24th Nov 2021 | Sprite Fright
In the last couple of weeks we selected some of our most interesting shot files, cleaned them up and converted them to work in the latest (upcoming) Blender version.
Each shot is contained in a zip with all its dependencies. You can download them all individually from the content gallery.
The files were extracted from our SVN production repository using BAT, any extra cached data is stored in a subfolder called caches. All other dependencies like characters, props and sets are saved in the subfolder lib.
Usually multiple artists contribute to a single shot. To make sure they don't step on each others toes, each shot is separated into files that reflect each specific task. This procedure of linking and referencing between tasks is pretty similar to our past productions. However, on Sprite Fright we took full advantage of the new collection overriding system so there are a few key differences.
Like the name suggests, this is where the characters, props get animated. The file is tailored to fast playback, so often you'll find heavy collections disabled. What is visible is determined by the animator; it does not propagate to the rest of the files.
All animation files have a disabled collection called <shot name>.anim.output. All necessary assets are linked to it. Outside of that collection the animator has pretty much free reign over the structure of the file and can add helper objects or references as they please.
We had separate effects files for fire, fluid, smoke, melting sprites and particles. They link in the animation output collection but are otherwise pretty self-contained. The effects are collected in their own collection which is referenced from the lighting stage.
In some rare cases the effects were created in the lighting stage, like the hairspray and pebble simulation effects in 010_0050_A.
These files contain lights, extra set dressing elements and all environment effects that form the final shot. The lighting files link in the output collection of the shot's animation file. Effects are linked in from their respective files.
If an animation contains smear frames or other Grease Pencil effects, they are coming into a lighting file via the output collection. For rendering we converted them to mesh first and then hid the Grease Pencil objects.
Sometimes a lighting file will be separated into multiple View Layers. This is done in part to optimize the scene complexity or to render the characters without motion blur in front of a blurred background. In those cases, the compositing setup has been included in the lighting file.
Please make sure that the content of a .zip is fully extracted before you open any of the .blends, otherwise things won't work.
If the file uses Geometry Nodes we ensured that the setup is compatible with the latest Blender version. However, we didn't convert anything to the new fields system, so you can safely ignore any legacy nodes warnings you might encounter along the way.
To make sure that the files work properly, you need to enable automatic script execution. Quite a few extra processes depend on Python scripts:
Also, the assets necessary for each shot have been stripped of all data that is not referenced from the main shot files, so there might be some missing dependency warnings if you open anything within lib. This is done to make the shot packs lighter since, we are publishing characters and other key assets separately for use outside of this production.
That's it! Head over to the content gallery, grab some peppermint tea and have fun exploring!