View Full Version : Project widow - looking for animators, texture and lighting artists.

08 August 2009, 02:08 PM
Project widow is an animation project using free open-source software, it is being developed as a real-world production test, for the blender to Renderman bridge plugin, MOSAIC.

The animation is being developed with the help of the MOSAIC developer and the developers of the Aqsis rendering engine (REYES based render engine). The main goal is to produce a short animated film that will be shown at next years SIGGRAPH event, on the Animux booth. Animux is another opensource project, Animux is an opensource Linux based OS, which is designed specifically for the Artist (2D, 3D, sound and video), it also (to my knowledge) has a data asset managment system built into the OS, to help with managing multiple data sets (3D art assets etc).

Since we have assistance from the Animux developers, this means we also have access to a render farm consisting of 12 Quad core phenoms and 52GB of RAM (as well as 10 Nvidia Geforce cards and 5 Nvidia Quadro cards, if the project gets ported to gelato, which is an option as MOSAIC supports a multi-tude of Renderman compliant rendering engines).

For more information on the software that project widow is making use of please see the links below;

Animux (

Aqsis (


Blender (

Shaderman (

The storyline

The story line is quite simple, a spider is constructing a web in an underground subway system, during this time a subway train is hurtling down the tracks at full speed, barely holding onto the tracks as a charges towards the spiders location, it's full beam can be seen heading down the tunnel, the spider, unaware of what is heading it's way pauses, the air flow in the tunnel picks up, the spider releases impending doom is heading straight for it, the spider, panics and then tries to re-inforce the web that it has spent many hours building, it races around the web, laying line after line of silk, but it's too late the train is seconds away, it roars past the spider, the displaced air ravages the web, the spider is thrown from it's web and hangs by a single thread.

The train goes past, leaving the spider and it's tangles mess of silk behind, the spider looks around, it starts to make it's ascent back up the line of silk when all of a sudden a discarded sheet of paper (newspaper possibly) blows past and slices the single thread holding the spider up. The spider falls to the floor, a few seconds pass by, the spider, curled up in a ball doesn't move a muscle. But after another few seconds it shows signs of life, it slowly gets up and as scurrys off, a few seconds later the piece of paper that sliced the thread floats down in front of the camera with the worlds "The end" written on the page (If it's a newspaper it will be somewhere on the paper, i.e. a headline).

That is the basic storyline, we already have a fully developed storyboard (images and text for scenes). Which can be viewed here (

The project progress

So far the project has come along way, although it has only been going for a few short weeks we already have had items shown at the Animux booth at SIGGRAPH, the reception seemed quite good, so we are looking forward to showing a complete short film, along with techinical documentation and tutorials to help other artists make use of Renderman compliant render engines.

80% to 90% of the 3D model assets have been completed so far, the main character has been rigged.

We are now at stage were we need help with the animation of the spiders and train in the scenes, along with lighting and texturing/ shader writing for the final scenes.

Using blender is a must, however i can offer training and advice (PDF documents and videos) on using blender for animating, lighting, UV mapping, texturing and Animate78 should be able to help out with the MOSAIC plugin system (Shader linking and lighting settings).

The deadline for this project will be SIGGRAPH 2010, however we would like to finish the short film as soon as possible, so we can start developing a second animation to also show at SIGGRAPH 2010.

Images ( ( ( ( (

More details (workflow, pipeline setup etc)

More information can be here ( about the current setup of the project, as well as our own research and developemt on the project.

If you are interested in this project, or have any queries please don't hesitate to ask, you can post here, or contact me directly at this email address

With out the (no_bots) :thumbsup:

01 January 2010, 08:52 PM
do you have any shots ready for animation meaning they've been through layout?

01 January 2010, 09:11 PM
We're currently working on the first shot at the moment which only has camera animations. However we are pretty much ready to start the main animation, which will involve the spider, the train and possibly some smaller background animating.

If you would be up for helping out with the animating I can send you a few files, which will let you get to grips with the rig(s) we are using and the software (we're using blender).

We have a full storyboard complete and all the scenes are modelled (Except some set dressings which would need to be completed, but a proxy set/object(s) would work for most scenes).

01 January 2010, 09:18 PM
May as well post this update while I'm on-line :)

Here is the latest animated sequence from "Scene one- Shot 1". We are still toying about with camera movement and whether to use camera switching.. Anyway, OpenGL render;

01 January 2010, 09:19 PM
Yeah sounds cool send the rig over and I'll have a play with it, I use blender a fair bit these days (main for game art in my spare time but I'm sure animation isn't that different to maya, animation is pretty much the same in most 3d packages.)

are you the best person to ask about rig features?

I can probably tell this from the rig but how are you doing the webbing? (as in technical method) i only ask coz if you're using some type of Dynamic solver i'll add settling frames at the beginning of any animation I do.

01 January 2010, 09:31 PM
I know how the rig is built and understand the workings of it, so if you have any issues I'll certainly be able to help. CÚdric our rigger, who built it made a Py script to toggle IK/ FK on or off for the bones so if you have issues with that aspect of the rig I'd have to get in touch with CÚdric. Not a big problem though :)

The web is a problem at the moment, since we are exporting Via MOSAIC into Aqsis we have been testing like crazy the best method to get this working. I'll have to ask Animate78 (Ted), the TD, He will know the best way to go about this. Basically it all comes down to a problem with curves, they don't export from blender 2.49a correctly and the only option is to use polygons, but this would require quite a tedious set-up, even if bones were used.

I wouldn't worry about the webbing at the moment though as we have cut a few shots from the storyboard which means we'll only have a few (one or two) shots near the end which will have the web in it, which will more than likely not involve the spider interacting with it.

Do you have an Email address that you could PM me so I could send the spider + rig? Also do you have any examples of your animation (Youtube videos etc) :)

01 January 2010, 09:34 PM
also I just checked the story boards which are cool, any chance you could cut them into an animatic to give myself and any others chance to understand the speed of things and the general pace of the story.

Animatics probably the way to go on this as you're working over the internet which has its pain in the arse moments (and its awesome ones too)

01 January 2010, 09:48 PM
yeah I've got a few small clips that are email-able of animation some simple test showing timing and weight and and low poly character back flip I did for a small firm.

would that be ok? most everything else is work related and I can't give it out yet

01 January 2010, 10:38 AM
If you need storyboarder,layout artist,character design, concepts and animation you can count on me;)

01 January 2010, 05:29 PM
If you need storyboarder,layout artist,character design, concepts and animation you can count on me;)


We've finished the story board and concept stages, however we could use a hand with lay out and animation still.

We still have several scenes which need models placed and cameras animated, as well as the main character (The spider). If your up for the challenge send me a PM and I'll get you sorted with more details.



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