Blender, open movies, and the COVID-19 aftermath

Sorry if the title seems clickbaitey, but honestly, it’s hard to imagine talking about all of this stuff without sounding overly dramatic. And it’s going to get worse. I’m refering to my post, but yeah, that statement also fits the situation in general.

I heard some remark that made me check the numbers on COVID-19 just a few minutes ago. I was worried that deaths had begun moving into the thousands, even if I was actually looking for something else. I am soooo not an expert, and my numbers may be way off or just obsolete already, but 15,000 deaths worldwide kinda knocked me back a little. 6000 just in Italy. I mean, my family used to vacation there, for Pete’s sake! (I’m European, btw).

What I was really looking for was estimates on jobs once COVID-19 starts slowing, though. I feared several thousand. The estimate I found was 3 million. In the US. In the hotel industry alone. That’s… a lot. Again, I have no idea how exact the numbers are, but even if it’s 1/10 of that… oh boy…

I’ve been messing with some project management tools for a few months now, hoping to start work on a movie within the next few months. What I thought when I had digested those numbers was that these methods may be something that could be tweaked to do something I would really like to do. Blender is perfectly capable of decentralizing the production of a movie to the point that each task becomes accessible to people who are not experts. The right tutorials can even help some people make a contribution with no prior skills in Blender (or so I believe, at least). So why not use that to create some on-the-side job opportuinities for people who are pressed economically but may have time in the evening or the like? If a movie can be funded at even a comparatively pitiful budget, it could put a bit of extra money in the hands of people who very soon might need that.

There would need to be some really unusual planning involved, and I don’t even remotely have all the answers here and now. But I think this might be something worth looking into, and I would like to see if I could help pushing it off the ground. And do note that I forfeit any financial gain; I am not in any real financial danger from this craziness, so it is not really aimed at me on the financial front.

Does it make sense? Do you have thoughts or ideas on the matter? Let me know, I am writing this while I remember the thought, so it needs a lot of polish before I can tell if it has merit…

I was thinking the other day that if this lock-down continues into the autumn, the new TV seasons would be affected. Further, it occurred to me that if all those live-action series switched over to animation (2D or 3D), it might just save the sanity of every TV watcher on the planet.

The technology exists for actors to provide motion capture, both body and facial, and just about everything else can be done virtually.

We could very well be heading into a new golden age of animation.

I fully agree. I just wish I knew some people who wanted to get ahead of that, in a very positive way :unamused:

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I hear ya. It’s not like we can call a meeting. :slight_smile:

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I was kinda hoping that was what I was doing now, with this post. Too bad nobody showed up. Guess I should have brought donuts…

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A generous idea, but consider the following questions to see if it’s actually feasible.
Do you have a plan how you would fund the movie? In a global recession.

Also, while Blender 2.8 is definitely more user friendly than before, it’s not something you can just pick up. Not by a long shot if you haven’t done any 3D work before.
How would you train these new users? Are they going to be outputting the quality needed for a movie in the time frame you are thinking about?

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Firstly, let me say that deciding up front that it’s hard/difficult/impossible/unfeasable is no way to encourage it to happen.

Guaranteed income. Most of us will be on it if this goes on for more than a few months. We won’t have to fund it because no one will need an income from the work itself in order to keep working on it.

As for the rest, how many are already staying home with nothing to do because the company/government/what-have-you has suspended operations?

Yes, there may be more hand-holding for the newer uses, but a lot of tasks can be explained and then followed by rote.

Obviously, those with more experience would guide those with less.

Now, before this turns into an argument about how rocky the road will be, how about we just allow ourselves to imagine the possibilities? If you’re not capable of this leap of faith, you have the option of leaving the discussion. :slight_smile:

Also, a lot of the most experienced Blender users—who would normally be working for pay—will be idle within a few months as businesses wind down operations. They’ll get antsy and join in when the only other recourse is to go mad and run naked in the streets, only to be shot down by the Health Police.

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The thing to do is model it after something else that was successful.

Nothing wrong with project ideas. Just that there is no real reason to re-invent the wheel. While we may be experiencing something unprecedented, it won’t change the fundamentals of how to go about organizing a project.

First step is to find some successful independently, started, funded and finished open projects.

Are there even any?

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You mean like the BF projects?

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No. I mean independent of…

I mean independent of the BI working system. You can’t model it after that, because it has too many inherently unique advantages to other open projects that you can’t replicate.

Before inventing new ideas, exhaust all of the existing failures and successes.

This is what successful people do. And it is the formula for success.

Again, to say it more clearly, there is nothing so different about this idea that does not remove it from things that have gone before.

So find something that worked, and find away to replicate it.

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There is an “almost-working” model for this:

Since you say about making something that can have economical gain, so I can say between 2: feature film, or tv show.
Now feature film is I think beyond this plan, then tv show it is. So you’d have to get script, storyboard, director, modelers, riggers, lighting artist and bunch of animators. Let’s say some are generalist that can take multiple roles. Then you’d still need months until the project can be sold to a tv company.

So this is for people that already have a day job AND the people that don’t have one? Then how do you give compensation to the one that doesn’t have income yet when the project will be completed in months?

Actually, I did not say that. If you are responding to me. I said, successful as in:

  1. Gets funded
  2. Pays Artists
  3. Gets Finished

Considering, if I understood the concept, was to get work for people out of work.

That is a nice looking project.

Ok, from what little research I have done, just a few minutes.

Here is the first step:

  1. Find a director/producer/artist with a track record, who is capable of doing a lot of heavy lifting and has tenacity.

Elephants Dream , the original Blender open movie directed by Bassam Kurdali, proved it possible to make high quality 3D animated films using free/libre tools in the studio. Wires for Empathy is a new experiment, this time in distributed collaboration—a love letter to free software and open culture that marks their convergence with independent filmmaking.

It would take a lot more research to figure out the next steps after that. But it is probably worth noting that this project is not yet done - from what I can tell - and is still seeking funding.

So it could be that the artists worked for free, waiting for funding.


  1. Did the artists get paid?
  2. How long did it take to organize and get off the ground even with a “name” attached?
  3. How many years has it been in production?

So I am just putting it out there, that, if someone really has this as a plan, do the research. Going back and forth here with arguments and dreaming the dream won’t solve it. Just saying. Really, if you want this to happen it will take a lot of dedicated research and work. Questionable even if that could happen before people are back to work anyway. But don’t color me as negative. I am trying to offer what would be the realistic steps.

A possible source of money might be Epic Grants.

But that will take months to prepare enough to qualify as something they will see as viable to help. And then months to get the money after that. So for that consider a year, or more.

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Oh, wow, I thought this thread was dead on arrival!
First up, this is not a carefully planned suggestion at this point. It is based in some plans I have for another project, but that is in a waaay early stage, so I just wondered if it could be put together in an alternate way, to benefit some people maybe.
I’ll just quickly answer some of the questions…

Honestly, right now the only ‘feasibility’ I am looking for is that people actually take a bit of interest in the concept. This is not a full operation, yet. Attention and the willingness to spread that attention to others is the first stone in the wall.

As Richard mentioned, the first ‘wave’ will likely be people with time on their hands and, perhaps, worries about their post-COVID lives. If that catches good wind, I would go for, as it is meant to help people in trouble (I take no cut, btw, regardless of my efforts put into it. It would seem tacky, tbh). There are issues with what ‘in trouble’ means and how we know, but that’s not the stage it’s at at the moment.

As someone who remembers the old layout, I can say it has improved a lot, and is not nearly as bad as its reputation these days. I’ve trained seventhgraders in using it, with fair success.

First question: Tutorials, coaching, and the eperienced helping the inexperienced. This would be a very soft, primary school approach until the person gets the hang of it. We’re not talking sharp studio competitor methodology.
Second question: Again, someone with more experience and likely a better eye would evaluate results and see what is missing. Again, primary school approach where needed, independence anywhere else.

Quick question: Aynone feel like actually trying it out? I have some ideas for how to make it ‘communal’ and could start by setting up a thread in here to try and recruit the first handful of people nutty enough to try something different. Would be nice if there were already a few takers…?