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    1st Minute – Animatic

    on December 4th, 2009, by Colin Levy

    So. In a continuation of our “1st Minute” series, here is the current state of our Animatic!

    Keep in mind that this is *very* rough. The fight is literally a bunch of random drawings that look like a fight– there is no choreography and very little visual continuity between drawings. (This will be filled in later once we work out the fight with the kung fu guys!) The scratch dialogue has, uhhh… room for improvement. But check it out:

    Forgive the patchy drawings– unfortunately David left before he could get to work on the boards, so these were done by me. Rough sound design was done in like an hour by Jan Morgenstern. It totally makes it work! And guess who did the voices?



    97 Responses to “1st Minute – Animatic”

    1. D Says:

      And then, I’m going to read the post. πŸ˜€ So excited! :DDD

    2. kernond Says:

      Very nice, and thanks for sharing so much information about the progress of the project!

    3. Joe Says:

      I see the studio is already feeling the pain of David being gone. πŸ˜‰ Storyboards are rarely glamorous though.

      This is very exciting to see and I can’t wait till we see some rendered frames!!! Keep up the great work guys!!!

    4. lsccpp Says:

      this are my guesses: Nathan and Angela

    5. Virgilio Says:

      It’s great to see how things evolve in this first minute. πŸ™‚

      It’s also amazing to see (or listen, heh) how important the sound design is. Even in this rough way it totally takes us into the film’s mood.

    6. moley Says:

      nice! the pacing seems alright, the sound really helps to bring together the animatic.

      loved the title graphic, looking forward to more!

    7. Shiretoko Says:

      @Colin: What happened to the small dragon falling from the sky into the city? was it replaced with the gatekeepers fight?

    8. Thomas Says:

      nice character introduction! It’s great u guys keep the community in the loop. Very entertaining and educational to see this project evolve !

      keep up the goord work !

    9. panzi Says:

      Quite nice. But I don’t think she should say this (“a dragon”) that early. She should say just “no” and be all mysterious and stuff. Or maybe in a movie as short as this, this won’t work and she indeed has to say it that early. I don’t know.

    10. Mano Says:

      Great job, guys, keep it up. And I’m looking forward to see the final dragon concept and model πŸ˜‰

    11. Eibriel Says:

      I like the male voice. The pronunciation.
      And the female too haha.

    12. D Says:

      Took me a while to calm down.

      The animatic is taking shape, and awaits a choreography. πŸ™‚ Still imagined her falling over after the shaman told her that many had fallen to the Gatekeepers, though.

      But the voices! Angela as Sintel! πŸ˜€ I can’t quite put my finger on the shaman… I should know, he just sounds familiar, but not really… Can’t be Nathan or Colin, right? Maybe as the Gatekeepers in pitched-down form, but the shaman…!? Hmmm… Lee…?! Ben…!?! With the right mic, anything is possible. πŸ˜€

      But seriously, now, I wonder if you are going for a quasi-British accent for all characters or just the shaman? Maybe it hasn’t been decided.

      Whatever, it’s good! I look forward to continue seeing this first minute improve, come into form and solidify. Meanwhile, I guess we’ll also continue reminding you, Colin, for the next Directorial Address. πŸ™‚

    13. BLIND_apprentice Says:

      NICE, I actually really like rough feel of these storyboards, it gives it a more hand-crafted visual style. Obviously it won’t look anything like the sketches, but I’d love it if that type of feel carried through into the final aesthetic.

      Also nice voice acting Colin and… Angela? Good stuff.

    14. tyrant monkey Says:

      this is a much nicer first minute than the first one and seems more economical and to the point and ends in a cliff hanger that makes me want to see more.

      great stuff guys

    15. Josh Says:

      was that a duduk at 1:22 ? if so I hope you guys integrate a duduk somewhere into the soundtrack (only if it is appropriate of course).

      loving the constant updates, I check back more than once a day just in case I missed one.

    16. Agus Says:


    17. dronix Says:

      Have we found two voice actors already? They actually fit the two characters pretty well! Thanks for the update, keep up the good work.

    18. Rob Cozzens Says:

      Very cool.

      As long as the team gets enough from the storyboards to follow your vision, they are fine. No need to make the movie twice!

    19. D Says:

      Speaking of sounds we want to hear, I want to hear a Wilhelm scream in Sintel.
      I do think an ethnic instrument like a duduk is a great way to ground mythology into an action epic movie, as long as Jan is capable of wielding it, of course. πŸ™‚

    20. Phoinx Says:

      Ooh! It could be a trailer already! It’s lovely!
      Very exciting indeed!

    21. Nichod Says:

      I feel your pain. I’ve done storyboards for a few projects and after the first 100 boards it gets a little repetitive and tiring. But placed together with a score and animated in sequence it definitely is an amazing tool. In the first few boards it’s difficult to understand what is going on. Maybe make the wind movements more noticeable and add in some snow? The snow following the movement of the swirls of wind. Don’t forget the breath from the characters in the snow and the heat waves that their bodies will give off in cold weather!

    22. Anon Says:

      Hey guys, great work!

      Out of curiosity, why YouTube rather than Vimeo today and Tuesday?

    23. RH2 Says:

      Seems David is already missed πŸ™‚

    24. Paul Hastings Says:

      Wow, I like it. Keep up the hard work guys!


    25. ben Says:

      David is a lot of fun to work with on top of being ridiculously passionate and talented. Naturally we miss him.

      As it was pointed out though, storyboards are rarely glamorous and as a team, we know the script so Colin’s storyboarding works well enough to give us a visual picture of what goes where.

      Voices – Angela was Sintel, but Nathan wasn’t the shaman. Keep guessing… Nathan did do a hilarious take for both voices though. Think β€˜my spoon is too big’ and you are most of the way there. πŸ™‚

      Title graphic was just a bit of fun because I wanted to do some painting after watching the animatic. Some ideas floating around, but we haven’t really put much thought yet into the title – ie how it looks, how it reveals, etc. Lots of things to try, but plenty of other gear to get on with for now.

      Finally, youtube seems to work as a service for a wider range of people. We need to get better at including ogg videos as a team, but I’m guessing Colin was up pretty late getting it finished and posted seeing as he was still working on it when I left.

      Also – multiple indirect lighting bounces are in Blender now as part of AAO, ie quick! Whee!

    26. Phoenix Says:

      Man-Lung Tang as shaman?

    27. Aligorith Says:

      Soenke as the shaman?

    28. taniwha Says:

      The voice acting for “I’m searching for someone I love.” wasn’t very convincing, nor “A dragon”. The problem is mostly the pacing, and a bit in the intonation (both lines sounded more like questions with their rising intonation). For the pacing, I think “I’m searching… for someone I love.”, with falling intonation, would work better. I have to wonder if Angela has watched a lot of dubbed anime.

      However, Angela’s voice itself is good. Keep her as Sintel πŸ™‚

      Also, I think the title graphic as it is works quite nicely.

    29. Stephen Says:

      when she’s drinking, her hair looks wet… is this a hair effect we can look forward to? the incredibles springs to mind πŸ˜€

    30. Ton Says:

      Blender Foundation has a partnership approved by Youtube, we now can upload unlimited length high quality video, even without advertisement overlays. πŸ™‚
      I’ve contacted Vimeo several times to help us with something similar (to host our free and open content work), but they rejected. Their commercial offering would cost us 1000s of dollars per year…

    31. Axel Says:

      Of course I might be mistaken, but I would bet that Bassam was the shaman.

    32. irve Says:

      When Sintel falls, there has to be a longer pause for the viewers to realize that she has fallen. It has to sink in. Then voiceover, then cut to inside. Please try stretching it πŸ™‚

    33. MD Says:

      I actually think it sounds like Colin.

      Great work so far!

    34. Shinobi Says:

      “Also – multiple indirect lighting bounces are in Blender now as part of AAO, ie quick! Whee!”

      Are you serious?!? Truly?!?!?!? AHAAAAAAHAHHAHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

    35. yagraph Says:

      It bet It’s Colin πŸ˜‰

      Great animatic ! We perceive the lot of conception work you’ve done so far, and intro is so important !
      Cheers πŸ˜‰

    36. Elubie Says:

      Great animatic, the sound really does add to the atmosphere.

      After watching it three times, I think a different timing in two places, might work too.

      First when Sintel falls, the voiceover starts a bit too early for me. Since the viewer only sees Sintel, he’s still with her and the voice seems strange. Maybe start shortly after everything goes black since this makes the change of location plausible and the Shaman speaks these words in his hut. The other way would be more complicated, make the shaman enter the scene and find Sintel, speaking the words as he finds her.

      The second place has also been mentioned in another post – when Sintel reveals that she is searching for a Dragon, I feel that a pause where she hesitates a bit would add to the drama.

      For the fight, it took me a bit to get the feeling of danger that Sintel is in, but I think that is because I had trouble to decipher the fight choreography from the storyboards when viewing first.

      Anyway, for the first animatic it’s shaping up great!

    37. Tomas Says:

      So far this is looking great! As some have mentioned Sintel coming right out and saying she is looking for “a dragon” seems too quick. Maybe she could say “a friend” or “someone I have lost” or just reply with “perhaps….” or some such to make it a bit more suspenseful.

      The progress is awesome and thanks for keeping us all informed. It really is great to see how a project like this evolves.

    38. poin Says:


      Is amazing how good sound FX, voices and soundtrack makes even an animatic make you shiver. It will add a *lot* to the final film. (As a cold marketing thought: those will be emotions related to Blender).

      I’m really glad with the quality of sound you’re aiming.

      Are those sounds Creatice Commons?

      (I’m 100% sure the voice of the guy is Ton, he’s just hidding his dutch accent)

    39. ben Says:

      @Shinobi – the indirect bounces are in Blender 2.5 trunk, doing some examples for a blog post now

    40. Mark Says:

      Very Nice, getting very excited! With the script though, it sounds strange how the shaman says “a lover?” after Sintel says “someone I love”. The repeated word distracted me… Looking very cool, keep it up!

    41. D Says:

      Multiple bounce AAO… GI! πŸ˜€

      Shaman is… Brecht!
      Come on, it has to be!

    42. asanchezr Says:

      Where’s the giant snail??? πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ I like it a lot!!

      Great job guys! You keep my soul inspired!! (and I bet not only mine)

      Giant snail giant snail!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    43. riccardo covino Says:

      way better than before!
      that’s the correct choice for a short movie.

      you don’t have time to let the user enter progressively in the story, so the only solution is to put him right in the middle of it!

      after 20 seconds i was already totally immersed in it, forgetting the world outside and trying to understand what was going on (althought i knew since the bconf..), and the dialogue is really captivating, with the love’s ambiguity and the subsequent tension (a dragon? this is really a mistery!).

      i guess you can go on even without flash backs (or very short ones, 1-2 secs), letting us understand what happened before just by hints.

      anyway, first minute now has much more meaning, presenting the chars and the goal perfectly.

      lastly, you can’t introduce multiple bounces as a side note! this is really awesome, compiling right now…

    44. HARDHEAD11 Says:

      I thought it was pretty obvious that Colin did the voice.

    45. grafixsuz Says:

      Not bad, I feel the timing could be improved for the part where she falls in the snow as well. Great work though guys. I thought that Angela was Sintel, and not a bad voice neither. For the other one, I am leaning towards Brecht, I mean who else would it be? Lee? Soenke? Ben? Come on that has to be our hero Brecht.

    46. D Says:

      Okay, so I did a little research.

      “My spoon is too big” -> Rejected -> Don Hertzfeldt

      So Don was in town?!

    47. Sverro Says:

      Voice actor of shaman = Soenke!
      Realley nice work!
      I like it.

    48. kram1032 Says:

      This is great!
      It really makes you wanna see more!

    49. Lasse R. Bruntse Says:

      No no, the Shaman is Lee! Listen, he says ‘Soo’ in a very Lee-ish way!
      Btw. PLEASE put in the Wilhelm Scream somewhere like D said! Its the best insider-joke ever.

    50. Stephen Says:

      “the Wilhelm Scream” someone been watching QI? πŸ˜€

    51. jeff Says:

      Will Sintel be mixed in surround (5.1) sound? It would really be awesome for immersing the audience into the blender studio’s best movie yet πŸ™‚

      I hope this will be the case and that I will be able to enjoy my DVDs on my home theater’s sound system!

    52. Gwilwileth Says:

      I really like this intro !

      One thing : If the 4 gatekeepers are still alive when we zoom on them, it would say that sintel kill’s them in a few 20 sec… I don’t know if it’s very realistic… and be carefull that you can place all the great choregraphy ! =D

      I bet for Colins voice ? ^^
      Great acting Angela too !

      The end, with te title and the music, is so impressing, I like it so much ! x)
      Keep it up guys !

      (sorry for my english)

    53. Another fellow Says:

      Ah, in the breakdown and the script the shaman didn’t mention her name. Him knowing her name destroyed some of the myth πŸ™

      For the rest. Total awesomeness to the bone!

      Thank you, team Durian.

    54. be200fx Says:

      The dialog sounds false to me. “I’m looking for someone I love”, who talks like that? Put some life into it:

      What brings you to these mountains?

      I’m looking for a dragon.

      You have a death wish?

      No, s/he’s the only family I have left.

    55. Borges Says:

      I hope this is not final voices, cos they are not good… not in quality for the film, sintel dont look to have that voice, and the suspense where all down when she said: A dragon… πŸ˜› lol, sorry

    56. Samuel Junior Says:

      There must be a site of non-professional voice actors who dub free or at low cost.
      Not to say that the voices of the dubbing is poor.
      But for them to gain recognition and fame his voiceovers are free or low cost.

    57. angbor Says:

      Am I the only one who likes to hear Nathans version? πŸ˜€

    58. creek23 Says:

      when’s the other 7minute of this? πŸ™


      …will you guys release a full length animatics of Durian? as additional content of the DVD maybe? this will be really educational for aspiring animators.

    59. Nixon Says:

      cool animatic, i guesed angela too since it was the easier of the 2 voices:D
      was the other voice campbell maybe ..or matt ebb?….running out of guesses here…brecht?
      thx for keeping us update! And have a good weekend everyone!

      if they revealed the full 7min storyboard all the magic and stuff was gone since u’d knew the plot at that early stage…thats why they release stuff piece by piece:)

    60. Spell Says:

      Am I am the only one who thinks that the shaman sounds very “arabic”? The “strong” and the “here” sounds so to me. But I am may be wrong. I don’t really know how different people would speak english.

    61. Steven Says:

      Whaoo, cool

    62. Rafster Says:

      The sound is fantastic!! You don’t even need the visuals to “see” the action.

      The line “I’m looking for someone I love ” has always bothered me too, since the first animatic!

      I really like be200fx’s suggestion:

      What brings you to these mountains?

      I’m looking for a dragon.

      You have a death wish?

      No, s/he’s the only family I have left.

      I vote for Lee as the male voice.


    63. young_voter Says:

      Hi Lee or Colin,

      The blend files for the Epic fighting animation test posted on October 27th, 2009 in this blog does not seem to work for the latest build of Blender 2.5 or the 2.5 Alpha. If possible, can you just synch them so that they work with the latest or alpha version. But do it only if it isn’t too much trouble.

      Thank you.

    64. Fist_of_Fur Says:

      Funny story : once, I began a story about a wolf that was in love with a dragon. I never finished it.
      Anyway …
      Looks really promising.

    65. Manu JΓ€rvinen Says:

      Another vote for the Giant Snail!

    66. woodge Says:

      Wow! I’m really excited about this movie. I discovered blender just after Big Buck Bunny, so I can’t wait to see the whole process!

    67. tyrant monkey Says:

      @Borges its just scratch dialogue something that’s done in animation to help with pacing and timing. Its usually taken out when you get proper actors to do the voices if you check out some of the storyboards on most animation dvd’s like the incredibles etc you will hear the scratch dialogue they do before proper dialogue is done

    68. Lucidor Says:

      I think the last shot could be an extreme close-up:

      Isn’t she too young to have a lover by the way?

    69. MeshWeaver Says:

      that is AWESOME πŸ˜€ can’t wait to see the final animation, or even the first rough version! πŸ˜€
      it’s awesome :-DDD

      the drawings are really good, Colin πŸ˜€

      and the Durian team is doing the temporary voices too? really cool :-DDDDD

    70. MeshWeaver Says:

      oh, and i forgot to add this in my comment, sorry 😐

      these updates are really cool – I always look forward to checking the site, every day, just to see how everything’s developing :-DDD it’s also really cool to see how the movie’s being made, it’s like a realtime Making-Of :-DDD and i love Making-Ofs, especially CG/Animation-oriented ones πŸ˜€
      like in Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, or Pixar/Dreamworks/Aardman πŸ˜€

      ok, i’ll stop now πŸ˜‰


    71. Rob Cozzens Says:

      I like it, but I think the dialog gives too much away. Maybe just leave off the “…I love”
      Then there is the possibility she is seeking revenge on the dragon.

    72. taniwha Says:

      Lucidor: Considering the amount of effort that goes into stopping kids (with only limited success), saying that Sintel is too young to have a lover, when she can defeat four guardians, is rather narrow minded. She might look young to some (not so much to me: too little fat on her cheeks), but just to survive that battle she’d have to be at least 16 (underage in the USA, but not many other Western places).

      I am very much looking forward to finding out just why she loves a dragon (assuming we get to).

      As for interesting coincidences, similar to Fist_of_Fur, I too have stared a story involving a girl and a dragon… back when BBB was still in production (still working on it).

    73. Afief Says:

      Please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t do too many cuts during the fighting scenes. Cuts during highly detailed action is *bad*. That is one of the reason the action scenes in the matrix are so good: very few cuts.

      This is 3d, you don’t *need* to cut because an actor ran out of breathe.

    74. Gwilwileth Says:

      Two other thing : Sintel is killing the gatekeepers, but where is the gate ? She seems to be in a nomansland… With no gate ! what do you think ?

      Also : if you say that Sintel is searching for someone she loves and that it is a Dragon, they is no more suspens… no

      Chek this out :

      “what bring you to the edge of the world ?”

      “I’m searching a…”

      “a lover ? for vendetta (don’t know how to say that xD)…”

      “a Dragon !”

      so you don’t know why she is searching a Dragon, to kill him ? Because she loves him ? Etc.

      I Don’t know if you understand with my bad english…

      Keep it up ! =D

    75. Shinobi Says:

      @ ben:
      WOW! Can’t wait to see next blog post!

    76. Rudiger Says:

      Oh wow, I got goose bumps.

      The art in the storyboards is perfectly fine. I personally think sketchy storyboards are better anyway, as it conveys the overall impression, but without locking in too many details at such an early stage.

    77. Shiretoko Says:

      How could this Shaman who happened to meet this girl for the first time calls her by the name “Sintel” so fluently?

    78. Borges Says:

      @tyrant_monkey ok tnx πŸ™‚

    79. Riboshom Says:

      I would personally try to mix Gwilwileth and be200fx’s solutions:

      What brings you to these mountains?

      I’m looking for… (moment of hesitation)

      (The shaman tries to complete the sentence)
      -A lover?

      -…a Dragon.

      -A dragon? You have a death wish?

      -No, s/he’s the only family I have left.

      Well, just an idea…

    80. Halffull Says:

      He’s a shaman dude, he just knows :)…

    81. BonE Says:

      To the team: Awesome work, I can’t wait to show this off to my friends when it’s done.

      To everyone else: Criticism is good, but remember that you only know the opening scenes of the project. (for example, I think that the team realized that there isn’t a gate for the gate keepers)

    82. Lexicon Says:

      I think the voice over should start during the black-out, then the shaman’s mouth as he talks should come into focus. Maybe have Sintel just waking up? With the shaman next to her with the bowl of… soup?
      For a first animatic with David gone, it’s very good.
      Another thing you could do is to have the fight scene in short flashes, during the opening dialog. Of course, you’ve already worked out this much, and it’s taken work.. the first minute looks great, but I figure if you’re going to drop the audience immediately into a highly active scene, two things going on at once makes the scene both dramatic and quite hectic. Not sure if that’s what you were going for, or something a little more subdued.
      If it’s a short film, I’d like to see a lot of content scrunched in, but if there’s some other direction you’re taking it, don’t mind me. I’m just the peanut gallery. (the peanut gallery on his first post..)

    83. Lexicon Says:

      @Lucidor: I think the setting is intended as something in the middle ages or a little before/after.. something near there. In those days, 18 was waiting ’til you’re quite mature to have a baby, wasn’t it? As far as I know, most girls are capable of conceiving beginning age 11 or so, ending at age 40-50. Having a lover when you’re young wouldn’t be as unreasonable back then as it would be now.

    84. Lucidor Says:

      It wasn’t that part of my post I hoped would get reactions, but for what it’s worth, this movie isn’t set in the middle ages. It’s set in a fictional universe where the Durian team can decide any kind of social rules they want.

      I’m no moral guardian, if eleven year olds engage sexually it’s fine, as long as they do it of their own free will. But it still feels a bit odd for an old shaman to assume that a child of maybe 13 or fourteen(?) has a lover.

      Lastly, and this may be my misunderstanding of the english language, but isn’t a lover someone you have in addition to a spouse?

    85. D Says:

      Sintel is 16 as last implied by Ben last month, and a lover is a person whom is loved by and not married to another person – not necessarily a person whom one has sexual relations with.
      I hope that helps. πŸ™‚

    86. D Says:

      Correction: whom is loved -> who is loved

    87. Jadd Says:

      Personally, I love the dragon line. I don’t think it’s too early, the dialogue before that was dead boring, but as soon as she said “a dragon”, I was instantly interested.
      BTW, the way I understand it, a lover is someone with whom one has a romantic and sexual relationship, not necessarily a spouse.

    88. DrD Says:

      Hmm.. the someone I love line bothered me also from the first time I saw the script. Someone I care about, someone important to me maybe…

    89. John Says:

      This is fantastic…I’m in school for sound design, so it was great to hear the audio alongside the animatic…really brings it together.
      I’m looking forward to more of these. What are you using to make the animatics?

    90. alalo Says:

      Nice stuff! Love how sounds make it feel like an animation. Regarding all the discussion around the word “love”. hmm I also had a different thought about that conversation:

      _ I am searching for someone.. (yup.. Sintel is feeling short πŸ™‚
      From the fury in her eyes, shaman wonders:
      _ An enemy, perhaps?
      _ A dragon. (with a nicer face.. eyes looking far)
      The rusty face of the Shaman then smiles discreetly, assuming it is not about an enemy.

      My version still disturbs me a bit for some reason =/ But I, for one, would avoid piegas dialogues. =]


    91. Cerebro Says:

      The dialogue is perfect the way it is.

    92. Elcrapocrew Says:

      After reading all of these posts and listening to the dialogue I would make only one small change. When the Shaman asks Sintel if she is looking for “a lover”, he could simply say “a loved one” instead.

      The term “lover” is not in its self explicitly sexual, but the popular connotation is.

      This movie will have an international audience and (as always) not everything translates perfectly. Subtle nuances are not always carried over, this is especially true if the translation is done in a verbatim fashion which is why poetic translations are easier to understand…but I digress.

      I would suggest that the English version say “a loved one” whilst other languages could use their native equivalent. This would, IMHO, covey the intended emotion and evade the unintended meaning of the term “lover”.

      This could also be all for naught…seeing as this is simply scratch dialogue and none of it could end up in the finished film. This is also just my opinion, take it or leave it. Regardless, this project is already producing amazing work. I hope to see these people get the opportunity to use their talents (and Blender πŸ™‚ on a big budget block buster someday! ROCK ON TEAM DURIAN!

    93. Lucidor Says:

      When will we know who did the male voice?

    94. panzi Says:

      “I’m in quest of… someone.”
      “A beloved one… or an enemy?”
      “No. Nothing of that kind.”
      Sintel looks out of the tent into the the stormy sky. With thoughts far away she says:
      “A blaze in the sky.”

    95. Lee Says:

      The scratch track (and temporary) voices for this first minute are…. *drumroll*

      Scratch Track Shaman = Colin
      Scratch Track Sintel = Angela

      Thanks for playing, I even didn’t know it was Colin doing the shaman voice when I first heard it!

      Thanks for all the support and feedback! We actually read through comments and discuss basically each one that has some criticism. It has really been helpful!

    96. D Says:

      Wait, Colin was…?! *head explodes*

      It’s good to know our comments can sometimes mean something to the project as well. πŸ™‚

    97. Sverro Says:

      There were very much options, but I really didn’t expect it was Colin who was the shaman!
      (by the way: a really like this project)