The video is viewable in HD on YouTube.
This project was a lot of fun for me. I wanted to learn more about 3d modeling after using Blender for my last assignment. Some of the concepts that I used making this animation were:
Thank goodness for tutorials on the internet or I wouldn't have been able to figure it all out. I just needed to know exactly what all those things were. Figuring out how to use them was felt straightforward for me. Some of the things I didn't use in the animation that I want to try out sometime later would be rigging, shape keying, and the grease pencil.
On the point about skyboxes, I had trouble figuring out how I could produce an image by hand with lighting information built into it. If you watch my animation closely, the skybox was made by me and the stars don't look like theyre emitting light. It just looks like wallpaper. Most image editors work with only 8-bits per color channel (with the color selector). My display can't show colors in the HDR range either. I'm starting to think that in order to make HDRI images, I'd have to make multiple image layers and jam them all together somehow. If someone has any information about this topic, I would like to know.
Again with color spaces, I had issues putting my background image into Blender's compositor. It would output the image with color slightly duller than how it appears when I open it in an outside viewer. Adjusting the color space options gave me different results but never the exact correct color. Again if anyone has info on this, I'd like to know. I resorted to outputting renders with a transparent background and then adding in the background later using my video editor. A neat trick.
Rendering the animation at 24 fps produced about 780 frames for a total size of 1.4 GB. With the Cycles sample size set to 64, it took about 5 hours to render on a computer with 3 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080's. In order to avoid the renderer noise that is associated with low sample sizes, I used the Intel Denoiser which had just arrived in the November release of Blender 2.81. That AI Denoiser is actually magic. Achieving the kinds of images it produces would require rendering at 1000+ samples, taking over a day to render my animation.
Sound editing was done in Audacity. I made the UFO noise myself. All other sounds were taken off freesound.org. However, I did edit them a bit to make sure they sounded right. The opening music is from Macintosh Plus's album Floral Shoppe.
The final video was put together using Davinci Resolve. I was a bit frustrated by not being able to graph out the levels for the audio clips. The software only lets you control the fade in/out (as far as I know).
As for other source materials, the 3d model for the statue of Helios was taken from the Scan The World project. The moon texture was taken from NASA.
I made the cow myself. I am very proud of it.