One of the best kept secrets in the motion picture industry is that there is a completely open source software package that can produce results that rival the very best expensive software there is.  Blender’s history is threaded, but most consider its genesis as having been in 1998 when the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo and the software development house “Not a Number ” (NaN).  It was primarily authored by Ton Roosendaal, who had previously written a ray tracer called Traces for Amiga in 1989. The name “Blender” was inspired by a song by Yello, from the album Baby.

Roosendaal founded NaN in June 1998 to further develop and distribute the program. The program was initially distributed as shareware until NaN went bankrupt in 2002.

The creditors agreed to release the source code to the world  Today, Blender is free, open-source software and is, apart from the two half-time employees and the two full-time employees of the Blender Institute, developed by the community.  You can get versions of Blender for Windows, Macintosh OSX and Linux.  Not only does it do modeling, animation and lighting, you can also do your compositing and even video editing on it.  Its power combined with the complete absense of a price tag makes it the favorite of hobbyists and professional animators, special effects artists and game designers the world over.

“Tears of Steel” was realized with crowd-funding by users of the open source 3D creation tool Blender. The goal  was to improve and test a complete open and free pipeline for visual effects in film – and to make a compelling sci-fi film in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which isn’t exactly known for work like this.

The film itself, and all raw material used for making it, have been released under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.

(CC) Blender Foundation – http://www.tearsofsteel.org

Duration: 12 minutes. Available also in HD and DCP 2.35:1, Dolby 5.1.

Age: Suitable for 12 years and older.
Language: English spoken
Production: Blender Institute

Producer: Ton Roosendaal
Director & Writer: Ian Hubert
Director of Photography: Joris Kerbosch
Composer: Joram Letwory

Starring: Derek de Lint, Sergio Hasselbaink, Rogier Schippers, Vanja Rukavina, Denise Rebergen, Jody Bhe, Chris Haley

Crew: Andreas Goralczyk, David Revoy, Francesco Siddi, Jeremy Davidson, Kjartan Tysdal, Nicolo Zubbini, Rob Tuytel, Roman Volodin, Sebastian Koenig, Brecht van Lommel, Campbell Barton, Sergey Sharybin.

Project funding: Blender Foundation,
Netherlands Film Fund, Cinegrid Amsterdam

Premium Sponsor: Google
Main Sponsors: NVIDIA, Hewlett-Packard Workstations, Camalot AV Services, BlenderGuru.

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