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...

Live LSCM Unwrap

  / by Matt

Here’s a nice little demo of a new feature in Blender, added a day or two ago – LSCM Live Transform. When it’s switched on in the UV/Image editor window, it recalculates the LSCM within the transform loop when you’re moving/rotating/scaling pinned vertices, so it gives realtime feedback – a real time saver! It’s a lot more powerful than proportional edit, since it’s properly calculating LSCM using the correct edge angles, adjusting the UV unwrap shape for the best fit.

This should really come in handy when we unwrap and texture our characters very soon! Here’s a little demo video that I did with one of Bassam’s old test characters, the geometry .blend file is linked in this blog post.

mancandy lscm
» divx icon 5MB DivX AVI | mov icon 7MB .mov Animation codec

Mini Progress Report

  / by Bassam

It’s a pivotal week here at the studio, so I thought I’d blog a bit of progress update.
We’ve got the team split up currently in two camps: Lee and Toni are working towards a final scene: Lee’s been modelling for a week, but now he’s started doing some kickass animation- I think he’d been in withdrawal for a while, while Toni has been re-writing his super-cool wire fu script with even more functionality, render-farm immunity and efficiency in mind. Expect some crazy scripted animation, in addition to the character work :)

The rest of us have been working on the second animatic version of the movie, though Matt has moved from animatic work to join Lee with ‘real’ production as of yesterday.

We’ve been going through a continuous process of improving the script and story. After the viewing of the first animatic, we decided to cut some shots and dialog, and rework some scenes for more impact. It was a painful decision because the scenes were very good, but we hope that the complete movie will work better without them. Today we’ve got a full shot per shot breakdown of the entire movie. This is something that had eluded us so far (we seemed cursed with a “mystery scene” which no-one could gift with visuals)- And the animatic is one day away from complete- we need it for our own and our producer’s (AKA Ton) approval, as well as for the composer and actors. Here are a few scenes from the animatic:

Media gallery update

  / by Matt

Bassam and Ton Just a little update while preparing some interesting new posts here, we’ve got some more photos of some of the activities over the last few weeks in the media gallery, including the short Blender tutorial workshop we gave to students from the Netherlands Film Institute.

Get A Haircut!

  / by Lee

You may remember Andy’s post some weeks ago about the new static particles. Well, we must say it was a great improvement for static particles, but we thought the possibilities could be pushed, and Ton came out with a bunch of great new options (that led us to have a few late nights playing around with them!).

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Animatic and Script(s)

  / by Matt

Well, the others haven’t posted anything recently, so I’d better give an update on what’s been happening here! Work has been continuing thick and fast – we’ve given tutorial workshops here in Amsterdam (which will be posted about soon, I hope), Ton has still been coding like a madman, and over the last weeks, we’ve been working on putting together our secondary animatic, with the script broken down into individual shots by Bassam.

We did a very preliminary animatic (the ‘crappymatic’) a while ago, before the script was fully broken down, as a bit of a practise run to flesh out some ideas. It helped, but it was nowhere near anything final, and of course purposefully dodgy. For this one, we’d been working on scenes in parallel and in tandem, and we assembled them together over the last few days of last week to see the then current state of the film in its entirety. We’ve also been using the structure of the script, with the intention that we can take the .blend files used in the animatic, and revise them by replacing character models, re-doing the animation, building the sets, to gradually turn them into the final shots.

Here’s an example of one of the scenes in the animatic, actually one that has subsequently been partially cut/revised, for you to download. Of course it’s an animatic, with proxy models, very rough animation and blocked out sets. Please, no complaints that it’s not Pixar quality yet! :)

Animatic screenshot
» 4.3 MB MPEG4 | 4.5 MB Xvid AVI

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Blender Conference roundup

  / by Matt

The venue of the conference, The WaagThe 2005 Blender Conference has come and gone, and while it was immensely tiring, it was a heck of a lot of fun. The presentations were very interesting, but like last year, the best part was the wonderful sense of community, meeting the other blenderheads from all around the globe and making contacts and friendships that are far more than what you can ever have online. Joeri Kassenaar is currently in the process of digitising videos of all the presentations, and I’ve uploaded some of the photos I took to the Media Gallery, but you can read on for a quick list of my personal highlights.

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Shape slider driver update

  / by Bassam

Hello again! you may remember this post about drivers and shapes. Well one of the blender developers, Johnny Matthews ( AKA GuitarGeek ), decided to make a script to create the driver/sliders automatically: He sent me this movie file to show his progress: slider creation movie (Divx AVI).

Looks great, doesn’t it? :D

update: looks like Johnny has committed the changes to the python API neccessary for his script to work: So get a current CVS and head to widgetmaker for some widget-y goodness!

The Ever Shrinking Orange Wishlist

  / by Bassam

Well, It has been one week since the blender conference, and we’ve past the post-conference glaze- it is time to be hectic! currently, we are working on producing the “level one” animatic by this Friday… This animatic should be pretty close to shot by shot equivelance to the final movie, and is in fact, generated from the same blendfiles that will later evolve to render final shots. We’ve had some nice progress, partly due to the rapid work by Ton and crew hacking on the blender code.

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Elephants Dream teaser

  / by Matt

Well it’s been a crazy week leading up to it, but last night at the Blender Conference animation festival, we showed our teaser for the first time. Without further ado, here it is for your enjoyment!

Elephants Dream teaser
30MB MPEG4 (BitTorrent)

30MB MPEG4 (blendertestbuilds.de)

Update Oct 17: Here are some other mirrors and compressed versions made by the community!

24MB MPEG (BitTorrent)

9MB Xvid/Vorbis OGM

Blender Conference streaming video

  / by Matt

After a very long week of very long late nights, we’re here at the 2005 Blender Conference. We’ve finally finished putting our teaser together over the last week, which will be shown tonight at the Art Festival. Hopefully we can get a nice compressed version online as soon as possible after that!

For now, you can watch a live video stream from the presentation room at De Waag, and check out the Conference schedule.

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