Archive for the 'News' Category

Releases and Recommendations

  / by Matt

As the DVDs are making their way throughout the globe and the web release draws nearer and nearer, it’s time to give a little update.

DVD Mailing

The DVDs seem to have made their way across nearly all of Europe and the UK. The first DVDs in the USA were reported arriving in New York and it seems a few more are popping up around North America. I haven’t heard anything yet from South America, Africa or Asia yet, and I have a feeling I still will be waiting a little while down here in Australia :). ‘Steve’ has started a map group on Frappr called Orangewave where in theory we’ll be able to see how the DVDs are spreading. You might want to add yourself and the arrival date to the list when you receive yours, it looks like fun, especially if we get all 2000 there!


Yes, we know that some eager fellow has already ripped the DVD and uploaded it to YouTube. The general consensus within the team is that we have no problem with it (it’s creative commons after all) but we recommend that you do yourself a favour and wait a few more days for the official release. It’d be a shame to let your first impressions be tarnished by the small, jumpy, low-res, blurry, poorly sounding and synced YouTube version – it doesn’t really do justice to what we created, intended for HD projection with 5.1 audio.

Web Release

We’re working hard to get the web release out within the next couple of days. Video is (slowly) encoding on my system as I type this post out, but even after the different versions are all finished and checked, they need to be uploaded and mirrored before the onslaught, so we can’t guarantee exactly when it will be available. The aim is to provide a few different formats (H.264, MPEG4, OGG Theora, etc), at at least 3 different sizes each, but we’re still experimenting with different codecs so that list may end up changing slightly. Jan has made some audio mixes in various formats, in both stereo and 5.1 – we hope to provide 5.1 wherever possible. All, or at least the majority of what we release should be playable with open source video players, such as VLC Media Player, so if you want to get prepared early, you may as well go and download it now, in fact do it anyway, since it’s a fine app.

Waiting, Waiting

I bet you’re getting itchy waiting for either your DVD to arrive, or for the web release – so am I! But until that comes, you can satiate your desires buy watching some other great movies. We compiled a list of some of the movies we watched late after hours while we were working on the project in Amsterdam, some of them more recommendable than others. Read on to check them out and for bonus points, see if you can spot any influences or references in Elephants Dream.

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DVD sales hit 2000 mark

  / by Ton

Just today the 2000th DVD was ordered, the lucky customer already has been congratulated and will get a free t-shirt shipped!
Of course this can only mean one thing… we gotta prepare for the next Open Movie project. :)

However, let’s first see how far the sales boost goes… why not try to get this number doubled? Needless to say, this is all sponsor money that will be used for Blender projects… so, big thanks everyone for purchasing it!


An embarrassing mistake

  / by Matt

I woke up this morning to find an email forwarded through Joeri, written by Guifré, our Catalan subtitle translator. He was happy after receiving his DVD but surprised to find that the word in the subtitle menu for the Català language was incorrect. Oops…

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Wrapping up Orange development

  / by Ton

With the DVDs arriving and people trying out the .blend files, it’s really about time to have some decent documentation about the Blender development of the past 6 months.
It’s still a long way to go… but here’s the first result of the tentative 2.42 release log:

Changes since the 2.41 release

Want to have it all finished within a week, so don’t disturb me!


DVDs ready to go!

  / by Ton

orangedvd Last tuesday the printer was finished, yesterday the DVDs were delivered to our e-shop department, where Anja and Anne immediately started packaging the orders. That will be ready today and today the shipping company will pick them up as well. We will give international mail 1 day headstart, and post the Dutch orders on friday! :)

As soon as the first person receives the DVD, the Creative Commons license becomes effective too. And although I think it’s still fun to have first the DVDs in for all of our sponsors, I can’t stop people who get the DVDs from putting the content online…
The “official” launch, on our own website, will wait 10 days though, so that’ll be around the 14th of May.

Thanks everyone for the patience! Making a DVD set just was far more work than expected, but the result is definitely worth waiting for. :)


(thu 16:00h: Added note: the courier picked everything up, also the dutch stuff was shipped… eeek, will get there tomorrow maybe!)

Mancandy updated

  / by Bassam

Mancandy Revisited Perhaps you remember this post in which we introduced blender’s new drivers with the mancandy character. Well, subsequent changes in blender broke the old file; The jaw, eyeballs and other facial controls stopped working once keyed. I was unaware of this until I read this thread on blenderartists, after which I came to two conclusions:

1- Nobody knows the character’s name ;) ! ( His name is Mancandy, an homage to the movie Manchurian Candidate and his candylike outfit)
2- I had to fix the rig to work with the recent improvements in blender, and not just his broken face. Many of the armature’s internals were workarounds for old blender limitations. The intent of the model is for people to learn animation and rigging- which can be confusing if there are 4 bones where only one is needed. So I did a little update of the character. I fixed a few things, simplified some others, and took advantage of the new features.

Though the character is not realistic, the rig isn’t a toon rig; it lacks controls for e.g. squash and stretch ( which I may add at a later date, or can be left as an excersise for the user ). For a more toony setup, visit Sketchy’s excellent Ludwig rig, which is extremely light and has some rather fun squash N stretch-ability.

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Creative Commons license

  / by Ton

The movie “Elephants Dream” and all data on the DVDs and almost all of the contents on this website is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license. In short, this means you can freely reuse and distribute this content, also commercially, for as long you provide a proper attribution.

The attribution is either one of the following cases

1) For the website and files on the DVD ROMs:
Blender Foundation |

2) If you screen or broadcast the entire movie and/or documentary:
Include the entire credits roll in ending.

3) If you re-use (or screen, broadcast) parts of the movie or documentary itself, or duplicate the DVDs:
(c) copyright 2006, Blender Foundation / Netherlands Media Art Institute /

4) Some of the texture files on the DVDs have an own Creative Commons attribution, these are indicated clearly.

5) The additional soundtrack audio files on this website are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 license. See the original announcement for details.

This is the first time such a large collection of files get launched under ‘the commons’, and therefore still a bit complex to grasp what to credit when exactly. The guidelines above are just meant to ensure that attribution happens in a reasonable way. If in doubt, use the third choice above.

Excluded from the Creative Commons is:

– all logos on this website (including Blender logo, Orange logo, Creative Commons logo) and associated trademarks
– the DVD cover (inlay) and DVD disc print


You are free to duplicate the DVDs and distribute or sell them, but in that case you have to make your own cover art and DVD prints for it, with of course the proper attribution as mentioned above in 3).

You are free to broadcast the movie and documentary on your local TV station, just include the entire credits roll too.

You can re-edit parts of the movie into a video clip for your band, just include the attribution as mentioned above in 3).

You can use textures and .blend files (or models, rigs, etc) from the data collection on the DVDs, also in commercial projects. Just make sure we get our short credit as mentioned above in 1).

You can organize a screening in a cinema, and charge an entrance fee for it. Just include the movie credits in the screening.

You can submit the movie to festivals even! Festivals can also screen the movie without our permission. It would be nice though to get a notification for it, especially when we win prizes! :)

DVD print design

  / by Ton

And more previews; here’s a mockup of how the DVD sleeve and disks will look like, without some of the logos and text that we’ll add of course. Great design by Andy!

(Just click for the larger image)


Progress Update

  / by Matt

Well, we haven’t updated in quite some time, so I thought I’d let you know where we are and what’s going on in post-premiere Orange. Yes, there have been delays, and we’re working as hard as we can to get the DVD finalised and sent out. We have suffered from the setbacks and want to get this DVD out to the world as least as much as you do :)

We’ve now been back in our home countries for at least a week now, depending on the person. At least for myself it took a while to shake off the jetlag from flying halfway around the world, and emerge from the sleep-deprived coma I fell into, recharging after our final crunch. It’s also been very difficult collaborating between the team across time zones, but we’re doing our best.

I hope we can do a nice big post about scheduling and what happened when, where we spent the time, etc. when things are less busy. But suffice to say, Murphy was laying down the law, disasters were unfolding around us and we were working at full steam into the early morning hours right up until the day of the premiere. In fact, we were doing re-renders to fix errors the day before the event. One might think that if we’d spent one week less on the movie and given it a little less polish then we wouldn’t be running a bit behind now, but it didn’t work that way. Actually if we’d stopped one week early, our final scene would have been lit and rendered in OpenGL (although taking that option may have caused less detriment to our own health and sanity!)

So. Since the premiere we have:

  • Collected the timed translations (we have 34 in total, thankyou volunteer translators!) Also retimed them to fit the DVD (24fps -> 25fps and 30fps)
  • Created an MPEG4 version of the movie in HD 1920×1080 to go on the data section of the disk, with mixed down audio
  • All production files, .blend files, textures cleaned up and put in a disc structure
  • Collated, prepared and compressed the DVD extras to both PAL and NTSC MPEG, including a special thankyou surprise, four commentary tracks, the 30+ minute making-of documentary and two videos of our voice actors from the recording session
  • DVD structure laid out and menu animations almost finished rendering
  • Converted the 16:9 NTSC and PAL anamorphic png sequences of the movie to 25 & 30 fps Mpeg2.
  • Movie audio compressed (sound space) to fit home cinema systems.
  • CC is written, png, mpg

What we have left to go:

  • Final audio mixes for PAL 25fps version. NTSC version is already done. Jan has been fighting problems for the last few days now, but hopefully the end is in sight.
  • A few final tweaks to the menu animations, then converting to MPEG and implemented
  • Some final subtitle assignment (character set issues)
  • Finish off writing the production file structure documentation
  • DVD-rom content page for DVD video to be made.
  • DVD credits to be made
  • Placing the almost-done DVD cover illustration into the sleeve layout

Joeri is working hard on the DVD and says that when we have finished the above tasks (excluding the cover of course!) it will take him only a few days to get it together and ready as a DVD master for duplication. So it’s not done, but it’s very very close.

Anyway, as a thankyou for your patience as we continue plugging away, here’s a couple of teaser images! They’re still frames from the movie, untouched and in full HD resolution, probably suitable for wallpaper :) Cheers!



  / by Ton

Got no other words really now…. apart from a big THANK YOU! to everyone who has been there on the premiere and party, to everyone who helped out making it happen, and to everyone who’s still working on the last project details. :)

More detailed reports on last friday will be here too – and probably pictures and stories are popping up on other websites already. Last friday it was of course way too late, and we all had to be in Montevideo the morning after to prepare the weekend show (imagine zombies!). Because yesterday was also the last day the team was complete, we did the ‘commentary video’ for the DVD together, and had a very *lekker* dinner in our favorite Indian restaurant around the corner.

Basse will leave today. Matt goes monday morning. Toni leaves wednesday, Lee and Bassam thursday and Andy on friday the 31st. And then it’s back to normal again…. oh, how much I will miss this, and how much I’ll miss you guys. We’ve become a real family the past 7 months!

No time for tears… back to Montevideo now, we still got a DVD to complete and then an interesting backlog of website/admin/documenting/coding/bugfixing job is awaiting for me.