I don't like redoing work. I want to do things once and then continue to add on and grow then into their next form. Because of this I'm a huge fan of pipelines. I work with software build pipeline for a living, but I'm actually more interested in building one for animated film/television production. Specifically related to trying to produce my wife's scripts (there will be some posts about this topic in the future). I discussed in an [blog:using-trac-for-film- preproduction earlier post] about how I've made a bunch of modifications to [http://trac.edgewall.org Trac] for making it better for use as a pre-production tool. But what I actually want to do is make Trac the central clearing house for an entire production pipeline. There are a bunch of major areas related to making an animated film and I'd like to build a complete pipeline that allows an extremely small group of people to be able to produce an episodic television program without it taking their entire lives. This post will give an overview of what I think is required. (And as I write on the other parts of the pipeline I'll try to link them back here). You'll have to live with a list for now since I'm writing this before going to bed, but I plan to expand on all of these topics. 1. Episode planning, script writing and preproduction using Trac + [http://trac-hacks.org/wiki/ScrippetMacro ScrippetMacro] and other tools. The goal is to make the process of collecting notes for the production as easy as possible and then be able to quickly turn those into episodes without wasting too much effort copying things around. 2. Character design/development using tools like [http://makehuman.org Makehuman] and some sort of process (to be developed) for going from character concept sketches to 3D models 3. Blocking and Animatics ideally within [http://blender.org Blender] and making use of the scripts from Trac as a reference (and to automatically create the necessary scene files) and characters from Makehuman. It should be possible to use these as a reference for the entire film and at this point it becomes just a matter of making the animatic more and more detailed until it's the actual episode. [http://www.xtranormal.com/ Xtranormal] kind of does what I want, but I'd like the tool I use to be able to act as a feed for the actual production of the real product. So better to just integrate the capability with Blender. 4. Animation... is still kind of a black hole in my knowledge set. We want to have a library of animations we can use. Maybe we [http://www.mixamo.com/ pay for access] to an existing one. Do we figure out some mechanism ([http://www.blendernation.com/2011/12/22/bloop-the-blender-loop-station/ Kinect]?) for doing animation capture... but will that actually speed production? This is a big open area. '''Update 5/30/2012''' from Duststorm on
makehuman @ irc.freenode.net [http://svn.pointclouds.org/pcl/trunk/gpu/people/
people] [http://www.pointclouds.org/assets/icra2012/people.pdf PDF about people] 5. Renderings of anime style scenes based on tools such as [http://freestyleintegration.wordpress.com/ Freestyle] and there's already [http://www.anigoanimation.com/ some great stuff] that's being done with it in this domain. 6. Production pipeline based around content stored in version control and managed using tools like [https://github.com/morevnaproject/remake remake] from the [http://morevnaproject.org/ Morvena project]. 7. Lipsync pipeline build around using speech recognition to extract phoneme timings... or if that won't work we'll just do it semi-manually using a tool like [http://code.google.com/p/papagayo/ Papagayo] 8. Audio and effect and video editing using the Blender Sequencer (though it sounds like this part of Blender is in [http://code.blender.org/index.php/2012/04/orphaned-areas-help-call/ need of some assistance]). Rendering into various video formats for distribution. I'm quite aware that the project is ambitious. But you won't achieve a lot of you don't try and do a lot. :-) But this gives an overview of some of the ideas I have and what tools I think already exist and could be utilized to build this pipeline without having to reinvent the wheel in every area.