They are round, they have a hole in the center and are really light weight but they pack a whole lot of excitement in them. No they are not chocolate coated Doughnuts but DVD’s from Blender Foundation. Blender Foundation was gracious enough to send us ( Chamba Team ) six DVD’s containing a series of tutorials on various topics like character animation, digital painting and character modelling. Now let me be very clear here I am a complete newbie when it comes to 3D animation or for that matter with any kind of animation. So the first DVD I unpacked from its plastic casing was Yo Frankie – a game made by Blender Foundation to showcase the power of Blender game engine. I was a bit reluctant to start the game at first owing to my previous experience of running open source games on a Linux box. The thumb rule was that these games never run out of the box. They always need some configuration, small but tedious amount of compiling and loads of googling to start them. However Yo Frankie was an exception. All I had to do was run the right binary file and the game came to life. It was really that simple !!
At this point you might be thinking “Another open source game. Must have choppy game play, 1990’s graphics and tons of bugs. Lets not waste time reading this. “. But wait this game was different ( yes you must have heard that loads of time too ) from the rest of those open source games on the internet. With its addictive sand box environment and pleasing graphics it was fun game to play. You play the role of Frankie from the movie Big Buck Bunny whose main aim is to trouble and annoy all the other animals. There are loads of in-game characters you can pick a fight with like sheep (innocent), rodents (pests hard to kill) and oxen(very strong). The game play is smooth and the controls are trivial. Remember this game is just a prototype showcasing the quality of work you can output from Blender.
What is the point of getting a bunch of DVD’s full of Blender tutorials if you don’t even try them out ? I decided to start with character animation tutorials without any prior animation related experience. Well how hard could it be ? Surprisingly it was not that hard. The tutorials were very well structured and all the concepts were explained from ground zero. The best part was that the DVD’s came packed with loads of demos you could play and experiment with. After going through a couple of tutorial videos and some light googling I managed to import the demo characters into my shoot, and assign posses to them. Remember when I started off I did not even know how to move an object in Blender. The bottom line here is that the video tutorials are presented in an extremely newbie friendly manner. Hats off Blender team for spending so much time and money into making these comprehensive video tutorials.
There were two more DVD’s covering various other tutorials like modelling and digital painting. Sadly I ran out of time to review them, maybe next time. Big Buck Bunny and Sintel came in their own flashy looking DVD cases. You might ask ” I can download these movies from the net. Why go through the trouble of ordering them from Blender “. The answer is for the extras and tutorials. The DVD’s don’t just contain the HD quality movie but also the .blend files that went into making the movie licensed under Common Creative License. They also contained extras like concept art, live edits and my favorite 4 split video (image on the right). All in all it was great fun exploring the art of making animated movies and I thank my stars for the existence of Common Creative License 🙂
I don’t believe you actually read this far. Now that you have reached this far let me add one more thing which I was saving for the end.
All the DVD’s were shipped to us by Blender Foundation free of cost. All the content inside the DVD’s is licensed under Common Creative License which means you can modify and distribute it without any legal barriers.
At Chamba we are also trying to do something similar. We welcome all those who want to learn Blender (Free of course), understand the concept of story board or just have a joyous time making an animated movie. Join us at http://www.chambaproject.in