A break from cartoonish open movies?

The latest open movie was great!

However, it would be nice if the next open movie focuses less on doing cartoonish/stylized art. Blender is used in so many areas, IMHO it is only but fair to have something less stylized that could represent the non-stylized part of the community. Not sure if I am the only one thinking that? What does the community think?

  • Yes, i want a break.
  • No, i want more stylized.

0 voters

You may ask why is this relevant to development?
Well, most development is in direct correlation to the studio open movies.
Movies are supposedly representing the need of users, real case scenarios, afaik.

Personally, I’m working in archviz/photorealistic renders, so this question has been in my head for a while. Since 2.79


The development section is meant for questions from developers regarding the blender codebase, so i moved the topic to a more suitable place.


Forgive me for my English. But I think it’s possible to shift the quality towards Pixar. Good examples of Soul and Toy Story works.

Just to be clear, this is what i had in mind when I’m thinking of “less cartoonish”

Good example are most movies from Love,Death & Robots.
For example:
-The witness,
-Sonnie’s Edge
-The Secret War

I do realize that doing non-stylized needs more effort/budget, this is only but a suggestion, so the development of blender could also focus on the workflows needed to achieve such movies :slight_smile:


I understand what you’re talking about. But the level of Pixar in the works that I have listed is on the verge of realism. Joe Teaches Class | Disney and Pixar's Soul | Disney+ - YouTube

Please don’t post copyrighted images / content here. Removed.

Sure, replaced by links :wink:

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I also think something more realistic in style open movie would be nice, to improve Blender in other areas
( especially performance in many areas, from animation to texture painting)

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I agree that the next open movie should go in a different direction.
Not because stylized is easier than realism (like many people seem to think), but because a different type of short film would bring other challenges and that would translate into different areas of Blender getting development priority.

Here’s a list of different ideas, with no particular order or preference, just things I can think of, starting with probably the most obvious when talking about a different style:

  • A short film in the vein of Love, Death and Robots.
  • Chapter two of Cosmos Laundromat.
  • VFX work for a live action short-film, but instead of doing everything like in Tears of Steel, it could also be in partnership with someone else. FilmRiot, CorridorDigital and FXHome come to my mind.
  • Architectural visualization, something like The third and the seventh by Alex Roman
  • A fake ad campaign for a spaceship, a mars colony, a flying car, or whatever crazy product you want; with 3 or 4 30sec long commercials and a few stills. MECH-X4 "Fake Car Ad" :30 Online Spot on Vimeo
  • Medical animation, like Random42’s work.
  • A series of short channel Id’s for a fake Blender TV channel (B-tv?). This could mean heavy motion graphics work. Here’s a couple of different examples: JEI TV Channel Renewal - Channel ID on Vimeo - History Channel ID on Vimeo - ID'S DISCOVERY CHANNEL on Vimeo
  • An animated music video that combines several techniques, it could be for a small indie artist, or have a song specifically created for the project. This could use a bit of motion capture maybe?
  • A cinematic for a videogame. And like the previous one, this could also be done for an existing indie project or be completely made up.
  • A 5min explainer video (also leaning heavily into motion graphics) to raise awareness about climate change or some other hot topic.

this is a naïve false dichotomy

Every technique and tool that was employed for Spring, for example, is just as applicable to super representational naturalistic stuff as it is with abstract broad stuff. Spring is arguably “cartoony” despite making great use of micro-displacements and having some DAMN good hair grooming.

And, if we actually look at the roadmaps, we can see a lot of longstanding grievances (like severe limitations in aforementioned hair grooming) are being addressed in the form of some pretty huge paradigm shifts. Particle and hair nodes will absolutely blow what’s currently capable out of the water.

It seems this conversation was sparked from frustrations about the focus of the sculpt re-design being not so much focused on high poly performance. Man, if you want “realism” to be the focus, you should be browbeating the animation/rigging side. that is currently a nightmare to set up the kind of complex relationships and drivers required for the level of granular automation needed for like, a face. BUT! These are the kinds of restrictions that also severely negatively affect ALL projects, not just realistic ones.

I refuse to vote on the basis that I believe Blender should be branching out their efforts into making a higher quantity of smaller lower impact projects, with the big open movie projects being end-of-cycle punctuation. Like, instead of a full short, A small team should do an industry quality digital double bust just lip-syncing some dialogue. Another small team else could do something more experimental with motion graphics. These vignetted projects will do more to highlight Blender’s weaknesses imo.


Yeah… to me personally is not so much about getting away from a cartoonish look (getting the deformations from Hotel Transylvania for example is REALLY difficult), but more about doing different projects that can shed a light on other parts of Blender that could/should be improved.

I was thinking in something like this with the idea of doing several id’s for a fake TV channel. They tend to be short, and while having a common theme they could still have wildly different visual styles, and such a project could also be a nice change of pace for the open movies.



This is a false assumption, it is stated in the topic first post that it’s about artists’ demographic representation during the development process.

Movies are supposedly representing the need of users, real case scenarios, afaik.

It’s only a but a suggestion :slight_smile:

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exactly! When Chris Jones runs into a speedbump on his human project, he just sidesteps it and hacks around it. If Blender Studios had their own human project going on, we’d probably have a massive rigging redesign on the horizon right now that would make a lot of things a lot easier. For everyone! Not just those of us making anatomically correct articulated human figures! And that’s to say nothing of the project fitting into a large narrative short film or something. In fact, there’s a LOT of long term Blender projects happening right now that hit speedbumps every day. Culturally, the Blender community is accustomed to these speedbumps just being worked around and having workflows designed around them that spread through the community and become an inalienable part of Blender. That’s uh… Not good.

Continuing the same example, Chris Jones’s Human currently needs like eight bones floating off to the side of the character that are all driving several blend shapes just for multi-stage eyelid closing. Now if anyone wants to do an anatomically correct industry quality facial rig, that’s gonna be the solution they see first for multi-stage eyelid closing. That sucks! Imagine if Blender foundation had a more direct line to these projects and could more actionably take note of their issues. We have the equivalent of hundreds of Blender Open Movie projects happening every day that are untapped potential of revelatory design. Of course the onus is on us, the community, to actually signal boost our issues with the software as we use it, but like I said before, this is a culture problem. We’re used to solving our own problems in roundabout ways and spreading those solutions. There’s clout involved. Hubris. Addons and income ride on a lot of these kinds of workarounds. Actual Blender devs do indeed listen to the grievances and suggestions of the community, but the community itself has a bit of a crab-in-bucket syndrome going on where it’s a bit of a taboo to publicly want anything about the program to behave differently.

I also just don’t get how someone can watch sprite fright and not see how the new techniques and tools used in it wouldn’t be useful for super high granularity naturalistic work.


If the Blender Studio is looking to make more than tech demos disguised as short films, I think they should be asking, “What makes a good story?” “Do I connect with these characters?” “Does this have an emotional impact?” “Do I enjoy watching it?” No one should be asking, “How can I work a fluid simulation into a story?”

Most movies are terrible to mediocre despite achieving stunning visuals. Very often the “blender artist” in me is captivated at what the blender studio and other 3D artists produce. But the “average joe” in me – the one who’s consumed countless movies and YouTube videos – often finds most of the content produced by the Blender Studio very boring to watch. Even Ian Hubert’s Dynamo Dream, while visually impressive, is an absolute slog to get through.

I understand that the blender studio exists to push development of Blender, so what I’m saying might not align with the studio’s priorities, but if you want to make content that everyday people will want to watch – like the ambitions of a typical studio – then the tools need to serve the story, not the other way around.

I think having a storytelling veteran like Michael Luhn was a step in the right direction for the Blender Studio. I personally watched Sprite Fright several times since its release because it was actually fun to watch. I wasn’t preoccupied with the technical aspects of how the film was made, I just had fun like an average joe would hope to have when clicking on a random YouTube video.

I think the question we should be asking ourselves is, “Can we invite more storytelling veterans like Michael Luhn to make the next one?”


Did sprite fright affect the development in only one direction? I don’t see any new feature that helps with cartoons and npr that won’t help with realistic renders. What does the “cartooniness” have to do with the software development?

I think it just not make stress test for all areas. for example muscle simulation and deformation under the skin, high resolution sculpting, realistic face rig with some wrinkles, more complex hairstyles.
Of course it can be tested in stylized animation too, but it will not show all weakest sides.
I personaly like stylized, and Sprite fright I think became my favourite open movie.
As I understand open movie help to move blender development to a new level and stress test it.
And whole point of this thred is to propose to blender studio at least to think about idea to make something in more realistic stryle to test blender in other areas. It can be not 100% realistic ,maybe 70?:slight_smile:

there is long time stereotype that blender is only capable to make very stylized animation. It would be nice if Blender studio will broke this stereotype.

In any case they make amazing job. I am in love with Sprite fright.


Personally, I’d like to see a feature-length movie made on an A+ level. Good enough for theaters and streaming services. This would be an excellent way to fund Blender development exponentially.

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I was a big fan of ToS, and would be happy to see some more vfx developments. (Actual mask editor that doesn’t rely on sidebar, vse strip modifier nodes, texture compositor nodes etc. )


AFAIK Blender Studio funding is separate from Blender Development fund. Whoever donates to the Development fund doesn’t donate to Studio fund.

The only issue is that there are some signs Blender Studio is a model scenario for Blender use cases and they have some priority in terms of feature and roadmap feedback. This is an issue, because both their workflow and the types of work they do deviate significantly from the average in terms production efficiency, complexity and quality. Mostly due to the fact they don’t have to deal with client requirements in terms of direction, requested quality and client imposed deadlines which have to be balanced against the budget.

So, given that no development funding goes towards the studio, I’d just “fix” the issue of them being used a model production scenario for Blender development direction. And after that, I’d simply let them do whatever they want. It’s their studio. If they want to do cartoons, and enjoy doing them, there’s no reason they should be doing what Blender’s userbase wants instead of what they want. As long as it doesn’t skew Blender’s development direction towards their subjective requirements and workflows, it’s fine.


I think the problem with short films is that they are short. That’s the point, but the stories they make up take longer. It’s time to do cartoons for 30 minutes.