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Commercial work: animation for an Australian mine.


mine.jpgMore proof that Blender makes an excellent commercial tool. Zac Duff (Greenlig@blenderartists) utilized Blender to create a 7.5 minute animation for an Engineering company. The animation while not full of special effects like hair or softbody dynamics does show the range of flexibility and how Blender can be used within a commercial project.

Zac Duff says:

I'm a blender head who got a great break. I have in the last 4 weeks worked on a project for a Engineering company and I used blender for it. We were commisioned to make an animation for a very large mine in western Tasmania, Australia. What started out as a 3 minute animation blew out to a 7.5 minute animation that will be showing around Europe as part of a showcase for the mine company. I just wanted to let you guys know that a large commercial project used this brilliant software to very good effect!! The clients were very happy with the end product.

If you are interested in seeing the video that Zac created you can find it here:


  1. Hmm, actually I was expecting something a lot better when I read the word "professional".
    The quality of the animation was really nothing to write home about. Plenty of that level of quality in the blender forums. In fact, most of it was downright ugly.
    And to top it off, the guy used "Google Earth" in certain sequences.
    Like I said, nothing special. Its just interesting to note how little people sometimes expect in the professional field when it comes to visualisation.

    Of course, there is always the question of the time limit, that will have a severe effect on your work. It pretty much defines how good or bad your work is gonna look.

    Allthough in this case, even though the animation is 7.5 minutes long, its all just camera pans and zooms. This kind of stuff I can get done in 3-4 days.

  2. Gosh Fred, give the poor guy a break... Honestly, At least he has a job and is getting paid for this stuff :P. And besides, there not wanting something to go on Hollywood. I think "The clients were very happy with the end product." says that you should be congratulating such a man, not dissing him out... Find something more constructive to do, bro!!

  3. Yes Fred, its visualisation of an engineering project. Engineers dont want to see GI SSS or anything, they want to visualise in 3d something they have probably viewed on plans only. Its about Blender being able to deliver EXACTLY what the customer needed. Great Job, dont be put off sharing!

  4. Im not saying he should not be paid for his work or anything. God knows I've produced some crap work for clients in the past, which they were very happy with.
    Of course there is no need for GI or SSS when doing a visualisation. But nonetheless I still feel that this piece is nothing special. I've seen other blender artists produce visualisations for clients which were much better.

    I just dont see why this piece is worthy of a special news page, and the others werent.

  5. Some of you are missing the point. This is a presentation for an engineering company, as you said they don't need fancy Graphics, radiosity, GI, ray tracing, sub surface scattering blah blah blah. The animation did what it was supposed to do, he has used what he needed suited for his project.
    You've used Blender (which is the main point here) to deliver your project to a company, Congratuations.

  6. I believe the point was that Blender was used commercially and i think it was good for what needs to be accomplished plus the time limit as well.

    Its good to hear blender is being used commercially more often.

  7. Sorry for the mixed opinions. I thought it was of value because of the fact that it was a paid project. And showed that you can indeed work using Blender. It may not be flashy, but I actually found it well done and interesting. Please Fred or anyone else if you have seen some other commercial work that you feel should be profiled, please don't hesitate to direct us to it.

    We have an place to submit news:

  8. I know from my own experience as an animator that 99% of the animators work on projects that could be conceived as 'boring'. Only 1% of the people work on 'cool' projects, I guess. I did lots of stuff on insemination of cows, for example ;-) Not flashy, either, but it kept me alive! I'd love to see more examples of real-world work.

  9. I think this guy is getting short shrift. At ResPower, I see a lot of this type of work, and although this animation isn't something you would pay to see in a movie, it certainly compares well with anything in its genre, including stuff made using "high end" packages like LightWave, Max, and Maya.

    The point of the article is that there's this guy Duff who is competing with people using the "high end" software using Blender. Is Blender capable of more? Maybe, but that's not the point.

    The Google Earth thing makes a lot of sense given the content. I'm not sure how Google feels about it (are there copyright issues?), but it's a rather ingenious solution. Why reinvent /that/ wheel?

    Anyway, congrats on the animation, Zac - keep up the good work!

  10. T-Ry won't let me post it! Sorry! :) Come to think of it, it was mostly logo-animations for companies that did this stuff. I once did have to model a cow but that was an animation of a vaccination, not insemination. Sorry to disappoint you ;-)


  11. Zac Duff - good job. I think visualization of technical issues like in your case its mayby a dry
    But if you can earn your money with that - great. Go ahead.

    ( German/english translation: reading mayby hurts. Reading by your risk! ) ;)

  12. yeah,
    you are right, this is COMMERCIAL
    and fred, you were the only one to use PROFESSIONAL!

    Well done, here can see that blender blends out this mayastudio 4d stuff

    Hope to see more in the future

  13. well, now i will try again to write in english...
    is there anywhere a depository with all avalaible commercial blender things linked in the same page? (images, animations, divided in different categories: architecture, art, comics, etc.)?
    and if there is not a thing like that... can anybody do that?
    i know that there is in a page with a lot of artists... but i think that professional works (done with the right time, and the requested things) are a special question for an opensource application, and it would be useful to find easily the works yet done... almost of all to make possible to decide to use blender for an exact kind of work...
    all right, i used a lot of times the word "thing", and i don't know if my poor english can be uderstood, but now i can download this video! ;-)

  14. he he, now i've seen that; it's very interesting; how much people think that blender is a good application for this kind of videos? that it requires not too much time, and that you don't need to use 3ds, autocad etc etc to do that ?
    ok, i'm not an engineer, but i think that all the video like this are precious...

  15. I agree with Bart. I've done mostly boring work (unfortunately in my pre-blender days so it doesn't warrent a page here) not because I like doing it so much but because it is what the clients need and budget for. Of course I love seeing the flashy stuff like ED and Plumiferos featured on Blender Nation, but I'm glad to see work like this because it shows that there are other people out there using Blender for the bread and butter kind of work that I do. Sorry to burst Fred's bubble, but most of my colleagues who work with Max and Lightwave do projects like this too. This isn't a story about the cool features available in Blender. It's a story about how Blender is able to compete in the arena where a lot of commercial 3D animators work, and Blender Nation needs to feature stories like this too. Keep it up Zac and don't hesitate to show us what else you've done.

  16. I have done (and do) some commercial work using Blender.
    Most frequently they're ugly flying logos, some 3D elements, product visualizations... Nothing interesting, and as the pay isn't really great and the time to do them is very limited, I'm not able to do things more "pro".
    I know they're not so great, but they pay some bills, so that's ok.

    I have some tests and works here:
    (the 3D part was made using blender. I did not use blender for compositing, but I'm doing some tests right now)

    My friend Oliver ( did some great TV commercials using blender. His work should be showcased here. He really deserves it.

  17. Hreat job, Brian. Congratulations on a paying gig using 'free' software!!
    More power to you, and good luck in the future.

    Re: "Fred's" comments - Well, I'm still waiting for the links to ALL of his great fantastic work - even the "crappy" work he says his clients have been happy with.
    Still waiting 'Fred', put your links where your big ego is. LOL!!

  18. Like it or not, compare to Maya, blender is still a bottom feeder in the cg industry. To get recognition means one has to start from the bottom, and as of right now, Blender is perfect for pre-vis/vis and other work that might be looked down upon but are nevertheless 'realwork'. As Blender gain momentum, i am expecting to see more artists switching over (and new artists emerging) that takes the power of blender to the next level in more advanced productions.

  19. I think it was awesome. Expecially if made in four weeks. And this is not an open-source-everything-is-great kind of a statement.
    In four weeks even modelling everything we saw on this film is an achievement. You should remember that in this kind of a visualization one can not make things up. There are drawings, maps, geo-scans(?) and all sorts of things one has to use as a reference. The shapes of the mineral veins are not made up, etc.
    I think the amount of detail is great given the time used.
    And i bet it was awesome for the target audience as well. There is always someone who nags about something in every audience, tho.
    Here it was Fred, and in the target audience there probably is some geologist who is extremely dissatisfied about the color used to portray the mineral veins or something alike.
    You can bet your a** it's not SSS or lack of volumetric shadows they are missing from this.
    And I bet mine, Fred couldn't tell if the color chosen for minerals is right or wrong.
    Great job!

  20. I'm with Joat on this one - A very nice bit of work utilizing an astonishing open-source tool. Having been around engineers long-enough, I can appreciate the work that went into this. Well done.

  21. Spencer Hargiss on

    I agree. It's very good work. Keep in mind, comparing this with other work done in blender is pointless, because this is not a graphics demo, this is an engineering presentation. The goal wasn't to entrance the customer with flashy graphics, it was to convey as much information as possible as clearly as possible. Zac could have used displacement maps, or particle effects, and textures and so on, but they would have been distracting and pointless. I enjoyed the integration with Google Earth: he used all the resources at hand, and he did it really well. He made it so clear that even without narration you can pretty much tell what's going on, and you get a picture of just how amazing these mines are. And that's quite an achievement.

  22. Have my Babies Zac, your so sexy, can you make some animations of yourself and me? Blend us together Babiee!! MS pwns blender (btw)

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