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Open Source On the Big Screen 120

Posted by kdawson
from the ebb-and-flow dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the success of Elephants Dream, the Blender Foundation is developing a follow-on open movie called Peach, set for completion later this year. Computerworld has up an interesting interview with Matt Ebb, lead artist from Elephants Dream (the interview is split over 5 pages). Ebb talks about the making of the world's first open movie and offers some advice to others wanting to start such a project."
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Open Source On the Big Screen

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  • Youtube (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:35PM (#22057630) Journal
    For those of you who haven't seen Elephants dream and don't want to tolerate the 450MB download, here's the Youtube link [youtube.com].
  • by Facetious (710885) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:37PM (#22057672) Journal
    I have particularly been watching their open game [blender.org].
  • by LetterRip (30937) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:51PM (#22057886)
    The movie Plumiferos http://www.plumiferos.com/index-en.php [plumiferos.com] will be coming to the big screen some time early next year. A feature length movie done entirely in Blender (modeling, animating, rendering, non linear editing, etc.)

    LetterRip
  • Re:Other projects (Score:2, Informative)

    by Metsys (718186) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:00PM (#22058030)
    Here's an article that has a few examples. http://www.blendernation.com/2006/08/18/elephants-dream-remixes/ [blendernation.com]

    The only other thing I can recall people using the source files for is re-rendering it for technology tests, like an 8 megapixel display.
  • Re:Youtube (Score:2, Informative)

    by chubs730 (1095151) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:24PM (#22058404)
    I've been using blender for 2 years and I do indeed find the UI super fast. I think the real problem is that the learning curve is far underestimated; it's taken me quite a while to get to the point of having the majority of important keystrokes be second nature.

    I wouldn't consider myself a "wizard", though at this point my main constraints on furthering my skills are a lack of proper art training and time. If you find the UI cumbersome now, keep at it, and the hotkeys will really aid you. The main problem is that the UI in blender has a really steep learning curve at the moment, but I find it faster than 3ds max or maya. It doesn't seem intuitive now, but using one hand for commands and one for actual modeling really speeds things up.

  • Conceptual success (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tranzistors (1180307) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:35PM (#22058530)

    The film's purpose is primarily to field test, develop and showcase the capabilities of open source software, demonstrating what can be done with such tools in the field of organizing and producing quality content for films.

    It was technical demonstration, so don't feel too surprised it had a crapy plot. As far as video quality goes, I found this video quite nice.

    More about it here [wikipedia.org]

  • 5 pages? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dotancohen (1015143) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:40PM (#22058634) Homepage
    Don't want to see five pages of ads? Here's the one page, for-print version:
    http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1111810628;fp;2;fpid;4;pf;1 [computerworld.com.au]
  • by crossmr (957846) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:52PM (#22058796) Journal
    it wasn't artsy, it was digital masturbation.
    What they were alluding to was painfully clear. The entire purpose of the movie was to say how great and important the movie was.. on the other hand look at http://www.delivery.framebox.de/ [framebox.de] Delivery made with far less support, and a hell of a less horn tooting.

  • How Blender compares (Score:3, Informative)

    by LetterRip (30937) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:52PM (#22059694)

    I used Blender for about 3 years back in high School.
    How long ago did you use it - it sounds like 2 years ago or so? Back before Elephants Dream, it had a fair number of rough edges, especially in the animation and rendering department. And a few releases prior to that (ie when it sounds like you were using it) it didn't have undo for most things, so if the last release you used was quite a while back, then it isn't a reasonable basis to judge the productivity of Blender.

    It is quite comparable in feature set and productivity to most high end 3D apps now (a few rough edges still - ie lack of a fast materials preview using OpenGl acceleration). Its modifier stack, SDS, sculpting, compositing tools, have recieved accolades from users of other software users. With the current SVN builds we have cutting edge animating, skinning, and rigging tools, and a pretty high quality particle and hair implementation. Also the rendering system is getting some really cutting edge stuff as well - see Brechts post about approximate ambient occlusion - http://peach.blender.org/index.php/approximate-ambient-occlusion/ [blender.org] .

    Anyone who has failed to be impressed with past versions of Blender, should really consider giving the next release a try, I expect that you'll be 'blown away'.

    LetterRip
  • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:01PM (#22059794) Homepage

    if you are developing a open source tool for artists - particularly in a market where the proprietary alternatives are deeply entrenched - why aren't you working with artists from day one to get the UI right?


    Blender [wikipedia.org] started it's life as an internal tool at a Dutch studio (NeoGeo). So in fact, it was designed with the target artists in the loop.
    And pretty much shows you why it's actually a bad idea :
    - When you let hardcore artists design an interface, they'll design what's most efficient for them : an obscure interface where absolutely every function is a short-cut and available at the finger tips. The hardcore artists will be able to use it blindingly fast. The problem will be that they're going to be the only able to actually use the software, because they'll be the only ones to whom the keyboard short-cuts make a sense.
    - Blender had to become open source before some member of the community took the time and the effort to make nice contextual menus.

    Tools developed internal for the target audience are the worse, because the devel/users focus mainly on utilisation speed and completely neglect the learning curve because they don't need to learn the software in the first place, as they're the one who build it.

    To produce more accessible tools, you actually need to have a larger community, that includes people specialised in designing good UIs and people who have to start learning the tool and which will report where the tools isn't obvious to learn using.
  • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @12:05AM (#22062282)

    What audio programs are they using? They've got to record dialog somehow (unless it's a silent movie.)

    They used Reaktor, which is a bit disappointing. Reaktor is more mature than OSS equivalents like om or its successor whose name eludes me now. I'm sure if they had chosen someone else to do sound, someone who knows Linux audio, they could have had fully open source production of the same technical quality. Of course artistic/creative quality can't be measured the same way.

    The fact that they didn't use open source sound appears to be entirely because Jan Morgenstern didn't know the toolset and not becuase it was insufficient. It's a shame.

    It would be great to see a project like this provide feedback for Ardour, Rosegarden, various plugin developers, etc, or even lead to closer interaction between blender and jack.

  • by deathguppie (768263) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @12:52AM (#22062712)

    If coding was easy everyone we be an expert C++. But that takes time and patience to learn and so do 3d modeling applications. There is a lot of whining going around about how hard blender is to learn, but the truth is it isn't any harder to learn than any other advanced computer related activty./P.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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