Why did it take me over a month to make a donut and coffee?
Because it’s not real!
Most of this scene was made in “Blender”, a 3-d modeling and animation software program. That includes the Donut, Coffee, Plates, Cup, Spoon, Wall and Counter.
The animation was also (partially) done in Blender. However, I’m only running on a laptop, and graphics processing takes a loooooooonnnnngggg time. It took my system 4 hours to generate one second of animation!
So, to make the final video a bit longer, I padded it out with other tricks.
It starts out with a static image of the coffee on the table.
The donut slides in (1 second of real animation).
Added steam to the coffee (green screen fx), and a glowing logo.
Used background audio and plate sliding sfx to finish the scene.
The logo was generated separately and added as an overlay in my video editor (Vegas). I also added a green screen movie of some steam for the coffee (found on YouTube). All of these embellishments make it *seem* that there’s 10 seconds of animation. But that would have taken 40 hours or more on my system.
Here’s the final still shot from my project (click for full-size):
Henderson is a cheesy beefcake of a man. If you haven’t met him yet, he’s a loose-cannon cop with the intelligence of a small soap dish. I’ve been providing his voice for Pendant Productions for a little over 3 years now, and since Season 3 is coming on March 22, I thought something special was in order.
I always wondered what Henderson would look like in real life, and recently, I purchased some new software called “Poser” that can create realistic 3-D human models. Time for a test run!
Virtual Henderson Project: The Process:
The modeling software does have a learning curve to it. This may be less if you’re actually a graphics person or an animator, but for me it was about medium level of difficulty.
After creating the model, the next step is rendering. For still images, it’s not too bad. A few minutes for each one. The animation, however, took a looooonnnnggg time on my computer. Since I wasn’t going to buy a new computer just for this project, I decided to limit the animated portion to 5 seconds. That’s 150 frames (at 30 fps), and each frame took about 4 minutes, so, yeah, long time.
The rest of the video is still shots that I pan up, down, or sideways in the video editing software (I use Sony Vegas).
For the whole project, I’d guess I spent about 30-40 hours.
While making my last song parody video (“The Hell of Diets“), I used a special video trick to make my head float:
Since I don’t own a Green Screen, I had to come up with another way.
Okay, rewind… “Green Screen? What the heck is that, Joe?”
Glad you asked! In simple terms, the actor is shot on a set that is all one color (usually green, but sometimes blue), then in the video production, the green is replaced with any other picture or video. The effect in video software is called “Chroma Key”. I’ve used Green Screen in my animation projects, such as the “Ban Ki-moon Tune!” – here’s a peek:
No Green Screen? No Problem!
I realized that all I really needed was a way to ensure my face was lighted much brighter than the rest of the shot. Then I could use the Chroma Keyer in Sony’s Movie Studio software to remove everything else (the darker parts of the image).
So, I created one for him – a parody of Herman’s Hermits “I’m Into Something Good”:
Ban Ki-moon Tune! (Joe J Thomas)
Sometimes my initial goal gets expanded and leads to a more complicated project.
This time, I though I’d make a music video featuring a cartoon version of Ban Ki-moon!
Ambitious considering my level as an animator and the limitations of the software.
In the end, the video never came together… but I did learn some very valuable techniques for future projects: Continue reading →
Virgil Villain and his henchman Weevil are hosting a “Lair Warming Party” on Evil Island… But with so many villains attending, who will be in control at the end?
Starring: (in order of appearance)
Joe J Thomas as Virgil Villain/Weevil
Herb Merriweather as Herb
James O. Johnson Jr. as JJ
Daniel Pierce as Mag Na Tude
Will Roberts as Atticus Merle
Marc Cashman as Johnny Wa
K. Woo as Sammy Smallfries
Nancy McLemore as Fatty Liver
Rebecca Michaels Haugh as Ida Herdja
Laila Berzins as Nicolette Clapper
(other voices by Joe J Thomas)
Gathering of EVIL! Cast
Live! from EVIL is a short-format 3d animated comedy series. See what happens with heroes and villains between all that action stuff 😉
There were a lot of really good auditions. I’d asked for folks to come up with their own original character that would fit in at a party on EVIL Island, then voice a few lines. It was an opportunity to be really creative, and believe me, creativity is alive and rampant in Voice Acting! Continue reading →