Is the Open Movie Dead?

I have created two topics on this subject and gotten 0 responses.

And a topic a few years ago died a quick death.

Am I showing my age?

Used to be a hot topic. I mean people with questionable abilities would often post the intent to make a “community movie” and this would be debated until the cows come home. Or closed due to it just getting nasty.

I always thought to myself, well I do see the value in such a thing. But no one ever came up with a reasonable pitch.

Meanwhile, as far as I know, since Sintel or maybe Tears of Steel, there has not been any community involvement in an open Movie.

And the Blender Studio movies seem only open in that they are free to view and share and you have access to some of the files.

And as a supporter get access to insights and training.

I do support by the way.

So what has happened here?

The cynic I me thinks it was not the open movie that was popular but piling on some individual with delusions of grandeur that was the thing. And they would just get bullied until they eventually gave up and left.

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Blender Bob is doing one at the moment:


My only memory of a community open movie apart from the Blender ones was “The Race”, a podracer-inspired racing short film initiated on 3D-Station, former french-speaking forum. There was a trailer made which was pretty impressive already. It was around 2003 I think ? but it never got finished. The community scattered, the forums closed, and I can’t find the trailer anywhere now.

Here’s another one ! pretty promising if you ask me. Apparently it premieres in april !


In a sense, I’ve been wondering about this myself. Maybe not in such dramatic words, but still.

That is to say, I’ve observed my own, well, attitude towards the whole thing over the years:
In the days of ‘Elephants Dream’ or ‘Sintel’, when those projects had those funky codenames (‘Project Orange’ etc.), it was eagerly sucking up all the blogposts, hunting for insights.

Nowadays (and basically ever since they professionalized a bit, the actual ‘Blender Studio’ as such was founded and they left behind the concept of selling and shipping physical DVDs) a Blender Open Movie has become more like sth. I take note of when it’s announced, hardly follow the production and eventually watch it when it’s done.

So what happened?
It’s maybe in part a matter of the novelty-factor wearing off, my own knowledge of how such a short is produced having grown and at least in some kind of ill-defined gutt sense way it has come to leave the (possibly false) impression the team has gotten less open about sharing publicly what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

This in the sense of: During the days of selling DVDs you’d gotten the production-files on those DVDs, blogposts were just publicly shared.
Since the inception (yes, I use the word in it’s actual meaning!) of the Blender Cloud, it feels a lot more hidden behind the gates of the secret garden.

With all that said, I’ll have to admit, even in the old days I was never enthusiastic enough to actually buy any of those DVDs. I was rather some jerk who liked to peek over the fence of the secret garden.

Last thing to add is imho the concept of ‘Open Movies’ as something the community could build upon (reuse the assets, remix it, make their own movie using the assets) has always been dead in the water.

I thought I’d remember a remark from Ton in the interview Andrew Price did with him a couple of years ago, sth. along the lines of what expectations Ton originally had about people building on top of the Open Movies, and how he later realized one needs a whole lot more than freely available assets to pull sth. like a short film off (things a lot harder to come by, like talented artists, time, money and stuff) and that’s why that expectation never became a reality.
Though after rewatching (-ish) the whole interview, I can’t seem to find that bit anymore. Maybe it was elsewhere and my memory plays tricks on me.

greetings, Kologe


I think the open movie is a beautiful concept that just doesn’t work unless you have either a professional studio or a lot of personal time to kill once the rubber hits the road. As mentioned, the difficulty in making a movie isn’t the tools or resources- it’s the cost, time, and people.

There’s also something to be said about a “camel”, a “horse made by a committee”- community driven projects often fail (here and elsewhere) because of differing opinions and directions. I’ve seen many, many, many community art projects of one kind or another fail miserably because there was no hierarchy of control, no one with veto power, no one in charge. There again, studios have an advantage- what the director says goes.

I’m personally working on an animated short film in Blender, but it’s not an “open movie”- it has no community input on creative direction, the voice actors are paid, not volunteers, etc. I’m not personally qualified to pull off the kind of community leaderships necessary to manage an open movie, nor do I want to


Well, feel free to check out our project. So far so good. And we’re doing a feature film! :slight_smile:

Tiki Movie Update N3


I am a bit confused since I thought I had been helping fund the open movies on a regular year basis via Blender Cloud and now Blender Studio since right back to the start of Gooseberry. The last one was Project Heist right ?

In terms of my own work. I have been working these last few years with an established international gallery artist on large scale animated film and projection works using a Blender pipeline. We completed a 35 min long 3D animated film recently we call Malaba Gallery which is an atmospheric immersive virtual gallery simulation. A fly through showing some ambitious installation and sculpture projection works within a large and sprawling fictional gallery complex. A sort of huge reclaimed industrial space. A bit surreal as well. We started making the simulations originally as pitches for gallerys and they were looking so nice we thought lets work this up a bit more and make it into it’s own thing. A movie.

More recently we are just putting to finishing touches to one of the main projection works featured in Malaba Gallery and getting it ready for the real world. This is a very complex animation and video compositing project which is itself also just over half an hour long. It will be projected onto a large sculpture work hanging from the ceiling It is the most complex compositing project I ever attempted. All composited in Blender with massive node trees. I wish I could show more here but right now there is not a lot publicly online but hopefully soon. The Blender work I posted here in my profile was my beginner baby steps with Blender.

I can’t imagine doing projects like this in anything but Blender now. It was only made possible by how everything in Blender is integrated together. For instance being able to composite in 3D. That has been amazing. I hope to write more and show more and go into more detail in the near future. Anyway not sure these count as open movies. But they are independent small scale productions. And all of the CGI side I did solo myself. I’ll check to see if I can post some images soon.


Cool thanks for the feedback and thoughts.

By the way looks like I started two threads now that could be merged.

Could you do that?

Thanks in advance!


Going to check it out.

It’s a bit sad, that the reality of open movies isn’t “hey, lets get together online + make a movie” because it takes time, effort, organizational skills and frankly people that are reliable. “Sad” because in my small experience on film sets I learned - as a noob - that there is nothing better than being thrown into cold water, at least that was the case for me.
I didn’t know anything but learning on set was not only extremely fun, tiring and stressful, but also one of the most valuable lessons ever. Of course there were people on set who knew what they were doing, so I guess an open movie would need to have the same. A balance of more experienced + beginners.

I’m excited to follow the progress on “Tiki”, I’m just curious with this one why the final script isn’t finished (?) before modelling all the assets. I always thought/experienced that script comes first, but maybe thats just a noobish question. :slight_smile:


I can’t answer the question directly in regards to tiki.

But in general not a noob question. And ideally yes. Script comes first.

That said, story is king. I can say that for sure in my case I have destroyed assets by writing them out of the story because a scene was dropped or changed.

This is why it is absolutely essential to work with first a storyboard and then make an animatic out of it. Record the voices at this stage. Add them in. Start working on timing right away.

Next step is to animate the 2D images in basic ways to show how the action will take place.

If the story survives this far the next step is proxi models and have a run through the whole thing. Just basic blocking.

Let it sink in. Does the story work? If not, chop away! Rewrite, add or delete scenes etc. record new dialogue.

Then take low hanging fruit. Start with the scenes that are not likely to change and also have assets easy to finish, or that has a greater payoff.

Say a large set like a city that will be used for many scenes.

I can dig up a sample of what I am talking about. But I think you understand.


Just bookmarked your answer, so extremely helpful for someone that wants to do something in this field but is a beginner. Thank you! Makes a lot of sense and I’ll refer to it when I make my babysteps with a short.


Well, this has definitely left me a tad bit more enlightened as to the current state of things.

That said I don’t see a feature project actually financed and finished which I was not expecting to see.

And in general there is a lack of good character films. Drama or comedy outside of what the Blender Studio has done.

That to me is the benchmark.

I know from direct experience that the process of creating assets is about 10 to 20x faster than animation of characters which is a specialty apart from anything else.

It is good to see someone giving it the college try.

So my conclusion is that the open movie is not completely dead.

But that it is still plagued by the same shortfalls of all others I have seen.

However the Blender crowd is far more sophisticated than it was all those years ago as Blender Bob has clearly demonstrated.

There are some roadblocks I see to having a successful Blender Open Feature Movie.

Certain key boxes would have to be checked.

  1. A core full time team of funded and paid professionals.
  2. This would have to include a full time large team of animators and/or mocap artists and cleanup animators
  3. a cycles render farm

These would be the main 3 roadblocks.

I find it hard to imagine a successful project without a budget to do this over 4 years. A very simple project could maybe be done in 2 years. Assuming the three boxes were checked.

With that in place then community contribution would take more than one full time paid and on site co-ordinator to wrangle everything in a cohesive way.

Now of course assets would be made available.

But I see there is an elephant in the room.

Where does Blender fit into all of this?

How does it benefit directly?

This is built into the Blender Studio model.

In my opinion it would have to be built into the budget. Not tacked on as a perk at the end. Though a successful crowd funding might be viable.

Edit: lost track there. So a part of the budget should include at least one full time programer to help write production tools for Blender. And be brought onboard as a community Blender contributor. No special forks. This should be good enough to be merged to trunk and released.

And finally the budget would have to come from an entity with a vested interest in seeing Blender promoted and bettered some way as a community tool.

So in essence duplicate as much as possible the Blender Studio model.

My thoughts so far.

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On users contributing to the projects, I do believe it may have been an easier proposition back then because the studio was not yet at the point where the next one began almost immediately after the previous (because of the need for fundraising along with the lack of infrastructure).

Perhaps it could be useful if the website for the Institute had a ‘donation box’ where users can upload .blend files with the content inside already organized into ready to use assets (using the new system). The team can then decide if an asset uploaded are relevant to the project in question (style, theme, quality, ect…), seen as potentially useful for a future project, or should be removed from the server.


Thanks for these thoughts and ideas.

Deleted. Thread merged. Thanks!

With regards to the ‘how’, I’ve been wondering weather crowdsourcing of assets for something like an Open Movie project might possibly also be organized as some form of public contest.

Taking part in all sorts of digital art contests seems to be something not so few artists are inclined to do. As such contest usually has it’s established set of rules and guidelines, established theme etc., maybe this could be taken a step further.
In the sense of e.g. the hosting entity providing concept art, participants taking that into 3D and the winner’s entry would be used in the movie being produced. Well, something along those lines.

With that said, I’m not really familiar enough with the whole digital art contest business to judge weather actually trying such a thing would be viable. If at all, most ceartainly only so if hosted by some entity with enough visibility and reach in the community.

greetings, Kologe

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Interesting idea.

I think visibility is an important element to this as well. I mean that cannot be overlooked.

I think why there might be so many open source games is because traditionally over many years games have been a very community based activity and modding has been going strong for a long time. So it has an entrenched community contribution model already. And then of course cut scenes and fan films.

I don’t think this would be essential to the success of a film though. However there is a cross-over. Films become games and games become films.

EDIT: So I think I would add visibility to an essential part of it.

The mods are able to merge threads together. If you report the thread and request a thread merge, it will alert the mods and then they can work their magic

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Not made by Blender Studio.

Has anyone actually successfully made/completed an open feature?

Been searching, can’t find anything.

What Open Blender shorts outside of the Blender Studio have been made?