Chinese Version of Tears of Steel

by - 2013/09/13 5 Comments Random, Uncategorized

Here’s a great story of the fun and success of the Open Movie’s Creative Commons Licences and the creative freedom that they allow. Because now there is also a chinese Version of Tears of Steel! They had their own actors, reshot the entire movie and combined it with the CG assets of Tears of Steel. It’s so cool to see them reenact all these scenes from our movie. And their Techhead is at least as crazy as ours! :)

Apparently it was a project from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Automation ( with the goal to build a team and explore the pipeline and workflow for future commercial projects. Further down Ethan Luo from the chinese Blender community shares some infos about this remarkable remake. Check it out!

Here’s a splitscreen version that reveals a bit more how they created this epic version of Tears of Steel!

It’s always great to see people using the open movie assets in their own projects, but seeing the love and detail that went into this one is simply awesome. Having worked on the original Tears of Steel myself I know what a pain greenscreen keying, rotoscoping and sometimes object tracking can be, but these guys did a great job, especially since they didn’t have access to a high end Sony F65 camera that produces supercrisp footage nor a luxurious giant well-lit greenscreen studio, so they probably had to deal with a lot more problems with keying and tracking.
So hats off to the creators of this “Tears of Steal”! I think it’s a great encouragement for everyone to actually use the open movie assets, use them for your own creations and learn from them!

Here’s what Ethan writes:



Release Date: Sept 26th!

by - 2012/09/10 31 Comments Production, Random

So! We’re back in the studio and moving ahead- and we have a release date! Sept 26th! Just over two weeks from now. I dunno- maybe that seems like a good chunk of time to you guys, but to us it’s not much; we have to make a whole DVD before then! Ton just put up a previous blogpost listing all of the extra features we’re going to try to cram on there. Whole buncha goodies.

So mark your calendar! Tell your mom! Pay your internet bill! Look for leaked torrents! We’re finally gonna release this thing!

Popular use of Open Movies: tradeshows!

by - 2012/09/08 10 Comments Production, Random, Uncategorized

Hi everyone,

It was time for the annual IBC Conference in Amsterdam. It’s the largest Broadcasting/TV show outside of NAB Las Vegas. Always very cool to walk around and see some new development. I’ve been staring at an 8K tv showing Olympics footage… amazing.

Another fun thing to do at IBC is to spot our movies! This is a great example that illustrates the need for free and open content. It’s just a sample, in the 3 hours I was at the (only parts of the) tradeshow I saw many more. (The pics at QT and Fraunhofer show Sintel too, but not well visible).

History lesson. Today: TRACES

by - 2012/09/06 16 Comments Random

Today Ton setup an old Silicon Graphics Workstation at the Institute and installed TRACES on it, the predecessor of Blender. Totally amazing, because it already was very much similar to what later became Blender 2.49, and even in the current Blender you can see these roots.
If you want to see this live and in action come to this year’s Blender Conference!

Developer *Fail* Moments

by - 2012/08/27 24 Comments Development, Random

Each OpenMovie project we manage to get ourselves into some fairly awkward technical difficulties – and even with the best intentions things backfire and break in strange and hard to foresee ways.

Being an open project at least we don’t have to pretend to be `professional` and can share some of the low-lights of the project as we did for Big Buck Bunny and Sintel :)


In no particular order…

  • Once NFS became mad on the server Sergey just rebooted the server. ll file systems were forced to be checked at boot time. Checking both 5TB and 3TB RAID took several hours. No internet and no production SVN meanwhile.


  • Sergey made some tweaks to file system layouts on all systems and made a typo in file system mounting rules. Next day nobody was able even to boot their computers.

  • Campbell decides to give someone else the fun of fixing broken (but awesome) 8 core XEON, we get it back from the shop `fixed` with only 2 memory slots limiting the ram making it fail at rendering the majority of our scenes.


  • For some reason Samba server (server to allow mac and window users access our shared folder) was misconfigured and files with wrong permissions were creating. Trying to fix this Sergey used a mask of “.*” to change permissions for all files including hidden one. Who knew that this mask would also match “..” folder which is parent folder. Ended up with all files granted to full access to anybody on the server.


  • In the middle of the project it was discovered a typo in automated Ubuntu installation script — it created 25GB partition for data and couple of hundreds of gigabytes for swap.

  • Campbell wanted to download all versions of a file and whipped up a clever script to grab the history of all versions at once,
    …turns out that making 120 connections to blenders svn server is enough to blacklist the blender institute from connecting to our source code repository, now artists are blocked from blender updates and devs can’t apply changes to blender. Resolved the next day by changing our routers MAC address to get a new IP.


  • Sergey powers up all remote DELL renderfarm nodes and manages to overload their PDU (Power Distribution Unit) 4 days before the premier, our main renderfarm is totally broken… what now?…


  • Campbell & Koen want to copy some footage on a USB disk, but the server is configured to cache gigabytes, while Koen is illegally parked and wants to rush the files out to DELL but the disk won’t unmount, killing all processes that use the disk to force and unmount manages to kill _every_ process on the server including our render farm and studio internet connection, also in the panic some shelves got knocked over in our server room by accident with glassware breaking… We ended up copying most of the remaining files online.


  • Kjartan asks for a render hack to simplify some specific scene, the workaround only gets applied to one of our farms causing 5+ hour render times.


  • Francesco adds computers to the renderfarm without copying over the servers SSH key causing the renderfarm to lock up trying to login to a the system.


  • Our fallback system for storing footage during the shoot, mysteriously fails to boot the morning of the shoot,
    making things worse real life sysadmins on set are playing as `extras` in the first scene and have to get makeup and costumes done. – We manage without the backup system.


Things are eerily relaxed here at the studio a day before the premier, with luck we manage without too many problems this time.

– Campbell

Voronoi Fracturing

by - 2012/07/05 61 Comments Random

In new builds of blender you will find under User Preferences/Addons/Object/Cell Fracture the new voronoi fracturing tool from Campbell Barton! It’s still under development, but already useful.

screenshot with all the options


Blender Inside Out – for experienced 3D artists

by - 2012/06/30 9 Comments Production, Random

Here’s the latest in our Creative Commons dvd training series: “Blender Inside Out”. I’ve asked Jonathan Williamson from – they have experience with other 3d tools – to make a cool collection of videos for experienced 3D artists; to explain Blender for them by using metaphors and methods they know.

The DVDs will get printed around July 10th, and get shipped to you before August. As usual – profits on our dvd bizz goes to supporting open movie projects like Mango! And as a bonus this time; it will allow us to do a bigger presentation at Siggraph – spreading free copies of this DVD to the audience as well!

Help us, order one now (or two!). Thanks!

My end of project post : got everything but the t-shirt

by - 2012/06/29 12 Comments Random

A t-shirt -of course- that says :  “I survived project Mango” …

But then forget the usual part about only getting the t-shirt: On the contrary ! you really get lots out of participating to an open movie at the Blender Institute!

And also ,  the project is not over , it’s actually running at a crazy pace. (So, don’t worry guys , there’s time for the t-shirts .. but make it  a Pablo Londono’s design ! )

For me, the top 2 things I got out of it,  are the opportunity to work on just what I like the most : the gloomy charm of a post-apocalyptic urban environment ? -and Amsterdam none the less- ? plus some rusty decayed sci-fi machinery ..can’t ask for better.

But perhaps more important is getting to work with the team , and just everyone was super-great, and it really makes a difference working and spending time in such an environment : I’m talking about the scary-good ninja artists in the team, but also Ton (himself!!)  and the developers (and I was lucky to meet quite a few of them!) really gives a different perspective to Blender not just as a piece of code but a more complex project and network of people.

So here’s the video I recorded for the weekly : there’s an awful lot of trivial technical questions in it .. but that’s the reality of the job :)

Cheers to everyone !  see you again soon on these pages.

Blessing .blend files

by - 2012/06/12 8 Comments Random

You may be blessed

Today I will demonstrate what we do when something goes wrong or has to be fixed inside a blendfile! Recently we changed the way the armguns file works in order to make it more efficient (long story short: there used to be multiple proxies referring to multiple armatures, which were automatically generated with a script, and now the armature is the same and it is shared by the proxies).