10+ Amazing Short Films You’d Not Believe Were Made With Free Software

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short films onlineJust last month, the Blender Foundation released its third open movie, Sintel, which you can watch below and on YouTube. Just like its previous short films online, the Blender Foundation used only open-source or free software to produce movies of at least 10 minutes for everyone to rejoice and learn about the potential of the 3D animation software and video editor Blender.

Blender is cross-platform so you can learn the basics right now with the QuickStart and plenty of other tutorials on the official site and all over the net. Blender’s not the only 3D content creation software available for free though.

Just to name a few, there’s:

  • Google SketchUp that’s great to create buildings and objects,
  • Wings 3D, a cross-platform, open-source  3D modeler,
  • MakeHuman, another cross-platform, open-source tool to model human characters,
  • Sculptris, free Windows-only 3D modeling and sculpting software,
  • MeshLab, cross-platform and open-source tool to process 3D scans,
  • trueSpace, a free Windows-only 3D content creation tool.

There are a few more alternatives which you can see here but Blender seems to be very popular so most of the following open-source-generated masterpieces are made with this powerful suite.

Short Films

The Blender Foundation’s Sintel is a 12-minute short film released online on September 30th, 2010 that was independently produced (initially funded through donations) with only open-source software over 10 months in Amsterdam. The software used includes:

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Big Buck Bunny is an award-winning animated short film released online by the Blender Foundation in 2008.

According to the official site, Elephants Dream is the world’s first open movie released by the Blender Foundation in 2006 after 8 months of work. You can’t seem to order the DVD anymore, but you can watch and download it online.

Besides these, there’s also Plumíferos or Free Birds, an 80-minute Argentinean feature film that premiered in February 2010 and is entirely made with open-source software (Blender and Linux OS). Here’s the trailer with subtitles.

Shorts

The Cup from Pepe School Land via Blender Nation and Tech Drive-In: This consists of superbly made and hilarious short made in Blender by students of a Barcelona-based animation school.

Taste Lab by ICEBOX Studios via Tech Drive-In: This is a short comedy (about a girl tester in a food lab) that was produced in 5 months with Blender.

(NSFW) South Park Animation by dirtyblender: Here’s an unofficial animation that was produced in a month also solely in Blender.

Rainboy by 3dddie: This is a short film made in full in 5 days with Blender, GIMP and Inkscape.

In the short, the boy holds a sign saying “Ojek Payung” which translates to “Rain taxi” or “Rent an umbrella”. The phrase seems to refer to kids in rainy season that lend their umbrellas to office people who need to quickly go to a restaurant or somewhere nearby around lunch time but don’t carry an umbrella with them.

All the software used have been featured in MakeUseOf’s earlier list of Free Applications For The Graphic Designer On A Budget.

Here’s a very cute Anime clip, HapiLoli from tomo via Blender Nation that uses Blender.

Transformation from Andre Baran via Blender Nation: Now here’s a clip that demonstrates that you don’t have to use Blender to create 3D cartoons only. You can composite commercial-quality sequences to illustrate a concept.

This is another clip of Blender being used to create a logo by BnBGobo for the CFC, (Combined Federal Campaign).

Pelikone from Kombo via Blender Nation: The following clip is a recently-released Blender-made ad for a Finnish game site.

Just so you know, Blender’s not the only animation software available. Here’s Prologue (released in 2004) which consists of a short made by Voria Studios, the studio that came to release the Synfig 2D animation software under GNU license. Synfig is today a vector-based open-source animation package that facilitates the process of tweening, which is basically drawing animation frame by frame.

Prologue tells the story of two boys trying to run away from soldiers in a sewer. According to the site, “in an attempt to protect his friend, one of the children tries to draw one of the soldiers away. However, plans don’t always work out as one would hope.”

My Friend Rabbit Making Pizza is a short (click to watch as embedding is disabled) made with Pencil, an open-source traditional animation software that lets you trace previously-drawn raster and vector images for your next frames (with its onion skin feature).

As you can see from the sources, the Blender Nation blog is rich with links to amazing Blender-made productions so be sure to check it out for more! If you have favorite open-source-generated clips, you can paste the link in the comments for everyone to enjoy!

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Comments (34)
  • Jessica Cam W.

    LMMS is open-source software while Archive.org offers music clips in its open-source audio/community audio section.

    You’ll probably get more responses if you post your question in MakeUseOf Answers.

  • SparkD

    Is there a music production open source site and software of this type?

  • generator on hire

    animation is something that everyone like, using free softwares is good but using your thoughts is what is more important. thanks 3D world is fantastic

  • madjr

    i hope the people in Hollywood and other countries take note and help fund/support this amazing software and communities

    in 5 or 10 years i hope to have the chance to view some featured films made with Open source tools in my local movies theater

    this could revolutionize the world!

  • Anonymous

    i hope the people in Hollywood and other countries take note and help fund/support this amazing software and communities

    in 5 or 10 years i hope to have the chance to view some featured films made with Open source tools in my local movies theater

    this could revolutionize the world!

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.