It was time to revisit the voxel style that I focused on early last year. This time, I’ve brought Santa Clause with his band mates Rudolph, Frosty the snowman, a couple of elves, and teamed them up with some rowdy penguins brining lo-fi, hip hop turntablism. I’ve been meaning to experiment with animations that respond to sound using Blender’s “Bake sound to f-curves” function.
“Santa’s Lo-Fi Hip Hop Band”, E major, 90 bpm
The track is a simple lo-fi hip hop track, entirely sample driven with some Rhodes chords, synth melodies and basslines, and sampled drum patterns (except for the two sequenced fills at the start of the B section and the end of the track).
Pretty much everything seen on video is animated to the music. To keep the animations clean, I exported the individual instruments into their own audio files where needed, and a dry mix of the whole track. The dry mixes have no reverb or vinyl noise, to prevent characters moving to the ambient sounds. Instruments were animated with the Simple Deform and Displace modifiers with vertex groups where necessary with the exported sound tracks used to bake the F-curves. The tracks are:
- Individual drums: kick, snares 1 and 2, hi-hat, ride. I needed to use EQ filters to isolate the individual instruments from the sampled pattern. This was played by the elf. Getting the elf to hit the right instrument at the right time took a bit of coordination, but it came it out pretty well.
- Bass played by Rudolph the reindeer. The limitations of voxels made it hard to pull him off convincingly, but I love his head movements.
- Synth (played by Frosty with a sax , though it sounds like a clarinet).
- Rhodes piano chords played by Santa.
- Sleigh bells, played by the elf.
- Turntable played by the penguin. The turntable bopped to the dusty samples, and one of the records spun back and forth to the scratch sound effect.
All in all, I loved this project, and I knocked it out in four days! This will lay the foundation for several 3D animated music projects in the future.