The Blender Open Source Film Projects

I first got into open source in 1998 when I installed Caldera’s OpenLinux. Open source worked for me as I could barely afford hardware, let alone software, and I’ve always kept a Linux (or FreeBSD) box running for various tasks and for playing with.

Today, most people have heard of open source, or at least use some open source software, perhaps whether they know it or not.

One aspect of open source which perhaps people aren’t aware of are open source films – creative,  original content, created open source. One of the best ‘studios‘ for this is the Blender Foundation. Blender is itself an open source 3D modeling and rendering system, and they use the foundation and industry sponsorship now to actually produce content where all of the source materials – models, music, renders, all of it, is available open source, with the CG works mainly done in Blender itself.

I first bumped in to these projects in 2008 with their “Big Buck Bunny” short film, which was well written and well made, taking on the children’s animation genre.

Big Buck Bunny
Big Buck Bunny

Then I went back to their 2006 project ‘Elephants Dream‘ , which is darker, more for adults,  a grainy, atmospheric tale of two workers seemingly in an almost sentient machine.

Elephant's Dream
Elephant’s Dream

Next up was ‘Sintel‘, a fantasy short about a young woman searching for the dragon cub she nursed, and lost.

Sintel
Sintel

Their latest work is ‘Tears of Steel‘, which is unique as it’s goal was to use Blender to create the CG parts of a mixed live action VFX short film, based on a science fiction premise.

Tears of Steel
Tears of Steel

It’s another well executed short film, which brings home the flexibility of the open source tools, but also the wealth of talent of the people who use Blender and the strength of the community.

I quite like the idea of artistic works like this being open, so just as programmers and tap into source code to learn how things work, aspiring film makers and also take a look inside some of these high quality films and maybe learn a few things.