Big Buck Bunny: Check This Open Source Movie Out

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 02, 2008

If you pay any attention at all to the movie industry, you've no doubt noticed the tremendous success that Pixar has had with largely computer-generated animated films. "They've got a pretty good track record," singer/songwriter Randy Newman quipped when he accepted a Best Song award at the Oscars for Monsters, Inc. If you take a look at Big Buck Bunny, though, a 3D animated movie created by open source contributors and just released for free online, it looks like Pixar may eventually have some competition. I say eventually because Big Buck Bunny isn't perfect, but it is surprisingly good.

Big Buck Bunny was not only developed using open source software but is also distributed under an open license that gives artists free access to the entire studio database of assets and files used to make the movie. The Blender Foundation initiated this open source movie project, and it follows the 2007 released Elephant's DreamBlender is open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. Big Buck Bunny was primarily created using Blender.

Sun Microsystems contributed to the open source effort behind Big Buck Bunny, as well. The company rendered the film using's Sun Grid compute utility service, and hosts it.

"The Big Buck Bunny movie project demonstrates that the barriers to entry in the 3D animation world can be lowered tremendously using on-demand computing platforms. Even though the Blender team did not have support of a big studio, they succeeded with the community support, and open source rendering software and an on-demand computing platform,” said David Folk, Group Manager of Marketing at Sun Microsystems, in a statement.

If you've worked with Blender at all, you know that one of its strengths is creating eye-popping, lifelike characters. These abound in Big Buck Bunny, as do strong animated backgrounds and effects (look at how perfect the creek looks near the beginning of the movie). I would give it an overall great review, but it is noticeable that there were no Hollywood-class writers behind the film. It's really gorgeous to look at, though, and it points to a strong future for open source 3D animated filmmaking.