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Animation: Fish In A Glass


2_44c5ada253271.jpgIn an excellent demonstration of using Open Source software to produce visual effects Octavio Augusto Méndez Sánchez has produced a simple animation of a fish in a glass.

Octavio Augusto Méndez Sánchez used Blender 2.42, Icarus 3D Tracker, The GIMP, CinePaint and Audacity to produce the video clip.

Quotes from Octavio Augusto Méndez Sánchez:

...The idea is to see if it is possible to use 100% Open Source tools for all the production process, looking to obtain similar results (or superior) than could be obtained with commercial tools...

...the total time of production was 2 weeks from beginning to end, including time to render but without including modeling.

The original model of the fish is not mine, it is from the Virtual Toucan Museum, you can download it here. I made some adjustments to mesh + triangulations and subdivisions to have a better control at the time of doing skining later and with softbody, but in fact they were minimum, the original mesh is very good!

Octavio plans to do new sequence a VFX short with this fish using different lighting and more improvements to the technique. I'm sure we'll all keep an eye out for it.

See more screenshots of this project.

Or see the video a 25Mb QuickTime, encoded using ffmpeg blender - Remember to right click and save as.


  1. I really like this. I especially love the use of softbodies. The difference is really apparent when we see the various stages of the fish's development and the transition from without to with softbodies. Just plain awesome.

  2. hmm, link to the movie isn't working here. I'm intrigued to see it. I don't think Icarus is open source, but I'm not 100% sure. The rest of the software in the list are all open source/free software.

  3. maybe in 3 years we get an camera-tracker into blender... it's hanging in the air... then the suit will be complete: 3d, editing, compositing, motion-tracking!

  4. Excellent animation, and I love the Siamese Fighting fish!

    Just one crit tho, Siamese Fighting fishes fins arent so ridged as that, there more crumpled up cloth.

    Other than that excellent. :)

  5. Open source project which promises to make machmovier:

    Actualy matchmovier, motion capture and image based modeling well documented over net and not so hard to do. Start your reading from WikiPedia.

    for 2D marker trackin you shuld search some computer vision engines.
    or very nice 2d tracker from Cinelerra

  6. Incredible demonstration, bravo Octavio Augusto!:-D

    I think a very good integration of 3Dgraphics e real footage, really well done.
    As Bassam noticed, Icarus it's not an OSS, it only free for edu and personal use. And it's not a FreeSoftware, because the source it's not released with some license (BSD, GPLvX, etc etc).

    I have only one problem with the clip: with VLC i can't hear the sound, only the video, pity.
    (in Windows and also with Ubuntu)

    Anyone with the same problem?

  7. Hello to all!

    About the production time, this was produced on 2 weeks without modeling time. I made some adjustments to de original mesh and to the texture (i add alphas and some spots to the original texture).

    About Icarus, you are right guys! is not OpenSource, is free for non-commercial use :). Before i use Icarus, i try Voodo Camera tracker and a demo of SynthEyes 3-D Camera Tracker. In Voodoo i can't find the way to position the camera to the correct way to match the video footgage. In SynthEyes i feel very good control, i think it is and excelent software for a really cheap prize!. I use Icarus arter view the excelent video tutorials by Colin Levy (, and this was the result :).

    About the natural movement of the Betta fish, im working on a more fluid movement on the softbodyes. It was really hard to control the softbody on this character. I found when i apply the weight to te mesh and try to animate the posed skeleton and, at the same time, i animate the rotation+translation of the armature and rigged body, the mesh with the softbody applied starts to made a really violent movements in responses to simulated physics!. Because of that i use several bones on every fin, to try to have more control on teh softbody. I still working on different ways to solve this and obtain a better animation.

    About the VLC Player, i encoded the video on a linux box using the ffmpeg feature to encode on QuickTime video. I play it on mplayer on linux and can't hear the sound neither, but on QuickTime player on Windows an Mac OS X, i hear the sound without problems. I don't know if this is a player codec issue or ffmpeg encoding issue.

    Thanks every one for your comments!

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