The book manuscript has been with Focal Press since the middle of last month. Since then, we’ve finalized the DVD, and they’ve been sending me .PDFs of the final book for review. As soon as that process is done (this week), the book will be off to the printer, which takes a looooong time. I started writing in January, which means that a lot of the stuff has gone “cold” to me since then. In writing terms, that means that I can read it as a third party, as opposed to the author. If you try to read something too soon after you write it, it’s still “hot” and you can’t really read it objectively. The point is that, reading it cold now, it’s very good.
I’ve also started working on the tweaking and re-render for the August release of The Beast. The production version of the animation is finalized and on the book’s DVD. However, over the next month and a half I’ll be spending a little more time on the animation itself to give it another round of refinement. Also, I’m rendering in HD at 16:9 (the production version is NTSC 4:3) and have updated the lighting and compositing pipeline for a better outcome. The overall sound will be getting a remix by the music’s composer.
In my quest to reduce render times, especially now that I’m going HD (1080p), I decided to try out the always-stated fact that Blender renders faster under Linux than Windows. I installed Ubuntu 8.04 (64-bit, using wubi) on my laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM), and after using Envy to install the proper nVidia drivers, found that it was true. An HD frame (1920×1080) from the opening shot renders in 1:50 in Linux, but takes 2:55 in Windows XP. Same computer, dual booting. Yikes. That’s crazy. I’ll be installing this on my main workstation, too. That’s going to drastically cut render times.