“Ricardo Montalban is to improvisational acting what Mount Rushmore is to animation.”
October 1, 2010 7:52 AM   Subscribe

"Sintel" is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film. This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

Check out art and production from the short here. Durian Project: Sintel's Face Rig. Fight Choreography Experiment from Project Durian on Vimeo. Hair test from Project Durian on Vimeo. Procedural eye test from Project Durian on Vimeo.
posted by Fizz (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like a video game cinematic.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 AM on October 1, 2010

Looks like a video game cinematic.

That was my reaction too. In fact, I thought the movement looked like a game cinematic from maybe ten years ago, althought the models were a bit better.

All of which, I suppose, goes to show what a lot of money and work goes into games these days.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:31 AM on October 1, 2010

I am pretty impressed - I was anticipating having to try to be impressed by algorithmically tricky bouncing spheres or something.
posted by rongorongo at 8:34 AM on October 1, 2010

I can't really argue that it doesn't have a lot of common conceptual/aesthetic ground with game cinematics, but when you consider the small size of the team, the schedule, the relatively low budget, and the fact that it was crafted using pure F/OSS tools, I think it's not bad. Blender Foundation's been doing these things for 5+ years (this is the third 'Open Movie'), and in my opinion the shorts (and Blender) do keep getting better.

Full disclosure: I'm a casual Blender user. It's not the core of what I do, but it is a big part of my tool chain for anything 3d-related, so maybe I'm biased.
posted by Alterscape at 8:36 AM on October 1, 2010

They did all that in Blender. Jeezuz, it took me like 90 hours to animate a beachball rolling down an inclined checkerboard plane.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:36 AM on October 1, 2010

Wait, that whole thing was made in Blender?
posted by reductiondesign at 8:44 AM on October 1, 2010

I haven't checked out Blender in a few years. Did they ever fix the interface so it wasn't so much with the WALL OF INCOMPREHENSIBLE BUTTONS? I understand they're trying to appeal to power users, but there's nothing mutually exclusive about flexibility and intuitiveness.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:47 AM on October 1, 2010


I remember back when I was in 10th grade. I got interested in 3d work, so I downloaded the student edition of houdini. Then I realized it was miserable for modeling, so I tried to find something. I got blender, took one look at the interface, and finally realized that I REALLY needed to figure out how to use bittorrent.

For 3ds max, of course.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:02 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I tried learning Blender many years ago, couldn't do it. Maybe I should check it out again...
posted by shino-boy at 9:51 AM on October 1, 2010

Blender is getting better, usability-wise -- Sintel was accompanied by the development of the 2.5x codebase (currently we're on 2.54 beta), which is visually a lot more refined than 2.4x. It's taken a bit of muscle-memory retraining to learn 2.5's new shortcut keys (Blender is -all- about keyboard shortcuts), but I feel like it's a step in the right direction. We're definitely long past 2.3x, which I ran screaming away from in 10th grade, much like thsmchnekllfascists.
posted by Alterscape at 10:29 AM on October 1, 2010

Great story. The team that worked on this should be proud.
posted by quadog at 10:58 AM on October 1, 2010

They did a really nice job with this film. It's wonderful to see that they really believe in what they're doing, and are able to do it in a sustainable way -- that this is their third film is really impressive.
posted by circular at 11:17 AM on October 1, 2010

Hard slap early reflection does not a hide-bound yurt make.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:47 AM on October 1, 2010

If I eat the procedural eye test, then put on a blindfold, can I see all the monsters on this level?
posted by poe at 11:51 AM on October 1, 2010

I think they used blender in addition to a bunch of open source software.


"For the entire creation pipeline in the studio, we will only use free/open source software. For 3D graphics, compositing and video editing we’ll obviously use Blender. For imaging and drawing we expect to use GIMP and Inkscape a lot. Next to these, we’ll explore the very promising paint programs MyPaint and Krita. Render output will be in OpenEXR. Scripting will be done in Python. Studio database storage will most likely be in SVN. The workstations in the studio will be equipped with 64 bits Linux, distro and desktop environment is to be defined later. We intend to build our own render farm this time, for which a free software solution will be required as well.
Since we’ll work with external providers for music, sfx and mix, we can only recommend them to include free software in their pipeline, but won’t put stringent demands here.

Bottlenecks in past projects were especially for DVD authoring and high quality video and sound (5.1) encoding, for which we’ve partially used non-free programs as well. Hopefully we can solve it this time with free software solutions!

Obviously we’re very interested to be in contact with free/open source projects of any kind, to check on what we can do together."
posted by spacediver at 7:47 PM on October 1, 2010

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