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Open Source Filmmaking – Will It Blend?


Mat Tyler dives into open film making and covers the three open movies by the Blender Institute as an example. An interesting read, and a glowing review!

My favorite quote:

I wrote a letter to the producer of all 3 films, Ton Roosendaal, expressing my appreciation for making this content so freely available to the public, explaining to him that I was able to learn more about the processes of computer animated filmmaking in a few weeks than I did over 3 years of official study. This was because; unlike when you would be trying to learn the ropes from scratch, you now have access to all the bits and pieces in their most polished form, and have the option of backwards engineering a production, discovering all the right ways to go about creating the content.


About the Author

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. I have heard Elephant's dream criticised for being vague on many occasions. I have not found it so. It may have multiple meanings but I have never found it confusing. It is not perhaps as simple, (read childlike), as either of the other two films but it brings rewards from multiple viewing.
    My feeling about this is that those who emphasise BBB and Sintel over Elephants Dream from a story or visual POV say more about themselves than about ED. To me it is more likely to outlast the technology than either of the other two. It is more mature and has elements of philosophy.

  2. @nolan Tyrrell: I agree with you about Elephant's Dream. I think it's the most original and rewarding of the three shorts. For me - entirely personally - it beats the other two in content and form. But then maybe if the comments are often made by 13-year-olds, for them it might not have the appeal of the cuddly BBB, and the 'heroic' game-like Sintel. I'm not criticising the other two films, they're all important milestones, but as you hinted, they're more so in the technological sense rather than anything else, whereas ED has that something "special".

  3. """I was able to learn more about the processes of computer animated filmmaking in a few weeks than I did over 3 years of official study. """

    Isn't this the truth! After years of film school here in New Orleans and a worthless internship with a bunch of software-stealing losers, I built a custom blender rig and entered the world of blender. Funny how software much maligned by academics and free for all pirates I have had the misfortune of knowing runs and operates like a dream. I think they're afraid of blender, I really do.

    FOSS film making is a truly fabulous endeavour. Blender's first 3 films are a testament to what driven and talented people can do. After realising what I was missing in the Micro$oft dominated world of academia I feel liberated. Hell, I was even motivated to buy an SGI Fuel box and can animate on IRIX as well. Not one of my professors even knew what IRIX was. Sad.

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