Category Archives: Videos

Blue Demeanor

This is what I learned Blender for.

I finished this song September 8 and then thought about what a video for it should look like for a couple of weeks. I eventually decided on something close to what you see here: a beach ball being bounced by mechanical paddles in front of a movie of the beach. Why would someone do that to a ball? Nobody knows.

I decided I needed to do that in a 3D animation app. Blender, being free, was the obvious choice. But Blender is an amazingly powerful application that is almost nothing like any application I've ever used. So the learning curve is immensely high. That's why it took my basically three months to do this scene.

The movie on the screen is made from videos of the beach I took with my phone at the end of September, and a few stills from other beach trips - that was all assembled into a single video separately in Blender.

The simple fact that I wanted to be able to see that movie projecting through the air means I had to use Blender's high-quality ray tracing renderer for this. "Suspended" used Blender's real-time renderer (in high-quality mode), which looks good, but the real-time renderer can't do the atmospheric effects needed to show light passing through cloudy air. So, while "Suspended" took a bit less than 4 hours to render two minutes, this took 102 hours to render these three minutes - 4900 frames, average of 75 seconds each. Once all the frames were rendered, I composed them and the audio into the final video, also in Blender.

The rendering process happens almost entirely on the GPU, and none of the other computers in my house have GPUs that can handle the requirements. And that's why I'm never going to fix anything in it, even though there is plenty I know I should fix.



The year isn't finished, but the album is.

"2021", Smaller Animals (full album)

00:00 Demon
02:08 Flat
04:38 Aye Aye
07:07 King Failure
10:34 Law
11:50 You Will Find Us In The Forest
15:18 Wayle
18:28 Suspended Above The Sun
20:31 HFY
21:55 Prekop Approximate


Since I have a seven-day trial of Adobe Character Animator, I made another video with it.

Here's Harm.

It's no accident all of these faces have the same haircut. The puppets I used here and for Streetlight are all based on the demo characters that come with Character Animator. You do some facial motion capture in the app to set up the basic facial expressions, then you pick the character model (puppet) to use and it generates a puppet you can ... puppeteer?. But for some reason, no matter which (human) facial model I pick, it copies the haircut of the person doing the setup modelling - me, in this case - regardless of the haircut the character has in its preview. And I couldn't figure out how to change it.

So, this green pencil sketch ghost guy takes my DIY haircut on a tour of some of the places I went in Scotland a couple of years back: Holyrood Abbey, Portree harbor, and Robinson's Close in Edinburgh.

Prekop Approximate

Some days I can't get anywhere close to the music that got me thinking. But some days I can hit it pretty squarely - or at least I can hit the things that define the style to my ears.

So here's a sketch called "Prekop Approximate" - named for Sam Prekop. He's the singer for The Sea And Cake, but also has a bunch of solo records that I love.


(reposting, with better sound & video quality)

Last weekend, I listened to a lot of Nigerian highlife from the 70s and decided: hey, that sounds fun! Let's try that! As usually happens, direction changes once things get moving. So I didn't even get close to highlife.

Instead I got this: