Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » Durian Style review


Durian Style review

on August 25th, 2009, by Ton

Today, each artist of the project presented a couple of clips or graphics, and talked about style or visual impact as examples for us to look at. You can see this as an extension of the moodboard.


Gametrailer link to Starcraft

I like this clip because it is epic and you can study things like lighting, texturing, compositing, smoke and a lot more.

For example the texturing is very strong in this clip and you can very well see how the textures fit onto the different objects and how they react to the topology.


The way they use landscapes and environments lends the movie a sense of scale and weight. Also, they make great use of visual symbolism,
especially with color. And of course there’s great martial arts.

Doll Face:
Nothing at all to do with the genre or style of Durian, but I like the simplicity and poetry of the story. If we can give Durian’s story some real poetry and soul, I’ll be very happy.

Starcraft 2 trailer:
The pacing of this trailer is fantastic: a slow, weighty beginning (a calm before the storm/building up tension) followed by kick-ass action. Without the silence before, the action wouldn’t seem nearly as significant.


diablo Diablo

As this clip is a game trailer, there is not as much to take from it regarding story telling because it is only selling a much larger story. Most of what I studied it for is the overall mood of the world (visual style, locations, inhabitants and so on) and the editing and shot choice.

The fact they can convey so much of an epic world in under two minutes of visuals was fantastic. Breaking it into thirds, the first scene is the very humble act of lighting a candle, followed by a much larger scale of decimated environments (without action) and only the final third contains the evil action. Deciding to allocate the pace that way even with the short timeframe was the main aspect I took from the piece.


I presented to the team some pictures like this portrait from Kim Jong-Sook , that have a “final fantasy” like proportion of face but with a particular work on the skin material and shading. Interresting in my opinion as we plan to render 4K.


Final Fantasy XIII (Versus)

Cinematography, the way they build up anticipation to a climax, its not as much fighting as your mind thinks at the end, easier for artists,
makes climax more satisfying with a build up.

Final Fantasy XI Opening

The emotion between sister saving brother, shows a simple story, but brings up emotion and keeps the audience interested and connected. The
boy at the start pinching over the building with his hand, and again to show its the same person grown up at the end, gives full circle to this
part of the story, and as a comedian does a joke and refers to it soon after, the audience feel they are ‘inside’ and know the character more
in such a short time.


The clip I chose is taken from the movie “Kill Bill – Volume I” (begins at 3:30 – “The Origin of O-Ren”). I chose it for 2 main reasons:

1- To raise discussion on how blood/gore may or may not be used in project Durian
2- To discuss the element of character development/motivation

Although this film is live-action, the flashback is described in dark and gritty 2-D anime style. It gives us a stylized glimpse into this characters head, illustrating why she is the way she is, does the things she does. Elements such as music, pace, camera direction, and even the use of blood effectively work together to fit its specific purpose.


I decided to talk about the short film Oktapodi, an extremely successful animated short from a bunch of students from Gobelins. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the watch!

Although project Durian will have a completely different visual style and tone, I think we have a lot to gain from breaking down great animation (and film) of all types. Oktapodi is a really a nearly-flawless animation in my opinion. It tells a simple yet compelling story in an extremely succinct way. They make it look easy. But there were a lot of decisions about pacing and shot design and visual style that just seem extremely carefully considered. The staging, lighting, designs, music… everything just seems to come seamlessly together. I tend to focus more on shot design and editing, and these elements are what really make this film stand out in my mind. There are just a lot of great shots, and they do a lot to make the sequences dynamic.

To illustrate just one little detail I liked about the shot design, let’s break down the first two shots of the movie. First of all, the entire premise of the movie is set up in the first two shots. In less than 20 seconds into the film, we understand the entire conflict and thrust of the plot. But the spatial relationships between the two shots are what really interest me. The first shot ends with the male octopus looking outside the tank, and we CUT to a reverse shot of what essentially is his point of view. The girl octopus looks helplessly towards the camera as she is weighed and thrown into a cooler… but then the human character removes the cooler from the frame and reveals our main character in the background! What is understood as a point of view shot becomes a wide-angle of the male octopus. This is just an example of extremely clever shot design which I think is a big part of making this film so entertaining to watch.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with shot design for Durian to find the most effective way to tell our story!

22 Responses to “Durian Style review”

  1. DingTo Says:

    Incredible styles!

  2. roos Says:


    Great project, looking good so far! Even a sponsor on the musical side!

    Actually I was a bit surprised that the soundtrack of the open movie projects aren’t made with open source software :/

    I’ve opened a thread about it on the forums:

    Good luck anyway!

  3. Tri-State Says:

    congratulations everyone with project. Really like the style you are going for, I mean, you can’t go wrong with Blizzard epicness and Kill Bill gore =) Anyway, just wanted to give you a small clip from the Vexille –

    In my opinion the best, most intense scene in the movie with great build up.

    Good luck to You all =)

    P.S don’t forget to put a little bit of humor in the movie, we need a good laugh in times like these =)

  4. Simon Says:

    I’d take a look at every warcraft III cinematic, and the expansion. They are awesome. I hope you go with a western fantasy style.

  5. mejiwa Says:


    I really like the style of all those videos. I don’t know if you’ve come across the Dead Fantasy I-V and Haloid videos from Monty Oum, which feature a massive amount of martial arts action and a good camera. It would be great if the fighting scenes in Durian could use that style, you can find the videos on Monty’s account here

    And for the impatient here a direct link to Dead Fantasy I

  6. AndrΓ© Says:

    luk this

  7. Markus Says:

    I think that this type of movie may requires a little bit more work on the sound effects than the last two open movie did. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the music – this part was always up to the animation.
    But the sound fx in the past were very weak, I guess it did not hurt much because of the movie type you made, but this time I think it could break the experience. I also think with 4k visuals you should try to aim for 7.1 or more sound channels.
    (I’m just guessing here the last two times you concentrated only on the visuals and didn’t put much though and effort into sound fx until the very end? (at least it sounded like this to me)).
    If you have no time, I guess you can always ask the community to help/create some sound effects for you. Just post what type of sound you need and I’m sure you will find many people that want to help… there are also web pages with free sound effects for download. However, I think it would be better to make custom sfx the old fashion way, like:


    PS: and I also like roos idea to use open source audio tools…

  8. Sephiroth the Bimbo Master Says:

    Hey good, maybe you would like to see this video is from the game The Legend of Dragoon, a lot of magic, great battles, etc. maybe can be useful for the project:

  9. Rob Cozzens Says:

    Mostly looks good, but please don’t go for a Kill Bill level of gore… that makes for an odd combination of disgusting and goofy.

  10. Jarred Says:

    Great stuff,

    [I’m about to say something useless]I couldn’t help but notice that on two occasions among those there was a closeup of the character breathing smoke through his nose.

  11. exavolt Says:

    It’s great the see that Colin has completely different choice as he looks from the different point of view.

    And I totally agree with him.

  12. matt Says:

    in terms of ‘epic’ shot design without needing to beat you over the head, look at varmints by studio aka/marc craste.

  13. Tristan Says:

    Great movies and styles…!
    I asking me, if this time the durian team will use mocaps for animation?

  14. Shunsquall Says:

    This looks really thrilling! But I’ve somme trouble with David Revoy links, I cannot access Kim Jong Sook CGportfolio. Although, I’ve seen an artwork from him at :

  15. MadSquirrel Says:

    Even if I don’t really like some of the styles you choosed, I won’t bother you with my opinions, what you should / shouldn’t do, cause the team is talented, and I’m sure you will make something great !
    Now go to work ! Don’t make us wait too long πŸ˜‰

  16. gandalf Says:

    Hi, I’m very interested in the project, since I’m both, blender and fantasy fan, and wanted to give you some feedback.

    Watch out, this will rather contradict the inspirations you listed so far, but such darker, “medieval european” style fantasy may nicely counter balance Final Fantasy like one.

    – Please, please, consider using real martial arts system for the movie. At least for the male fights. I know Bruce Lee kind of kung-fu with high-kicks, flip-backs and double-hand forward punches are popular, but, let’s face it, they’re cheap and unreal. Nobody fights like that in a real life. All Aikido, Karate, Kung fu are great arts, but not very martial. I’d love to see the use of UFC inspirations (BJJ, boxing, kick-boxing) in hand fight.
    – For sword fight, it also would be awesome to learn from Blizzard. Look at all Warcraft III cinematics with knights. They’re strikingly different from most sword-fighting animations in the world. The shields, the swords, the armors there *feel* heavy. You can see how he’s struggling to raise the sword and hit an enemy, you can *feel* the dust when he moves in this armor and tries to block the heavy hit.

    I know the nature of your project may make it easier to go with more popular approach (most of manga, kung-fu movies etc.) for both, but just wanted to propose a different one that I find way more real and hance exciting.

    For an example of such real-life (well, almost) UFC-like hand combat and more realistic, brutal sword fighting with fantasy, I recommend you watching Tomasz Baginski animations:

    – The Witcher:
    — Three versions of trailer (each with a different vibe)
    — Raise of the wolf:–xfURyHizg

    If you never met with Baginski’s work, this is his Oscar nominated short video, the Cathedral:

    Hope that can be another stream of inspiration for you (and Sapkowski’s Witcher sage is in translation to english now, first books are available if you want to get more of the atmosphere) πŸ™‚

  17. Rafster Says:

    I wasn’t too thrilled with this genre, mostly because I just can’t seem to follow what is going on in any of these game trailers. The dialog seems so cliche-ish and amateurish. The images are STUNNING, yes, but I could not possibly care any less for the characters or their actions.

    I can’t remember the names of those planets, can’t follow what is going on, don’t know which spaceships are the good guys, the villains are a bore, and I don’t care about anything that’s going on. The only thing that is good are those stunning images.

    Make me FEEL something!! Make me care! Inspire me! Keep me guessing! Leave an impression. Make me think. Make me want to watch it again! Or else all those pretty images are going to waste.

    I agree that the gory Kill Bill bloodiness would be in bad taste, sort of like cursing for cursing’s sake. Bloody would be okay IF it was presented in a clever/surreal sort of way, like the flood of blood coming out of an elevator in the Shining (but please don’t do that!).

    I’m feeling more confident with Colin as director from reading his comments. I was starting to get worried from watching all these incoherent game trailers.

  18. Irowebot Says:

    It seams like everyone else is leaving their own favorites videos so here’s mine. I hope you, the durian team, check these and see it!

    Its called Rockfish, made by Blur Studios, who along with Blizzard are it right now as far as epic fantasy. Its about 9 minutes, perfect length, and no voices. It has everything durian seems to be shooting for, rough and tumble character, animal sidekick, and huge monster, plus a simple an cohesive story line. Enjoy

  19. Phil Says:

    When i first heard about the Durian Project, i thought about “Heavenly Sword” on the PS3. A tragic Heroess fighting the tyrant.


  20. Meltdown Says:

    Honestly, i will understand if Durian team will go on their own with this project.

    There’s simply too much of material over here, too much of wishes etc…

    Just calm down and wait for something coming for the “directors”, until that, you could start to suggest some things, if needed. πŸ™‚

    As the materials will go opensource so you could create you own trip.

  21. gandalf Says:

    Meltdown: It may be a matter of perspective, but I don’t find this suggestions any push away from doing “their own”. It’s just an inspiration set. Something to watch while brainstorming.

    And the more mixed and stretched the inspiration net is, the better πŸ™‚

  22. exotszm Says:

    I hope there won’t be anime style of action (like in final fantasy or lineage cinematics). You know what i mean: 100 meters jumps, running on the ceiling, lots of slow motion macro face shots…