Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie, made entirely with open source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please, under a Creative Commons license.

The short film was created by the Orange Open Movie Project studio in Amsterdam during 2005/2006, bringing together a diverse team of artists and developers from all over the world. More about the project...

Blender 2.40 Released

  / by Matt

blender-2.40-splashWell, if you’re wondering why our blog is so slow right now, look no further than to blender.org, where the latest version of our favourite 3D software has just been released to the world. It’s been immensely popular, linked all around the web, and the server is jittering on the floor in convulsions and pleading for sweet mercy.

Many of the great new features we’ve been requesting and talking about here over the last months are included, amongst the character animation rewrite, fluid dynamics system, particle system upgrades and hair rendering, the modifier stack, mesh and UV editing, rigid body dynamics via the game engine, and heaps more. Special thanks to everyone involved for making this possible, and wait till you see what’s in store for 2.41 ;)

Talking heads

  / by Bassam

emocontrols1 We finally have the dialog recorded for our movie! It took one five hour session last Thursday at Earforce with Tygo Gernandt as Proog and Cas Jansen as Emo. We couldn’t have better voices for our characters. Both actors spent considerable time and effort understanding the characters and the story, aided by the animatic and by verbal descriptions from Ton and myself. The result? I can’t imagine Proog or Emo sounding like anything else- the performances are that good.

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Character Design

  / by Matt

Well you’ve seen our characters, Proog and Emo, so it’s time for a long overdue look behind the scenes at their design process. We spent some time in the earlier days of the project really trying to get inside the character’s heads, defining their personalities and then building up their visual appearance around them. When we had some idea about what these guys were supposed to be, we took some time drawing concept sketches that we could then evaluate , select our favourites, or see what interesting ideas could be lifted or combined on the way to the final design.

Emo and Proog clay models
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Sound design for the switchboard scene

  / by Jan

Hi there, this is Jan Morgenstern writing from a currently particularly inhospitable part of northern Germany. I’m responsible for all things going “bonk” in Elephants Dream, and as some of you expressed their interest in occasional digressions into sound design and compositional topics in this blog, I’ve written a little blurb on SFX design for a scene near the beginning of the movie.

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Actors Cas Jansen and Tygo Gernandt sign up

  / by Ton

Two of the finest actors in the Netherlands today officially confirmed to do the voice acting for our main characters.

Cas and Tygo are both experienced movie actors, with leading roles in the succesful and award winning Dutch movies like “Lek” and “Van God Los”. At this moment they are both touring with the acclaimed play “Tape”, so they’re well tuned together to give an excellent performance!

End of this week we’ll do the recording in studio Earforce in Amsterdam. The audio material then will go straight to composer Jan Morgenstern, to make us a first edit so we can start doing the lipsyncs next week.

Special thanks to Casting Agent Marina Wijn – Kemna Casting – who helped us getting the actors, and to studio Earforce for the very friendly quote to get a day in their excellent studio. This is all – especially for the Dutchies – great news!


(Cas Jansen and Tygo Gernandt. Click for full “Tape” poster)

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk, Act the animation?

  / by Lee

Final Animation in the making.

Day 100! The studio is alive with clicking and sliding of mice near the end of this Week 15 (and the goodbye to Sinterklaas here in Holland). Apart from picking up our skills in the latest test render passtime; Indoor Putting, the team has also been finding the ‘actor within’ as we look for solutions in our characters animation consistency and their style in general. We will have five of the team animating at any given time on any given shot over the production period, how can we all have a similar idea past the concept sketches and animatic on the fine tuned animation?

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  / by Andy

…our main characters.

Emo and Proog
Say hello to Emo (left) and Proog (right)!

Desks of the rich and famous

  / by Matt

It’s Friday evening and with the day’s activities coming to an end, we have a rare opportunity to venture out and examine the rare creatures that dwell in their natural habitats in Studio Orange. Come with me, as we see how the various species within the studio adapt their environments in their natural struggle for survival!

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Mini Progress Report; Two

  / by Lee

Dinner at Japanese Pancake World after our third Monthly, left to right: Lee, Matt, Bassam, Toni, Andy, Ton (Basse had an early night).

So this day we reach Day 91, Week 14, exactly halfway through the project time. From late last week into this one it has come down to ‘details details’, the hour after hour of hard work that will slowly push our shots to meet our expectations from the design stage and our dreams.

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From IPO to IPO

  / by Toni

With Python drivers, textures and perhaps even modifiers in the horizon, and many new things like the Key module and the beginnings of the new Armature already in place, these times are quite exiting for those who use and develop Blender in Python. But instead of touching any of those new areas, here the focus is on animation scripting using the good old basic IPO module. For non-Blender users, IPOs are the Blender term/component for animation curves (keyframes are the defining controlpoints of those curves).

I have started using a method where create new IPOs for script-animated objects based on existing hand-animated objects in the scene, and try to share the techniques here. Creating IPO curves, which define the animation for the object for the whole duration of the shot/scene, is a simple way to have the scripted animation renderfarm-safe, and it also enables manual tweaking of the animations after they’ve been generated. These are the reasons for me having to port some previously made framechange-scriptlinked animation scripts, which work ‘live’ in Blender (are run always when a frame is changed), to these animation curve generating ones.

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