Valve’s Free Movie-Making Tool Now Available To Download

Valve, the creator of game franchises such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life and Portal,  just announced the open beta release of Source Filmmaker – Valve’s in-house movie-making software is now available to download.

Source Filmmaker works from inside the Source engine and its been used by Valve to create all its animated short films, including those in the “Meet the Team” series of Team Fortress 2 shorts. Because the SFM uses the same assets as the game, anything that exists in the game can be used in the movie, and vice versa. By utilizing the hardware rendering power of a modern gaming PC, the SFM allows storytellers to work in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get environment so they can iterate in the context of what it will feel like for the final audience.

Below you can see a short clip created with SFM…

Source Filmmaker system requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 / Vista (Windows 7 64 bit suggested)
  • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
  • Memory: 2GB (4 GB suggested)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 200 series card or better, or AMD Radeon 3000 series or better (NVIDIA GeForce 400 series or AMD Radeon 5000 series preferred)
  • Monitor: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 suggested)
  • Hard Drive: At least 15 GB of Space
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible USB headset with mic (suggested)

Download the SFM

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Blender – Fully integrated 3D graphics creation suite

You can get an idea of Blender’s capabilities by listing some of the projects that have used it. For example, the makers of ‘Spiderman 2’ used Blender for 3D and character animation; it was used for the special effects in the film ‘Vendredi ou un autre Jour’, movies ‘Elephants Dream’, ‘Big Buck Bunny’, ‘Sintel’ and ‘Plumiferos’ a 3D CG feature film were made in Blender; as was the 3D game ‘Yo Frankie!’

Blender comes from the not-for-profit Blender Foundation. It is open-source, free to download and use but requires a considerable investment of time and effort from the serious user and rewards her with the flexible software and skills to model in 2 and 3D, animate, render and process images and videos to an award-winning professional standard. It includes related functionality: a game engine, fonts, motion capture and many, many more.

A good place to start is to become familiar with the interface which has been reworked in the recent version. Support comes in the way of texts, models and tutorials from the official website. A CMS gathers background information and lists many websites and groups maintained by Blender followers, (Blender Art Magazine, Blender Nation, and so on). If that is not enough a shelf of specialist commercial books offers guidance through the Blender product.

Read full review | Download Blender

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Keep the stuff that you love right on your desktop

Widgets… an easy and fun way to manage your daily activities. They can be used for a variety of functions, including alarm clocks, weight loss guides, news aggregators and many more. Of course, you may need a system that can help you manage all of your widgets, which is where Yahoo! Widget Engine comes in.

One of the major advantages of the service is its impressive graphics, which not only look nice but also provide a clear environment for displaying your widgets. Users can also enjoy a number of different skins, allowing you to completely customize your widget engine to suit your own personality.

The various widgets are all run from one program, the Yahoo! Widget Engine, although when they are opened they each appear as individual windows on your computer. Although this makes it easier to focus on one particular widget at a time, it does mean that widgets can soon begin to clog up your computer and take up space. It’s really just a matter of personal preference – if you don’t mind having a number of widgets open at once, then it is a good system to use.

Read full review | Download Yahoo! Widget Engine

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