"Lisl and the Lorlok" 1st American Feature to Utilize Blender Exclusively
“I discovered Blender, an open-source 3D animation package available online for free. So eighteen months after filming, I was resolved to sit down and animate the creature myself. I went to the official Blender site and posted one question on their forum, something like ‘Hey, I need to animate a creature for my feature - could someone help me out with some pointers?’ Roger Wickes responded, asking for the script. I sent him a copy and he came back with, essentially, ‘I like this story! I'll do it for you.’ Turns out Roger does the tutorials on how to use Blender!”
“I was drawn to the project primarily because of the shooting script,” said Wickes, who lives in Atlanta. “I thought it was both a good storyline and metaphor, and the scripted shots were very well thought-out and Hitchcock-esque. I get lots of requests to work on projects, and have to be careful that I spend my time on the ones that will pay off. After reading Brian's script, I felt that I could really get behind the project and do my best to make it successful. The second reason was the chance to work on a full-length feature film so that I could apply my animation and compositing skills to an American independent feature using Blender, which was a first for both myself and Blender.”
For the uninitiated, Blender is a software application for animation and visual effects that anyone can download and run on their PC for free. Any video that they produce is royalty-free. The Blender Foundation supports and directs the development of Blender at www.blender.org and their goal is to make great free no-strings-attached tools and content for artists (and film makers) to use in producing video and imagery of all kinds.
“Blender has a huge international following,” said Wickes. “I have used it to create animation and VFX for TV commercials and professional games.” He also wrote Foundation Blender Compositing, a book that walks users through using Blender's nodebased compositor and non-linear editor for doing VFX work and assembling shots. He also wrote a complete course in Blender for Lynda.com.
Blender has been used to produce music videos, shorts, TV commercials. It’s also been used on feature-length films in other countries. Prior to “Lisl”, it had not been used as the sole animation package in a full-length feature film produced in the US. “This was an opportunity for me to participate in another first in my career, and hopefully pave the way to get Blender used in more American features.”
Falling Sky Entertainment, the production company behind the award-winning science fiction film The Man From Earth, produced “Lisl” with Fischer’s Witness Pictures.