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3D World Magazine: Making of Sintel

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3D World Magazine: Making of Sintel press durian blender institute blender foundation 3D World Magazine features an in-depth article on the making of Sintel.

From the article:

Sintel was made without commercial 3D software, by a team that lacked commercial experience, and by a director who freely admits that he was a risky choice for the job.

Its production was beset by doubts, logistical difficulties, and a dangerous desire to overreach its own means of production.

And yet, it is a fully realised and highly cinematic work, with a budget that makes it the second most expensive animated film in Dutch history. It is also, at times, quite lovely.

Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of Sintel, the Blender Institute’s latest open movie.

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  • http://macstarter.com macstarter

    It's a great article. I remember reading posts on the blog as Sintel was being made, but seeing it all together in one article makes you respect all the more the achievement of making such an ambitious movie.

    On a side note, does anybody know when the Sintel production files are going to be available for download? We had them soon after Big Buck Bunny was released, and they helped me to learn so much about rigging and animating.

  • tofu

    Some of the issues that I still find with Blender is the shortcuts. For example, sometimes, you press say CTRL N 4A 25, it means to do a certain task, but you can't find it in the menu at all. For every hidden shortcut, there should be a visible menu for it. And where is the right button click. And many little inconsistencies. For example, you have a choice to have the move manipulator in the 3d view, but not the UV editor. There you gave to use G. But Blender is still great.

  • JustinBarrett

    @tofu: That had nothing to do with sintel and it is 90% neigh saying until the last sentence??? I recommend people ignore his post and consider how big a task sintel really was.....
    software was alpha, and the film was way too ambitious.....but hey this is Blender and Blender users....so, they pulled it off...a lot of care and hardwork and blatant love of 3D got these people through and helped them pull this off....not to mention they raised the bar for the next project....
    "good work", cannot be said enough.

  • http://bendansie.com Ben Dansie

    @macstarter - I've been working on the Sintel character file to make a light distributable version. I was going to put it through a few more iterations before making it more public, but Blenderartists.org (with the related thread) is down and it's probably close enough anyway:

    http://www.filefactory.com/file/b55h1hf/n/sintel_lite_v2_1.7z

    http://www.filefactory.com/file/b55h262/n/sintel_lite_v2_1.zip

    The two files extract to be the same thing, just different archive formats. Inside is the Sintel 'lite' blend file and shrunk versions of the textures. The lighting setup (one for opengl, one for render) is made to render a lot faster than the files in the film, but still look pretty good. More detail is in the Blenderartists.org thread in WIP when the site comes back online.

    And yes, I do have hosting space on my site, but can't remember what the bandwidth is like. Figured filefactory was safer for now.

    As for the rest of the files being online, not sure when that is planned.

  • The Fatsnacker

    Still cannot believe given the number of bug fixes since Sintels release that you managed it.

    congrats again...still expectantly waiting for the time when you can make a proper movie out of it.

    regards

    TFS

  • JeroenM

    I already read this article in the paper version or 3DWorld. I bougt it specifically because of this article.

    Off topic but still related: I clicked one of the adverts on the webpage. Has any one else seen this: http://www.mixamo.com/c/blender ?

  • http://Sintel.org Scales

    So what's the budget? of this supposedly second most expensive Dutch treat?

  • JeroenM

    If you mean to ask what the budget was of that other film: It was the animated film "Als je begrijpt wat ik bedoel" (which sort of translates as "If you know what I mean". According to imdb it was released in the US under the title "Dexter the Dragon & Bumble the Bear"). In today's money it was made for just under 1.5 million Euro's. Imdb estimates it's budget at around $2 million (1983)

  • arkady

    The part that I found most fascinating in this article is that the Blender team kept running into the same problems that I have encountered myself when making animated demo shorts. It makes me feel a lot less retarded to know that even the developers of Blender themselves struggled with many of the same difficulties. When, O when is Hollywood going to sit up and take notice of Blender? Both Blender itself and the things the Blender Foundation is doing with it are altogether remarkable.

    And yes, tofu was being off-topic, but he's right.

  • kike sanz

    from what i know the budget was
    ~.5 million dollars

  • kike sanz

    from what i know the budget was
    ~.5 million dollars

  • kike sanz

    from what i know the budget was
    ~.5 million dollars

  • http://www.bespired.nl/bladerender/index.html joeri67

    Kai
    " with a budget that makes it the second most expensive animated film in Dutch history. "

    Weird line.
    Sintel is not a film, its a short. I'm sure the Guerrilla Games trailers are more expensive.
    Sounds like Ton is making himself bigger than he actualy is.

    "The part that I found most fascinating in this article is that the Blender team kept running into the same problems that I have.."
    Even more remarkably is that it keeps repeating mistakes it had on previous shorts.
    Then again, assembling a team is a social event that needs time.

    " O when is Hollywood going to sit up and take notice of Blender? "
    Pixar uses inhouse software that is way better than blender. Ever watched the credits and noticed there are more 'development' members than actual animators on any given pixar movie?
    And Hollywood is about making money, how are they going to make money with blender?
    If you buy 150 mr licenses to render your project you can bet mental images is going to give you support when something goes wrong, with blender,... well, who do you call?
    btw. I'm sure blender is used on parts. Professionals are not fanboys that stick to one package to do the whole job.
    Like the whole crazy idea of blender to be a limping version of nuke is just pathetic, for what target group is that usefull?

    I'm proud Sintel is made at Ton's Blender Institute, but I can only imagine how much better this production would have been if the artists used real tools. 80% of the strugle was because of software working against them and not with them.
    Ofcourse finding crowd funding for a commercial short would have been impossible, so it's not really an option I guess.

    I mean, is Ton still using Osx to develop blender? That's kinda cheating is it not?

    From the piece:
    “Martin’s ideas were wonderful,” says Roosendaal. “I was really snickering when I read his proposal. But they were crazy, impossible to film.”

    Impossible to film? lol. Didn't they say that of lord of the rings? Isn't that in the top 25 of Imdb's bests ever?
    Well maybe release that script as a pdf. I sure want to read it. Maybe Levi can pick it up when he's experienced, rich and famous?

    “It just takes time to get to know one another, to build up good workflows.”
    What? So it's not about the software people are using? darn. There goes my rant on being better with better software.

    “There are almost 200 shots in the movie, and in almost all of them, the camera is moving, but at no point are you disturbed by that,” he says. “It’s a big achievement: you’re looking at a film, not a demo.”

    I agree. Although I think CG at this point in time has more use of CG than Sintel even tries.
    Like the part in UP where Carl Fredricksen goes from funeral to home is an excellent example of moving away from lensflairs and stepping into the digital age. Btw. That part of UP, the life of Carl Fredricksen with Ellie is the best short I've ever seen.

    “I hope they forget that it was made with open-source software, by all of these random people from around the world – and just enjoy the story.”

    Good parts of the movie are that it steps away from most, if not all, cliches in cg movie making, except maybe the urge to be epic. I found the emotions conveyed very believable and the acting better than in loads of filmed movies. I just thought that Levi was pulling a Lars von Trier on me. Only with Dancer in the Dark I left the theater so sad, and normaly I'm a very happy joyfull person. ( lol ).

    Anyway, impressive good job.

  • Js Guillemette

    @Joeri: I won't bother replying to all your lines of text, since it's not worth it. But concerning martin's ideas. They were not 'crazy good but too complex'. They were simply crazy. Think about teen girls (underage teens to be clearer) with uncovered breast being molested by vikings type warriors. These were the big lines of one of the script. I'm pretty sure the Blender community would be been angry. Hell some people were angry that Sintel had so much uncovered skin! o_O

  • http://www.cgex.net cgexnet

    @joeri67

    I’m proud Sintel is made at Ton’s Blender Institute, but I can only imagine how much better this production would have been if the artists used real tools. 80% of the strugle was because of software working against them and not with them.
    Ofcourse finding crowd funding for a commercial short would have been impossible, so it’s not really an option I guess.

    Well. Partially I agree with you. Blender guys worked with Alpha and buggy release. That was really a challenge, but I have real examples from a real life. I have a 3D animation course (from start to finish - modeling, texturing, animation, rendering) at my university here, at Lithuania. Students may start with Blender or 3DMax if they like. Typically 3DMax users already have some experience at the start and most Blender users have none of it. And you know what ? I have a number of examples when these experienced 3D Max users are outperformed by unexperienced Blender user. Of course it is not real animation workflow. It's only an example from my practice.

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