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Short Sci-fi Film: Saurora


Pavel Siska created an absolutely stunning Sci-fi short in Blender. I'll feature an interview with him next week - what would you like to ask him? Leave your questions in the comments below and I'll include the best ones in the interview!

Pavel writes:

An underwater rescue mission on a remote planet centered around two co-workers in heavy submersible suits takes shortly an unplanned course.

It's all Blender, Cycles and Nuke NC for composition. We used Houdini Apprentice in the final shot when a lot of oxygen blows up.

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. Outstanding and amazing work... could you ask him a bit about how and where he added the underwater light effects? Volumetrics, absorption and the rest? How many passes did he take out of Blender into NNC? and the integration of (what appears to be) live action actors?

  2. Congratulations Pavel, a fabulous piece of work. I'm very curious to see a breakdown of the workflow used here and also the traffic going over the link with Nuke. The lighting is very impressive - I'll bet the render times were challenging with all the volumetrics. A great result, though.

  3. Wow!! ...Amazing! The volumetrics are beautiful and yes, would love to hear specifics and details on these specifically. if volumes completely, & the render times were colossal?! I'm curious how challenging it was to work with shots on an artistic level; to what degree of control of tweaking/retweaking depths, colors, falloffs did he have....or was it more a case of best guessing/ general world or in this case underwater settings for the most part...or were gradings addressed more heavily in nuke? Thanks so much!! :D

    ....oh and the bubbles (hehe) are just as equally fantastic! :)

  4. Phenomenal. I wish it was just a tiny bit more visually descriptive. I know that's part of the mystery, but there were times when I felt like it was unintentionally (or maybe just over intentionally) vague what was happening. But with that said, it is outstanding work. I'd recommend bringing the 720p render (I'm guessing) into your video editor and exporting at 4K. You certainly won't have true 4k resolution, but Youtube will use much higher bitrates and reduce compression artifacts quite a bit. But again, just a couple of suggestions on an incredible work.

  5. Just mind-blowing, incredible... dunno what other adjective suits it best. Bart, I bet there was a lot of fx done in Houdini rather than in Blender as credited in this short. If only Pavel was here...

  6. Impressive, I could never hope to achieve this level of understanding of Blender. However, did anyone find it *so* dark and *so* claustrophobic that they couldn't work out what was going on for most of the film? I felt like I was falling into The Abyss ;-)

  7. As far as the questions go, please ask Pavel what Blender third-party tools he used on the project if any and how long it took him to make the short. Also, what kind of renderfarm service did he opt for and why?

  8. What was the workflow he used? How did he export and seperate the layers from Blender to Nuke? These answers would be very interesting. The result looks absolutely stunning!

  9. comeinandburn on

    wow!!! such incredible work, I felt totally immersed in that world. Please make some kind of breakdown at one point, I'd love to see how this came together.

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