Express Yourself…or Your 3d Model!

Yesterday I decided to model a face. I found a tutorial that showed someone making a face, and made my own. I used my own face as reference (just to let you know, I don’t really look like the face you see in the render). It seemed to come out pretty well. Then I animated it. I was sort of inspired after seeing some video game facial animation.

Here are some of the techniques I used:

  1. Armature head
    1. The head had a simple rig to control head movement
  2. Eye constraints
    1. There was an empty object a ways off
    2. Both eyes were given constraints to track to this object.
  3. Shape keys
    1. Facial expression was controlled by shape keys
    2. Key frames were given to the power of the shape keys
  4. Eyes
    1. The eyes have a modified texture from this post: LINK
    2. Their reflection map is below
Eye reflection (different format)
Eye reflection (different format)

I release the eye reflection under Creative Commons 0.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the video!


Predicting Animation Time (Blender 3D Tutorial)

So, has this happened to you? An animation that was going to take ‘a few minutes’ turns out to be an hour or two. Want to know about how much time your animation is going to eat? Why should you want to know? Well, say you’re going out to the store for awhile. You’re gonna be gone for about three hours, and want to know how much time it will take to render out your 250 frame animation. You want to be able to play video games and browse blogs on your computer when you get back, so you want the animation to take less than the three hours. How will we go about this? So, for starters, render out a frame, don’t use the animation button, just render out a frame.

(Note: if you used the compositor, be sure to wait for it to finish its thing before continuing…)

Ok, so say your frame looked something like that, see where that arrow is pointing?  That’s your render time. That is pretty much all you will need to predict the following. I will now get into some math used to produce the final result. I will tell you the steps and leave footnotes for all you math-lovers out there.

Step 1:

Punch in your render time in seconds into the calculator. Divide by 60[1]. In this case, it would be 41/60 [2] or about  .683.

Step 2:

Take your number and multiply by  that by the number of frames you have in total [3]. In this case .683 • 250 or about 170.75.

Step 3:

That’s 170.75 minutes to render! If you want to get how many hours this is, divide by 60 again [4]. In this case, 170.75/60 or about 2.85 hours! Looks like in this case, you would maybe make it home in time to do your fun stuff without having to wait! 😉

Step 4 (for hour-minutes):

To get minutes, take the end fraction and multiply by 60. In this case, .85 • 60 [5]. The end result being about 2 hours and 51 minutes.

[1] : There are 60 seconds in a minute, dividing by 60 takes the portion of a minute, in this case 41, and turns it into a fraction. In this case, the frame takes about 0.683 minutes to render.

[2] : The 41 comes from rounding the 40.63 up.

[3] : This takes the fraction of a minute you had and multiplies that by 250, if each frame takes .683 minutes to render than you would repeat that 250 times, or 250 • .683.

[4] : There are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour, the second time you divide by sixty, we are taking 170.75/60 hours. It is much like [1].

[5] : This basically undoes step three to the fractional part, converting back to seconds.

So, did you bother reading the footnotes? If you did, high-five! 😀 So, I hope you enjoyed this little tip, but there are some things you also should know:

  • Your render will probably not be constant, different things may cause the renderer to take over the predicted time.
  • You may want to leave a nice gap on the end of your render time to account for this, say, changing the 2.85 hours to 2.95.
  • You may make a mistake in your math, so if you are rendering out 500 frames at 20 seconds each and your calculator says it’s going to take two minutes, go back and check your math 😛

Hope you enjoyed, even if I may have lost you at some point! 😛 Please feel free to rate and comment!

-Stopsecret Design

P.S: Special thanks to, I think it was Project London… A texture. If it was wrong of me to use it on my ship, please comment and I can get rid of it. Do you guys want a fuller picture of the ship?  ok, ok… 🙂

Click to enlarge

Intergalactic Gas Pump

Yeah, strange title for a post… This post is about an animation I made from a concept drawing:

So, If you couldn’t tell, this is a spaceship at some kind of a refuelling station. Eventually, after a bunch of blending, I came up with a workable result:


think the animation looks pretty good… there are some things that I may want to improve on for next time though, i.e. better flames,  also, the tubes aren’t quite animated exactly how I would like… Besides that, I hope you enjoy this short animation! (also, as another thing, I don’t think any of these textures came from CGTextures, I think they were all done in photoshop by me)

Another photo (slightly different):

Did you like it? Do you think I could improve on it any? I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below!

-Stopsecret Design

Vimeo test post

Just a short post of a mining spacecraft (sans the cargo containers) overview (a small project I worked up earlier today) that I hope you folks will enjoy. Note: this video is mostly to test out VIMEO embedding, so it’s not that interesting 🙂 Also, expect a tutorial sometime in the near future-


P.S: What are your thoughts on the new header?