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Tears of Steel Being Rendered in 4k


The Blender Institute has secured funding for a re-render of Tears of Steel in 4K. This means an 'Ultra-HD' version will become available as well. I guess that's good news for people who spend a fortune on one of these new tv's - at least now they have something to watch! ;-)

Ton Roosendaal writes:

The Amsterdam Cinegrid Consortium has agreed on allocating a budget for us to re-render the film in epic 4k! With all original footage being in 4k (and cleaned at that size as well) it’s going to be mostly a challenge for our rendering, compositing and grading pipeline. Interesting job!

The format we’ll use is 4K CinemaScope cropped, 4096 × 1714, in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. That will become available as DCP as well.


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. Great! That's reminded me to go and get my eyes replaced with Red One cameras, so I can actually see any difference between 2K and 4K.

    • You would be surprised, it is not so much noticeable in the close ups, and tighter shots, but when you pull really wide and there are a million tiny details (a distant airplane in the sky, a small dog half a mile away) the increase in resolution actually does make a difference... that and when you are in the front row in a theater :-)

  2. Why not to keep this budget for something else?
    I enjoyed ToS but there's no point to see it in 4K, the artwork isn't from that level.
    You could stress the compositor with another movie project :)

    • Agreed. at this stage of 4K take-up, it seems pointless - although it'll probably end up appearing on many 4K screens at certain consumer electronics shows ... ;-)

  3. Why not use the funding towards a new project? I'm not sure how much funding was secured or how much it costs to re-render the movie in 4K, but to be honest, I'd rather see something new, even if just a smaller project.

    ToS was okay, but once you've seen it, you've seen it (as great as the progress to Blender it provided, the film itself wasn't really my favorite Blender Foundation project...). Besides, it just doesn't seem very practical, considering that practically no one owns a pricy 4K HDTV right now, and probably won't for quite a while.

    • To be honest again, I'd love to see Blender Foundation work on another game project like Yo Frankie! again, but this time, something daring like a fantasy RPG.

      This time the Blender Game Engine can get some much-deserved love, like developing shadows for alpha transparency (so that I can finally have shadows for things with alpha textures like tree leaves), nodes-based editing (textures, animation, scripting), and an asset manager, all similar to Unity and UDK. The game engine has major potential but rarely sees improvements. It gets kinda lost in the midst of more heavier developments like Cycles, Freestyle integration and dynamic topology for sculpting.

      Blender has the potential to achieve Unity Engine-level success. Unity's not really the greatest game engine around--it's just a decent game engine available during a great time to be a simple and straightforward game engine for indie developers. But Blender has the potential of being a seriously-unique game engine. Blender is not only already a modeling tool, but animation editing for the games, camera-tracking techniques, and Cycles-rendered assets (think billboard assets) can all be incorporated into one's Blender-developed games...all without leaving Blender.

      More developers would be drawn to using Blender due to its royalty-free license and free price. And with more usage of its game engine comes more developers. More game developers, more developed games developed in Blender. The game engine is one of the areas that make Blender highly unique, and I think improvements to it will draw even more professional attention to its uniqueness.

      I've been drawn to Blender Game Engine for years, but I've never been able to jump aboard using it much for games, other than for recording physics simulations. I've seen great examples using the BGE, but what holds them back from shining their best are a lack of basic features (such as shadows for alpha textures), a robust library of public APIs for coders (with documentation), and the usability of the BGE is not as optimized for a game developer as it could be (such as using an assets manager).

      If perhaps we could get a project using BGE going, or give the BGE some focus this year with Google Summer of Code, I think we might see a major dynamic shift in industry respect for Blender. Vamp up the BGE and suddenly Blender's the only 3D package around with a professional-level, industry-strength game engine included...for free.

      • Final comment here:

        Hopefully, if a Blender developer is reading this, I'd even go as far as to say that Blender Game Engine could probably even match the stunning visual quality of the CryENGINE 3...if it got some love from developers. Bringing out that point would immediately draw serious attention to the BGE.

        With the increase of Blender developers, I'm sure quite a number of them would be happy to donate towards further improvement to Blender and contribute to Blender development (which would benefit all Blender users). And Blender Foundation could open an Asset Store where developers can donate assets (in appreciation for the hard work you guys do), and all profits could go towards Blender development.

        Think about that.

          • Oy, yeeeeah... I sorta forgot about that part of the deal. You're right. It'd take using some of Blender's code to help make a stand-alone game, and if we use any part of Blender itself in the game, there's going to be issues with the GPL license. Oh, well. It was a fun dream while it lasted. lol

          • Well, it does have a nice set of features, but it could at least feature shadow for alpha transparency. That's pretty basic in pretty much every other game engine. There's nothing more annoying than having your trees produce a bunch of square shadows!

  4. Having the movie re-rendered in 4K is cool! While we don't have 4K screens, one day we will. Besides, the down-scaled HD versions might even look a tad better (and hopefully they will release them with 5.1 sound right away... if not 7.1).

    And Uhm.. the Blender Institute got the funds for making an ultra-HD version. So running off and spend the money on something else is a pointless suggestion anyway.

    • I guess you're right about that last part. They did get the funding just for this re-rendering. But still...seems kinda pointless. 4K HDTVs are at least a couple years away from becoming commonplace.

      Though, about the adoption of 4K, I don't expect most people will adopt 4K as readily as they did 1080p, in the same way most people didn't really adopt 3D TVs. 4K TVs are several times higher in price than what 1080p HDTV were at their introduction. 4K HDTVs are going for anywhere around $12,000 to $34,000, and given the rate of how long it took 1080p HDTVs to drop from $5000 to under $1000, I think it'll take quite a longer while for that five-figure price to go down.

      Also, while 4K HDTVs definitely look sharper than 1080p, the TVs are freaking huge! Most of them are 84-inch 4K HDTV, which is necessary just to justify the picture quality. But it's already tricky enough finding the right space for a 60-inch HDTV in our living rooms. And even then, the picture of a 4K TV isn't a world different from 1080p when you're sitting at couch distance from the TV (since we don't have eagle-vision anyways)--you can just see some details in the background better if you stand close to it.

      Overall, the whole experience is not significant enough leap to justify the price with most people over the years it goes down in price. It'll be mostly the minority enthusiasts who'll fork out the cash for 4K HDTVs. I think most people will leave 4K to the movie theaters, just like they do with 3D.

      • Except that I suspect the funding is coming in part with the goal of getting those 4K tvs to become more commonplace, and they want content, so I suspect that's the point.

        I'm just waiting till we have HD paint. Man, just paint a wall, 2k? 5k? 10k? Fantastic.

  5. Dane Vandewiele on

    All this talk of why render the film in 4K? if I do recall a large point of the tears of steel project was to make sure that blender was up to the task of being integrated into a modern 4K VFX pipeline, the film industry is rapidly moving to 4K (some speak of wanting to use 6K and 8K in the future) resolutions and rendering out the entire film in 4K proves that blender can and did work to complete the VFX on a film shot and released at 4K

    With that goal in mind I rather think that rendering out the film in 4K is a wonderful idea :-) and should allow the institute to work out any bugs (if any bugs there are) associated with those final steps of completing a film in 4K inside blender :-)

  6. All this complaining about how we don't have 4k screens. Isn't it possible that they want to project it in 4k in a theater/at an event to show off the top quality? I'd say, especially since someone else is funding it, that that's a good way to spend money and show off Blender.

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