Elephants Dream

I’m posting Elephants Dream mainly because of the production story behind it. Created primarily using open source software (with Blender doing the heavy lifting), this CG short was a global collaborative effort by the creative collective Orangeâ€â€?a testament to what a group of like-minded people can accomplish with a little willpower and a ton of hard work.

elephant.jpg

In the spirit of open source, the film is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, only inches away from being in the public domain. That means you’re free to download the film and do whatever you want with it, as long as you give credit to its creators. To make re-mixing/re-visioning the film even easier, all the production files are also available for download. (Unfortunately, the site is getting hammered, so the files are a little tricky to actually get at the moment.)

As far as the film itself is concerned, it’s an amazing technical achievement. The environments and mechanical creatures are wonderfully realized, and the general production quality is outstanding. I’m not really into the narrative aspects of the film. The character designs are awkward and the character animation is a bit stiff. But Elephants Dream is still worth a watch just for the eye candy, and I applaud Orange for this incredible achievement.

Supporting this film was a brilliant move by Blender. Not only did it help improve various aspects of the software package, it has created a huge swell of interest in open source software. Even though I’ve known of Blender for a while, I’m downloading it for the first time right now to give it a spin. (Pun intended.)

Links:
Orange’s site (with download links aplenty for Elephants Dream)
Blender.org
Wikipedia entry for Elephants Dream

About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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7 Comments

Bart

I did a writup of some of the background of this project on BlenderNation.com: http://www.blendernation.com/2006/05/18/the-worlds-first-open-movie-released/

Cheers,

Bart

SkiMMas

I would say this is an historical relevant achievement by the open source community. Horray for them. About the narrative I wonder if it was created with the porpuse of making the viewer want to watch it more than one time, and by doing so making it a more relevant experience.

robg

very cool image quality! definitely an amazing accomplishment. However… the story imo was completely random. I would agree with SkiMMas in that it seemed like they created the story around animation sequences that they wanted to attempt without any regard for narrative flow. it made almost no sense whatsoever. that being said, it was very nice to look at.

Steve

Very nice 3D work, and the fact that they used blender makes it 5x more impressive. The story was very weak and the voice acting was awful and annoying though.

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