Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » Animating Sintel


Animating Sintel

on May 22nd, 2010, by William

Dear community,

Here’s a much needed update on the animation front of project Durian. I’d like to take you through some of the challenges and workflows that we employ here in the studio.

We now have a little four man club of animators, (Lee, Jeremy, Beorn and myself) that works as its own mini-team. We have our own dailies, we critique each others work, we help others out whenever we can, and having worked as the sole full-time animator on Big Buck Bunny, this is truly a relief! We have some really positive, respectful team dynamics amongst the animators, which really makes this movie a joy to work on. Of course, I’ve only been here for a few montha, so I’m relieved of any fatigue and burnout (so far!).

However, even with more people and a strong team, this film is no walk in the park. The complexity, the variety and the realism makes the animation particularly difficult to pull off well. You instantly spot when something is off when you get close to realism, and some things are just really hard to get right. Luckily, it can also be very rewarding too. Once the animation is completed, it’s incredibly satisfying to see it nicely lit and rendered by the render team. Suddenly it looks gorgeous!

To illustrate our animation workflow, I’ve put together a small movie of one of my shots at various stages:



69 Responses to “Animating Sintel”

  1. Wray Bowling Says:

    I hear a rich amount of development in the musical score! 🙂 Props to Jan!

  2. Rob Says:

    A very informative insight into durian’s animation process! It’s always fascinating to see how these things are put together.

    (also, if I ever properly get into animation, I will have to remember the Video Reference stage – it looks fun :D)

  3. jan Says:

    I have nothing to do with the music. I’d guess it’s some CC track.

  4. Paulo Bardes Says:

    I really liked the song ^^

  5. Jan de Vries Says:

    The music is “Jaracanda” it comes included with Apple iLife

  6. Robo3Dguy Says:

    Thank you for the video!

  7. Paulo Bardes Says:

    I think it’s not Jacaranda, because its not CC….

  8. Brad Cathey Says:


  9. [cool name here] Says:

    Amazing what you can accomplish in a few “montha” :]

  10. Hanmac Says:

    why only a short film? the trailer is great enough to be a 2h cinema movie

  11. Jirms Says:

    I think this blog should also be posted under tutorials … it is a very nice breakdown of the different animation stages. Then later maybe others could follow up with some more detail for each production stage?

  12. hetors Says:

    I totally agree what Jirms says.
    Greetings Blender community.

  13. Pablo Vazquez Says:

    @ Jirms, added it to Tutorials!, thanks for noticing that.

    BTW, I’m preparing a new blogpost 🙂

  14. Victor Says:

    I like it!
    One minor issue, for the grunt that she’s putting into it… she doesn’t seem to have the movement there… I would of thought more of a thrust forwards with the weapon as she moves would be more suitable.

    It’s like she’s holding it out and grunting/growling but doesn’t move it until the end… as the transition into the “surprise” face just doesn’t seem right.

  15. Victor Says:

    EDIT to above:
    Just re-watched it… I can see the thrust but still seems a little awkward.

    Overall. I love the breakdown 🙂

  16. jcl Says:

    This progression is wonderful. I know you don’t have the resources, but I wish you could do this for every shot in the film.

  17. jirms Says:

    Thank you Pablo, your awesome!

  18. Amy Says:

    This progression is wonderful. I know you don’t have the resources, but I wish you could do this for every shot in the film.

  19. Temitopa.A Says:

    I hope I can do something like these someday