Elephants Dream Released

May 20th, 2006 . 9 comments

The DVDs have made their way through the world, so as promised, Elephants Dream, the fruit of our past 7 months of hard labour has been released freely to the world. Our new site, elephantsdream.org explains it far better than I can now late at night, so all I can say that I’m incredibly pleased, proud and excited to see what happens next. We’ve been getting lots of great media coverage, pummelling our web server, so the new website that I spent the last two weeks redesigning is hidden right now to ease the load. I’d much rather people see our 7 month movie though than a two week website, so that deal is fine by me! You can get through to it anyway using this super secret link 😉

It’s definitely not the end of the journey though, we’re going to keep updating the blog, and I’ve at least got a couple of things I’d like to do, such as making a proper font file from the title font vector artwork. I’m also extremely curious to see what other people get up to, with access to the production files. But for now, I hope to soon be able to put up a bit of a reel containing some breakdowns of the things I worked on during production, among others.

I hope you enjoy watching it and reflecting on it as much as I enjoyed my part in its making.

Elephants Dream

I’m back

April 7th, 2006 . 5 comments

A lot to write, I think I’ll take it bit by bit over the coming weeks. At least for now I’m having a few weeks off after Orange and will have some time write, amidst trying to relax and gather my thoughts and energy. Thankfully, after a lot of blood sweat and tears, we pulled through at the last minute and the premiere was a big success, not to mention lots of fun.

I’m still working on a few final things for the DVD, so hopefully it will ship soon. Continually putting pictures of the event etc. up on flickr so keep an eye on that. But for now, time to clear up an email backlog and enjoy the nice weather here down under 🙂


March 5th, 2006 . 3 comments

Yes, I’m still barely alive. Yes, I haven’t written much here recently. Yes, there are good reasons for that. No, I haven’t left the studio before midnight pretty much for the last three weeks. No, I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in a few months now. Yes, coffee is good. Yes, we’re close to finishing.

No, we haven’t finished yet. Yes, Andy and I have to complete texturing (with some help though), lighting, compositing, and rendering 5 of the scenes out of total 8 in the next 2 weeks, twice the amount we just did in the same time period. Yes, we’re still the Blender bug and crash test dummies and it’s very frustrating. No we’re not giving up. Yes, it’s going to be great.

Orange in 2005 CG Retrospective

December 5th, 2005 . 1 comment

It looks like our Orange project has made it into the voting list for the CG Society Top 20 most influential moments in CG for 2005. We’re sitting there side by side with very humbling things like the VFX for Sin City, King Kong and more, Autodesk acquiring Alias, controversy like the hot coffee mod for Grand Theft Auto, and mundane boredom such as Nvidia releasing some new graphics card (wow, who would have expected that).

Anyway, if you have a CGTalk.com login, (or would like to make one!) here’s the talk thread and the voting form. You can make your own mind up about what to vote for. 😉

Cycling, Canals and Cheese

November 5th, 2005 . 0 comments

And now, for a little update to break the recent drought of entries. Yes, I’ve been quite busy. A lot has been happening here in Amsterdam but I’ve only got so much time to spend writing, so here’s a brief run-down in point form.

  • We spent a week or so madly putting together the Elephants Dream teaser. It was rushed very quickly, the artwork is still in a preliminary stage, and none of the shots will be in the final, but it gives a nice preview of what we were aiming for.
  • Blender conference came and went. With the combination of insanely long nights (mornings) during the week leading up to it working on the teaser, the constant excitement of meeting old and new faces, watching their presentations, then going out afterwards each night to eat and drink until the small hours, it was a fantastic weekend. You can download videos of all the presentations, including the ones that we did: artists tutorial sessions and the small behind-the-scenes session we did about our project (yes, you can see how silly I look up on stage). I also did a little write-up on the event with photos over the at the Orange blog.
  • We’ve just finished our first ‘real’ animatic, with our final-at-that-stage broken down script, with low detail proxy models and sets, and rough animation. It was a bit of a push to get it done, and it’s good to see it all together, but I think seeing it has also been the catalyst for our collective dissatisfaction with various parts of the script, dialogue, etc to come to a head and cause a bit of a panic. It’s our last chance to really change this to make it much less bland and more exciting (not just for viewers, but for us as well), and I have faith that Bassam (working on it today) will help get it in a better shape than it currently is.
  • As part of the deal that secured our studio at Montevideo/Time Based Arts, we did a Blender training workshop last Wednesday, for 15 third year visual effects students from the Netherlands Film Institute. We were a bit worried, having spent our time on the animatic and not preparing our tutorial sessions, but it worked out pretty well in the end. Although they’d been taught Maya in their course, it seemed they hadn’t gone into much detail or complexity, so they were quite grateful that we were showing them more advanced 3D concepts, even if it was a lot to take in at once. I think they found it interesting, which is great.
  • Life in Amsterdam is continuing pretty nicely. I think we’ve seen the last warm days gone now, but maybe we’ll still be pleasantly surprised. It’s getting quite chilly as I bike to and from the studio – definitely jacket and scarf weather.
  • A few interesting things going on these days. Tonight is museumnacht – all the museums in Amsterdam are going to be open till about 2am, with parties and events happening at them too (DJs and dancing in from of Rembrandt paintings at the Rijksmuseum sounds like fun!). But even better, since Montevideo (of which our studio lives at the top) has exhibitions and is technically a museum, they’re involved too, and apparently there will be a DJ/VJ event outside on the Keizersgracht canal tonight. I will be there and hope to document the occasion.
  • Like I always try to (but now, more than ever), as things happen, pictures will appear in my flickr photostream. So you can keep checking it or the little image log box in the top left of this page to see what’s been happening in photographic form.

Amsterdam Sweet Home

September 20th, 2005 . 1 comment

There’s been a lot going on in my life recently and I’ve hardly had any time to post anything here. The big news is I’m alive and well here in Amsterdam, settled in to an apartment and already hard at work at Studio Orange. The first few days here were spent madly rushing to put the Orange website together which has been quite successful, but very exhausting. We’re now in the concept design phase for this week or so, more info on that in the Orange blog. And don’t forget to support our project and pre-order the DVD, including all production files and making of documentary! It’ll be really good, I promise 🙂

We’re all posting a blog entry a week over at the Orange site, but hopefully now I’m here, I’ll try and post additional things here, maybe more as a personal diary or maybe just mirroring what I post over there. I’ll have to see… I spent a few days in New York on the way to Amsterdam with Kat, and have a bunch of photos from there I need to clean up and post. I’ve also got a heap of work to do in my spare time (what spare time! I’m still here at the studio at 10:30pm!) making patches to bring over some blender interface work into the official version. So there should hopefully be updates still coming out on here, now I’ve got my head together! I’ll keep you posted.

Back in Sydney

July 15th, 2005 . 0 comments

Well, I’m home again, and have no idea what I’m doing up at this hour of night. Sleeping all throughout yesterday and last night felt great at the time, but it probably wasn’t the best way to shake off this jetlag.

I had a most awesome, productive and interesting time in Amsterdam, and a chaotically exciting few days in Tokyo. Thanks so much to Blender international translation coder Shizu and friend for meeting up on Sunday, showing me around and being patient with my horribly broken Japanese. It was fantastic and much appreciated! There’s tons of work waiting for me here now; expect to find out more about what went on, over the coming days.

A Change of Scenery

July 1st, 2005 . 5 comments

Tomorrow I leave for a week-long Project Orange pre-production meeting in Amsterdam, returning back to Sydney on the 12th of July. Thanks to this wonderful thing called the internet, life will go on and I’ll be reachable via email as usual. I’m flying with JAL (on the same plane as fellow blenderhead Lee), stopping in Japan very briefly on the way to Europe.

On the way back I’ll stay three nights in Tokyo, which I’m really excited about! It should be an interesting opportunity to try and brush up on my steadily disappearing Japanese language skills, not to mention fun! Are there any Japanese visitors here with any recommendations for Tokyo?


June 16th, 2005 . 7 comments

Well, the Project Orange core team members were released to the public today, and I’m very proud, flattered, surprised, and excited to be one of them! We’ll be working together in Amsterdam between September and March next year, with a pre-production workshop in July.

There’s still a lot I don’t know about it yet, but hopefully I will before too long. I also hope to keep a log of my involvement in the process here too, so stay tuned! My submission for the project application (unfortunately minus some confidential in-production work) is here, if you’re interested.

Amsterdam Again

November 15th, 2004 . 2 comments

I’ve made it out of (the very interesting) Russia intact and well, and am back in Amsterdam for two more days to reunite with my laptop and prepare for the terrible trek back home that awaits me on the 16th. Since I had to change my booking at a late date, I got a terrible connection, meaning that the entire Amsterdam to Sydney journey will take me roughly 31 hours. That’ll be just a barrel of laughs. *ahem*

I also now have 2.5GB of photos to sort through, plus 4 or 5 rolls of film. I guess now that I have a little digital camera too, I should really get around to fixing up my crazy homebrew PHP web photo gallery thingy into something more usable and reusable. Anyway, till next time (when I’ll be a lot warmer than I am now).


November 3rd, 2004 . 4 comments

Just a quick update, since this poor page is looking a bit static. I’m now in Turku, Finland, after coming up from Amsterdam (following the Blender Conference) through Copenhagen, MalmAP and Stockholm.

Tomorrow I move on to Helsinki for a few days, and then the big one over the border into St. Petersburg. Wish me luck!

Alive in Amsterdam

October 15th, 2004 . 2 comments

I’d say it’s been a long few days, but my body’s still having trouble deciding what a day really is. The jetlag’s in effect, and although my flu’s still hanging around, it’s getting better every day and I’m alive and well. I’m posting live from the sofa in the foyer of my hostel here near Vondelpark in Amsterdam, surrounded by what looks like a group of Dutch high school students. I spent yesterday afternoon walking around the city in a sleepy daze (not due to any interesting chemicals, mind you), which is surprisingly small compared to what I’m used to in Sydney. I’ve got museums to peruse, canal rides to take, bicycles to hire, and dinner to have with ex-NaN blenderheads Ton and Bart. No time to write too large an account right now since I’ve still got plenty of preparation work left to do for the Blender Conference, but I will mention that I’m looking at moving to some other places (The Hague, Rotterdam, maybe Brussels?) before I return back here for the conf.


Bicycles in an alleyway

Destination Amsterdam

September 6th, 2004 . 1 comment

Well, last week I finally booked and paid the deposit for my plane ticket to Amsterdam. I’ve never been to Europe before, and what better opportunity to spend all the funds I’ve saved over the last few months than to attend the Blender Conference 2004. I’ve submitted a proposal for a talk, so we shall see how that pans out.

After the conference, while I’m still in Europe, I plan to head off with the bare essentials and a backpack for some exploration through Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia, so if you’re in any of those countries, I’d love some advice (and hey, we could even meet up for a coffee or beer or both! 🙂

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