First Animated Tentacle

28 Oct

Tentacle

Video here: Youtube

A week ago I decided to tackle Blender (the open source rendering and animation package) again, since I didn’t get anywhere the last time I tried.  It’s quite a steep learning curve, though I gather it’s much better with this latest version. I decided that the three things I’d most like to use it to illustrate were (1) monsters, (2) robots, and (3) alien landscapes. (Once a science fiction fan – always a science fiction fan). Just as you can never have too many monsters,  you can never have too many tentacles. This was an attempt to make a suitably alien tentacle. Not brilliant, but I think it’s a good start. Deciding to animate it – just to see if I could – was challenging but very satisfying.

Philosophy and Image Creation

I’m an engineer and computer programmer, and when I look at an image, I’m always mentally translating it into a table of numbers. Because that’s all a displayed image is – just an array of red/green/blue intensity values at N pixel locations. I think that carries over into my attitude to post-editing and cgi. It doesn’t matter to me whether an image was created by extremely careful photography, rougher photography + touching up in a photo-editor, rendering software, or even someone painstakingly filling in the pixels one by one with MS Paint. All that I care about it is the final image.

This attitude is nowhere near universal. I’ve seen websites (including blogs I’ve visited because the author ‘liked’ my blog) with a proud declaration “All images on this site are un-modified and just as they came out of the camera”. Which is fine – it would be a boring world if we all thought the same – but makes an interesting contrast. To me it smacks of entering the Guiness Book of Records for hopping on one foot to the top of a mountain. It shows skill and determination, but no-one can tell from the triumphant photo at the summit just how you got there – and it’s much easier to walk.

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