Earlier this year, I wrote about project Apricot, an open source game that is currently under development using Blender and the Crystal Space game engine. This isn’t the only project that the Blender Institute has been funding recently. Big Buck Bunny, a completely open source animated film, was released at the end of May. It’s an impressive case study for what can now be done on the Blender platform.

This Open movie project had as main targets:

  • Developing tools in Blender for editing and rendering hair, fur or grass
  • Improve character animation tools for cartoonish motion and deformation
  • Test Blender with giant outdoor environments, with large grassy fields and many trees with leaves
  • Further validate Blender as a professional animation creation suite

And secondary:

  • Create a great and good looking animation short, licensed freely as open content
  • Provide content for other artists to learn from or to re-use, including documentation and tutorials

And of course: Have lots of fun!

I recognized a few of the film’s characters from some of the demos that have been released in the Apricot game development site. The beauty of open source is that a lot of these assets can be shared between projects. There’s also something to be said for a development culture that embraces documentation and information sharing. Take this “bunny rig” character animation control demonstration, for example:

The Blender community has already been really good with program documentation, tutorials and howtos. The development of open source games and films, with all the techniques and artwork that is a part of that process, takes things one step further. Now you also have a chance to learn from the techniques that were used in the making of a larger film project, straight from Blender animation gurus. It’s not every day you have an opportunity to download full artwork, scene, and animation assets for an entire film.

Big Buck Bunny
Blender – open source 3D content creation suite
Elephants Dream – the first open movie project, made using Blender

Previously: Open source game development