OpenMovieVR

OpenMovieVR

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to watch Cosmos Laundromat together with Victor, sitting on Frank’s island and watch the sunset? Or go to the “Oude Kerk”, one of the locations from Project Mango, and watch Tears of Steel there? Well, now you can do that! You just need a Google Cardboard and a smartphone (only Android for now, iOS coming later). We put together an App to watch three of the Blender Institute’s Open Movies in VR. But why?! Isn’t that totally pointless? Yes! It is! But still, it’s fun, at least we think so. Mobile VR Also, we wanted to put together a showcase for what we can do with mobile VR. Because currently that’s really our focus here at BlendFX. The Oculus and Vive etc. are certainly super cool, but the entrance barrier for the average user is quite high, whereas mobile VR doesn’t take you more than just a Google Cardboard and your smartphone. However, smartphones are still quite limited when it comes to graphics, especially if you want to do stereo, where the scene has to be rendered twice, one for each eye, with an acceptable framerate. So instead we render everything in Blender, using the spherical stereo option to create stereoscopic panorama spheres which we then import to Unity. That way we get the best visual quality possible without sacrificing too much performance. And because Unity is a game engine we have full control over the scene and can add a bit of extra 3D content that fits into the pre-rendered panorama. We did already some experiments with our first VR app...
VRAIS – VR Awesome in Space

VRAIS – VR Awesome in Space

We are happy to finally provide the first update of our VR viewing and sharing app VRAIS. We introduced the first version 2 weeks ago at the Blender Conference 2015 in Amsterdam. Now we fixed many bugs and added a few new features such as drag and drop, a new GUI in VR mode and a couple of other improvements. Get it now on the playstore! Hopefully soon we’ll have the App Store version too. Here’s our talk from the Blender Conference Wait, what exactly is VRAIS? Since a couple of months we are producing VR content by rendering stereoscopic equirectangular images with Blender and Cycles. These images can be viewed with VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift or even better and more affordable the Google Cardboard (well, you still need a decent smartphone for that). We are using Blender to create these renderings. What we were missing in our pipeline though was a decent image viewer to quickly check our renderings. But since we couldn’t find a good crossplattform, easy to use VR viewing app we decided to build our own. And once we decided to do that, we thought: why not go and make it also a VR gallery where people can share there VR artwork? And because we love Blender, we named it after a famous line from one of the Blender Institute open movies Tears of Steel: „I just want to be awesome in space“: VRAIS – VR Awesome in Space!   Here’s what it does VRAIS is two things: A tool for you to view and check your own VR creations, but also to share...
Leipzig Summer of Code

Leipzig Summer of Code

I guess every Blender user has the dream of having his own developer sitting right next to him to code everything you want. During one of the recent „Blender Beers“, the more or less regular meet-ups of the slow but steadily growing Blender user group here in Leipzig, we decided to just make that happen. So we put together some money and hired Julian Severin Eisel, who also worked for the Blender Institute already, for 4 days to come to Leipzig and work on some workflow enhancements. In the end it was four studios from Leipzig that contributed and raised the money: blendFX, Mikavaa, Mathias Eimann and Knick Design. The Goals Of course there is only so much you can do in 4 days. So on Monday we had a meeting to discuss what we would like Severin to work on. We showed him some of the problems we have in Blender, what we would like to have improved, and how certain worklows look like in other software. Kay Dombrowsky from trickkiste.tv gave Severin a short demo of his Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve color grading station. It was good to also talk about some bigger topics, like for example how an improved undo-system might look like, or how you could implemented parametric mesh modeling in Blender. Hearing a developer’s opinion about that was very interesting. Not everything a user would like to have is also feasible. And because Severin’s current development focus is UI and user interaction in Blender we settled for 2 projects: Better node interaction and Custom wireframe colors.     Visual improvements of the node editor We knew...
Everest Trash Collector

Everest Trash Collector

Last month (March 2015) till today we worked on an app called “Everest Trash Collector”. It’s a 2D runner game for iPhone and Android (and also tablets).       More infos on the project page: LINK For the main part we used Unity3D. It’s a great tool and it was a nice challenge to combine 2D graphics from Hiroaki Ando with a 3D World (from a fix side perspective). For many elements, especially the level design and preparing images to create polygon colliders, we used Blender, which is just great and works very well in combination with Unity3D. We also uses the BakeTool to create all 64x64px vertices color maps in about 20 seconds. This app was created in collaboration with Thirdpole, blechfisch and Mikavaa. This app uses music from www.playonloop.com...

The importance of Open Movies

Project Gooseberry We at blendFX think Project Gooseberry is one of the most important things happening to Blender right now. At this moment there is one day left to collect enough funding so that the crowdfunding campaign can be extended to hopefully meet its goal in 20 days from now. That’s why we want to take the chance and tell you why we think that supporting Gooseberry is the best thing you can do right now to make Blender a future proof kick-ass 3D production tool. Development vs. Testing Reading the various forums nowadays it seems that a lot of people question the Blender Foundation’s Open Movie strategy of Blender development. And it’s true, at first it seems as if it would be better to spend all the money on developers completely instead of funding a bunch of studios and artists. But the truth is, code and features have to be tested. Thoroughly. And in production. Look at how well people test the release candidates of new Blender versions. Not well at all! There are always several weeks where people can test the nightly builds and the release candidates. But even then, it’s far too often that once the final version is out, suddenly there is all kinds of new bugs showing up in the bug-tracker that can often only be found when you use Blender in production. Just opening Blender and clicking a few buttons and checking if the default cube renders is not an appropriate test. Only when you really use the bleeding edge versions of Blender in an actual production you’ll be able to find these nasty...