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    CGSociety :: CGFilm
    19 May 2006, Paul Hellard

    The eleven-minute short film, ‘Elephants Dream’ is created using Blender3D, free 3D software, engineered by Ton Roosendaal in the nineties. There is the perception for a lot of people that this will therefore be some very simple software’, says Roosendaal. With ‘Elephants Dream’, Ton would like to show that it is possible to produce a film that can mix it with the large studio’s short film efforts.

    During the internet’s heady early days, Roosendaal had to give up on developing the software himself, as the creditors needed more money. Through intense lobbying, the money was there and he could continue but there was a time he thought the entire project would be completely shelved.  Seven months ago, Roosendaal decided he needed to produce a vehicle movie to prove the software’s worth. “I came to the idea of creating a movie as ‘showcase’ for open-source,” he is reported as saying. “Moreover, in that way we could improve the software in practice with the help of thousands of users from all over the world.” 

    This was quite the international project, as animators and artists became involved from countries like Finland, the USA, Australia and Germany, as well his native Netherlands. People like Bassam Kurdali, Andreas Goralczyk, Matt Ebb, Bastian Salmela and Lee Salvemini got involved, as well as several others.  Ton worked in a small animation studio where the software developer was in constant touch with the artists, building the tools that they needed and continually improving the software as the project went along.

    Rendering such a movie on film resolution is no small task: thankfully Bowie State University donated access to XSeed, their cluster of 240 Dual-core Xserves to render the movie. XSeed took over 125 days to render the movie, using up to 2.8GB of memory to render a single frame. With each high-resolution image consisting of up to nine different layers, terabytes of data were flying across the globe and pouring into the Amsterdam studio.

    Related links:
    Elephants dream
    Blender film announcement
    Creative Commons

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