Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!


Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 5, 2010

If you haven’t yet seen the short film Sintel on YouTube,  here it is:

The coolest part?

It was made by independent funding from donations, and was created using Blender – the free open-source 3D modeling package. In fact, the goal of the project was “to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender.”

I think they’ve managed to prove their point – the an untrained eye like mine, I really can’t tell the difference between this and a major CGI-animated blockbuster out of Hollywood. Blender really is a very powerful tool.  I just wish they’d focus a little more on its low-poly real-time graphics modeling issues instead of this fancy high-end movie-making capabilities, but that’s just me.

Not that it would make much difference for me. My models in Blender don’t look anything near this awesome.

Filed Under: Art, Movies - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • BR41ND34D said,

    wow, just wow.

    just proves the fact that commercial absolutely does NOT mean better then open source.
    btw loved, the slight Dutch accent of Sintel’s voice acting 🙂

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Or if they are better (and I’d expect they should be, just to compete with free), it’s not enough to make a difference in the final product. I maybe use 1/100th of Blender’s power as it is (*IF* that) – so most improvements go right over my head. It’s way more power than I need.

  • Tesh said,

    If the baseline program was usable, I’d like it a lot more. The UI is abysmal. It may be powerful, but if that power is locked away under a morass of bad UI, it’s just not going to get used much.

  • Kimari said,

    This is my train of thought while watching the video:
    Wow, this looks really nice and the voiceovers aren’t bad. The lipsyncing could use some work, but besides that, no complaints. I bet this can be translated into videogame form … mmmhhh, maybe it could be some sort of action adventure game. Something like The Last Guardian? Then I realized I wasn’t paying any attention to the film and I paused it at the 6 minute mark.
    Then I proceeded to consider how I would design such a game.

    I may be clinically insane. Or just weird. I don’t know.

  • Bad Sector said,

    I find Blender’s UI brilliant. You need to learn it though – it requires an initial learning investment for even the most basic stuff. The reason is that it tries to redefine – with success – common conventions in order to optimize the work for those who will learn them. Once you know your way around Blender’s UI you’ll do and learn new stuff about it much faster than what you would do with other programs.

    An analogy would be the QWERTY layout in keyboards: it is widely popular, almost everyone knows it yet it is far from the best. DVORAK and Colemak are two very known and superior alternatives to QWERTY. But un-learning QWERTY and re-learning DVORAK or Colemak is much harder than if you knew nothing and learned DVORAK/Colemak from the beginning.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Heh – and point-of-fact – the QWERTY layout was designed specifically to SLOW DOWN typing speed. The problem was that since the early prototype typewriters were mechanically driven and the typebars would jam together if the user typed too fast.

    I hear the 2.5 layout for Blender has made some concessions to the familiarity of the competitors’ UI. I haven’t tried it yet, because the tools I am using for Blender w/ Torque are no longer being updated. So I’m stuck with an older version for the time being.

  • Tesh said,

    When I tried to use Blender a couple of years ago, it required at least three or four more clicks for every simple function that Maya, Max or even Wings could do quickly and easily. Maybe that’s reimagining the common practices of UI, but it was a waste of time.

    I have been meaning to pick it up again to see if it’s any better, and I do anticipate it having its own quirks that require learning, but on a sheer usability level, it just wasn’t good when I worked with it.

    It’s like Max vs. Maya, in some ways; Max requires one or two more clicks than Maya for simple functions, and that adds up. (That goes both ways, incidentally, just for different functions.) I call that bad UI design. It’s not so much about conventions, it’s about workflow. Sure, it’s always going to be better once you’ve learned a program, but the baseline of “how many clicks” to do functions is what I keep coming back to. Blender was worse than either Maya or Max for that measure.

    (We see that in game design, too, especially RPGs. Some just take way too many steps to accomplish things, and one more step per combat adds up when you’re doing a lot of combat.)

    I’d like to give it a proper vetting one of these days, but that old experience really soured me on the program.