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Chat with the Creators of Elephants Dream


phone.pngSome of the members of the Orange Team have been spotted hanging out in a chatroom on IRC. If you'd like to meet them and have a chat, then this is your chance!

To participate in the chat, you can either use our web-based java chat client, or use your own. In that case, use the following information:

  • server:
  • channel: #elephantsdream

Please note: This is not an organised event, so you may find either them in there or you may not. (Don't say I didn't warn you, guys! ;-) If they're away, please leave your questions in the comments below.

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. What exactly did the orange guys use for lipsyncing? I am working on something for my school, and I need to learn how to do lipsyncing. I don't know what software to use, and since the orange guys used open source software, I want to find that stuff and download it. Also, how the the Orange guys get the plant vine things (collossuses?) to move like they did. I opened the .blend and the whole ceiling and wall fell away, and some static looking vines just got scaled bigger. Is this something going to be new in 2.42? If so, can't wait for it to come out! Nice job on the movie! Thanks!

  2. In fact it would be nice the Orange team could leave a list of all the software used, that would be extremly usefull to me. We need to know the right software so that training artists like myself could make projects of like quality. Really needed for me is a good video editor, lipsyncing software, and most of all a free audio editor.
    If team Orange could do this for us I would jump and dance for joy. Well maybe just jump. But it would be in joy non-the-less.

  3. @Raven:
    I'd suppose, the software, that was used, are the OS-projects mentioned during the credits. It amounts to (according to the DVD):

    Blender (well, of course), Gimp, Python, OpenEXR, Verse, Cinepaint, Inkscape, Twisted, Ubuntu, KDE, Gnome, DrQueue and Subversion.

    As I understand, the next version of Blender will get a facelift for it's already included video editor. I don't know about lipsyncing software, but concerning audio, you might want to have a look at Audacity (


  4. Steven Brown on

    Why encode a movie produced fully by Open Source tools in codecs that aren't legally implementable by Open Source players in the US? Is there a Theora encoding available?

  5. List of software would be

    Blender - used for model, uvmap, rig, render, compositing, sequencing, etc
    Gimp (Seashore on OS X) - used for texturing
    Inkscape - presumably they used it for more texturing stuff
    Subversion - used for version management
    Python - bundled in Blender though I'm sure antont found some usage for a full install for various things
    OpenEXR - library now Bundled in Blender
    Verse - they did some testing but it wasn't production ready yet
    Cinepaint - the Cineon/DPX support library was ported from Cinepaint to Blender
    Ubuntu, KDE, Gnome - just the environments used on some of their computers
    Twisted - I'd guess this was used as part of the render management setup
    DrQueue - render farm manager - they had some custom scripts setup to manage the rendering from IRQ so it was probably IRC+Custom Scripts + Twisted + DrQue

    they might as well have added the FTP and IRC clients to the list too :)

    Sound was done using closed source, as was DVD mastering and the 'making of' - but that part wasn't done by the Blender Foundation part of the team.


  6. Florinel:

    What you're seeing as depth of field is most likely them rendering different layers into the compositor and blurring them accordingly.

  7.'s a stupid one. What was the darn movie about? I couldn't find anything on it and I won't get any movie without knowing what it's about. So if someone could tell me, or point me to something I must have missed, I'd greatly appreciate it.

  8. "I won’t get any movie without knowing what it’s about."

    Its a 10 minute open movie with a complex story that, if we should tell you any more about it, would spoil the movie for you and others.

    It's a free CGI movie with great graphics! What else is there to know? (in other words; do yourself a favour and watch it ;)

  9. @levi f
    it is a short movie about two people living in a strange machine.
    the animation was synced to the audio using blender.

  10. I thought the movie was even MORE visually stunning that commerical ones like Pixar, the only thing that seemed un-perfect was the lipsyncing and sometimes the voices DID fit the characters and sometimes they didn't.

    Also, I too can't fully understand the meaning of the movie. I have about a dozen different theories wandering in the back of my mind and all of them are too vague for me to decide upon.

  11. I like the movie very much. I had some problems downloading it because the servers were clearly not able to provide enough downloadspeed (as I pointed out BEFORE they put it online *g*) but it worked.
    What I like about the movie is that you see WHAT is possible with blender... I often thought, "Well, nice program, but i do not believe that it is possible to make things looking as real as in commercial movies..."
    Now I know that it IS possible
    looking forward for 2.42!

  12. qwequ777:
    So you pointed it out hé? What brand cristalball did you use Captain Obvious?
    But good to know that next time we can rely on your resources to solve this issue.

  13. Steven Brown on

    Btw, amazing job! Didn't know stuff that fancy could be done with Blender. I'm looking at my "Tree made of a rectangle and pyramid" and wishing I had skill. :)

  14. A masterful creation. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was amazing. A little weak on the lip-sync, but other than that, quite awesome. I will be watching it a few more times to get a more solid grip on its meaning.

  15. guys just giving a open source tool to produce audio, its a professional and open tool, that will be limited only by your hardware, unfortunately i couldnt compile audacity but i think that this soft is better, i also would like to congratulate the orange team, this movie is one of the best ive watched so far, great story, i didnt liked so much when i read the script but after watching it in full hd using mplayer(was the only video player able to watch it without breaking) i can say this movie is good to say the least.

  16. I finaly could download the movie using the Torrent file (+/- 400MB).

    I had to install a DIVX software player to see the movie version I've got and after that I had to intall an audio codec to hear the sound. After work a lot I could finaly see the movie.

    My considerations :

    - Great animation and textures
    - Great sound tracks and special effects
    - Poor story

    In other words to reached the level of commercial movies you need "only" a better story. I think you could produce one of the best animes films in terms of visual and sound but I hope next time you could explore a better plot of a drama. I think you should include more humor situations in the movie. It was so dramatic for an animation film. Nowadays even the terror films explore the humor.

    When I said "only" a better story, take in consideration that it can be the most important think. If something wants be in our minds for the rest of our lives it needs to have a good story.

    Why don't you promote an open Contest related to short stories which can be the base for the next production ?

    It is just my opinion, sorry if I seam to be rude.

    Tio Ilmo

  17. Dunno why, but it just seems like an overly artsy version of any story an IT/admin might tell if you get in a conversation long enough... lol... (Hope that wasn't a spoiler.)

    Also, don't let anyone talk you into playing the Emo drinking game...

    I still think it's great, but I agree with Tio that there could be a better plot line. I could even see the story told without words, a nicely choreographed music video would be cool.

  18. One option would be to lip sync to a video of the voice actors, should give a more real feel to the words (just a suggestion)

  19. Joeri:
    please do not feel offended... just thought it was nice that there is really this huge number of project orange fans around the world
    i will keep my trap shut next time

  20. In my opinion, the greatest thing about this film is that it's one of the first "open movies", meaning all of the production material is being released under the OpenContent License (OPL). From the Blender3D source files to the musical score, everything that can be released publically is being released.

    This means the audience not only gets to watch the film for free, but they can also study the source, learn more about the craft, and even create their own derivative works. All without having to worry about any financial royalties.

    I feel there is a tremendous amount of respect for the audience in such a project, as the creative types aren't holding their technical expertise for ransom, but are instead releasing it to every member of the audience freely.

    In effect, they're saying, "Here, create! You are a creator just like us. We are not superior to you in anyway whatsoever. Take this. Learn. Tell and retell the story. Use it as a springboard for your own work. We are all in this boat together!"

    This type of attitude is obviously conducive to creative growth, as the artists not only create, but also acknowledge that the audience members are themselves creators.

    A proud poet will refuse to admit that everyone has a genius which is equal to his own, but a humble one simply says, "What is genius?"

    When we as artists express ourselves, we also give of ourselves. We give the uninspired what is needed to become inspired. To inspire means "To breathe."

    Creation is all one breath, yet shared by all, and everyone who breathes acknowledges: "This is not my breath that I breathe, but the breath of the Creator who inspires me. When the Creator breathes, He breathes Creators! When He speaks, He says, 'Go forth and multiply!'"

    Create. Acknowledge. Encourage. Inspire. Breathe. Amen.

    To me, that is what this story is about. It is about Creation. It is a story about making stories. Each word is perfectly placed. It is poetry.

    Perhaps those who feel the story didn't make any sense or that the plot was no good should watch it again, paying special attention to the scene with the receiver:

    "You're not paying attention!
    ... You have to learn to listen..."

    "Listen to the sounds of the machine..."

    "Listen to your breathing..."
    [dial tone]

  21. To be honest, I thought the movie was pretty bad. The animation was ok but good grief... was that nasty! The story really had no meaning that I could percieve. All that waiting for them to finish this Blender movie and that was the result??


    James B.

  22. Hi Denny,

    Your are almost totaly wright in your comments.
    But you will agree with me that if it is the first Opensource movie using Blender today, we can make the first commercial movie made exclusively with an Opensource software in the future.

    Unfortunately or not, commercial movies make success with simple and funny stories. The sofistication of Elephants Dream story only takes place in the head of poets.

    I think next time we can abandon the sofistication of the story and start thinking higher. Why do not try finding our space among the Dream Works, Disney or Pixar productions ?

    Lets show them that they can get the same result using our little boy Blender. At least tell them that they can use it as part of their productions.

    The tool we already have, we only need a good commercial story.

    If you go to Bernard Bear site bellow you will find a simple but incredible criative animation using simple resoucers of a 3d Applicastion.

    I continue with the idea of sharing the opportunity of our Blender comunity participates in the next Orange projects with a contest related to the story ideas.

    Tio Ilmo

  23. Tio: I think you mean "Thinking lower." :) Emo and Proog on a magical adventure with a talking telephone! With the voice of Robin Williams as the neurotic fax machine!

  24. There's no need for bad comments about others, that is immature. You are entitled to your opinion of the movie and they are to theirs.

    As Einstein once said "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."

    And I agree with Tio. Maybe next time a movie is made with Blender, it should have a simpler plot (and perhaps better lipsyncing ;)). I think that if a simple open sourced movie is made and freely released to the public it would have a lot more impact on the 3D and other communities.

  25. if we get the rumored orange 2, movie that would be possible just think of all the development that when into this from particels to a dosand other things. I think a full length movie would have been overly ambissios.

    I wouldn't mid seeing a 40 minute movie first then, move on to a full feature. It will aid blender in handling full length movies beter. As well as give them the chance to iron out som more kinks. that way when the full movie is realised it will really blow the audiance away.

    maybe even cloth simulation by then ;) and a game on the movie...we can dream can we ;)

  26. Steven Brown on

    It's rather sad so many people want to see a stupider version that's like a Pixar film - no wonder nothing on TV is worth watching anymore, you all demand it be brainless! They gave you Fillet Mignon and you complained it wasn't McDonald's.

    Use your minds for a change, it's fun. :)

  27. True. But I think what we were trying to say was "Dumbify it down a bit, but don't make it a movie that 3 year olds would want to see."

    It's like we were given a Filet Mignon... but with 6 forks 7 spoons and 5 knives and left to decide what would be the proper culinary tools to use. I don't want a McBurger and I don't want a Filet Mignon. I want a steak and a knife and a fork to eat it. (Cornocopia of metaphors I know :P).

    I love thinking and using my mind, but I don't like thinking so much that my brain fries.

    Does anyone have anything to say about the music of ED? I especially loved the part where they are walking on the moving plates and Proog continually repeats "pulp." I just seem to like any kind of music that sounds like the theme from American Beauty.

  28. Why do people keep insisting on comparing this to pixar movies?
    Is it that good? Did 6 people create an equal visual impact as the normal 60 of a pixar short?
    (Didn't pixar sold their sole to disney because they did not know how to write a story?)

    Can't any of you selfmade critics judge the short on it's own mirith?
    It's getting high reviews from movie critics btw. I mean from people who know movies.
    I can imagine that you find it needed to vent your opinion on what you saw, but can we start giving critic based on film factors, not consumer factors.
    It's pretty worthless to read all these consumption values on a product that's gratis.

    "It’s the best blender movie ever…" Really? You saw them all then? And who again did you say you where? Pfhrw89? Well, geeh,... Good you liked it.

    "It's visual great, but it has no story!" Visual great? Really? Doesn't have a mediocre spagetti western a better feeling of decor? No story? I (almost) saw an episode of "as the world turns" yesterday, now theres a 'no story'.

    Is the story so wrong? What's wrong with it then, what makes you think it's told the wrong way? I'm very sorry that I'm not impressed by your "I don't get it" I believe that says more about you then about the movie. Explain why you don't get it!

    I don't need your laimeness!
    It's suppost to be Open! Give me your expertise, your future plans, your lesson learned, or at least your feelings towards what it *is*, not to what it's not.

    I believe that if the movie had been more quite (I think I also whished for it in a sense) then the assets had been more inviting for re-use, making it more of a useable open movie. What we have now is a rather difficult production to extent or remake or build upon, making the 'open' not much more then a "here we dumped the files; puzzle galore". I feel that as a shame, and I don't feel the orange team considered this issue (besides other part) to be important. That, at least, gives the taste of elite.
    I feel all the 'free' assets we have now will find not much more use then a file on the extended disc. Unless a client of mine wants a wrinkled disturbed man (or maybe a metal duck) in his next commercial. Or unless I would like to expand my personal projects into glommy dark rusty metal machines. It will be interesting to track how far the free assets will actualy spread.

    Since I don't have an Xseed renderfarm I don't expect I'll be doing much missing scenes that where in the script (maybe some online collabaration could do that), or redo a scene (stick the feet on the floor) since a single frame does not fit on my display and takes 2.5 hours to render.
    The audio does not really allow it, the voiceless tracks are not CC2.5 and there are no additional or separated voice tracks, meaning a re-edit needs a new soundtrack and a new voice recording...

    He knew I'd be seeing this picture more then once, but he never needed to explain to me what it was about.

    I hope that in future open movie projects, initiated by the blender foundation or other parties, the actual process of creating the movie will be more open, giving more insite on the artistic decisions, during the creation. Insite as a look in, not neccecary as a vote in. A site would need a login to let people be spoiler free if they wanted to. Didn't lucas had something like this? Hyperspace or so? Ofcourse Hyperspace was open but not gratis.
    And then a story that would challange me even more, pushing cg further into movie making (and not cartoon making). But would be easier to decyfer because the progress path would be documented.

  29. @James Bruno

    As you can see, there are a wide range of opinions regarding this movie. Please feel free to let us all know when you finish yours.

  30. Hey i loved the movie

    all i'm saying (and some others) is that now we need to look to the future. WE LOVED ELEPHANTS DREAM, but let us dream of what to come.

    if you have a problem with hope for the future blame god or pandora.

    Thank u orange progect 4 all your hard work

  31. I repeat from myself Alabandit's post.

    We compare Elephant's Dream to Pixar because, when you were in science class, weren't you told to compare the results of an experiment to a control, a standard? The result of the 7 month old experiment by the Orange Team was ED and the standard or control is Pixar's movies.

    And all those tutorials dubbed "How to Create Pixar-looking Eyes" are really encouraging too.

  32. And this being art it's of course very important to measure up to science class rules so here we go:

    Shouldn't that be at least the same experiment?
    So better not compare a lakmous test with a pregnancy test, they are not really interchangeble. Or didn't they tell you that in science class?

    O well, it's computer generated moving images, so it must be the same thing.

    And I could not find any “How to Create Pixar-looking Eyes” in the orange blog.
    O well, Orange blog, Blender Wiki, all the same thing, right? At least when you think not beyond a level where your brain starts to fry.

    But I guess they didn't tell you in science class to be accurate and get your facts right.

  33. Wow. What a lot of debate about whether or not it was a good story. Personally, I thought it was a great story. I've seen a lot of 3D shorts, but I generally don't feel a need to watch them more than once or twice. I've watched ED proabaly about 9 ro 10 times and each time I have new questions about what things mean. I think the team put more into the 10 minutes of this short than a lot of movies put into feature lenght movies. I understand that a lot of people may have been hoping for something more commercially appealing, which usually means straightforward story and characters. I myself am glad they made something for me to exercise my gray matter on.

  34. 1. I was only creating an analogy

    2. What "experiments" are you talking about, and how are they different?

    3. If not compare Elephant's Dream to the dominating Pixar or Dreamworks, than who?

  35. If in science class we test the temprature of water with profetional equipment and then test it against ours-what if we find that what we did was diffrant but need a little more tweaking to be just as good and may be...just may be we realise that we can do beter than we have done and they have done, and then instead of stoping the experiment we start run more trials and improve what we have done...then maybe instead of trying to freese water at 32 degrees, we freeze it at 0 degrees...then we have a hole diffrant way of mesuring temp and guess what? they both are great and both have there strengths... may be pixar will not buy out blender later this week...maybe just maybe there is a new sun on the horizon...what if we are on that hozison, would we not see pixar setting???

    Dare we dream...dare we not encourage our young new sun 2 rise?

    i see orange progect rising...what do u C

  36. Dear Folks,

    I think I reached my objective. I've openned a discussion around the story and I could received the enough feedback I hoped.

    Everybody is wright in its point of view, but Terence in special made the best comment.

    What do we want ? A commercial movie or a free one ?

    If we want a commercial movie we need go to one way (reach public expectation) and if we want a free one we can go anyway.

    In general the best famous movies mix some expert things with simple things but in general it is quite simple.

    Usually the best movies include something that the target public can be familiar.

    The "Ants" movie ? It combine a funny story, some fiction, humor and the real life in a human comunity.

    The "Monsters Inc" made the same mix but simulating a manufacturing plant.

    The "Toy Story" made the sames mix but explored the real life of boy playing with his toys.

    If you think safely about this movies you will see that is possible make this mix to have a good result.

    If you consider the effects, animation, sound , etc... "Elephants Dream" even being a short film did not lose anything comparing to them but its story is good only for a small specified public. I mean we can reach a major range of spectators with quite simple but criative story that people can find their lives in there.

    Thanks for all your previous comments including the disagreements. We can lerna more and more talking about polemic treats.

    Tio Ilmo

  37. Very Nice art!

    dont compare this movie with comercial ones with a multimillion dollar budget!
    due to the orange project, blender has improved so much and the movie is great!!!
    I would be the "first" who will help sponsoring the next movie...
    thanx a lot!!!

    i l o v e b l e n d e r !

  38. We compare it to commercial ones as a a compliment to Blender and all of its contributors because even though Blender is being brought to life with a budget of next to nothing, it still can create movies just as good and even better than multi-million dollar ones.

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