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Video: Our New World


Niklas Holmberg writes:

This is a animation I have worked on for a very long time, a bit over 2 years I think. When I started it Blender 2.49 was new and hot. It's not non-stop work for 2 years, I have had breaks and inspirational lows during the process. Work, sleep and family stole some time too.

It's the second animation/short film i made, this one being just over 6 minutes long. My previous animation was with a static camera, two scenes, one character and a handful of props. I wanted a bit more with this. I wanted a certain style that would make it stand out, more scenes and action and a good solid griping story. (story is hard). On account of a crap computer I needed it to be easy on the CPU therefore the black and white theme.

About 6 months ago when I picked up this project again for the eleventh time it really started to take speed and I could visualize a final product. I didn't want to release it before i feel't I had made it the best I could. My original thought was to make everything myself, modeling, animation, cutting, music ,voiceover etc. I soon had to rethink my strategy. After 2 days and 25 recording of me trying to sound like a mature man I gave up, i'm 26 so I didn't think that would be a problem. I posted in a voiceover forum asking if there were any kind souls out there willing to help me out with my animation.

I soon got a response from a great guy who was willing to help me out with this. (Joe Pike It was the same with the music, 3 days of failed attempts at making epic music I started searching the internet for a talented guy who if I was lucky would help me with the music. I found Zavaroe (Conor Cameron) on youtube and sent him a mail asking if he was interested. He was.

Now I could focus on the things that I like the most. After allot of unorganized improvements here and there it started to shape up. I think I had the actual movie done about 3 month ago, since that I have been playing the animation on repeat finding scenes I'm not happy with and fixing them up.

Now after all this time I am going to close this project and say "I'm done with this". I must admit it is kind of scary to post it but I will hope for the best.

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. Excellent artwork. Excellent music and voice. Bravo to all of you ...

    I did not like the red monster so much. It could have been more detailed or delicate. But on the other hand this is just my personal opinion ...

    Hope you continue working with 3d animation (and Blender !) . You're talented.

  2. What a great visual style, well done! Good camera and character animation. Loved the time-freeze-thing where the camera pans around debris which is frozen in the air. Not too sure about all the story elements and voice-over (a bit uninspired?) though, but all in all this rocks in my opinion.

  3. Visually astonishing, narration is also top notch. But the story seems a bit shallow. Some guys build some city on an alien planet and they discover that they were not alone, so they decide to kill everything and go home? Come on... but visually it was great.

  4. Oh this is kewl... There's a bit a 1:17 where the camera follows the ground cracking... How do you do you make the ground crack in a controlled way? I've done it dynamically before but it's hard to control. I saw this youtube video for 3DSmax do any of you know how to get a similar thing in Blender?

  5. Great job. Your dedication encouraged me to pick up an old project, while your quality made me feel like I have a long way to go. Thank you.

  6. Why not to befriend that aliens? Come on, this video spreads hate to minor group - in this case aliens! Have you seen an alien in your life?
    I think rather no. So why you show them as monsters? This is politically noncorrect! This video strongly shows the hidden fear in humans:
    the fear of strangers and those who do not share our worldview, which seems to be common in close-minded communities:)

    Ah, and for those who wish to see a real life footage of atomic explosions i can only recommend watching "Trinity and beyond"
    But beware because that would be too scary...

  7. Luke - ONE way to get controlled ground cracks is a Split edge modifier (set at a low angle) + Solidify modifier (offset 1) + any deformation of the ground. Certainly not as realistic as the Max vid, but for a stylized work like this it'd work great. Probably not the solution he really used though.

    Mr Holmberg - really nice work!

  8. @Blinky, it's clear to see that neither side was talking in the video. The humanoids were completely taken by surprise and it wasn't the humanoids who were killing tens of thousands. I think you also missed the point about how long the project took and there are a lot of aspects of the video that I think are cool and wonder how he did it as a novice of Blender myself.

    I'm not sure what to think about the burned earth policy at the end, as that does seem to be a human trait (in the Bible, salting the earth or General William Sherman Tecumseh burning a trail through the south of the United States during the Civil War as two examples off the top of my head). That Mr. Holmberg was able to get me to contemplate on the matter with a short 6 minute video, I say kudos.

    Also, to everyone who follows this blog, don't forget to go to Youtube and hit "Like". It will ensure better exposure for this video and for Blender overall!

  9. @ Blinky
    I think that's a typical human reaction. Guess that's what Niklas shows in this short.
    Whenever human beings set their foot on a 'new world' they instantly consider it to be their and they are ready to 'defend' it with their lives i.e. kill everything that moves and doesn't behave like them. They forget though that they are the real invaders. American natives were almost totally eliminated and they were wise people living in harmony with their natural environment. What makes you think that anyone would even think of befriend a giant man eating worm? History repeats itself...
    BTW Loved the style and overall direction. Great stuff!

  10. On my first viewing I was in a loud place and could not hear the audio very well, but the visuals were EXCELLENT! I love the animation style, the stark light and dark areas with very sparse colors and bold lines. Almost instantly my mind created the necessary detail to make the scene complete, something about that style of render allows the illusion of detail without the necessity of the artist creating all that detail in advance.

    I especially enjoyed the fact that even though I could not hear much of the audio I was still able to follow the story without problem, the story telling is excellent. I am no professional, but if this was my project, I would be very happy with the results. I would love to see this fleshed out into a 30 - 45 min animation.

    Excellent work. I will be watching this again, in a much quieter setting : )

    It should be noted as a success that you were able to get people talking about such deep concepts with such a short animation.

    • Wow, way to keep it professional and tactful. It's okay if you don't like it, but this guy worked hard, learned some valuable skills, and really--in my but humble opinion--told a gripping story that hits home, with an excellent visual and narrative style. Sure it has its flaws, but overall it's a great work and doesn't deserve such shallow criticism. 

  11. This is excellent! It's very polished, and all of that hard work definitely paid off! This is one of the better Blender animations I've seen, and I congratulate you on a terrific final product! I love the unique visual style, and the dynamic look of the humans' outfits, too.

    I only had a couple of nitpicky little crits.

    Use of the word "was," instead of "were," was a little distracting. For example, at 4:14, "...our dead was laying everywhere..." in this case, the seemingly singular "dead" refers to the tens of thousands of dead people -- people, plural. At 5:10, it's even more confusing: "Only a chosen few of us were evacuated, the rest of us was left behind." Not a big deal, but something to be aware of for the next one.

    I don't agree with Blinky; you communicated perfectly that the inhabitants of this planet were not friendly. Whether they were unintelligent, instinct-driven creatures who thought they were protecting their hive, or calculatingly evil beings who were out to use the humans for their gruesome sport, attempts at communication clearly would have been futile.
    However, the humans' choice to destroy the planet seems baseless. If there was a logical reason for doing that, I didn't pick up on it. Could the aliens have been a threat to other worlds? Did the humans just want to make sure no other spacefaring wanderers ever made the same mistake?
    Without that logic, it makes the humans seem vindictive and spiteful. If that's what you were going for, then it worked -- but I don't understand why. From the aliens' perspective, the humans started it. It makes humanity out to be the universe's worst troll. ;p

    I tend to ramble a little, so my wall of text may seem to blow these two tiny little issues way out of proportion. Like I said, I'm really impressed with the result, and you should be proud of your achievement. I'm going to watch it again, because it's just that good. Thanks!

  12. Amazing animation. The style is absolutely original and the narration and picturization is simply stunning. I just love the visuals. This needs a wider audience, try sending it in to pixar or other studios. Seriously, it's top notch.

    Don't really care too much for the story though. It's a bit similar to Sintel which I didn't care much for either :).

  13. Oh, and @Bart: Great find! Thanks for sharing!
    Could I ask you to add a blood-and-gore warning or something before the video? But not if you think it would spoil the presentation.

  14. I was referring to "how humans think of aliens" , and how aliens are usually portrayed in movies, the specific case of this work is only a prerequisite to my strain of thought... I do not know if there was some study about that, but the "image of alien" in cinema seems to be a projection of all human fears, and it reflects our poor condition.

    What if the aliens were on higher stage of development? More beautiful and moral than we are? This would be impossible to make a movie of such kind... Take into account that even "friendly alien" ET, looks like a teratogenic nightmare...

  15. What an excellent short! Great animation and I loved your use of color. My only critique is that in a few spots, the music was too loud to pickup the voice over. Aside from that, really an excellent short!

  16. I really loved the Sci City aesthetics, it proves how lack of recources can be overcome with imagination, leading to unique results.
    You seem to miss the fact that humanoids are actually the aliens in this story, if they had been humans, they would have gone armed and they would have slaughtered all natives in the first place...

  17. Outstanding job, beautifully simple and iconic. The transitions are superb (ship merging into the top of the mountain ridge, rotating through a frozen 3D scene, etc). The story is gripping, the voice-over is excellent, and the music is perfect. I'm in awe!

  18. I don't usually expect much from short movies like this. And quite often I check how much there's still left of it... But this was pretty top stuff right there. I got sucked in and never once thought about leaving. :)

    This was truly a nice short film. Real nice work you did there. :)

  19. Marvin Marsch on

    I really enjoyed this animated short. The idea is great and the execution was excellent. There was just one small part that bothered me a little. At one point the narrator says, "The rest of us was left behind." It would have sounded more natural if the narrator had said, "The rest of us WERE left behind." And that was the only thing that bothered me -- just that tiny, inconsequential, unnatural-sounding bit of wording. It really doesn't even matter since you got the meaning across. Logically, your wording can make sense if you think of "the rest" as a singular collective rather than as multiple people. So, I'm just being an douche. Anyway, this film is fantastic. Kudos!

  20. This is one of the most ****ing beautiful things I have seen in a very long time. The atmosphere of impending mystery and doom right from the start, the way that good intentions from bad experiences can still turn back to tragedy, the stunning art direction. An awesome short. The fact it just happens to have been made with Blender is the icing on the cake.


  21. OK! after my second and third viewing, I can say this: AMAZING! GOOD JOB! And ... why are all these amazing blender artists making films with such dark themes!?! Seriously, first Sintel and now this (a masterpiece in its own right). Are there no happy artists around? Perhaps we need to band together and get this guy a puppy or something, because judging from this work he needs a source of proverbial sunshine in his life.

    My review: Visually stunning, edited well, emotionally moving. But soooooooo depressing.

  22. I hope you submit it to a shorts festival or something like that.
    Beautifully done.

    @Elcrapocrew: In my experience, there are two things that films target most, laughter and tears. There's not usually enough time to do both in a 6 minute short, and the sad ones get the most award nominations.

  23. Niklas "Holmen" Holmberg on

    Thanks guys for all the kind words, I didn't think the animation was going to get this kind of feedback. I mean it, the responses i'm getting are awesome.

    I had 3 guidelines when making this animation.
    1. Only black white and red colors allowed. (originally not even shades of gray was allowed)
    2. You should be able to pause anywhere in the animation and the image you saw would look great.
    3. It would be interesting and worth seeing again.

    It looks like managed to get some of it across even thou I know the animation has it weaknesses.

    @Luke - There is hand animated chunks of ground that makes the cracks, hand keyed.
    @Blinky - Humans are good at judging all thing new and strange, mostly we respond with violence. The race in the animation are supposed to represent the human race, even if they are not necessarily human themselves.
    @Gryphon - I know about the grammatical errors and I have to blame it on English not being my first language. I didn't dare Joe to rerecord the voice because he was so awesome and did the first recording for free. He has to make a living too.
    They destroy the planet in the end because humans (witch they represent) are a spiteful egoistical and vengeful race.
    @zanyman - thanks for the feedback but i'm sure I got a long way to go before I reach Pixars level.
    @Smackalack - I will sub the youtube version, probably later today so that it will be easier ti follow the narration.
    @Jeremy Deighan - I used shadless materials, mostly pure black and white. Then I used fog or blend textures to get the look I wanted.
    @Mike S - You know of any festivals?

  24. Congratulation for this great work! for me it is one of the best works using Blender.
    It is not just another attempt to achieve perfect naturalism, which easily can be a little boring.
    I like the style and the artistic feeling for storytelling, filmic time and rhythm and the great soundtrack.

  25. Film festivals are all over the place. Just do a search and you're likely to find a bunch. I imagine most major cities hold some sort of festival or contests. I think the Sundance Festival in Utah is dedicated to shorts and indie films. Not sure where you are located so I don't mean to point out something you can't access. I really do like this one. As others have pointed out, it's great to see something that went for the artistic angle instead of the re-creating life approach.

  26. I simply love the outlook of your film.
    these projects like yours are not just amazing work to watch; people are going to use them as an example and learn about them, copy your ideas and remember this - exactly what you can wait from a perfect video.
    I liked the story. the whole project of yours was absolutely perfect, excellent work.

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