04.09 A Monk in uniform

With the set dressing mostly complete, the last remaining upgrade is Monk’s. I’ve been putting this off for good reason. Officer Monk needs major work, and not just on the outside. His rigging is quite ancient, and his shoulders and ankles will need quite a bit of reconfiguring. After that he’ll need the same mouth and eye controls I built for Ebon.


For now, I’m concentrating on the uniform redesign. Monk’s outfit was never all that much to look at, and now I’m trying to introduce some detailing without making it too “fussy.” New darker color scheme, new pockets, new CSPD patch. (I tried changing it to read “POLICE,” but it made him look like an editorial cartoon or something.) I considered giving him a walkie-talkie and some other miscellaneous equipment, but it tended to ruin his silhouette.

Next I need to rebuild his boots, and then it’ll be on to rigging.

04.04 Spring un-cleaning

2005 bathroom:

Old bathroom

I built the set for this scene two years ago, and haven’t really touched it since then. Now that I’m heading into final production, I figured it was time to polish it up, although “polish” implies that I’m making something smoother and shinier, when in fact the opposite is the case. 3D sets always look too clean to begin with. Maybe “tarnish” would be a better word.

Anyway, I added a ton of new grunge textures everywhere and some painted-on shadows around the fixtures. A dingy little first-aid kit completes the new look. Oh, and my latest discovery? Tinted lights! Man, they make a huge difference.

2007 bathroom:

New bathroom

03.26 The feet: wrapped

All-new texturing on the feet. Not exactly a major upgrade, but it was quite tricky to do, and I’m glad it’s behind me. Arms, hands & fingers are next.


03.17 Furrows of fury

Over the last few days, I’ve been preparing for my upcoming lipsync work by rigging Ebon with new mouth and brow controls. The process turned out to be much less painful than I thought it would be. You can see the controllers in action above: one bone apiece for the upper and lower lips, plus some extra brow geometry that pokes through the skin when “anger lines” are called for.

While the results won’t win me any rigging awards, they should be more than enough to handle the sparse dialog in this two-minute scene. Ebon pretty much only has one mood anyway.

02.18 First milestone complete

Just to bring people up to speed, Ebon is an animation project I’ve been working on for several years now. The first phase of the project, the proof-of-concept scene, is nearing completion, and I’m beginning to lay the groundwork for phase two, the pilot episode. This blog is a part of that effort. I’ll be documenting, in as much detail as I can manage, the process of developing an animated short from concept to completion.

The proof of concept

Most of my time and energy right now is devoted to animating a single scene from the script. Although the scene’s a mere two minutes long, I’m treating it as a full-blown production, progressing from storyboarding to modeling, voice casting, animation, lighting, rendering, sound-mixing and compositing. I picked Episode 2, Scene 4, because it has a little bit of everything: walking, talking, even a little fighting. It’s a good way to teach myself every aspect of production that I’ll be facing when I take on the 13-scene pilot episode.

So, here’s what I have so far: a complete “rough pass” animation of all 17 shots in the scene, with blocking, lighting and celshading. Next pass will be for facial expressions, dialog and lipsync.

Part 2 Scene 4

Download: “Rough Pass” animation


  • Sanguine Nation is the development blog of the Ebon animation project.
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16 tasks remaining

shots 1-3
final animation
shots 4-5
final animation
shot 6
final animation
shots 7-10
final animation
shot 11
final animation
shots 12-13
final animation
shot 14
final animation
shot 15
final animation
shots 16-18
final animation
shot 19
final set modeling
final set texturing
final lighting
final camera
final cut
sound design
final mix
final render 720p
final compositing