Big Buck Bunny

Big Buck Bunny (code named Project Peach), the second short open source movie to come from the Blender Foundation, was released online on May 30, 2008. I can still remember hearing about Elephant’s Dream (code named Project Orange) back when it became the first open movie ever released.

Screen capture: Blender Foundation / CC-By 3.0

Screen capture: Blender Foundation / CC-By 3.0

Open movies are made with free software. Both Elephant’s Dream and Big Buck Bunny were primarily animated using Blender, a great program for creating 3-D animations. While I was unable to find an exact list of the software used on BBB, I’m sure it’s very similar to that listed for Elephant’s Dream. Another benefit of using Blender to create these movies is that numerous improvements were to be made in order to make the visual effects cinema quality. It’s great to see a group pushing the limits of what can be done with free software to help find its weaknesses and then collaborating to make it do what they needed it to do.

Another really cool aspect of open source movies is that the content is also free. I don’t just mean that you can watch the movie for free. BBB was released under a Creative Commons BY license, the most liberal creative license offered by CC. Any part of the movie can be “remixed” into your own creation, provided that you properly attribute the original work. It’s really cool because the character “files” are freely available. That means that anyone using Blender can simply load one of the bunnies and make it do whatever you want. Imagine being able to do that with Sully from Monster’s, Inc. or Woody from Toy Story. That’d be really awesome!

Big Buck Bunny is available for streaming on YouTube, but I’d highly recommend downloading a high-quality 1080p version from the website (see 1920×1080). They’ve got copies in a few different formats, including Ogg, all with HD available. When I tried, the US server for the 1920 OGG file wasn’t working, but the Italian server worked great. Grab the torrent if you’d like to help spread the film and save bandwidth.

Also if you’re interested, the Blender Foundation’s latest is Project Apricot, an open source 3-D game using some of the characters from BBB. The next movie project will supposedly be an action/fighting short. They should hire Randall Munroe to help write it! ๐Ÿ˜€