaniel Diaz-Rua

About Author

Nathaniel Diaz-Rua

Nathaniel is a Multimedia Generalist (composer, sound designer, animator and motion graphics artist). He has been working in the multimedia industry a little over 20 years. He recently started his own animation and motion graphics company specializing in corporate explainer videos.He has made Blender the superstar of his creative pipeline.

15 Comments

    • Thank you Signguy and Sonnysee. I will do it- but please bear with me as it will take me a little while to retrace my steps and conceptualize a nice behind the scenes vid or combo pics+vids.

  1. Awesome ! I am currently working on the same type of project and like you I have to make the transition between after effect and blender. So another request;).
    Long live the blender NPR and thank you for this inspiration.

    • Thank you, John! I am working on the behind the scenes video. I want to create something that will really shed light on the process and the thinking behind it. I am glad to see other people are headed in the same direction and sharing the process with each other will help all of us who wish to be doing this kind of work.

  2. Tobias Franz on

    Wow, nice job. Well, since I am using Blender just Little over two months now and have no further experience in cg whatsoever, this may not be the meaningful compliment you are looking for. But it's sincere nevertheless. Your project has given me the right Inspiration and motivation to Keep on learning blender.

    • Thank you for your comment, Tobias! I really appreciate it. I am glad that you are making the journey towards creating art with Blender. Welcome to the community!

      I encourage you to continue learning and exploring Blender. You will find it very satisfying and rewarding if you stick to it.

      So that it doesn't take you 5 years like it did for me, these are my suggestions:

      1) Put yourself on a bit of a schedule
      a) Put yourself on a daily learning schedule (taking tutorials, CG cookie, etc.). it doesn't have to
      be too long. Say 20 to 30 min a day of tutorials

      b) Try out what you learn: Start with the simplest modeling exercises where you can start
      building modeling skills. Learn how to extrude (that has to be the most used Blender function), how to Subdivide, Loop Cut (CTRL-R), Knife Tool, etc. One day at a time.

      c) If the going gets tough and you get stuck- don't quit! (That's why it took me 5 years. I know I am not the only one who can testify to this). Ask questions, even if you think they are silly. Jonathan Williamson (from cgcookie.com) and my friend Brian Ericsson (from hoverboxcreative.com) can tell you that I flooded their inbox throughout the years with silly questions. A few times during this project, I had to ask Brian some questions about problems I was encountering and when he answered I was like: "Duh, I should have known that!" Everyone here has had their share of "stupid questions" (Even Andrew Price from blenderguru.com says that about himself in a video blog).

      I am glad that my post has inspired you. That is why I submitted it and I am really happy for you.

      • Tobias Franz on

        Okay, if people in general were just a bit more like this awesome community, were you get a welcome like that, this planet would be much nicer to live on.

        And I really appreciate you giving me advice. I already have a kind of a schedule. After several weeks I realized, I have to stop doodling around, because this may be the first thing in my life besides my wife and job I want to keep doing. I'm almost through with a 40 something hour beginners course on udemy, wich is fine for learning the ropes, i think. At least I am already familiar with the Tools you mentioned. But as soon as I figure out, where to aim at in terms of field of expertise, I most certainly will be on the look out for in depth lessons. Well, after freshing up my english vocabulary. It is hard to follow instructional Videos, when you don't know the Terms being used. But I guess that Problem will pass...

        Once again, thank you very much for your work and even more encouraging reply to my comment.

        • Wow, I am blessed by all the comments and feedback. I am glad you are taking a course and pacing yourself.

          As for language barriers...

          The good thing about art and music is that they transcend language. Music is the language of the soul and art is the written language of the soul. I can tell you that I have watched all sorts of tutorials in German, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian. I tried to follow along by watching carefully where they were clicking or entering values. Don't worry about terminologies, develop muscle memory. I am so happy and proud of you that you are working hard at it. I can't wait to see the great artwork that you will be creating someday.

          As for the Blender Community:

          I love the community. People here are so talented and just plain amazing. I love how they think outside the box and transcend the status quo. I also love how they share their knowledge and insight so that others might learn and grow. This only solidifies Blender's place in the world. It's not just how awesome the software is, but how awesome the people behind it and using the software that makes Blender great.

          Don't get me wrong: In every community, there will be trolls and just plain a-holes, but never mind that if you encounter it here. The Blender Community is great and I am so humbled and thankful to even be a part of it. As a whole, you will notice that people will comment and critique and it will just be to help you grow- the wind to your sails!

  3. comeinandburn on

    Great work! Very clear and well executed.... so good that I couldn't believe how quickly it was over.. ha ha.

    I too, am one of those people who's stuck in the Adobe pipeline, your work is a great inspiration to go "full Blender" :)

    • Thank you so much! Your comment is an inspiration to me as well. I really appreciate it!

      Adobe has become expensive. If you are a freelancer struggling to pay your bills every month- their monthly fees increase your cost of operations. Not only that, to accomplish in AE what you can do freely in Blender, you have to purchase a bunch of 3rd party plugins. If you want to add 3D models, you have to open up other apps (like C4D, Maya or even Blender) and then bring those in.

      With Blender as the star of my pipeline, I don't even have to leave Blender, except to color correct or do minor motion graphics in AE and video editing in Premiere. I will be working on learning how to do these things in Blender so I don't ever have to leave the application.

      I do encourage you to explore Blender's capabilities (and with Eevee coming up- it will be grandiose!) for motion graphics. I wish to see more people doing it so we can bounce ideas and tips on modus operandi off each other!

    • Hello, Brian!

      That is a tall order because I have spent 5 years watching tutorials and reading/studying books. I have bought almost every book made on Blender. Those sit near my desk as a reference were I to need them.

      I mean, the authors of these tutorials are diverse. I just research by subject or by what I want to learn at the moment.

      So, really, every Blender tutorial I have watched in 5 years helped. The true magic that put all that knowledge together was when I decided to challenge myself with an ambitious project.

      The biggest help I had during this project came from my friend Brian Ericsson (from Hoverboxcreative). He was always there for me to answer my questions via chat . He really shed some light on some things I wasn't clear on (like teaching me how to use and animate Bezier curves which I used on the scene where the bow ties itself. He even sent me screenshots which was just awesome and I figured it out in about 10 minutes with his help. I thought it was harder to do but he made it easy).

      I have to give him credit because I could not have done it without his mentorship and friendship. I am blessed and so thankful to this community that words cannot express my gratitude. I will pass on the blessings and knowledge someday.

  4. Hi Nathaniel,

    Congratulations on this nice looking explainer video, and kindly thank you for sharing it :)
    I was wondering if you had the chance to make that "Behind the scenes video"?
    Also, now almost 3 years later and with the advent of the new and amazing Grease Pencil features, have you experiment a little with it to do Explainer videos? If so, would you have any suggestions/pointers/leads?

    Thank you in advance Nathaniel,

    Cheers!

    DPC

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