Building a 4k display with 4 monitors

by - 2013/02/21 12 Comments Development, Production

So then we want to view 4k as well! Here’s a quick making-of.

  • We selected 4 monitors that can be wall-mounted, with a foot you can remove. Our 26″ Iyama screens worked perfect.
  • In the hardware store I bought “shelves rail” which is sturdy and has enough holes for the screens to mount.
  • With everything mounted, it was even standing reasonably firm on the bottom two screens

That was the easy part! Now get X11 to show a full desktop with 2 graphics cards and 4 monitors… how we got it to work:

  • You need two identical cards, different NVidia types mixed didn’t work
  • The cards have to be connected with an SLI bridge (see image)
  • Sudo mv your /etc/xorg.conf away to a backup name, restart system with all monitors connected
  • Start the Nvidia X Server Settings panel, “detect displays”, enable “twinview” and “Xinerama” for the screens, and arrange them in the right layout. This might take a couple of steps of “Save settings” and logout/login to see the effects.
  • The Gnome desktop insisted on drawing footer/headers on every monitor, and even doubling/tripling them. But with Xfce it was all perfect.

And voila, we even had Blender running! And more awesome, in the fresh 2.66 release the Blender “DPI” option (user prefs) scales a UI smoothly and crisp to double size as well. Works totally amazing :)

This is very promising for the future 4k computer monitors that soon will be available for more reasonable prices!


Tears of Steel – 4k

by - 2013/01/09 15 Comments Production

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.

An Ultra HD TV version of 3840 x 1714 will be made by cropping away from the sides, that’ll work fine I expect.

Best of all is that this version can get scaled down perfectly for a 2k cinema DCP (2048 wide) and a perfect crisp HD version as well (1920 wide). We might even make versions available for those having HiDPI tablets and screens!

Work on this will last until end of March. Estimated render time for our 30 systems is about 2 months, full time. Discussions with festivals for screening 4k, and/or Ultra HD vendors to use it for showcase will be going on as well.


Compositing Breakdown Video

by - 2012/11/03 5 Comments Compositing

One of the many features you can find on our DVD is an extensive 9 minute (!) VFX breakdown video. It was edited by Pablo Vazquez and shows some of the most stunning shots of Tears of Steel! A huge thanks goes to Joram who gave me his Ok to mangle his soundtrack.


All DVDs shipped

by - 2012/10/19 47 Comments Production

Right after the conference, Anja’s been very busy packing and sorting all pre-order DVDs for Tears of Steel. Here’s a picture of a proud Anja just before it all got picked up!

Soundtrack files released

by - 2012/10/17 19 Comments Production

Composer Joram Letwory sent me the original soundtrack files. You can now download these via our brand new download page (see above) or just click on this link. The files have been released as CC-by-nd, which is quite common for music. It means you can use it freely, also commercially, but you cannot disassemble or remix it.

Added note from Joram:

I partly used commercial sample libraries for the Tears Of Steel music and sound. Because of that we published the soundtrack as a CC-by-nd. This covers the limitation of some of the commercial libraries that their sounds may not be used in new samples (even if they are layered with original samples). However, I would of course very much like it if the soundtrack were to be remixed. So, if you do want to cut up the music (for any reason), please send me a personal message and I’ll give you permission in writing including the restrictions and conditions to cover the previously stated limitations.

Viewer-Node Control Script

by - 2012/10/09 15 Comments Production

Here’s a short demo of one of the scripts that you can find on the DVD in the Mango SVN scripts folder. It’s called

It’s a small utility to make navigating huge node-trees a bit easier, and we had a lot of those.
All the time while I was working with these huge node setups I thought that I would love to be able to define certain checkpoints in the node-tree to be able to quickly connect the viewer node to them to check out the result without having to zoom and scroll like crazy. Also jumping to the last node or comparing the result before and after some nodes was something that I always wanted to have. Continue

Production update – the days after

by - 2012/10/03 12 Comments Production

  • Everyone’s back home, so it’s a bit silent :)
  • The DVD box is being replicated now. Ships monday to our e-shop storage… but might only arrive wednesday, just in time for the conference. We might ship wednesday still, or the week after.
  • Yep, in a little over a week the Blender Conference starts – meet with Ian, Francesco, Nicolo, Rob, Andy, Kjartan, Sergey, Sebastian, Brecht, Joram, myself, and the one I always forget!
  • Visitors at the conference can pick up their DVD orders!
  • Youtube hit the 500k views in less than 6 days! We get 98% positive response. :)
  • We enjoyed the huge response – ranging from serious reviews, honest compliments,  fanboy cheering to the traditional armchair crits – this film is going to be remembered.
  • Psst pssst: interest from serious producers too; Ian’s having interesting emails already!
  • 3DWorld will cover ToS in the november issue.
  • Today: Blender 2.64 release! Check :)
  • Soon: a download page on this site with subtitle files, more encoded versions, sound files, and so on.

That’s it folks. Back to work!

Tears of Steel – download & watch

by - 2012/09/26 187 Comments Production

It’s out! Watch it on youtube now, or download it later… links to downloads will appear in this post once mirrors have been synced. Torrents will also appear. Have fun! :) We’re happy!

Download mirrors, all files: – Italy      NLUUG – Netherlands     RWTH-Aachen – Germany    University Bayreuth – Germany    Arcagenis – France

Download all original PNG files at   and here are the stereo and 5.1 AIFF soundtracks.

Update: the first .webm version (full open source encoded images.sound) is available. Much better quality than the .mkv files!
Download the 1080p .webm as a torrent.

At BlenderArtists is a project to review or submit new subtitles.

Tears of Steel DVD promo

by - 2012/09/26 11 Comments Production

We’ve all been working hard- but Pablo has been working harder! Check out this promo he made (with a killer music track from Joram Letwory, from the soon-to-be-released Tears of Steel!)

DVD sales are really what keep the lifesblood of the Blender Foundation/Institute pumping, and we’ve packed this one full of insane bonus material. Check it out in the video below!

See you in a couple hours!

Press release – premiere

by - 2012/09/24 36 Comments Production

I’m very proud to announce the premiere of our 4th short film – Tears of Steel.  The online release will be on this website, around 17h UTC, this Wednesday 26 September.
A theatrical premiere will be friday evening in Los Angeles – hosted by ASIFA-Hollywood.

As a result of this crowdfunded project, Blender now covers a full pipeline for vfx artists – starting with camera tracking and roto, all the way to color grading. An official release of Blender is expected early October.

You can download the complete press release here.

Or get the  full press kit, including press release and high resolution graphics. (250 MB).

I would appreciate it if you would give our project attention on your website or in your magazine. Please tell your users that we still sell the DVD box! We still have bills to pay, and there’s a lot of work on Blender to do as always!

Best regards,