After being reminded to reset xForms and actually doing that I began the rigging. Because my model is a simple hard-surface vehicle it doesn’t have many movable parts so my rigging is mainly just establishing the hierarchies. In addition to this I also added a controller, just to make life a bit easier.
For my animation I decided that my airship should be flying through a stormy, snowy sky. To do this, I needed to learn how to create a skydome and also how to use the particle system. This was a great learning experience although it was quite frustrating at times as I had no really knowledge and was working mostly from internet tutorials.
Firstly, I started with the skydome. I created a sphere, flipped the normals and used a free sky sphere map as the material. The image below shows the sphere, with the texture, before the normals are flipped.
I got the sky map from the following address: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?24038-Free-high-res-skymaps-%28Massive-07-update%21%29
Next I began working on the snow. The particle I used was a very quickly and roughly created snowflake. It is not great quality but I needed it done quickly…
I used the blizzard particle system and the blizzard preset. I adjusted many of the settings so that the particles would vary slightly in size and rotation.
I used a u-deflect and space-warped it onto the zeppelin so that the snowflakes hit the balloon and slowly slid off (I used a friction of 50).
I used a basic skylight for my scene. Because the model is meant to be flying through the sky, the surround lighting was appropriate. The other lights I tested did not work as they cast harsh shadows in wrong places. I tested different multipliers because I felt that the standard was a little too dark.
In the end I opted for a happy medium and settled for 1.75. The light also has the slightest blue tinge.
I started by animating a single flipper. This took longer than I expected because I messed around in the curve editor for a long time.
Using my extenstive and obsessive notes I copied this flipper and positioned the copies. For the right-hand side I mirrored the flipper. Unfortunately, this also mirrored my animations thus leading me to further note taking and imputing the exact animation (but inversed) manually into the curve editor. This actually worked surprisingly well…
The animation is very simple: the flippers move in a rowing motion, the propeller spins and the boat moves forward. There was not much else I could do as I only created an extremely basic model. However, I did animate the flippers to move in a wave motion. I just thought this looked cool.
I have two cameras in my scene. They are both free cameras linked to a dummy. One follows the model from a side on view while the other follows it from a low angle. At the moment (if I have time) I would like to render both and include both into the final video.
Now to update the textures and render…