Agent 327 film

So, remember this little character test?

The character in it is the title character of Agent 327, which is a Dutch comic series parodying Spy Dramas and conspiracy fiction(327 is basically the area code of Rotterdam).

Turns out they’re gonna make a movie about it:

And Blender Studio will participate in the development:

I am somewhat excited because this series is nostalgic to me, and the studios behind it are known for fun things(coproducing Iron Sky and of course the Blender film projects).

My skeptical side is a bit worried about Martin Lodewijk writing the script: He’s indicated being done with Agent 327 after the last issue. But on the other side, the change of medium could bring some new life into it.

EDIT: Blender Nation has more information:

I hadn’t heard of the character prior to that animation test, but it seems like a pretty big score for Ton/Blender Institute. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Well, the IP itself is not as much of a score(in terms of preexisting market), but the quality and content of the IP is: Agent 327’s humour is somewhat like that of the Naked Gun series(Very visual and a lot of juxtaposition of serious with the absurd), so if they do this right, they have something super accessible.

Hmm… now I undestand improvements in blob speed (muhahahha).

I will follow this with great interest since the characters are cartoonish but the environments real and I presume that this will foster improvements in hard surface functionalities.

Blender team working in close connection with an established studio is certainly a smart thing to do for now and the future.

It’s a fairly recognizable character in the Netherlands, yeah? It seems like a fun IP to me. Either way, Blender Institute doing commercial work is promising for a lot of reasons.

This looks really awesome and I hope it works out for them.

That sound really good! I’ll keep an eye on this project, thank’s for the head’s up. :slight_smile:

from BlenderNation

How large will this project be?

Ton: This will easily be a 2-3 year project. We’re in the very early stage of development still. Story development and getting funding it will take most of 2015. Actual production work could start up in the course of 2016. We aim for a decent budget - I want to get this film realized on a quality level that satisfies an international audience. That means a lot of people would be hired for it. I cannot make any prediction now, but likely 30 people or more.

Looks already promising, i can be wrong but honestly - looking back now - i really wished Gooseberry budget and campaign was more focused on development and getting core stuff merged and polished (Cycles speedups, Opensubdiv, Alembic, OpenVDB, ptex/UDIM, “nodification”, particle system reworked, viewport and depsgraph…) and less “hacks” due to limited time, budget and manpower to get the pilot done…i mean GB should have been a workbench to really improve the software and get it ready for this bigger project and make it a stable and ready for production software, with all the features and improvements included.

Hope it’s not too late and once GB pilot is done, all this stuff will be kept worked on to a finished state.

for people not knowing the famous dutch commic,
Here a picture of two albums and a comic page so people get the funny style.
Once known by any Dutch teenager

This is fantastic news. I really really hope to be able to watch this in cinema in a few years, it would be a giant leap forward for Blender foundation, Institute and Blender Animation Studio.
We can only benefit from this since all work happening by developers paid from big sponsor money gets released as Open Source. Additionally to that we have the usual development. Great times ahead if this makes it!

Ton hinted that this might be happening at BCon 2014. It would be really great to see it backed up with the same dev support that the open movies have had. Love the look of the comic too, should translate into a great-looking film with fun character designs.

Wonder who they’re going to get to direct…

The dutch seems excited, never seen that guy before either. only agent comic i remember in newspaper is like modesty blaise.

Great news!

Can someone tell me if these Blender projects can benefit from volunteers or contributors over net/cloud? If we look at Disneys Hero then it’s clear how big these virtual worlds can get. It seems to me there’s such a wast resource in form of Blender community that would love to contribute. Obvious concerns are consistency, managing/supervision and scope of work (mostly modeling, texturing)… Never the less, there are ways around it and i feel correct setup may yield highly efficient and mutually beneficial result.


Now this is a step forward.
1.We recognise we cant muster the financial resources ourselves to back a fully ‘open’ movie even though we would dearly like to do so. We therefore find a compatible and empathetic commercial partner.
2.A good number of Blender artists, with presumably coders in support, get a stretch of work - I guess we earn fees from participation to reinvest in Blender core affairs?
3.Blender itself has made large strides in readiness lately and we now have the basis of data management for collaboration i.e. it’s not pushing the envelope too far.
4.We do something that might earn back Dutch Film Institute support…still need to sort out those Google SOC missed opportunities though…
5.We have an established basis for the movie in the popular character/comic and most importantly we get someone else to do the script. Sorry but we persistently have had trouble delivering on this aspect ourselves so far. Beyond that is appears to have international appeal i.e. a substantial potential audience.
6.Blender exposure and credibility will rise substantially being used in something more than the demo/pilot/trailers we have cobbled together so far.
7. We gain valuable experience for our own eventual undertaking and pick up skills we currently lack by associating with existing studios. We extend our pool of potential participants beyond a lucky few regulars at the BI and who will have an understanding from the outset of what working effectively together toward a common purpose means.

Now the issue is - can we effectively organise that many people to work together and be efficient? I am hoping so.

In the light of this news and considering the Gooseberry pilot has somewhat fallen short of content in respect of how it was originally intended to be for various reasons, perhaps it might be an idea to test out the collaboration aspect by undertaking the caterpillar scenes that were pushed back into ‘possibly if there is time’ status with a second team working remotely. Possibly this team should be made up of people who will be team leaders in the new project. We need to build up experience ahead of time especially as this new project will be one we simply must deliver on.
Artistically, in animation, and in coding I have no doubts.

hmmm I see no further posts since my comment…
I’m kind of surprised the announcement of this new project hasn’t generated more enthusiasm in the forum.
Is there some reason that more people aren’t receptive to the idea?
Perhaps following Gooseberry has peoples attention currently?
…or I suppose the forums are just less active these days…and of course fanboyism was banned :eyebrowlift: so… oh well plenty of time yet… :smiley:

While I’m sure this will help raise the profile of Blender a bit more, it also feels like a reminder that the BI/BF is obsessed with pet film projects (or at least its perceived that way). I’m wondering if a certain someone should just be a film producer that promotes Blender instead, b/c they would probably be very good at it.

Ok so at the risk of derailing the thread what would you rather we focus on?
While my personal interest in Blender is using parts of it for producing stills and animation clips for industrial design illustration purposes I recognise Blender is really intended to be a full tool for cg artists. Of course there are all manner of other goodies available like tracking, grease pencil, the game engine, a constellation of scripts, specialist addons etc. It seems logical though that an ultimate goal of Blender development would be to actively use it to make animated movies. I suppose it doesn’t necessarily follow that BI/BF should be the ones doing that though.
I take it you feel the community should discuss these matters beforehand or at least be consulted more before these projects are pursued? If Ton wanted to be a full time movie producer maybe he should have to formally set up a position with job description and apply for the job on merit. Who would interview him though?? It doesn’t seem like the way BI/BF affairs are set up currently that the chairman actually chairs anyone i.e. has to work though the rationale for ideas and actions with others if only to ensure the best possible thinking are arrived at.
Perhaps we need some form of understood constitution? A declaration of intent. A slightly different management organisation now that Blender has evolved and matured. I guess this brushes up against the transparency issues…
Anyhow to me this latest endeavour sounds better thought out than before if the end game is to be a fulltime studio.

I think having other studios making the films with some financial and dev. support from the Blender Institute may ultimately become the better method here (in terms of helping Blender advance as a software).

Part of my reasoning is that you have a lot more people involved in the feedback process because of multiple movies being made at once, another thing is that these other studios could perhaps be in the production phase for years at a time (with a much longer pre-production phase), which gives more time for devs. to fulfill their tool/feature requests.

So in all, the Institute does less work directly on film making and becomes more of a publisher for studios it supports, this also has the third benefit of potential windfalls for Blender development funding if those movies make a major profit and the BF gets a royalty.

Well first off this is a better endeavor than Gooseberry, it makes far more sense from a production standpoint. Consistent art style, an established audience and narrative. Its a good project to pursue.

That said, for a software that has a huge following in fields not related to film, which is really just a tiny part of the larger group of industries that make use of CG (Games for example bring in more annual revenue than film, tv and music industries combined for their primary market), I believe that in order to further develop and focus Blender it shouldnt be interested in just one segment of the industry. Its not necessarily a Blender problem either… but one in which a lot of 3d content creation packages seem to be run by people obsessed with pixar like animation and film. The market is literally oversatured with film loving 3d applications, yet few actually start targeting areas outside of that market.

Take for example, the biggest earner for Autodesk isnt Maya or Max. It’s AutoCAD. In fact their media and entertainment division has been losing tons of money over the years yet their total revenue has gone up. This has almost everything to do with their CAD software.

It would be beneficial in my opinion for the Blender F/I to do more projects that are far more varied in industry usage, otherwise it will just continue pandering to one type of entertainment and compete an oversatured market for software does the very same thing.

Just my 2 cents on that, mostly personal opinion and one thats just confirming an observation. That said, just re-asserting that this is a good project for the Blender Foundation but one that should also maybe start to separate the development end and priorities from those who just want to make good films with the software.

It should be noted that, as open source software, the revenue that any segment of an industry generates is less important than it would be for commercial, proprietary software. If you were to use a size metric to drive development decisions (and I don’t necessarily think that you should), a better gauge would be by user population. Granted, I have no idea which industry segment has the largest population of digital artists; it could very well be games. But it could just as easily be the sum total of small shops that produce for local television… hell, by population, hobbiest generalists could very easily be the biggest segment.

In any case, the point is that one of the luxuries of open source software is that it’s not driven by revenue. Sure, money helps, but I’m nearly positive that if any of Blender’s developers were in it for the money, they wouldn’t be Blender developers.