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Elephants Dream

03 Jul 2006

Elephants Dream is a computer-generated, short film which was almost completely produced from open-source software. It is an amazing piece of work in multiple ways. The screenplay and content of the film relates directly with Computer Technology and in my opinion, open-source technology as well. These themes may be abstract and surreal, but the film is still very visually stunning and worth the watch.

You can download the movie here. You’ll get better speeds using the BitTorrent version. Also, avoid the HD version unless you know what you are doing.

The best part of this movie is that it is the first Open Movie, “made entirely with open-source graphics software such as Blender, and with all production files freely available to use however you please, under a Creative Commons license”. This project is a huge milestone for open-source software everywhere. It marks a huge turning point in an industry that is almost completely dominated by extremely high-end software products. It also shows the world that open-source technology can be and is just as powerful as closed-source and expensive software.

Here is a list of some of the great products used in this production:

  • Blender - “the open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. Available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.”
  • Twisted - “is an event-driven networking framework written in Python and licensed under the MIT license.”
  • OpenEXR - “is a high dynamic-range (HDR) image file format developed by Industrial Light & Magic for use in computer imaging applications. OpenEXR is used by ILM on all motion pictures currently in production. The first movies to employ OpenEXR were Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Men in Black II, Gangs of New York, and Signs. Since then, OpenEXR has become ILM’s main image file format.”
  • Verse - “Our goal is to create an open source Internet platform for multi-user, interactive, distributed, high-quality 3D graphics and audio for home, public and personal use.”
  • CinePaint - “is a collection of free open source software tools for deep paint manipulation and image processing. CinePaint is used for motion picture frame-by-frame retouching, dirt removal, wire rig removal, render repair, background plates, and 3d model textures.”
  • InkScape - “an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.”
  • DrQueue - “an Open Source render farm managing software. It distributes shell based tasks such as rendering images on a per frame basis. DrQueue works under Linux, FreeBSD, Irix, Mac OS X and Windows. It is distributed under GPL and is composed by three main tools: master, slave and drqman.”
  • Gimp - “GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.”

Elephants Dream

  Alan, the Carpenter