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Elephants Dream premiere


LimoSo where's the report on the Elephants Dream premiere you ask? Truth be told none of us could be there; I was in the plane on my way to my vacation and the other BlenderNation editors simply live too far away. Our designated reporter who did go has gone missing off the face of the earth after the event. I guess the afterparty was THAT good :)

No worries though; many reports have already appeared on the web. I'll give an overview of them here.

The Movie

All of the reviewers agree that the movie is excellent: it is expertly made and it compares well to big-leage animations. The music and sound effects are stunning and the characters' voices fit them well.

I think it's safe to say that nothing like this has been made before with Blender, or with any other Open Source graphics software for that matter.

Roel Spruit wrote the most complete review on

The movie itself...well what can I say, it was visually stunning. I have seen a lot of animated movies before, but I can honestly say Elephants Dream blows most of them out of the water. The months of work the orange team put into this movie was certainly worth it. I can fully understand why the team opted for a movie set in a surreal environment; this gave them a lot of freedom to show off their talent and the tools they used to make the movie. Everything from the texturing to the lighting was amazing to look at.

There are also many comments on Elysiun. Patdog writes

The look of the film is excellent, original and inspiring. The created world is strangely mechanical, and yet organic. It is a rather dark tale, and maybe not everybodies cup of tea. If you're up for some full blown drama it delivers - certainly on the big screen, with explosive sound and Jan Morgenstern's great soundtrack.


Indeed, Elephants dream was awesome. When I saw the beginning how they did the matrials, shaders, modeling and creating a certain mood, it was just awesome. The quality was top-notch, was this actually created with blender?

Wybren van Keulen:

After months of hard work by the Orange team, they blew us away with an impressive adio-visual spectacle!

Having said all that there's some criticism as well, mainly on the story. From what I've seen in the studio before the premiere I have to agree: the story is not very accessible and the dialogs are sometimes a bit unnatural.

Roel Spruit:

However beautiful the movie was, most of the people present agreed that the storyline of the movie was not very well suited for the casual viewer, the orange team admit that this was on purpose. To put it bluntly, if you look at this movie once you'll probably be stunned by it's beauty, but it will leave you slightly unsatisfied. The storyline almost demands you to view the movie several times. I saw the movie a couple of times over the course of the weekend and each time I looked at it differently, there are several ways to interpret the story it tells.


Found Tygo Gernandt voice excellently fitted to his character, but unfornately Cas Jansen role sounded too much like a made up voice. The character animation was however everything we could be jealous of, though some movements just in the very beginning I thought a bit odd. Well will be watching it again soon. That's enertainment :-)


But as each movie there were some few critics I have. The character animation at the beginning was quite odd, but that didn't bothered me. And on certain times I was like, whoow what's going on, that's the actual story? At the end of the movie I knew what exactly the message was, but it took me a long time to figure it out.

The Party

Following the premiere there was a party in the club named 'Blender'. Blender and Blender had never worked together before and the owner of the club was so excited about this that he came over to the studio to get inspiration for special Elephants Dream snacks and cocktails.

All of the reports are pretty vague on what actually went on during the party so I'll take that as a good sign :)

Roel has the most coherent summary:

Cigars and whiskey, Orange cocktails, snacks, sexy bartenders, Orange team members being massaged by finish coders, Drunk and tired Australians, walking into a club with your own booze and asking the bartender for a bottle opener, sippin' from a bottle of wine on your birthday. Riding someone else's bike in the middle of the night through Amsterdam, Crashing on someone's couch because you're too tired to take the train home.....


If you have your own photos of the event online, please post a link in the comments!

See it for Yourself!

If you want to see Elephants Dream on the big screen, you still can! It will be playing at the Dutch Institute for Media Art (Montevideo) until April 28th.

Opening times:
March 30 - April 7: tuesday-friday 13.00 – 17.00
April 8- April 28: tuesday-saturday 13.00 - 18.00

Admission fee: €2,50 (students €1,50)

For more information, please see

Get the DVD

One last thing: all the contents of the movie will be freely available online soon. Still, if you want to be amongst the first to see it at home and if you want to financially support this project, you should get the DVD. You'll do that, right? As in, right now? :)

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Vassilios Boucer on

    Thanks for this Informations and links about "Elephants Dream" ORANGE PROJECT!
    ....waiting for the DVD to see the Film!!
    i am sure its Great!

    For those who like to see another Dark and Sureal 3D Animated Fulllenght Film from France Team...go to your Videostore and Rent "Kaena the Prophecy"!
    made with 3ds max,Realflow,....and other Tools you can Read about the 3d Film and Tools Used... here:

    For me this 3D Film Kaena was Boring to see and the Story is Bulshit!
    Very Interesting Sureal Scenerys (Science Fiction Scenes)...some nice Characters (Kaena- very Sexy).....but very Interesting to see the Fluids made with Realflow and Great made Aliens (like in the Real Alien Film) and some other Fx´s and Textures used -from a 3D Programm User Point!

    ...waiting for DVD!! see "Elephants Dream"


  2. It's a real pain in the butt to wait around for so long without any word from the team. On the other hand, I would expect, and sincerely hope Ton and his partners in crime to take a leave, and rest up for their next adventure -- and it appears that that's what they want to do.

    I'm very curious about the DVD release date considering that Ton pushed the production schedule back a month. I also wonder if the "making-of" will be narrated. I hope so!

    Lastly, it's very exciting to think what features will start to be implimented by Ton and the others when they start thinking in retrospect, instead of for a deadline. They'll say "Hey, we never would have run into the problem of ABC if Blender had an XYZ. I'm going to start building it right now!"

    One feature that I hope will be expanded upon is SOUND!!! As Jan Morgenstern pointed out in the Orange Blog, all of the music and sound effects including the 3D surround sound filtering was done with Reason, which is far from Open Source. (found for $130 USD retail on Froogle)

    Where are my open source Sound Bugs? If you're as curious as me, you may have stumbled upon Planet CCRMA [ ] and that's about as high tech as open source audio can get, my friends -- especially considering the way CCRMA operates.

    Well, that's all my 2 cents for now. Peace doods.

  3. Re: Bmud.

    It was done with Reaktor, not Reason. No, it's not open source. But Reaktor is really just a (slightly simplified) derivative of the pd and max audio programming environments.

    Pd (pure data) is GPL and very very advanced. It's one of the top tools of choice of experimental musicians (along with MAX/MSP and Reaktor and others - it's a question of taste). jMax (a variant of max, duh) is also Free software. Oh, and there's also Supercollider and Csound. They're both Free software too.

    There is a huge amount of serious open source audio software. In fact most of it makes commercial software look like simplified toys. And the best thing is almost all Free audio software uses (or can use) jack, which means you can plug signals from pieces of software into each other ad infinitum.

    A good place to start looking at Free audio software is the jack apps page.

    The really powerful (yet very complex) pieces of software are the ones I've mentioned. The others on that page are generally prettier and simpler. Also look at some of the advanced ladspa plugins available.

  4. Hi :)

    That's right, I used a bunch of custom-made Reaktor ensembles - albeit only for some special effects I couldn't achieve with other tools.

    While I agree that most of the programs you've mentioned make for a wider range of possibilities than Reaktor, I feel that environments like csound or Max/MSP are entirely different beasts, and it's a bit unfair comparing them solely on the grounds of what you can do with them in theory. Take csound - it's a turing complete programming language with focus on DSP, so you can do pretty much anything with it. But then again, so you can with pure C code. I think that it has to be taken into account how fast you can yield usable results aswell. I've found that while it's kind of a CPU hog, Reaktor's modular-synth-on-speed UI approach lets me design and test DSP structures very rapidly, and what's more important, they can be integrated into the production workflow in a very straightforward manner. This is not to say that Reaktor is the best choice for every case - for example, you're approaching its limits very fast if you want to build very CPU-efficient stuff, or structures that rely on external data.

    > There is a huge amount of serious open source audio software. In
    > fact most of it makes commercial software look like simplified toys.

    Oh lord, I wish this were true - I'm serious, I've been using OSS software almost exclusively for the past 10 years for everything - except in the studio. And I can't count how many times I've cursed unbelievably stupid bugs in my proprietary software, and the developer's often arrogant persistence in denying their existence, and wished I could just take the code and sit down for a weekend to fix it myself. So take my word that I'm watching the OSS audio world VERY closely, and I'm constantly re-evaluating what's being done there in search of every occasion to eliminate a bit of proprietary stuff from my studio.
    The sad truth, however, is that with the notable exception of some peripheral stuff (the sounddesign-from-scratch tools you've mentioned, or excellent audio codecs like FLAC and ogg), the offering is still lacking in many departments - for starters, there's no DAW that matches the big commercial apps in terms of functionality. Also, most of the OSS plugins I've tried, be it softsynths or basic stuff like EQs, reverb, dynamic processors, also feel a bit like textbook implementations from EE students - not bad, and certainly up to par with the so-so stuff that's built into most DAWs, but not anywhere near the quality of a lot of dedicated commercial plugins.

    As said, I'll be the first in line to adopt OSS stuff in the studio environment (as I've done before - Audacity, sox or flac are tools I'm using daily), but to state that most of today's OSS audio apps make commercial stuff look like toys - well, sorry, but that's pretty far out. No offense ;)

  5. I wasn't really meaning to disparage Reaktor when I called it 'slightly simplified'. I just meant that it's just that. Slightly quicker and easier but slightly less powerful.

    And yes, when I was mentioning commercial software looking like toys, I was really talking about dataflow programming languages, seeing as he was after 'advanced' tools. I suppose it all depends what you mean by advanced. In a way, pd does make cubase & protools etc. look like toys, but only because it takes a completely different approach to audio design.

    "for starters, there’s no DAW that matches the big commercial apps in terms of functionality"

    My eye is on ardour. I just hope it doesn't go to a wierd pseudo proprietary model before it gets really good (read the website).

    "Also, most of the OSS plugins I’ve tried, be it softsynths or basic stuff like EQs, reverb, dynamic processors,
    also feel a bit like textbook implementations from EE students - not bad, and certainly up to par with the so-so stuff that’s built into most DAWs, but not anywhere near the quality of a lot of dedicated commercial plugins."

    Have you looked at Steve Harris' set of plugins? (Or was this the one you were implying?) I was very impressed last time I looked.

    Besides, you've got Pd and jMax, which both can use jack - there's nothing stopping you from implementing your own very advanced reverbs etc. ;)

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