A stalwart friend of mine and this blog recently sent me a link to a bad article from the New York Times. This bad article. I’m definitely interested in sensible insights into that exact topic, however, I was horrified at what a vapid baseless jumble of nonsense it was. (And you thought this blog was bad!) I appreciate being sent the link because it is interesting to see how poor the thinking is on this important topic, but damn, that’s some poor thinking! I thought of writing this very post going over it sentence by sentence calling out how almost every part of it was obtuse. Thankfully, dear readers, I quickly regained my composure and realized, no, the NYT does not deserve that kind of fuss and neither do you! For all I know, they’re trolling me. What was needed was for me to be trolling them!


I also know that you and I are both pretty exhausted reading epidemiological opinion pieces written by fuckwits. What I really wanted to do was be left alone to carry on with my Blender studies which I am enjoying immensely. I am pleased that I had the bright idea to try to put my strong feelings about this issue — which is very important to me — into a short CG film! So I wrote a script! Since this is my response to that NYT article, and I actually have a million other projects going on right now, I decided to try to limit myself to what I could accomplish, to full completion, in two days. Well, this is day three. However I did have the first draft finish rendering last night. I was so delighted with the result this morning that I spent this third day cleaning it up a bit.

I’m not suggesting that you’ll be delighted with it. Heavens no. It was written to amuse me which generally produces mixed results with other people. The real mission was educational and I learned a lot! I learned that making movies is not just kind of hard like everyone knows it is — it’s really hard! There’s a reason they have crews of hundreds and budgets of millions! But it is quite fun! I learned that it is really helpful to like your material a lot because you’ll be watching it about a thousand times and evaluating every tiny detail.

One thing I know from software engineering is that on a project like this, being organized is probably the most important virtue. I’ve said before that Blender is a beast and back then I actually had no idea how to take advantage of its organization tricks. Well, it turns out organizing complex video projects is something Blender is also incredibly good at. So good that it is very difficult to master its amazing superpowers. But I think I made good progress. One amazing fact is that the .blend file that contains this project is 5.7MB. I did link to assets in other files, but that’s precisely the kind of organization I’m talking about. To consider that I can basically film any modest scene you could imagine using the set and assets in my film in less than 10MB is pretty astonishing.

Of course, by shrewd design, I am using low-poly characters. I joked to myself that the rough animation execution should also be described as "low-poly". I’m saving mastering the animation system’s pose library for another project but it would have helped here a lot. I actually built the neighborhood set from scratch. But I was keen to accomplish a final product so I did what competent modern Blenderistas do — I stole as much as I could from free download sites! This includes the characters; these were rigged with a good system, but a system I wasn’t familiar with (I know Rigify) and a lot of time I spent today was fixing mistakes I made animating on day one. The vehicle models were also pulled out of the grand asset metaverse and needed only minimal rework. The HDRI environment texture was outsourced as was the lovely low-poly foliage.

The sound design was pretty critical with this project and I did do almost all of that myself. My number one tip for anyone recording anything: record your subject and then let the recorder run a bit. This "clean plate" recording of "nothing" can be used by the astonishingly good free software program, Audacity, to very magically perform effective noise reduction on pretty much any garbage input. However, be careful about wind noise — I never figured out how to cure that.

So my friends, I hope you enjoy this little project which I hope turned exasperation with current events into something more fun and ultimately rewarding.

Send me an email and tell me what you think!

UPDATE 2021-11-08

I was being figurative actually. But, hey, if you want a literal fake Italian sports car, here it is! Awesomely Weird Alibaba EV of the Week: A fake electric Ferramborghini from China