Hollywood quality CG Film: $80k budget.

Imagine a film that involves complex scenes; blowing up elaborate sets, Harrier jets flying inside the NYC subway system, fast car chases and spectacular crashes on the freeway and of course, a couple dramatic gun battles. This is the staple of your average, modern action film. Most would probably cost tens of millions of dollars to produce…


It waas featured on CGChannel.com. It’s one of the most polished independent CG/action/thriller i’ve seen, the only down side is that it lacks some debris and flying particles during explosions.

Has anything like this ever been attempted in BLender? it doesn’t seems to be that hard to accomplish, since all the character animation are filmed and only the backdrop is CG.

With Blender, I am sure the production cost can be further reduced :wink:

I bet a big production house could make an incredible film with just Blender and Gimp as thier main software added to their already awesome video and film recording equipment. They would save a bundle and make a killing at the “Box Office”.

I think a big production house should hire the Orange Team for a movie done entirely in Blender and open source software. Hire them so they can pay bills, eat, sleep and worry less.

Note: I have a feeling the all CG Orange movie is going to be awesome!

having worked in the video production business for a couple years with a company that took a serious look at blender I’ll tell you why we stuck with Lightwave 3D.

  1. The schools we hire from teach at least a basic intro to Lightwave for video production majors.

  2. The local community college offers Basic and Intermediate Lightwave classes, $275 a semester. In the world of professional software training that is cheap.

  3. Lightwave is getting cheaper with each version.

  4. We can purchase very high detailed pre made models of almost anything on earth for Lightwave.

  5. Lightwave comes with a nice 500pg+ manual with each new edition.

  6. For $600 we can go to Barnes and Noble and buy a half dozen books on Lightwave and several copies of each to have on the book shelf.

  7. Everyone we hire has extensive Adobe training (mainly Photoshop, but also AE and Illistrator).
    Blender talent and experienced GIMP users are not as easy to find and it takes a lot more time and money to train someone that is already trained in Adobe/FCP/Lightwave. $4000 per seat in software is actually pretty cheap compared to paying someone for 3 - 6 months to “learn” a new system. Especially at $18 - 21 an hour…

PhotoGimp was use to create the flying arrows in “The last Samurai” Would be nice if Gimp were involve in low budget films.

First if a company already has an established pipeline, switching to Blender won’t likely be of any benefit savings wise - indeed it likely would cost more.

In addition to the planned development for Orange, we need to be able to do good fire and smoke effects still.

Unimatrix - you posted almost the exactly the same post elsewhere.

  1. for training - that should be taken care of shortly - I’d bet within 2 years Blender will become one of the main tools that schools train on - and Every student involved in 3d and likely 2d will have knowledge and experience with it.

  2. we will start recruiting schools soon- while certainly a current advantage that other tools have - not for long

  3. lightwave is getting pushed out of the market - they can’t compete featurewise with the high end, and they aren’t competitive pricewise on the intermediate to low end.

  4. Blender can import most LWO, 3DS, and OBJ models now - it might have been a plus at the time of your evaluation - but now Blender probably is roughly equivalent as far as import goes

  5. Yep - we are definitely behind on documentation - of course that should change by summer as well

  6. Yep - should change in the near future as well - probably not by summer but easily within 2 years

  7. I’m not sure how this matters? Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects should work fine with Blender :slight_smile: You don’t have to go a completely opensource stack.

I agree that many open source advocates don’t realize that training costs are huge compared to software costs. Although in many countrys that is not the case.


I imagine if Blender gets something like native multipass rendering output to renderman renderers things will be viewed differently. I’m wondering what the Orange team is cooking up to pump up their render outputs for film compositing and what not. Only time will tell. Well back to my Blendering.

A little Birdie (not ton) told me that he hopes to have good Renderman support by summer, but we will see.

Multipass and compositing are in process now - openexr and ability to change color white point are in as of today.

Image as loaded in Blender (from openexr.com):
> http://www.blender.org/bf/exrcurve1.jpg
> Image with different white point:
> http://www.blender.org/bf/exrcurve2.jpg
> Image with white and black point and a curve:
> http://www.blender.org/bf/exrcurve3.jpg


Isn’t this rather like computerised colour timing? Brilliant!

hey, letterRip,

Is there a solution to how a Production House could save in the long run, seeing how they may have a whole pipeline of Maya/LW/Messiah or Houdini? Would the yearly(or whenever) updates to the software and licence renewal build up over time? …lol, mabe they could sell all there stuff on Ebay and grab Blender for free and hire students in 07-08 :slight_smile:

I love the documentation, and I notice it’s growing faster too. Besides, Unimatrix, there was a post reciently at Orange about new tutorials and documentation comming out soon. Mabe not now, but mabe in the not-so-distant future, blender would be a quick/affordable/can’t live without must have for up and comming studios?
I am not that experienced a modeler/compositor as Unimatrix, but I have used C4D demo, Houdini Master Demo(still use it), Max 6 demo, and Maya PLE, XSI Experience and of the lot, even with tutorials and documentation, I think the learning not only comes with the quanity of documentation, but also the quality and or style the techwritter uses. I am definately not knocking LW because I have never used it. But from what Ive seen from most of the tools in each ot the applications, most of that stuff, most people don’t or will never use. Blender, from what I’ve seen, can do what LW, C4D, XSI and increasinly what Houdini does(I don’t have to be a LW user to tell you that Houdini Kciks LW’s butt. Period. on everything from modeling to rendering).
-If LW is being pushed out the scene, wouldn’t Blender be a great alternative for some production houses to make up the cost?

Please excuse my extreme noviceness. I total assume LW is awesome and is a longtime industry standard.

Is there a solution to how a Production House could save in the long run, seeing how they may have a whole pipeline of Maya/LW/Messiah or Houdini?

If Blender integrates well into their pipeline (Ie we get awesome support for standard formats such as Collada, FBX, etc) - then they can slowly add Blender over time and use it to replace stuff where it makes sense. Ie UV unwrapping.

For new studios that start in two years time or so though, Blender should become a very seriously considered choice. For new studios starting in countries with lower per captia GDP in less than 2 years Blender should be even more seriously considered.


…in teh official BF tree? WoW. BTW, is that an HDR image, i don’t think you can “tweak” an LDRI that much without losing color fidelity.

openexr is a HDRI format - yes that is an HDRI image…


I think blender is still got a while to go to be put into any professional film pipeline. But its closing the gap…

So the cost wasn’t an issue, but the feature set couldn’t have been the issue either.

If you had a major in video production, wouldn’t photo/camera and compositing theory be the main part of the curriculum? Does LW knowledge have to be required, or can ANY application that 3D authoring and video production can be used be suffice?

With Blender, 35-40 bucks get’s you a manual, but most documentation is free. Most Blender users seem to be independant learners, and or well vered in major software. A public library card is free in America. 275 bucks for LW classes for what? to learn to model? to learn how “important” it is to have LW as part of a video production pipeline? If you can’t model in a application you use, another application would not make or break you as a modeler. I play guitar; I can play the same tune on a BreedLove or Taylor that I could on a Hondo or Squire Bullet, I can sit in with most any blues/jazz/rock/indie whatever band… The guitar did not make me a musician. Oh, I’m self taught and I have taught people who graduated GIT. my ivestment was only time.

You could pay to be tutored by an experienced Blender user personaly for the price of LW :slight_smile: I think…lol

What LetterRip said, Blender could import what LW can. I dunno, but I don’t think LW is as feature rich as Blender is right now, or even Blender’s 2.35a(maybe more mesh tools and render…I dunno, Im LW ignorant)

Blender’s features grow faster than LW’s, but the help and documentation are free. Then again, most everything in Blender is documented already, and the New features don’t trail too far behind these days

600 bucks? You can buy more Blender Official Guides and Game kits at Amazon.com or the Blender E-shop…And T-Shirts …lol

So, the prerequisit for production houses are AE/Photoshope and Illustrator? Where does LW come in? Where are the points keeping Blender out of the game? Gimp is strong and can use most Photoshop plugins. Is integrating Open Source alternatives really a bad move for the “Industry”?

I think I am reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are saying that it costs more money to train someone in LW. I figure if you are seeking a job in the industry, you have a skill set and I don’t think the skill set should have a closed source brand on the tools needed for the job. I have a friend who makes guitars better than PRS, and could very well replace them in studios(even the Band “The Presidents of the United States” bought some guitars off him and use them)

So, once a production house is hardwired with a gold-plated 3D authoring suite, they’d have to pull an Enron to be able to use any other software…even if it is free or Open Source?

I dunno, My lack of knowledge and experience is obvious from my post, but I think that Open Source has got to be good for the little guy AND the Big guy…I hope :slight_smile:

I think blender is still got a while to go to be put into any professional film pipeline. But its closing the gap…

It will be the primary tool for Plumiferos


and was used as the primary tool for special effects in a film.

So it is already in professional film pipelines. Just not major studio pipelines.


oh it was used for pre-vis for spider man 2


The Orange Movie is going to make CG history and maybe, just maybe be the “Kurt Cobain” of CG…lol. I’m from Portland Oregon and I remember when Nirvana used to have to play the local seedy dive called Saturicon, with terrible sound and addicts sleeping in the hallways. People boo’d em, called em weird, made fun of their homless look. 2 years later, they got popular and the local radio stations in Portland was trying to refuse to play em. They would intruduce “Teen Spirit” like : “I dun’t know, this is the wierdest song I’ve ever heard, I think these are weirdos, but here they are…” . Now, you look around and everyone looks like Kurt …lol. It’s even difficult to buy a pair of jeans and a shirt without a whole “Designed” into em…lol. Kurt was the “Poor nobody from Seattle opening for MotherLove Bone” and “SoundGarden”. Those two band became popular because of Kurt’s instant success.

So, it IS possible…rare, but possible :slight_smile:

I think it could be used in production houses for rapid prototyping also, like for experimenting with lighting scenarios, particle effects. 3D storyboards.

But also the ability to have in-house game developers quickly assemble Games and trailors from Movie scenes. :slight_smile:

Where do you find the “Curves” toolbox?

In time, I think that we will see a professional-grade video project that is done using open-source tools. Maybe someone here could actually do one. You may well have to do it without the benefit of an $80K advance, in order to prove to investors that such sums of money should be advanced… investors are funny that way sometimes.

But as others have said, there are lots of issues that a practical studio must consider … training costs, libraries of existing materials, perceived risks (as presented to the investors!) … all of which may tilt a particular decision away from Blender right now, and do so without actually casting a negative light upon Blender itself!

I seriously think that no one in the 3D graphics community could possibly be unaware of Blender. Nor could they be unaware of the extraordinary speed with which it is gaining truly state-of-the-art features. Blender truly has nothing to prove here. If a particular project selects “something else,” that’s not a slam to Blender, nor to the people entrusted with each decision.