Production

Cosmos Laundromat – 2nd Cycle and beyond

20 August, 2015 |  57 Comments | by Ton Roosendaal

Now the pilot is out I’d like to do a short recap about the past period.

First of all: thanks a lot for having helped out in the past year. All of the data of the movie is being uploaded to Blender Cloud this month; if you don’t have a cloud account you can purchase all the studio data (and tutorials, extras) on a digital hardcopy – DVDs, Blurays or data-card.

Reviews for the pilot are blazing positive sofar, especially by animation/film makers themselves. The visit to Siggraph last week was a huge success for that reason. People from Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, ILM and Imageworks dropping by on the booth to share their compliments. On top of that, we were invited to screen the movie for the employees at Dreamworks and Pixar. Heart warming that!

The most heard criticism was about the singe F-word and the somewhat disturbing opening scene. Our film was always meant for a more mature audience (age 13+, or similar to “PG-13” for USA), but to more clearly warn viewers we’ve added this on the youtube page clearly now. We’ll check on an updated version where this is part of the opening credit as well.

The future plans – for sofar I know now – are as follows:

  • Here at Blender Institute we need a break. We need a bit of time to have all the dust and work stress settled, it’s easier to evaluate possibilities from a more distant POV. Shouldn’t need more than 3-6 months though.
  • We started work on a short cartoon “Glass Half”, and we will make a special Xmas Caminandes episode with the Llama. Is fun to do, and valuable to share via our cloud.
  • In the coming months we’ll evaluate cloud subscriptions and hardcopy sales. We haven’t actively promoting it much yet. Sales is still lower than previously for Sintel or ToS. We have over 1750 active cloud subscribers now, which is good but still below the minimal level to keep multiple developers employed, continue with our studio projects and to plan a 2nd Cosmos Laundromat episode. Our target is to get > 2500 members this year.
  • The 2nd ‘Cycle’ (the purple jungle) has been written, designed and mostly storyboarded already. We might well decide to pick it up to finish it ourselves. It was meant to be part of the pilot anyway. The sooner we reach the 2500 members we sooner we can start on it (and/or announce it).
  • It is possible (a bit unlikely) that some party will approach us to fund the entire feature film. If that happens we’ll discuss this internally and with the studio partners we already gathered.
  • I personally don’t like it much to risk another big crowdfunding for this film… but also that we can review in the coming months.
  • We also announced (an open discussion) to schedule a massive Blender 2.8 project – more focus on workflow and finish the pipeline topics. This can be very well aligned with projects here in the studio, but preferably with not too much stressful targets (that’s why we do funny cartoons first!).

My own preference would be to make Cosmos Laundromat an episodic adventure series, a ‘relay movie’ where we hand over the job each time to another studio to make another world. Story writing and general direction would still be kept centrally though.
Each episode could be roughly written first, and then we just pick the best pitch from a Blender studio in our network. Budget would come from Blender Cloud – we’d better double the subscriber count then. But… it then can stay a real open movie at least. Our movie!

-Ton-


57 Responses

  1. greek10 says:

    I agree that that was totally unnessassary and it persaonally ruined almost the whole pilot for me.

    also, I couldn’t figure out the moral or point of it, and it didn’t make much sense, if someone could explain that that would be nice

    • As you might have learned from all of the previous short productions here – we value originality and creative freedom a lot. If you can’t understand choices made by film makers or artists, try to imagine (or respect) that others do appreciate it.

      • Darlan Serra says:

        Ton good response, people just really do not understand the concept of short film , always enjoyed these short film .
        There will always be hatters to disparage a labor of sweat love and total dedication .

        Thank Ton and all the Blender Foundation Team

      • Chris Hamilton says:

        I can imagine that others don’t care one way or the other, but it is delusional to think that you can expect someone to appreciate language that marginalizes the sanctity of human sexuality who appreciates and glorifies that sanctity. Perhaps you should try to respect and consider those who do. I urge you to re-release this with a simple edit instead of warding off others with a warning and abandon your double standards. It is fascinating to me that an organization that emphasizes the value of originality and creative freedom can be so attached to un-creative and un-original language that adds nothing to the production and alienates the very artists and creative clientele their organization seeks to support.

        • Angus Hollands says:

          To me this represents a deep cultural difference between those who complain, such as yourself, and those who do not. In the UK, for example, “fuck” is a relatively acceptable phrase to feature in everyday speech, with those that we are familiar. It is often used colloquially in a wide range of language, due to its versatility. It is also not uncommon to hear such words within film dialogue. They create a sense of familiarity, where perfect dialogue often does not.

          With regards to your specific reply, it seems bizarre to take such a definition of the word, to imply that it violates the sanctity of human sexuality. This interpretation requires that the language be used in this manner, which it is not. The interpretation of language is heavily dependent upon the context within which it is used.

        • Jinn says:

          Chris. Your whole comment is ironically on the line where an “opinion” ends and a “censoreship” starts. The use of “fuck” word doest killl originality/creativity, but the people who “urge” the author to change his work are. Sadly, pople like you are the one who are un-creative and un-original. Through the history, its always the same unoriginal story about a human who has to destroy or modify the work of others just because of his unsatisfied expectancies, self righteousness, self approved ideals and morals. There is no problem in having and expressing an opinion. Problem is when you cross the border and do not allow other people have their opinion on the same subject as you are.

          • oink says:

            the fact that you give the word “fuck” so much attention, and not the fact that this ship is attempting suicide , thats what bothers me,
            its a PG 13, do you think “fuck” is more than an attempt suicide ?

            there is something really deformed in modern society moral values.

    • Brendan Orr says:

      Greek10: I would say the moral point of the first portion of the short is to show Franck’s personal vector as it were. He’s a sheep and he doesn’t have much to live for and as much Victor arrives in an attempt to dissuade the forlorn quadruped of his early escape from life. The overarching point then (and this isn’t from reading into any pre-production work) is that there is more to life than what one views from the point of view. However, this series takes that thought into a much more literal narrative.

      I will await to see how Franck progresses in his…transformation? ;)

  2. Chad Gleason says:

    Oh look, more debate about the use of language. Yay. It seems that horrible diseased gooseberry thread on blenderartists has already spread it’s virus here. Awesome… I can’t believe the internet sometimes.

  3. snolg says:

    First off, congratulations on finishing the pilot. I consider it first rate. The visuals caught me immediately, the voice acting was very well done, the music fitted the mood, and after watching it twice it kind of reminded me of a plot I read some years ago (I looked it up to be a certain short story by Ambrose Bierce, but I’m very curious how this will develop).

    Personally, I find it a risky plan to put so much emphasis on that cloud. I realize that a regular income is better than sporadic donations. However, who’s going to sign up for the Blender cloud? Blender developers and regular users, I suppose. Will they be enough? Will future projects, then, primarily be done for developers and users of Blender, not for admirers of cool stories and feature films?
    Speaking strictly for me, I am not a Blender user, and for me, the cloud subscription is just too much money for something I can’t get anything real out of. I would, however, chip in some money to fund projects such as this, or generally to support free software.

    And lastly, I just wished people would shut up about that f-word already and get over it. It’s in almost every comment, as if something terrible and unheard of had happend. Which it has not.

    • Most of the Blender Institute income was for book and dvd sales, not the donations. (Donations usually go to the foundation, for development and some administration costs). With dvds we managed to pay for 4 shorts, but we noticed that this model is declining.
      Having all the data online + smart online services seems to me a good way to go.

    • Thomas says:

      Subscribing to blender cloud was worth it to me, for all the great training resources that you can watch & download; but also for a decent 3d modeling software, you would pay as much as or more than a cloud sub. And you get blender for free: everyone does- I was glad to contribute to that. That being said, I may not buy another sub anytime soon- just not in my budget. The open-source, free to all; & developed and sustained by people who love blender model is my favorite thing about this awesome piece of software. I would love to continue the support- but with smaller donations (: . IMO small donations from large numbers of people is the way to go. Of course some people, esp those who use blender professionaly, can afford to give more. Yep.

  4. Another Fellow says:

    Dropping my (unsolicited) two cents

    The F-word? I felt it was appropriate for one reason and one reason only: Franck is suicidal. He doesn’t care about how anyone feels about him. Also, if you listen you can hear the hesitation before he uses the word, like he wants to add an extra emphasis on how hard it was to tie the rope with his hooves and sort of convince Victor to just leave him be (but half-assed) (Great voice acting, Piere Bokma is a legend). Fact is though, that could have been expressed with a lot of other words, but then it would not honestly reflect his emotional situation.

    Relay movie? If it means what I think it means, it’s not my preference. This movie seems to be set up with one director’s clear vision. I don’t want the movie to suffer under conflicting visions. That would be a horrible waste of a good movie. I have never seen a movie with scenes that were directed by different directors that did not feel awkward in it’s presentation. Now I am speaking from my experiences in watching live action movies, maybe this works better in animation.

  5. Benjamin Tolputt says:

    Firstly, congratulations on the release and the reception. Dreamworks & Pixar asking you guys by for a screening to other employees must have really made your week… or even month :)

    On the maturity warning, thanks from a parent. Not going to argue the subject here, just express gratitude you acted the way you did in response.

    On the subject of future funding, would it be possible to get a breakdown of how much Cloud money (as a rough %) is intended for Blender development, how much for improving the Cloud itself through new features & new tutorials, and how much is intended to fund other studios completing the CL dream?

    Thanks again and great work on the film. The story is not everybody’s fare but I think everyone agrees that it looks amazing!

    • Goal is 70% content, 25% development, 5% overhead. At times, especially in 2014, it was more of 40% development… how it turns out in average the future will learn.

      • Benjamin Tolputt says:

        Is it possible to break that “70% content” up into Cloud features & tutorials vs funding of further CL films?

        I hate to be a pain here, but I was somewhat explicit in splitting those two up in my query. Aggregating the two into an amorphous “content” category feels like a (perhaps unintentional) sidestep of the actual question I asked.

      • Karlis says:

        I would be happier if 70% would be development and 30% everything else. Ok.. at least 50% and 50% . Isn’t software development the main interest for everyone here..? At least those who subscribe to cloud I think must be Blender users.

  6. DJ says:

    The pilot is great and I look forward to 2.8
    Also, it’s nice to hear that large studios are taking notice. Just don’t let those studios get TOO cozy with Blender coders and animators. It was sad to see the one rendering coder taken away recently.

    • marc says:

      Taken away is a hard word. He was offered a great carreer chance, giving him a safe workplace. This is something blender is not yet able to do, because of the tides of donations.
      It was totally right for him (Brecht) to go (to SolidAngle from ArnoldRenderer), although it certainly was sad.
      I don’t think there is reason to be angry with anyone of this great talent pool to take a maybe-once-in-a-lifetime chance if it happens to appear.

  7. Curtis Rhoads says:

    Different sections of a movie, directed by different directors can work. An example would be the animated film HEAVY METAL. ***WARNING*** If you are offended by foul language and nudity, –DO NOT– watch HEAVY METAL.

    If this is what Ton has in mind, I could see it happening and being able to be pulled off.

    Another possibility for a “relay movie” would be to let different studios animate the different sections, but with the same director over seeing what each studio was doing. Thus you end up with ‘single vision’ for the film, but different people working on it. Which is kind of how VFX is handled in live action movies.

  8. grafixsuz says:

    (Long post warning)

    Thanks for the update Ton. I can clearly see that this project has taken a bit of a toll on you. I believe since I was a heavy critique when the promo came out that you have had to tackle way more BS over this movie than any other till now. But I take my hat off to you and the director, writers, storyboard artists, animators, staff, etc.. for what you actually presented. The proof is in the fact that you have been shown, even if not formally, the respect due from studios whose teams are into the hundreds and the budgets for one movie is equivalent to 10 years worth of funding for the BF and BI combined.

    I am proud to be funding the blender cloud site even though I have not used it nor downloaded anything from it yet. It is for me, the least I can do for you guys who are giving to us what would otherwise costs $$$$ for free. Anyone who uses blender should be shamed if they do not at least sign up even for the 3 month gig, or donate directly to the foundation on a regular basis. I am living minimum wage, I have a family to provide for just like anyone else. It is tight for me, but it is the least I can do for you and the devs working on the project. Most people in wealthier countries probably spend more on coffee than they do donating to the project that helps them put food on the table.

    If gooseberry cannot be completed, as was first portrayed when the project started, then drop where it fell and leave it there! You have obviously lost a lot of steam due to recent criticisms. Do not get into flogging a dead horse for the sake of it. Move on. This is a learning experience where many things just did not go right. Better planning and maybe consultations with the wider independent movie making industry will probably serve you well, as to how these big projects can be better handled. I sure it has been said. But watching from the outside, this project did not feel at all ready to have started when it did. If you want to make a feature film. Write it, promote it to as many outside sources, and work out sponsors for it way before it gets given to the wider blender community for the community funding. This community is somewhat different from those who were around in 2002 when things opened up. (I wasn’t a funding member then, as I only found out about blender after the source was released.) The current community is mostly made up of people who only want free, free, free, all the bloody time. And scream blue murder if they are asked to donate. But this is also a major side affect of the FOSS world. If you need big time funding I am sad to think that you just may not get it anymore from the very people using this wonderful software.

    Pixar movies are years in the planning even before they start producing it. And even then, they seek outside funding from major sponsors as that is the only way they can be sure to secure the needed $$$ to produce it, even though the major tasks are done. Blenders projects continually feel work in progress all the time. And a lot of the time the developing targets are not met, even though promised. Which for me is neither here nor there, but a sticking point for many.

    I loved this movie from a viewing standpoint, I have kids but will not show them this as it is not appropriate for them, which is cool. From an artists point of view, I loved this movie especially how well it was animated and how well the talent of each artist on your team was evident in the final project. I wish you all the best on whatever you decide to do.

    Grafixsuz

  9. Bart says:

    I really hope cloud subscriptions and sales will go up this year, to secure blender developement and open movie projects like Cycle 2 of Cosmos Laundromat!

    Maybe the emphasis with the blender cloud should be extra on that it is about supporting blender, and second that you also get access to the greatest content. This to persuade people who get resources from for example youtube, but still want to support blender.

    • lapineige says:

      I hope too.
      It’s important to remind people about the cloud sometimes, like Ton did before. That works, because after sometimes people forget about it.
      Maybe we may need also some more tutorial content, because there was month without anything new, so people may want to stop they subscription.

      • Thomas says:

        If you learn everything in those tutorials, you’ll be able to make some tutorials of your own.

  10. Carlo says:

    How much of the blender development in the gooseberry branch, made it into trunk? Will there be a focus to get as many of these features trunk ready?

  11. George says:

    Spending your time imagining what people would do to you in your back is one of the quickest ways to develop metal illness. Please think twice before posting you comments.

  12. Steve Cypert says:

    I’ve read that Disney funds a few independent companies they see value in. Perhaps they’d consider providing a boost to the Blender Foundation.

  13. MartianR says:

    Like a few of my favourite songs, I didn’t initially click with Cosmos Laundromat, but it did reward multiple viewings to really enjoy the richness and quality of it all. Great achievement creatively and technically. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  14. Richard says:

    What I understand about frank outcome was an angel came to save him from
    totally damnation and given him a second chances in life. The clouds represent
    the cleanse of rebirth that when frank realize he may have a better life if he don’t F@#$$% ck up again. I’m totally blown for the quality of the render in this film.
    let remember blender is a independent entity they can use any words as long it fit the story arc moreover, these fx and animation companies had render service in rated R and over rated films,so move on …..

  15. Casey says:

    I want to thank those responsible for the production of this pilot. I have been a blender advocate for years and seeing something so complete and polished is a total inspiration. The quality is nothing less than remarkable. Keep up the good work Ton and company, I can’t wait for the second cycle. :)

  16. As someone who´s been very cynical about this movie (I was fairly disappointed with earlier open projects from the Blender institute), in retrospect I feel you mostly hit the mark. Lighting and animation especially was world class, and looking at the short as the first episode, it´s easy to be forgiving about story development. The rest is just nitpicking :) Congratulations!

    I will personally jump on the cloud bandwagon because of this (as soon as I bought my new computer :P), but I would really support a crowdfunding to improve physics in blender. It´s a mess right now, and looking at the 2.8 workflow project, I fear more half-functioning features… make that year of development worth it! ;)

  17. Alexa Hill says:

    Let me understand cause I see only positive comments and adscomments overflowing enthusiasm here. I was here some days ago and there were much more posts, some of them polite and not disturbing at all.
    If someone dislikes or criticizes CL, or has a bad opinion about this article, he gets moderated?

    • I have removed a couple of posts that were clearly meant to escalate the foul language discussions – or to spread poison and doubts about our intentions. That’s all. People who support us are being listened to carefully.

      (Check the original posting when we released the film for much more crits, this is a new blog post :)

  18. Dan says:

    I don’t get all the fuss about the F word in the short, in the context it was said it was hilarious and echoed exactly what I thought the character might say.
    The issue seems to be that people always assume that animation is only for a family audience, but that’s simply not the case, especially with a movie that’s dealing with a depressed character.

    I liked it and thought the whole thing was excellent.

  19. Timothy Liddy says:

    I would just like to say thank you for all the hard work that went into such a creative, and wonderfully done, 1st cycle. I cannot believe all of the ridiculousness about various different topics. Bottom line, it’s a wonderful film, the work that was done was amazing, Blender has come SO FAR, in just the last few years alone. I have watch this several times, and plan to do so many more times. Every screening will bring out additional things that I missed in the previous viewings. It’s a beautifully crafted piece, touching, and well thought out. For the people out there that don’t understand it, I would suggest, just try enjoying it for all of the effort that went into it, the beauty of the characters, scenery and dialogue and music, all of which are top notch. I think a lot of the people that are complaining, have absolutely no clue, what it takes to make a successful animated piece, such at this one. I would be very interested to see their work, since they are so keen to complain and gripe about this one. Instead of being supportive in either a financial, creative, or other way they choose to complain. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend that has become epidemic on the internet, as of late. I’ve been using the internet since it’s inception, yes, I’m a somewhat older man (52), but what started out to be a place of mostly supportive and constructive comments, and critiques, has turned into nothing but a negative free for all. I guess it is just a sign of the times, but it does make those of us who have been around the entire time, very sad to see what used to be a great and wonderful medium, become what it has. Obviously, this is simply my opinion, and I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of negative comments about what I’ve said. But that’s just come to be expected these days! Much to my disappointment.
    Timothy Liddy

  20. Marcelo says:

    I loved the CL for both technical and artistic matters. The story was very puzzling/attractive and I hated when it “finished” as I wanted to watch more & more. If I had a choice I would skip the smoking act (despite that the flame had awesome look ). Not because I am against smoking but because it looked more “commercial”; the tobacco industry has sponsored characters smoking all over the places after the explicit ads were cutoff. So my brain associated the CL production with this mother F…rs. Anyways… congrats to BI and for the entire team.

  21. Taiwo Folu says:

    Insanely amazing! I wouldn’t change a thing. Please keep up the good work.

  22. Ret says:

    €20 is a bit too much, so let me try to contribute in my own way. Have some fan art: http://fav.me/553284923

  23. Martin says:

    I would consider subscribing to the cloud when the money would go solely into the development of Blender and not in creating movies.

    Best,
    Martin

    • Thomas says:

      Much of the best development in blender is done in the process of putting it to use. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  24. Bill says:

    I think the point is being missed about the “controversial” aspects of the movie. It’s irrelevant if it’s right/wrong/artistic/challenging/interesting. It’s simply a relatively poor business decision to limit the reach of this movie, for any reason. Why do it?

  25. Carlos Ossa says:

    I don’t want to repeat anything al ready said, the movie was awesome, I really want to watch what happens next, and not just because i’m a blenderhead, but because the whole thing seems new in a way.

    Please, tell us more about the screenings in pixar and dreamworks when it happens (maybe through blendernation), and what people there think about it, very interesting experiment, i believe.

  26. Great work! Thank you very much!

    I am glad that new episode of llama cartoon will be soon!

  27. Owldude000 says:

    The film was terrific, with the most interesting characters and the best animation of any Blender Foundation film yet. I can’t wait for future cycles of the laundromat, and while I think it could be cool for the various studios to tackle each world with its own unique style, I think the story needs one primary director/overseer. A lot of people were confused about the story of this film, although it was easier for me to accept it as a beautiful introduction to a brilliant narrative. However, if the remaining cycles are treated as individual escapades rather than a cohesive story arc, a lot of people will be disappointed.

    As for the language controversy, I think you should feel the freedom to do as you choose in that manner. Having followed this project since its beginning, I was prepared to mute my sound when the language came along. Nevertheless, while I try to avoid excessive language in movies, Franck’s use of it was quite believable in my opinion. In an adult movie like this one, you should strive for realism as much as possible. As long as you’re not those filmmakers that drop F-bombs all over the place past the point of realism, just because they think it’s cool. =)

  28. blender_home_user says:

    Cosmos Laundromat is awesome! I was sceptical after watching the trailer but Pilot proved me wrong. It’s such a beautiful experience.

    PS And the F-bomb was hilarious! :D

  29. oink says:

    what was bothering me the most, is the fact i couldnt hear not a single “mahahahHAHAHA,dhahahahhHAHAHA”
    which is a must when cartooning a sheep.

    its like a naked sheep.

    its … like a tofu chicken,
    its like hmm i donno,

  30. Jonathon holmes says:

    Dear Blender Friends,

    First, may I say that every day I appreciate the hard work and dedication of both yourselves and the Blender community.
    I truly count myself blessed to be able to use such an empowering tool to express my personal creativity, as small as that may be.

    However, after watching all the short films, I have found myself not entranced by any of them, confused yes, but not engaged.
    The “F” word is, in my opinion, not a creative expression, but obviously a crude expletive commonly used as a substitute for wit.
    A film (short or otherwise) should be a medium for a story, but inserting crude swearing simply focusses attention on the word, not the message.
    Also, why don’t you guys make a happy film for once, BBB came close, but there is enough gloom in the world without having to be overtly shoving it in our faces.
    Also, you guys seem to have glass jaws when it comes to criticism, and this is a bad flaw to have when you are trying to gather supporters.
    Remember, a film is an experience, not a moralistic propaganda session.
    In all sincerity, fire all your writers, and get someone onboard who is not dressed in Goth ideas from head to toe.
    If I want to be depressed or sworn at, I can simply turn on the TV news.
    Pixar do not make depressing movies, I can imagine the comments out of earshot after seeing your latest depression fest.
    Learn, or go the way of the Dinosaurs, you are not that unique, and put on a leather jacket to cover that thin skin.
    Having a foul mouth is not creative, my local drug dealer can give you some tips if you think it is.
    Jon

  31. Thomas says:

    The visuals melted my eyeballs. Pretty colors. Grass, sky, fur, tree bark, tornado: all beautiful to see. I’m sure that the technical wizardry that went into all this was equally beautiful. Good Job.

  32. Just brilliant! I am over the moon about the technical and artistic ability of the software and the artists (using the term in its wider meaning to include programmers, musicians, riggers, writers, actors, and all the rest).

    This was totally worth subscribing to. I wish I could contribute more money and some of my abilities too. Maybe one day. Until then, you can expect my continued subscription for as long as I can stay out of the cosmic laundromat myself.

    On the “fuck” — I didn’t even notice it. If not for the mention of it here I probably would have continued to be unaware of it. It’s just an ordinary part of speech these days.

    On the suicide attempt — I think it’s good to acknowledge some people feel this way. I like that it is shown non-judgmentally, yet has a humorous edge to it, letting us see how pointless suicide really is. I liked the contrast of Franck running from the colored whirlpool after wanting to kill himself. Nice contrast.

    I just gotta come back to the visuals — the mind-numbing, jaw-dropping visuals. So much about this had me drooling. Franck’s wool, Victor’s beard, the wind blowing the grass and the wool, the backlit wool, the colored clouds and the lighting from them. Just amazing! And the animation! Holy cow! The animation is so natural! Wow. I’m lost for words.

    Keep it up folks. You rule!

    Thank you for letting me be a tiny part of this, even if it was just contributing subscription money.

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