You may remember the Elephants Dream, the open short movie. It was developed as project Orange at the Happy Blender Institute. Now, a new team working on project Peach at the Blender Institute has published their work: an open short movie Big Buck Bunny.
At LGM, I had the pleasure of watching this great movie on a big movie theatre screen.
Elephants Dream was a technical masterpiece, showing the quality of graphics that can be accomplished with open source programs, it was somewhat lacking in the area of storytelling. While I'm guessing this dreamlike drifting to different directions was intentional at least to some degree, it just felt somehow odd to me. Maybe I just don't understand the fine art ;)
Things look quite different in Big Buck Bunny. It's still a technical masterpiece, actually they've bumped the graphics quality up a notch or two with fur, grass and all such natural phenomena. But the bigger difference is in storytelling. This movie tells a simple story in easy to follow manner, with loads of humour. Some might think that it underestimates the mental capacity of viewers, but I digress. It's nice entertainment.
Other interesting thing from Blender Institute is the project Apricot, which is creating an open source game using Blender, CrystalSpace and several other related tools. I've tried the released versions of these tools, and from what I saw at LGM, this project has made huge improvements to them. Already with the release versions, you can edit stuff like models, textures and actions between the player and scenery in Blender and export all that to the game engine. With the development version project Apricot has, it's possible to actually have the game engine running in a blender window while you can edit game data in other windows.