Out with the Old, In with the New

Happy New Year! A lot has happened in the last few weeks, and we’re about to make some major changes on the “Lunatics!” project website. Progress continues on 3D assets for the series and for “No Children in Space”; and we’re making new promotional and fundraising plans. It’s time to shake things up, and we’re planning to do just that!


Animation and Rendering Style for “Lunatics!”

There are several factors we have to balance in coming up with a style of animation and rendering for “Lunatics!” You might think that 3D animators should always try for maximum realism (“photorealism”) when making animation, but this is not necessarily a good idea. First of all, the human eye is extremely good at spotting errors in photorealistic renderings and especially in animation. This is the basis of the problem known as the “uncanny valley effect”:  if you have extremely photo-accurate models and renderings of characters, then even the slightest error in movement creates a disturbing “creepy” effect. Such animations are often described as “zombie-like” or “doll-like”. This is because we are very sensitive to tiny differences in the way real people move.


More Animatic Progress

I made 35 new storyboard sketches yesterday. I’m scanning them in right now. I’ve also created 10 CG animatic shots for spacecraft exterior shots. This puts me a bit behind where I had hoped to be at the beginning of the week, but I’m still making pretty good progress.

Progress on Animatic and Some Renderings

There are a lot of exterior space shot in the 2nd half of the pilot episode, and I decided it would actually be easier to do rough animatics of these in Blender than to sketch them all — and it will certainly look better. So this week I’m doing a lot of quick renderings in Blender. So far it’s going pretty well, although am still a little behind where I hoped I’d be. There’s still a good chance I can get the animatic finished this weekend if “real life” doesn’t get in the way too much!


Cast Read-Throughs

We completed the principal cast read-throughs for both “No Children in Space” and “Earth” as scheduled. Everything went remarkably smoothly and we finished in about half the time I estimated it would take.


Storyboards / “Sketchy-Matic”

Here’s a little information about my storyboard and animatic process, since that’s what I’ve been working on today. This is not the animatic we’re advertising as a goal of this Kickstarter — these are the sketches that I make myself. To keep clear which is which, I call this my “sketchy-matic”, since my storyboards are pretty sketchy. I start with 4″x6″ plain index cards, which I draw on with colored pens. The drawings are very sketchy because 1) I’m not a great comic artist and 2) because it only really has to communicate what the shot, so it’s not necessary to have a whole lot of detail. One of the better likenesses in my storyboards — but still quite sketchy 🙂


From the “No Children in Space” soundtrack – Soyuz Flight sequence

Here is a suite of three tracks by Butterfly Tea (“Rise of the Titans”, “Back to Adventure”, and “Andorria Main Title”) which will accompany the Soyuz launch sequence in the pilot episode: A few questions have been raised about this music and its licensing, which I feel I should probably answer here: It is my belief that focusing on the positive value of free-licensed work and providing artists with a revenue stream from that work will help to increase the perceived value of releasing under free licenses, and ultimately provide a wider pool of material for us to draw on in the future. As with many other aspects of the “Lunatics” business plan, this is all about sustainability .