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Gemini Rising: Hollywood Sci-Fi film project seeks Blender VFX artists.


Gemini Rising is an ambitious Sci-Fi film project about a NASA crew who discover a comatose extra terrestrial being aboard a derelict alien spacecraft, floating in deep space. The film is live action and has already been shot. Now the director is looking for blender artists to help with post production. They will be making the raw footage available on their site along with concept art, and an outline of what is needed for the shot.

For submissions that they use they are offering a cash reward, and of course the chance to be part of a Hollywood film!



  1. Looks interesting, but I think they need to be a lot more descriptive about what they want for each shot. The "alien hand" shot posted doesn't even have a storyboard or thumbnails of what it is exactly they want. The filmed work looks good though!

  2. This could be a breaking point for Blender as software for film production. I hope people from the community will show what one could do with our favourite 3d package.

  3. Ton needs to announce the next BI Project, which if I remember was supposed to be a live action with Blender doing all the 3d, effects and post.

  4. @Chris Burton: You could probably ask specifically what they're after on the forums.
    @MSZ: One of my friends who does a lot of short films with VFX with After Effects thinks that Blender is "basic free software" that can't compete with commercial software. Just because it doesn't cost anything makes him think that. He underestimates it more than others, since it's pretty much general knowledge that Blender is at least pretty good.
    @DrD: That's correct.

  5. tyrant monkey on

    Is this the way people get hired to do VFX work, Surely there is a more professional way to go about this. Like put up an ad for a Blender VFX artist, get resumes and demo reels. review them, pick a person and sign some form of contract or agreement. And than the do the work.

    Right now the approach here seems to post a shot, get people to work on it, pick the one you like and the rest of you guys sorry and the picked guy gets paid.

    So you could sink your time into this and come away with nothing.

  6. I think Teisson would make a god job in this project.
    And if would possibile, he should be in Mango Project, if he can't travel and stay in europe then all this could happen like that others studios that helped Durian team.

  7. Tyrant Monkey, this is an approach that you sometimes see in Hollywood : sometimes big Fx or makeup fx companies work for free to get hired on productions they really want to be a part of. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but some projects deserve efforts especially if you're a hobbyist and work most of the time for free.

  8. John Q Public on

    This is a DISGUSTING ABUSE of the Blender artist community, and if it succeeds, it will only serve to injure the status of Visual Effects artists as a whole. This isn't like any of the Blender open movie projects, it's a business trying to cut their costs by making artists compete in a "contest" to do work for them for peanuts. Look at their current shot list- currently only two items. The first item is a shot where an alien hand reaches out from a foggy background and touches a pane of fogged glass. They're expecting you to do all of the modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, (and possibly simulation for the fog), rendering, and compositing, from scratch, for just $250. And that's just for the WINNER! That is a sad, sick joke.

    If you are a professional, have any interest in working professionally, or if you respect professional artists at all, DO NOT WORK WITH THESE PEOPLE! If this becomes a viable business model, it will be virtually impossible to make a living as an effects artist. Everything but the biggest productions will be done by people with day jobs, in their spare time, for minimum wage or nothing at all, just for the novelty of getting their work seen, while the businessmen continue to rake in the profits. Write to BlenderNation and to the makers of this film, and let them know this is unacceptable, and that our community will not allow our work to be devalued this way. Write to forums and spread the word.

  9. Agreed with John Q Public. And Like tyrant monkeys mentioned. if they want blender artists on this movie they should have gone through proper channels and actually hired blender cg artists. Hire freelance if you can't hire full time.

    And if they wanted an actual contest they should supply some assets like, oh i don't know... The alien model!?

    After looking at the info site it kind of sounds like you submit a "proposal" and then they pick you for the shot then you work on the actual shot. so you submit a storyboard and then they pick the best one. That's what I think it sounds like.

    But still Completely agree with John Q Public on this one

  10. hmmm... looks kinda sketchy. i've never heard of any movie having their special effects done through a contest. looks like they are on a really low budget or something.

  11. This sounds like a Hollywood movie in the sense that it's made in Hollywood. The best film credits of that Lance guy go back to the mid 80s. I'm sure he's a talented guy but this could just be an interest project for him and not a real progressive work job.

    As an extra I've made the kind of money they're giving out for just standing there with tonnes of other people. $250 is not enough to ask for this kind of stuff. It's not like one of those collaborative projects on the make a movie sites it's a sly way of getting work done for them on the cheap.

    I love the film industry and hope to make a career in it but any projects I've been involved with are upfront about the level at which the film stands and their ability to pay for what they need. It's not unheard of to get probono work done on these things, which this effectively is, but they should be up front about it.

    It just doesn't seem like a good atmosphere to work in. I really don't like the idea of getting a bunch of submissions and ditching a lot of peoples work bar one.

  12. I wonder if they did the rest of the film the same way? Have multiple film crews working with multiple actors each competing to have their version of a scene make it into the final cut and then only paying the crew that did the best job... of course not!! They respect those artists!

  13. I agree with some of the comments.
    You would expect this from Open Source projects, which is fine and helps people break into the industry.
    They must think a pro is going to come in and produce stellar stuff, get paid nothing and make the movie tons of money.
    Wow, why didn't I think of that.
    I would love to work on a HollyRock movie but I wouldn't open my laptop for $250.00.
    I use Blender for broadcast work and get paid for it.

    I'm going to see how it progresses. you never know, they might figure it out and open up the wallet a bit more to get some good work done.

  14. mh seems to be a legit movie production but not on a high quality level.

    But then again one must see "Monsters" which has perfect story telling, perfect camera movement, perfect music and sound, and perfect CG as a low budget production.

    But 250$ is really low for such a task.

    I see this rather being a "D" movie.

  15. Where I live the equivalent of $250 is nothing to sneeze at. It's two months' managerial level salary. So maybe the producers are hoping to get entries from those countries where you can get rich doing one $250 project a month. Don't diss it just because your hourly rate is $10,000 or your last name is Gates.

  16. $250 for that commercial work is not gold on

    "Where I live the equivalent of $250 is nothing to sneeze at. It’s two months’ managerial level salary"

    $250 for that commercial work is not gold

    seeing only believe
    show your work with managerial salary of $ 250 for two months here
    or an example


  17. If they want to approach this in a way that isn't purely exploiting artists, they should consider this first shot as an audition piece, and hire the most promising candidates to produce the additional work at an agreed rate.

    I don't see how a competition-based model can offer any hope of consistency anyway. But I don't see any problem with inviting submissions as a test for future work.

  18. They have their own artists. If no one submits anything decent, they still have people to work on it for them. They're just opening up the opportunity to the community. The current shots are not final, just audition pieces. If you get chosen, you supply the files and (I think) work with them to complete it.

  19. tyrant monkey on

    No the are not audition pieces its the final thing, if you want to audition people you ask for demo reels. You don't hold contests. Take a look at cgtalk's job pages and you will see how professional VFX companies hire people. They advertise a position and ask for reels and resumes. These guys could have done the same thing they could have advertised for a modelers, lighters, animators etc, asked for reels and picked people to work for them based on that.

    Everyday on this site we see so many demo reels so its not like there is a shortage of quality people. I just suspect the are unwilling to pay proper rates because good freelancers don't come cheap. So they came up with this 'contest' which has frankly a high chance of attracting the naive and desperate to work for them.

  20. I agree with many others on here; these people are trying to do things on the cheap, and it's understandable that many will not want to be involved. But to take the other view point, are you impressed when you hear that the latest Hollywood movie cost $200 million to make? And how you're going to pay for it through your stupidly expensive cinema ticket? I'm not, and that will not change while everyone involved with a film expects to walk away with a fee that can buy them a new house.

  21. People already are sending in submissions on both shots, including one from "Dave Ward" who is, I presume, David Allen Ward, creator of Johnny Blender Tutorials

  22. I seem to remember the classic russian vampire movie Nightwatch had it's CGI done by deicated hobbyists as it was pretty low budget, On the other hand i'm sure the people who worked on that film were compensated after it became a huge global success and i would wager were given the opportunity to work on its sequel. So it's a strange way to go about getting work, bu not unheard of I guess.

  23. I have an idea that it can be an outsourcing for an outsourcing :))
    That thing is a trick: when a big company (some Holywood studio for ex.) gives a task to some manager to make a work (somewhere else) and give him (for example) - 100 green grands (only example!). Then this manager (he has no time to search and work with CG artists) gives this task to his friend and tell him: "I'll give you 10 gr. grands for this work, just do it right and to the time". A friend talks: "OK, for sure!" and... then he creates a site and plans to hire some artists "for peanuts" :) That's the blah-blah story.
    But I think that it's just my blah-blah if the info about payment is on the film's site. Also I heard that Holywood has hard times now.

  24. Chrome Monkey on

    IMDB tags this project as in the same vein as "Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid" -- so I suppose this all hinges on whether or not that's the kind of thing on which someone wants to spend any serious effort "contributing" their efforts.

  25. Hi All –

    My name is Mark Butler, and I am the new Animation Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor on Gemini Rising. I have been reading all the posts here on BlenderNation, and instead of writing some long-winded monologue, I thought I would just reply to the posts here. Well, most of the posts, anyhow. After reading, you should have a much better understanding of our project, and at the same time, it will serve as a pretty good introduction to my take on it, as well. My personal thanks to all who have contributed to Gemini Rising already, and here’s to good fortune and speedy renders!
    Mark Butler
    [email protected]

    Gottfried Hofmann – Yes, we are in Hollywood, but we are an unconventional Hollywood production, to say the least. We wrapped filming last winter, with an amazing cast and dedicated L.A.-based crew. We have just finished the edit, and we think we have a pretty good movie. We are doing the post-production here at our Hollywood studio, and we are producing the visual effects and animation for the film using both local and global artists and animators. We are producing the effects primarily in Blender, and we want to be the first feature film using visual effects contributed by the Blender community, in the tradition of the great community-collaborated Blender shorts. We hope this is the first of many films we produce this way.

    Benjy – Yes, Lance is great as the Colonel!

    Chris Burton – You are exactly right, Chris. From now on, each shot will now be posted for bidding, with a complete description, directors notes, and reference images, along with all film plates and all related assets that have been created already (.blend files, textures, etc.)

    Moolah – Who is Teisson?

    MSZ – I sure hope it is a turning point for Blender. I am a former Maya guy (and before that, Lightwave), and I am blown away by Blender.

    Daniel – Amazing art and animation can be produced as good or better in open source software. It all comes down to the guy or gal behind the wheel! I am hoping to do as much of this film as possible in Blender’s compositor without using After Effects, but I plan to be using AE heavily, for sure. We are editing in Final Cut Pro, and we are doing the sound design in Ableton Live.

    Alex – I liked “The Andromeda Strain!”

    SR3D – Thank you, and yes, we are looking for talent, wherever it may be. This is a opportunity for rookies, hobbyists and pros alike.

    John Q and Pat – I completely understand your position, and I appreciate your candor. The intent was never to position this as a contest, and the $250 was never intended as a “prize” for Shot 1. There was a complete disconnect between what Dana Schroeder, the director of Gemini Rising, wanted to bring to the Blender community, and what got posted. This is one of the reasons why I was brought on board. I am now responsible for getting all these shots done, and I want to make sure that things are done in a fair and respectful manner. From now on, each shot will be offered out to the community for bidding, and will include a proper description, reference images, director’s notes, film plates, in-context edits and any other asset we already have created.

    That said, let me add that this is not for everybody, or for those professionals who expect to be compensated like a big-budget production. We are not Sony. We are Pathfinder Productions, and we have a good low-budget sci-fi film that needs visual effects love. Already, we have received that love from most of the responses and submissions, and I know for a fact that choosing to do these visual effects using the global Blender community was the best way to make the most of our low budget, and give those who would join us the opportunity to contribute their talents, make some money, and get a film credit.

    Rokimaru – You are exactly right. Going forward, I will always try to make it a good environment to work in. All submissions will be considered, no work will be ditched out of hand, and each shot determination will be posted. We are trying to build a team, and those who are not selected for a particular shot now may well be considered for another shot later on, or another project down the road.

    Cekuhen – We are certainly hoping for better than a “D” movie!

    $250 is gold – Yes, it is amazing to me how different people value money.

    $250 for that commercial work is not gold – See above.

    Binky – You are right on. Dana’s original intent was to have these be seen as auditions.

    Daniel – You are correct. So weird to me that some people read the original posts the way they were intended, and some read something completely different.
    Tyrant Monkey – It is true this movie has a low effects budget. We want hobbyists as well as professionals to contribute as best they can, and whether they do one shot or ten, we just want their best contribution to the particular shot or set of shots. And after looking at hundreds of reels, I can say for a fact that a demo reel doesn’t always show clearly that you can a.) handle the shots OUR production is working on, and that b.) you can play nice with others. The latter is sometimes the most critical.

    Reaction – Well said. Thank you very much.

    JeroenM – Yes, Dave Ward made that amazing hand animation, and, hopefully, he will do many more of the creature shots.

    Kev – Yes, Dana, the director, is unconventional, to be sure.

    Chrome Monkey – Hahaha, yes we are on IMDB and to be tagged at all is cool as hell, even if it is Max Neptune we are being compared to!

    Jimmy – I dunno what you posted, or why it was censored, but send it to me [email protected]

    Donny Tarter – Hahaha… the carrot has been replaced with compensation and a credit in the movie.

    Leroy Freeman – No, Gemini Rising is a two-hour film, not a serial.

    All right, there it is. Lastly, we need to evaluate your work. Please send your reel or shot submissions to [email protected]. Thanks, everybody! -- Mark

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