Building a Open Source based 3D production pipeline

I need your help:

I’m starting a project to build a complete 3D production environment based on only Open Source applications. The aim of the project is to combine Open Source tools into a complete environment that can be used to do high-quality professional production work. We will focus on selection of specific tools and on integration of everything with specific tools and scripts. The complete system should be cross-platform as well. The results of this project will be used to write a series of articles on the topic.

My idea for this came from reading several posts on CGtalk about Blender not being mature enough to sit in a professional production pipeline. It would be fun to prove them wrong but I think we can also learn a lot from this project (let’s not use this thread for some holy war).

I have setup a new forum for this on my website ( ) for specific discussions related to this project. If you want to participate in this project head over to my site and get an account. There is an introductory post in the project forum, feel free to add your views there.

Wow, no comments… so nobody is interested in this ? %|

… or maybe I should have posted this in the blender forum.

For 3d production environment you mean mainly animations, I suppose. In this case, and IMO, untill Blender will have a way to have faster rendering motion blur (that is crucial for animations) I don’t think it could be easily used in professional pipelines.
But the project is interesting, BTW. :slight_smile:


My problem is I mainly know -a lot- of freeware(not open source) Windows only tools…

So it’d be as much use as Mac only or linux only tools…

I don’t mean mainly animations as I didn’t do any animation myself, only stills so far. But if we are going to build a complete production pipeline it would be both for stills and animation, although animation does have some more serious requirements in the rendering department I think. Setting up a small renderfarm on a local network is not THAT important for stills I think.

Actually, that is where I’m coming from also… so it makes it more interesting to go searching for cross-platform tools tmo :wink:

Besides that, it is also possible to find certain tools for certain platforms that can sit in the same spot in a production pipeline to cater for each platform. The project is aimed especially at these kind of questions.


By a pipeline I understand “A set of tools/apps that can be used in conjunction with each other to get a job done efficiently”.

Probably not very useful but here is what I would use:

-GIMP: Texture creation/Post Processing
-Wings3D: For people who prefer it to Blender.
-Blender: All the 3D stuff (soon RenderMan compliance: check out the -Blender Aqsis combo here: combo)
-Aqsis: Open Source RenderMan compliance (there is your m-blur).
-Pixie as an alternative to Aqsis.
-ShaderMan: free (but not open-source yet) shader editor for use with Aqsis. Crafter is dead as far as I know.
-VirtualDub/Film Gimp: Dealing with frames more PP.

EDIT: I also forgot Audacity for audio editing.

-Python is a must to oil things together:

-BlenderPython (MakeHuman and other scripts + the power for custom scripting), Gimp-Python and CGkit to bring things together.

-Spe as an IDE in Blender.

Anything else?

  • The wings importer for Blender.
    -Inkscape for vector graphics (Linux only I think) maybe.
    -Yafray (of course) for the still image.
    -Toxic when it comes of age (if ever).

Not much for motion tracking as far as I can tell.

Any more than this and you will start to clutter up the workflow.

Oh there is so much more but is it good enough for a so-called pipeline? With all these things installed I feel I would be able to use all the power of these programs together.

The soon-to-be Aqsis-Blender integration is the most important thing for “professional” work in my opinion.

I would love to see all these great projects being brought together in some way.


P.S> For the true GNU, open-source, proprietry-software-free experience, you would have to bundle Linux as well. :smiley:

Koba, thanks for the elaborate reply.

Most applications you named are identified and will enter the specific discussions to decide what will sit in an integrated workflow best.

Some things you didn´t mention are tools to get stock models into blender (file conversion) and specific tools for texturing are usefull.

The main taks for the project is to identify which tools and applications work best together and to find (or if needed to develop) a tight integration for the tools.


I must admit I am rather interested in your idea. I have always believed that free software should work together (especially in a field as advanced and computationally expensive as CG). I am also a great believer in GNU. How can I get involved?

Maybe a start would be to look at your forums.


What about project management and file management? You might want to talk about setting up NFS (or even just Samba), using CVS or Subversion or something, etc. There are lots of projects out there for project management aimed at developing software (coding) but the good ones are probably perfectly usable for doing 3D. Only things I can think of at the moment are Tinderbox (built and used by the Mozilla team) and GForge (used I have never used any real project management software though. If you ask around you can find other stuff that includes scheduling etc.

Great suggestions from all. If you want to get involved simply head over to my website and the dedicated forum for this project. As there are going to be numerous discussions on all ins and outs and usability of different packages I don’t want to flood Elysiun with this project. So feel free to comment here but if you seriously want to contribute then please post your ideas on the project forum.

As for CVS, We use it for the software projects in my company but it is not a simple tool to work with and not really suited for stand-alone use. Besides that it is a bitch to set up on a windows machine. I’m more interested to maybe develop a 3D project management system ourselves.

There exists a project called Voodoo Camera Tracker which looks promising.

Currently they only export to Softimage, Maya and 3Dmax.

But if someone with a better understanding of Blender’s internals would contact them they might integrate a Blender exporter as well.


There exists a project called Voodoo Camera Tracker which looks promising.

Currently they only export to Softimage, Maya and 3Dmax.

But if someone with a better understanding of Blender’s internals would contact them they might integrate a Blender exporter as well.[/quote]
Great find, I bookmarked it right away :wink:

There are already a few users that registered at the project-forum on my site and the first discussion is on it’s way there. For those that don’t participate, don’t worry, we’ll keep you all updated here on Elysiun when we reach some milestone.


I’ve known about Voodoo for some time and there is a partial python scipt out there. Thing is there seems to have been very little development and it aint open source. It doesn’t support anything but the camera-on-tripod model. On the plus side it does support Linux.

There is also this: IBMR. Looks interesting but not open source and windows only,

Icarus has gone. Not all (but most) of the programs in the list are open source. There is no open source camera tracker or photogrammetrysoftware that I know of.


:frowning: I didn’t notice that. But at least it’s free.

I think that you would be most interested in this:

Thanks for the tip. In my own (software) company we use ANT which is like MAKE on steroids :slight_smile:

But as was mentioned in that thread I’m also in favor of developing a database application for project management.

While I’m at it, we still need more people to discuss stuff at the dedicated forum (link is in my sig below).

Very promissing, and Open Source, so I though it should go with the shopping list.

The Desktop
The Desktop is the main, unifying module and also acts as a asset management system

These are the Main Processing modules, and are used for all content creation:

The Effects Module
The Effects module does all image processing, as well as real time color correction

The Animation Module
The Animation module is a high powered 3d compositor and animator

The Editing Module
The Editing module is a full fledged editing application

The Paint Module
The Paint module is a 2d/3d paint environment with support for full 3d brushes

The Text Module
The Text module is a full blown Character Generator

These are the Auxillary modules that can be accesed from within other modules:

The Player Module
The Player lets you view or scrub clips, and its caching technology will let you playback uncompressed video in real time!

The Compositor Module
The Compositor allows for quick 2-layer comps

The Network Module
The Network module allows for public and private file sharing

Be sure to check out this thread I created about making a Certification Program for Blender this would also increase the credibility of Blender has a full fledged software for the professional market.

Thus making you have an extra point on your “experiment” :wink:


Jahshaka is already on our list of possible tools (check out the links section on my website).

As for your idea on certification, I casted my vote in favour. I think stuff like that is really important to get a product (Blender) into the market and gain acceptance.