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Blender Debuts Fourth Open Source Movie: Tears of Steel

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the heat-tear-ducts-to-1200C dept.

Movies 126

An anonymous reader writes "On September 26th the Blender Foundation released their fourth open source short movie called Tears of Steel. This time around, Blender, the fantastic open source 3d modeling/animation/shading/rendering package, was used to mix 3D digital content with live action (PDF). The short was produced using only open source software and the team did an outstanding job."

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Kudos to Blender! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501403)

And thanks to George Lucas for supporting the project. His vision made it possible.

Re:Kudos to Blender! (0)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#41503683)

THis is some kind of joke, right? Playing on the extreme lameness of everything that is not technology in this movie: acting, plot, story...

Re:Kudos to Blender! (2)

quadrox (1174915) | about 2 years ago | (#41504219)

I read these comments before watching the movie and thought it was just some troll spreading his hate. But after watching it... I am sorry to say that even Lucas could have done better than that. That was the absolutely lamest thing I have seen in a long time. Yuck.

It's not even good for a tech demo, because the overall crappiness distracts from the CGI.

Re:Kudos to Blender! (2, Interesting)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41504315)

I am sorry to say that even Lucas could have done better than that. That was the absolutely lamest thing I have seen in a long time.

Don't be such a flipping jerk. Sure, the acting is cheesy, the screen writing is cheesy, but it's still an awesome achievement and it has its entertaining moments. Hey, I've got an idea, why don't you come back here and make another whiny post after you've made a live action film with integrated CGI?

Re:Kudos to Blender! (2)

quadrox (1174915) | about 2 years ago | (#41504375)

I really wanted to like the movie but I just couldn't - is that now somehow my fault and am I being a jerk for it? It doesn't matter how hard they tried, how little resources they had, whatever else excuses you want to list. I watched the movie, and it was bad, that is all that matters. The previous movies done by the blender foundation were awesome but this one is pure shit - with the exception of the technology itself.

The CGI is fine, maybe even Hollywood level, the acting was surprisingly decent, but the screenplay/storyboard, the premise, the plot, all the stuff that really really matters in a movie, that was utterly pure horseshit. And no matter how cool blender is, you won't get me to say otherwise. And I'm not being a jerk, I'm just being honest. But some people apparently can't handle honesty.

Re:Kudos to Blender! (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#41505109)

Since when speaking the truth is being a jerk? Wait... it's almost always :-)

Seriously though. The purpose of the movie is usually to entertain, not to demonstrate mad skillz in CGI. It's a synthetic experience.

Watch The Man Escaped by Andre Bresson. This will glue you to the screen better than all Bruckenheimer movies condensed into 15 min.

Offtopic: first time I was proud of my Firefox "suggested replacement" (Bruckenheimer ->Oppenheimer). Well done, my fierce hot predator.

Re:Kudos to Blender! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505201)

Oh, piss the fuck off, asshole. The fact that you can't handle hearing someone's opinion is far worse than anything negative about the film.

I watched it too and you know what, it does suck. Big time. You only like it because it was an "open source" project. You are incapable of an objective view on it.

Ever seen, oh say, "Howard the Duck" or "Cool As Ice"? Do you think they were good because you, personally, can't make a movie as well as they were made? Seriously, you are a fucking moron.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501411)

post!

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504083)

Fail. Loser.

GROWN... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501433)

If it's anything like the Star Trek "fan film"... Wake me up when it's over.

Not entirely open source software (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501461)

Not entirely open source software! Main Sponsors: NVIDIA

I bet you they used the NVIDIA binary drivers!

Re:Not entirely open source software (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41501499)

NVIDIA might have supported them as a matter of advertising, since it is a GPU related project.

> Come buy our stuff, it was used to render that movie you liked!

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

donaldm (919619) | about 2 years ago | (#41504913)

NVIDIA might have supported them as a matter of advertising, since it is a GPU related project.

> Come buy our stuff, it was used to render that movie you liked!

What does NVIDIA drivers have to do with the project? Basically the film uses the Google/ON2 VP8 Video codec in a WebM [wikipedia.org] file format. For those that can't be bothered looking up the link:

WebM is an audio-video format designed to provide royalty-free, open video compression for use with HTML5 video. The project's development is sponsored by Google Inc.

A WebM file consists of VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams, in a container based on a profile of Matroska. The project releases WebM related software under a BSD license and all users are granted a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license. Despite this, some in the industry have called upon Google to provide indemnification against patent suits.

Actually I can look at the video without issues via VLC 2 on my laptop which has an ATI card and runs Fedora 17. In addition I don't have special drivers installed.

Is the video any good? Well I am not a film critic however considering this film was made using free tools and a limited budget I would definitely say that warrants praise.

Re:Not entirely open source software (4, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501553)

The renderer they used is a GPU based path tracer called Cycles (there is a CPU fallback as well but in comparison it's very, very, very slow). The renderer supports both OpenCL and NVIDIA's CUDA but is a lot faster more mature with CUDA... and yes, to take advantage to CUDA in Linux you do need to use the NVIDIA binaries so far as I know. I'm not familiar with the details but if NVIDIA has supplied hardware to the blender foundation it could explain CUDA being more mature.

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501691)

Your portfolio sucks and you suck. Just please shut up and leave the computing talk to the adults. Go back to your mom's basement.

Re:Not entirely open source software (3, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501715)

Yeah. My portfolio could use work but anything I said inaccurate?

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501785)

Only the part you left out about sucking dicks for Linus. That is a known fact that you skipped over.

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1, Flamebait)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501835)

I should have you know, sir, that I suck dicks entirely for free!

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502417)

No doubt. Your portfolio shows it.

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503293)

Put your money where your mouth is: show us your portfolio.

Re:Not entirely open source software (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503419)

Doesn't have to. Critique does not require the ability to do better, it just requires that someone, somewhere has. For example, there are a lot of shit musicians out there and just because I can't personally produce music as well as they can doesn't mean they aren't shitty musicians. I saw a Ford Pinto the other day and thought "what a shitty car", not "that's an awesome car because I can't personally make one better".

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504327)

Fail. Especially here:

Critique does not require the ability to do better, it just requires that someone, somewhere has.

It requires no such thing. Critique is often confused with "criticise," clearly what you've done here. Critique means that the critic provides a fairly rigorous analysis, positive, negative, or both. The attacks launched above are little more than juvenile trolling - hopefully that's obvious. Merely stating that the poster does not like the gallery obviously does not fall into any category that could be called critique. Taste, perhaps, but not critique.

There's nothing provided here beyond a vague negative criticism of the work, and then on-going juvenile insults in an apparent attempt to get in the last - spiteful - word.

Now that you grasp the meaning of critique, I agree that some of the work in the portfolio is fairly dull - a mixture of images ranging from amateurish, through ordinary, to cliche. This is normal, though - this is how an artist learns! For example, the final image in Psyborgue's gallery - the white room contrasting with the blue sky - is particularly cliche. As I said, an artist learns by copying cliches, learning how and why they work, and then applying that to further compositions in progressively differing ways. One phrase I've heard is that "you can break the rules once you know what they are."

The artist in question is clearly learning what the rules are, and simultaneously how to use the tools he has available.

For example, the water pouring into the cup in the sink demonstrates his increasing knowledge of various tools, particularly the Blender fluid simulation tools. The textures and materials applied to the sink itself are almost right, but I think not quite - it looks more like a pitted iron surface that has been thickly sprayed with silver paint, something I would hang onto in my library of techniques. Given the severity of some of the wear and tear he's applied to the surface, I would also suggest some larger flakes be removed, that sort of thing.

I really like the Art Deco statue on the second page. (It's a shame that there's no wallpaper offered for it.) When contrast with the bull/gargoyle image two frames before it, it's easy enough to see the improvement in the lighting and textures. The texture of the bull does look close to a rough and pitted concrete surface - I wonder how the surface material (but not the texture) of the sink would look if applied to it - but I think it could use a little more weathering.

I think I'll regularly check back and look through the portfolio, so I can watch his proficiency and skill build.

Psyborgue - I hope you take what I've said here in a positive way. I really like that statue. You've inspired me to get back to Sculptris.

Re:Not entirely open source software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505209)

Fail, especially here.

It requires no such thing. Critique is often confused with "criticise," clearly what you've done here. Critique means that the critic provides a fairly rigorous analysis, positive, negative, or both. The attacks launched above are little more than juvenile trolling - hopefully that's obvious. Merely stating that the poster does not like the gallery obviously does not fall into any category that could be called critique. Taste, perhaps, but not critique.

Critique
1. an article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.
2. a criticism or critical comment on some problem, subject, etc.
3. the art or practice of criticism.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/critique [reference.com]

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#41501699)

Exactly. I now use an AMD card due to...complications [slashdot.org] , and I'm "forced"* to wait for them to improve AMD and general OpenCL support. I imagine that'll happen on or well after 2.65, but oh how I can't wait for that.

*I scare-quote "forced", because with 2.63a and the current 2.64 RC2 [blender.org] , I can sometimes actually get a few Cycles features to work with OpenCL, if I play around with the feature #defines in [BlenderPath]/2.63/scripts/addons/cycles/kernel/kernel_types.h, if I am willing to wait a whole bunch of minutes to see if the altered kernel code compiles (or watch as the compiler just aimlessly grinds on and on forever), and if it finally loads and doesn't overwhelm and freeze the card (which has happened to me a bunch of times, after I move a bunch of stuff in the modeling viewport while in Rendered mode after I try the other steps); and because I can always just use the (vastly slower) CPU instead anyway, or donate to motivate. :P

Re:Not entirely open source software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501745)

Gentlemen, the problem with openCL is that AMD Developers have to FIX bugs in their DRIVERS to make cycles work in AMD cards.

The problem is not in Blender hands at this point. OpenCL works on Nvidia Hardware and work mostly on AMD hardware in Apple machines. But until AMD fix their drivers and compillers (OpenCL compiller) in Windows and Linux, OpenCL in AMD won't work.

Nvidia CUDA was supported from day zero, since CUDA was and IS more mature than OpenCL at this point. OpenCL was added after, and works on Nvidia, and on AMD (albeit some known driver bugs produces some problems) on Apple Hardware, so is not correct that Blender developers are to blame for Cycles (the new Blender render engine) not working on AMD.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501825)

So it's all about the AMD compiler choking on your kernel? And this is the reason why it works on Apple hardware with Apple's compiler? Understandable. I don't think anybody was automatically assuming the Blender developers were to blame. Nothing but respect for all of them.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Aardpig (622459) | about 2 years ago | (#41502213)

OpenCL only partly works on NVIDIA. Despite NVIDIA waving around a beta of OpenCL 1.1 a few years back, their released OpenCL is stuck at 1.0. For me, this is a real pain in the butt, as I'm not able to use multiple GPUs concurrently with 1.0.

FWIW, I think NVIDIA provided their 1.0 OpenCL release grudgingly, and since it is in direct competition with CUDA, they've put very little effort into further developing it. Having dropped big bucks on their hardware, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I won't be buying from them again.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41505243)

This is why things like Microsoft's DirectCompute is a good idea. The idea being that vendor support for a specific HAL is not an issue if you simply don't rely on vendors for your HAL. The vendors have to support something but DirectCompute isnt on the list. DirectCompute uses CUDA, OpenCL, and even SSE as needed.

Sure, DirectCompute is proprietary too, but that doesnt exclude an open alternative that supports both OpenCL and CUDA, and even simple GLSL and HLSL at the back end when OpenCL/CUDA support is broken by the vendor.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41505689)

The problem is if everybody writes stuff for DirectCompute it'll all wind up in the same situation as Direct3D where everything is written for windows and then never ever ported because it's too much work. Ideally i think it would be better if everything was written in OpenCL and hardware manufacturers actually did a decent job with drivers. DirectCompute still requires hardware manufacturers to make decent drivers so I don't really see the difference other than DC being MS only and OpenCL being cross platform and hardware independent.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501769)

Supposedly they're working on it [blender.org] . I've had similar issues when trying experiment with OpenCL mode. Sorry to hear you're problems with your 460. I have three and they all work fine. Great for Cycles. You might try Luxrender or smallluxgpu for your GPU (both work well with blender). Have you tried either?

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

kayoshiii (1099149) | about 2 years ago | (#41503133)

It's more the case that CUDA has supported the features necessary for hardware accelerated pathtracing for a lot longer than OpenCL. Also there are driver bugs on the AMD side that cause problems. This may not be the same going on into the future...

Re:Not entirely open source software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501637)

And it is ASSHATS like *you* that are the primary reason Linux is still a fart in the room as foar as most people are concerned.

YOU are the reason that there will never be "the year of Linux in the desktop".

YOU.

Re:Not entirely open source software (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41502725)

YOU are the reason that there will never be "the year of Linux in the desktop".

Speak for yourself, troll; for me it was last year and for my customers it was this year. The "the year of Linux in the desktop" has already arrived... but as usual with such things, the clueless majority aren't - and don't necessarily have to be - even aware of it.

Re:Not entirely open source software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502809)

lol! thanks for that. i haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

Entirely open source software (2)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#41501951)

"Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License". link [blender.org]

"The film itself -- as well as original footage and all the studio files -- will be released as free and open content; the Creative Commons Attribution license". link [blender.org]

Personally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501471)

I found their previous open movie, Sintel [sintel.org] , to be a better short in both story and effects, but nevertheless, they did a fine job.

Re:Personally, (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41501501)

I liked Sintel too. I wonder if more movies will be made like this in the future.

Re:Personally, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502711)

That still isn't saying much since all "open source", indie and fan films are shit. Every last one.

Re:Personally, (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41505703)

Personally, I think they did not do a fine job on this film. Nothing wrong with the effects, but even the best effects cannot save a bad story.

Sintel, on the other hand, had a great story.

It still has a long way ahead (5, Informative)

Eugenia Loli (250395) | about 2 years ago | (#41501513)

As a filmmaker and a graphics artist these days, I like Blender and its idea behind it, I really do. This is a copy of what I wrote on my blog about all that: The CGI on this movie still looks like VFX animation and not realistic. It looks fake. Camera tracking is good, modelling seems ok, but lighting and animation aren’t. There are no shadows to talk about, everything it’s too HDR-ish. If that’s what Blender can do in 2012, then color me unimpressed. That’s no Hollywood-worthy CGI. And let’s not forget that this movie was produced by the Blender guys themselves, with hand-picked Blender artists.

Unfortunately, that quality is not even good enough for TV anymore. Sure, there have been worse VFX on TV than what Blender can do, for example the re-imagined version of “V”, but thing is, there have been better ones too. Back in 2010, Stargate:Universe had some amazing VFX in some episodes, more realistic than anything I’ve seen on TV, before or after. An even more important point for TV is the time it takes to do things with the app (since their deadlines are extremely strict). Blender is not that easy to use, Maya can do better, faster.

That doesn't mean that Blender is useless. It’s not. You can’t beat its price and features in the advertising sector (which doesn't require extreme realism, it mostly needs some animation tricks), schools (for obvious reasons), or as a hobbyist artist. Blender can also prove to be a life-saver for indie filmmakers who primarily have the time to deal with Blender (rather than the money to buy other packages). So if *I* was doing an indie short movie, I would use Blender, because it's good-enough for what I would need to do, and I have indefinite time on my hands. So it’s got its uses in the world. It’s just that I don’t see it being able to compete for Hollywood movies and serious TV shows.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41501603)

Just admit it, you're freaked out by my robot hand!

I've watched more than a couple of movies recently that were done wth maya that didn't look this good (total recall and dredd 3d come to mind.)

Re:It still has a long way ahead (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501621)

Yeah, Cycles, the new Blender internal renderer use to render this is a new GPU based path tracer renderer and it's not perfect yet, but I think a lot of what you're complaining about can be blamed on the artists not being of hollywood quality and lack of time/resources, and not the actual renderer or animation program (although both areas could use a lot of improvement in Blender). Cycles is a path tracer like any other that should, in theory, be able to do most things that other modern renderers can do (and in some cases more, since it's a path tracer). That being said, to set up a photorealistic scene, to match lighting, to get the materials right, takes a lot of experience and time and that does not come cheap. The goal of the Blender Foundation and these projects is to make "tech demos" to run the software through real world trials and develop features that are useful in a real world production pipeline. The goal is not to make things perfect. Besides. If you don't like the look Cycles gives to renders with blender you can use any number of external renderers including fully unbiased ones like luxrender or commercial GPU based unbiased path tracers like Octane.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504727)

It's a good job that making hollywood movies isn't the only reason to use a 3d package then. Considering the software is free and (I'm assuming) the artists involved have not been paid hollywood cgi money for their involvement, this movie is very impressive. The story was not, however.

Maya is quite an under featured and buggy if you use it out of the box. Autodesk add a few new features each iteration, but rarely fix long standing bugs or improve polygon modelling tools or productivity features like better and more consistent real-time feedback. As far as I'm concerned, Maya's best features are the animation tools, the ability to animate just about any parameter and the ease of customisation. Where I work, for almost every step of production other than animation, external software or plug-ins are used to do the major work. Here are a few examples: Nex for modelling, zbrush for high poly modelling, uvunwrap for uv mapping, octane for rendering. I mostly do 2d so I can't recall the other plugins used, but I'm pretty sure almost every step has some plugin that is used over the default tool because the in Maya the default tool is often no good.

That's not to say you can't do great things with out of the box Maya, it's just way more hassle to get good results.

Blender feels fairly solid and polished, but I have to admit that I HATE the non-standard interface and controls... Why the fuck does the left mouse button by default do nothing (well, it moves the pivot thing, but that's basically the same thing when you are just getting started), why can't you deselet objects (aside from pressing a to toggle ALL on off), why do you have to press a key to activate anything, why is it so easily to accidentally move objects? The keyboard shortcuts are mental. Instead of mapping the most common translations to qwer (select, move, rotate, scale), where they are easy to find, they are on g (grab), r (rotate) and s (scale). What happens if your primary language is not English? What useful meaning do those bindings have? There are too many single key controls that do major things that you might accidentally press... I could go on. Then I watch some Blender tutorial and the person doing the tutorial seems to have no problems with the UI and I just feel like I'm a retard.

Somehow, however, I feel like I can trust Blender more than Maya - I just have this feeling that Maya is built on top of a massive horrible messy codebase that the programmers don't really control anymore - but Blender's UI keeps me from getting used to it since I have to keep using Maya at work - it's very hard to switch between the two because the interfaces are so different.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (5, Interesting)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501675)

Blender isn't perfect but Maya has it's own bag of very frustrating issues. Almost nobody uses Maya straight out of the box anyway. Most major studios do a serious amount of custom development to get Maya into a workable state and while Mental Ray is a very good renderer, Maya's internal is not at all. FWIW, there is a Blender exporter for MR as well, but i'm not sure how developed it is. If you don't like the look of Cycles, which is understandable since it's still in it's infancy and needs a lot of work (it doesn't even support true motion blur yet, although it can output motion vectors), there are any number of external renderers. The advantage to Cycles is that it's a path tracer that runs on the GPU and can give you realtime feedback in the viewport that is identical to a render (WYSIWYG). It's very very fast, but still needs a lot of work to bring up the level of accuracy and usability. Absolutely it's not ready for Hollywood out of the box, but if studios, collectively, all put the same amount of work into Blender as they did into developing scripts, plugins, and so on for commercial projects, it would be ready. It would be nice if studies could learn to cooperate like that. If they did, not only could they shatter the Autodesk monopoly, they could take the software out of the equation and focus more on things like artist talent and so on.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41501703)

It looks a damn sight better than most TV shows.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502525)

If it weren't for the open sores connection you wouldn't be modded up, you'd have comments telling you that you were blind.
 
Open sores bitches are always sucking each others assholes.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502803)

Just remember that when you use the older Windows TCP stuff.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

gknoy (899301) | about 2 years ago | (#41504479)

It probably has a lot of time spent on it that TV shows normally do not have. Having a friend who works on daily film, they do a ton of work; I'd hate to think what FX guys have to do as well.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 2 years ago | (#41501729)

My major criticism in the lighting. It seems greatly over-exposed in several places.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501967)

Rather than going for realism, they went for looking good. However, for many artists, that is the HDR look.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (4, Informative)

Bram Stolk (24781) | about 2 years ago | (#41502013)

My major criticism in the lighting. It seems greatly over-exposed in several places.

That's easy to fix.
Source material is all open source, you can render it again at different exposure settings if you have a render farm.

It's more than just a movie, it is an open sourced renderer PLUS open sourced model/animation data.

Well done, Blender Foundation.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41505727)

Unfortunately all re-rendering will not be able to fix the script.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502783)

That horrible stench is the FUD coming out of your mouth. If you're so naive to think that one small project represents all of the capabilities of Blender, then you have obviously never used the software nor do you know anything about 3d modeling, renderers or graphics design in general.

Go troll somewhere else, dipshit.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503391)

you must be kidding... this movie quality is perfectly on par with anything from hollywood, in my eyes...

Maybe it's not meant to be realistic? (3, Informative)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#41503535)

"The CGI on this movie still looks like VFX animation and not realistic. It looks fake. Camera tracking is good, modelling seems ok, but lighting and animation aren't."

Maybe a movie with such a ridiculous plot isn't meant to be realistic? Unrequited love brings the world to ruin but in the end love still saves the day. Really?

Take a look at the mango juice the black sniper sips. It should have been easy enough to turn the carton in something that resembles a real world brand instead it looks like a generic stage prop simply labeled MANGO, the project code name. Look also at the retro pixelated font used for the text output on the computer terminals. If this were a realistic movie set in a future where virtual reality has become a reality, you'd expect something at least as crystal as Apple's vaunted retina display. There's also that large button that turns red and displays "ERROR!!!" when something goes wrong, a sure sign that this is comic sci-fi.

So yes the stylistic look appears to be deliberate. You can see examples of such CGI unrealism mostly in fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings, but Tears of Steel isn't exactly straight-up hard sci-fi.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | about 2 years ago | (#41504051)

You sir, are full of it; first of all shadows/HDR issues (if there are any, this could just be stylised) have absolutely zero to do with Blender itself but with the renderer they were using. Second of all Blender being hard to use is a detestable myth and even between the people that think that way it's still universally accepted that once you learn the workflow Blender is one the most efficient and fast, if not the fastest, programs on the market to work with.

Colour me unimpressed by your erroneous arguments.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41504365)

You sir, are full of it; first of all shadows/HDR issues (if there are any, this could just be stylised) have absolutely zero to do with Blender itself but with the renderer they were using.

The guy is clueless. The shadows are there and they are decent.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 2 years ago | (#41504677)

You sir, are full of it; first of all shadows/HDR issues (if there are any, this could just be stylised) have absolutely zero to do with Blender itself but with the renderer they were using. Second of all Blender being hard to use is a detestable myth and even between the people that think that way it's still universally accepted that once you learn the workflow Blender is one the most efficient and fast, if not the fastest, programs on the market to work with.

Colour me unimpressed by your erroneous arguments.

It's a she and you can catch her often on OSNews.com.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41504337)

You know, I'm not impressed that you're unimpressed. I think it mainly shows that you don't have a clue what you're talking about, but you like the sound of yourself talking.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504715)

The quality of this short movie is in my humble opinion good enough for most movies and tv shows. But i'm no expert, i just watch a lot of movies and tv series.

It could be that you just know too much about this subject and that your standards are thus higher than the average person.(no offence intended)

Re:It still has a long way ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41504927)

> Camera tracking is good,

Good that was the whole point behind making the movie, improving blender's camera tracking. Everything else you said is irrelevant.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

forkazoo (138186) | about 2 years ago | (#41504955)

As a filmmaker and a graphics artist these days, I like Blender and its idea behind it, I really do. This is a copy of what I wrote on my blog about all that: The CGI on this movie still looks like VFX animation and not realistic. It looks fake. Camera tracking is good, modelling seems ok, but lighting and animation arenâ(TM)t. There are no shadows to talk about, everything itâ(TM)s too HDR-ish. If thatâ(TM)s what Blender can do in 2012, then color me unimpressed. Thatâ(TM)s no Hollywood-worthy CGI. And letâ(TM)s not forget that this movie was produced by the Blender guys themselves, with hand-picked Blender artists.

Weirdly, I think a few conversations I had with Ton a few years back during SIGGRAPH in LA may have contributed to the idea of this project. It's neat to see it in finished form. At the time, there was quite a lot being said about how the compositing nodes in Blender meant that you could use it as a full VFX package, and comp your CG right in Blender. I had been completely failing at doing exactly that, so when I happened to be sitting with Ton, I starting asking about how I could use shapes in Blender to do rotoscoping. I figured, who better to ask than the author. He whipped out his laptop.and proceeded to start showing me how. He fiddled and faddled for a few minutes. And ultimately realised that some of the work I was talking about doing was simply stuff that he had never tried to do. The compositing system basically worked great on paper from a technology standpoint, but it wasn't actually useful for doing many types of VFX shots in practice. The point of this project wasn't just to show off what Blender can do, but also to try and make it do things that it was frankly bad at. By putting some of the devs through a different kind of project from what they had been basing their use cases on, they were able to see where some of the conceptual flaws in the app were in practice.

To date, blender has been all about CG, and not at all about compositing. (Despite having a nodal compositor built into it for years.) Looking forward, the results of this project will start to shift that balance. Eventually, it will be a competent compositing app, and a really good comper will get ahold of it, and Blender will be used for all sorts of perfectly invisible visual effects. In the mean time, you are looking at the work of CG guys and Devs. That isn't quite going to be on the same level as finish work from Flame and Nuke compers who see comping as an art instead of a minor technical problem to be handled after the important CG is rendered.

Of course, aside from compositing, doing live action also means that acting is extremely important. I don't know that Blender Institute will ever be known for that.

Re:It still has a long way ahead (1)

forkazoo (138186) | about 2 years ago | (#41504997)

The other thing I forgot to mention is the fact that there is a massive volume of work. The sheer number of shots is huge for an untested pipeline. It's not unheard of for a highly trained crew of Hollywood professionals with a completely established set of tools to work for months of a highly polished 30 second commercial. Seriously. high end VFX involves massive amounts of work. If I had been the one picking the next project for the Blender Institute, I would have shot anybody who brought me a ten minute scripts for an experimental demo. I wouldn't have greenlit anything longer than four minutes for this sort of thing. Kudos to the team that worked on it for getting anything out the door, let alone anything looking half this good.

Great little story (3)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41501533)

Loved it! Man, those graphics are stunning. I never would have thought Blender would turn into this all those years ago.

Pretty good (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#41501583)

I enjoyed watching. I like the stuff coming out of Blender. I just wish I could find a 3d artist who wanted to do a virtual world with me. I wrote code for an action MMORPG engine over 7 years, but no artist ever wanted to sign on to do 3d models. Ah, I can always revisit it in the future.

Re:Pretty good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501643)

Yep, and a LOT fewer artists are willing to provide 'open source' models/meshes/etc than programmers are code. Funny how the 'functional' guys are more willing to share their work (with or without being credited), whereas overall the art community is fascist about 'protecting their artistic vision', while oftentimes taking advantage of the former group (or each other's) work, without proper credit, or respecting the license (plenty of examples of similiar situations in the latter group, but it seems like it's more a mentality with the art crowd, rather than a calculated decision with the technical crowd.)

Feel free to prove me wrong, but that's my experience after 10+ years. Oh, the other one being: people would rather produce art for a proprietary game in excruciating detail, than for an open source one. Often with similiarly restrictive term to the prop game, while lamenting how hard it is to find (insert item they can't create) in order to make some item look better.

europe's the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501597)

europe's going to fix hollywood by taking over ^___^ (no more sucky movie starting NOW!)

Re:europe's the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503355)

Right, because a couple of 10 minute shorts with bad stories, bad acting, bad visuals and bad music is really going to sway the populace.

Re:europe's the future (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41504023)

Wow. Somebody needs a nap and a diaper change.

Re:europe's the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505251)

Keep fighting the "good" fight, you rebellious youth you! You'll turn that childish worldview into something that everyone can respect!

Great movie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501685)

First of all, I should say that the Mango team really did a great job! Cheers.

So the rest of you know, the project was on a very small budget, and in general, the movies are used to develop Blender itself by adding new features that will be taken advantage of in the movie itself. For example, this movie was a test bed for the new Cycles render engine and the motion tracker (which was pretty darn good).

While some of the animation was a little robotic in spots, and the color could have used a little more tweaking, the software itself is actually very capable of achieving "Hollywood" looks, but there just isn't enough time or man power available to critique it to such a point.

For those of you interested, take a look at Cycles, it can do GPU (CUDA, OpenCL is alpha quality atm) or CPU, and can give some _very_ realistic results (google around for some samples, trust me). Also, the motion tracker does a phenomenal job, if you have the time to spend to get "perfect" results. Combine all that with stuff like physics engines for stuff like fluids, smoke or just simple rag doll physics and you can get some really neat animations. But I should warn that the amount of processing power you need to do even short animations can be quite high.

Anyways, as someone in the community over the years, all I can say is check it out and and be sure to visit http://blendernation.com to keep up on the news and see thousands of images and movies that other professionals are making with blender.

PS - Don't forget that the Mango team was split between developing, bug fixing AND making the movie at the same time (at least for some of the artists), so keep that in mind :)

Cheers

9 minutes of my life I'll never get back... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41501723)

And then 3 minutes of credits I skipped over.

Sheesh, Journeyquest does a much better job with 6 minutes worth of footage than the Blender crew could do with 30. :(

Re:9 minutes of my life I'll never get back... (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about 2 years ago | (#41502143)

Ah...the feeling is mutual when it comes to post titles that stopped being funny a decade ago.

okay when do the current DOCS debut?? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41501739)

I don't know if there is some sort of TOP SECRET BURN BEFORE READING link to a pdf (or other download) for the current version but there are several things about Blender i would like to know how to do.
Oh and if you respond with JFGI or anything that is not a current (2.63 )DOWNLOAD of a TEXT then i will assume you are also sending me a large sum of money via email

1 in UV painting how do you setup a model with an existing texture for UV paint??
2 for that matter how do you link a texture to a material (to use for UV paint)

3 is there a way to simplify a mesh without ripping the mesh apart?? (ie remove 30% of the verts and have the surfaces reclosed)

of course if you are a blender wizard i have a few fairly simple things i need for the MakeHuman project (not looking for an exclusive and yes i will credit you for the work).

Re:okay when do the current DOCS debut?? (2)

alexbgreat (1422591) | about 2 years ago | (#41501863)

On topic 3 I recommend the "remesh" or "decimate" modifiers.

Re:okay when do the current DOCS debut?? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41501949)

can you flip me an email with the subject |BAD WOLF model | so i can ask you about a model i am trying to create?? (its based on the base.obj from MakeHuman)

so select the model then pull up the properties tab and those are in the list of modifers??

Re:okay when do the current DOCS debut?? (2)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41501957)

The current docs are mostly available here [blender.org] . As to your first two questions, they are pretty well covered in the manual. As to the third question, there is really no good way to do it while preserving decent topology and UVs. If you have a messy mesh, you probably want to retopologize it [blender.org] and lay out new UVs. You might want to use 2.4 for this [blender.org] and, when you're done, import it into 2.6. I say this becuase I know the tools in 2.4 are good and haven't yet used the 2.6 tools for this (they went through a massive redesign and the documentation was apparently never written). If you're lucky you can bake/project your old mesh's texture onto the new mesh but i'm not sure if Blender can do that (there are, however, programs that can, although I can't think of any open source at the moment).

Now I've seen it .. (4, Funny)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#41501859)

Now I've seen it, what's it about?

Re:Now I've seen it .. (4, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41502103)

it appeared to be some negotiation between man and robots, and there is a love despute between 1 man and 1 robot. It seems that the human military was aware of this and were using it as some attempt to bridge relations between the humans and robot species.

But who the fuck knows. I loved it.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (5, Funny)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 2 years ago | (#41502429)

Piecing together comments from other sites, I guess the boy and the girl were teenage lovers. The girl got annoyed that he didn't like her arm and started a robot army to exterminate humanity.

The humans capture her brain and interface with it through a captured robot. They put the robot and the boy (now an old man) inside a holodeck and talk to each other.

Robogirl is charmed and doesn't kill the boy. Meanwhile, inconsequential humans shoot air blasters at inconsequential robots.

As the film closes, we're left to wonder if love can truly make open-source films better than Bioware cutscenes.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41502489)

That's how I interpreted it.

Graphics were Hollywood-quality though so that's pretty good.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503379)

They were? Which special enhanced premium edition of the film did you watch? The version I saw looked like ass. Worse than in-game realtime game graphics.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (4, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41503961)

Ya know, YouTube has this setting where you can watch movies in HTML5 instead of Flash and then put the setting higher than 360p, maybe closer to 720p.

As far as an independent demo, this is pretty awesome. This isn't a multi-million dollar Hollywood cutscene or even a video game cutscene - this is a freaking demo made by some art students and a set of programmers that is supposed to show off how these scenes render natively without any post-production modification or filtering.

If you ask me, the effects were on par with the effects in the Transformers blockbusters in terms of quality. The render could use some polishing up in some places but for a tech demo this is pretty good.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505261)

Ya know, the film has an official web site where you can download a full 1080p copy instead of watching a reencoded YouTube version.

Still looks like shit and I fail to see how display resolution has anything to do with making the story, actors or music better.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505393)

Piecing together comments from other sites, I guess the boy and the girl were teenage lovers. The girl got annoyed that he didn't like her arm and started a robot army to exterminate humanity.

The humans capture her brain and interface with it through a captured robot. They put the robot and the boy (now an old man) inside a holodeck and talk to each other.

Robogirl is charmed and doesn't kill the boy. Meanwhile, inconsequential humans shoot air blasters at inconsequential robots.

You are missing the point.

This is a deep allegory for the violence in the Middle East and the Arab Spring. The man represents the Irani Ayathollah, and the earth itself is representing the Middle East. It was once beautiful until part of it was replaced by an artificial country, Israel (the robot arm). The robot arm continued to grow and the robotic army is clearly representing Israels violence in the world. The efforts by the researchers are representing the Arabic Spring and the peace efforts by the muslim community. Then the movie proceeds to show that the Islamic world has the key to world peace - it just needs to forgive Israel and approach Israel with love.

See, isn't it clear now. You clearly have no clue about art.

Re:Now I've seen it .. (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41502653)

It is the dream of an elephant who went to see The Transformers the other night.

sucked (0, Troll)

Gr4vyBoy (2731617) | about 2 years ago | (#41502141)

Humans vs machines, how original. Acting sucked by the way, so did the plot.

Re:sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502291)

Wow. Missing the point by the mile. Kudos.

Until Pixar or any similarily quality animation studio releases all of their code and assets under the same licence as Blender, Blender foundation can be excused for not having the acting/writing talent that is par with said studio.

The movie is hit and miss (2)

Toxicgonzo (904975) | about 2 years ago | (#41502177)

This movie is hit and miss. The bottom line for the Blender Foundation is to get people talking about Blender. Nobody really expected their underdog 3d program to be able to produce amazing visual effects. The more of these movies they produce, the more people will be talking about Blender.

However, what they could stand to produce are movies that tell a more compelling story. Is it visually compelling? Sure, but Tears of Steel leaves the audience with all sort of questions about what is happening, who the characters are, what is at stake....and we haven't a clue.

Re:The movie is hit and miss (2)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41503965)

I don't think you understand the short movie art style. Go back to seeing Battleship or Spiderman you oaf.

Re:The movie is hit and miss (2)

Joviex (976416) | about 2 years ago | (#41504081)

This movie is hit and miss. The bottom line for the Blender Foundation is to get people talking about Blender. Nobody really expected their underdog 3d program to be able to produce amazing visual effects. The more of these movies they produce, the more people will be talking about Blender. However, what they could stand to produce are movies that tell a more compelling story. Is it visually compelling? Sure, but Tears of Steel leaves the audience with all sort of questions about what is happening, who the characters are, what is at stake....and we haven't a clue.

Not sure I follow. The story is pretty straightforward. Tom fucked up 40 years earlier and told a machine he was not interested. Flash forward he is trying to amend that past mistake.

I also disagree about story structure. Not everything has to be a formulaic question, research, resolution. Some of the greatest fiction of all time does not answer every burning question. The audience is left to fill in gaps where appropriate. Mystery is still a good thing in storytelling.

Now I will grant that this needed a little more foreground story, but all the thematic elements were there to get a good idea of what and why things were happening.

Re:The movie is hit and miss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41505449)

I just wanna be awesome I'm space.

WTF? With dialogue like that it could have been rendered using a mouse in MS Paint. They tried so hard to make a great looking short film, but it all starts at the script. A film is a package deal.

Maybe I'm old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41502251)

but this looks cringe-inducingly awful. Like '90s Outer Limits bad.

Memory overwrite at 90%!

Captain! We have to abort!

Jesus, a 13 year old would find this embarrassing.

And Normand Brathwaite wants credit for "larmes de metal".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7rR0JQW3W4

Re:Maybe I'm old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503435)

Jesus, a 13 year old would find this embarrassing.

Well, at least that explains you.

Re:Maybe I'm old (1)

bigmo (181402) | about 2 years ago | (#41505645)

I was very excited to see this come out & watched it within hours of release. Unfortunately, the very first scene has some of the worst acting/directing I've ever seen. Sure they're teenage actors and this is really a technology demo, not a film for the masses, but it wouldn't have taken much to get this small part right. As soon as I saw that 15 second section I nearly shut if off. I'm glad I didn't because the tech stuff was very interesting, but only to geeks.

While you can argue for hours over what the film does and doesn't get right, it simply is not on the same level as Big Buck Bunny. Everyone I show that to loves it, kids and adults alike, and it gives me the opportunity to talk about open source principles to people who would never know this sort of thing exists.

I would never be able to show this film to people and get that effect because it is in fact just like many Hollywood movies: good effects, but awful writing, directing and acting. It looks like something made by geeks with too much spare time while Big Buck Bunny looks like an old time Disney or Looney Tunes short film: funny and thoughtful with perfect timing.

I'm very sorry to say that this film is a showcase of people's stereotype of geeks.

Steel... (1)

malv (882285) | about 2 years ago | (#41503201)

Is too heavy.

Nice (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41503325)

Well.

For the first time ever, the computer-generated part is more believable than the human-acted part.

So therefore this kind of thing will make it into the next big movie...with real actors.

Goodness and congrats (1)

manaway (53637) | about 2 years ago | (#41503451)

Not being one for cussing and memes, I just watched the shit out of a fucking well made movie! I tried to be criticial of the CGI, but as a casual movie watcher I found the effects more than good enough to easily get caught up in the story. If the goal was to make software capable of tightly integrated special effects, I say well done. And people are already working to make it better? Get outta here you vector render wizards, I already have enough trouble telling fake photos from their pixels.

Blender Foundation vs. Bender Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41503641)

By coincidence, a printout of SlashDot that fell through a wormhole from 1,000 years in the future included a story with the summary "On September 26th the Bender Foundation released their fourth open source short movie called Tears of Steel."

Rumors have it that it's about an anonymous robot who runs out of Olde FORTRAN Malt Liquor, and so is unable to drown his sorrow at the realization that his lazy *** is failing at its prime directive: to kill all humans.

Chalkboard (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41504529)

I liked the part where they made the boy rerun various lines to see if the outcome of the discussion would be different. And they had previous attempts listed on a chalkboard. Who hasn't sometimes played around with the idea of trying various permutations and seeing how the future shapes.

By the way the bots kind of reminded me of Alyx's "dog" in Half-Life 2.

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