Samuli -- of the Iron-Sky -film -- mentions (3.40 here) their used software:

  1. adobe.com, Adobe Creative Suite 5
  2. autodesk.com, Maya
  3. newtek.com, Lightwave 3D 10
  4. renderpal.com, RenderPal
  5. thefoundry.co.uk, Nuke

Now I am total newbie here but I would like to know whether it is possible to replace the software with some open-source alternatives? Look they cost a lot of capital to even trial so trying to find some good open-source alternatives. It would be cool to engage into project which does not require massive capital boundary to start from the participants. Suggestions highly appreciated!

4 Answers 4


To make your vector artwork into a playable movie file, it will have to be rendered, and another term for rendering is rasterizing. For example, in printing, a single image is rasterized when a vector image of a page is converted to the tiny dots the printer produces on the page.

Digital movies exist in pixel-based raster formats, so each frame of the vector animation must be converted into a pixel-based representation of that frame, for each frame in the movie. Most software today uses the word render. Rendering will also apply some form of video compression to the resulting movie file, you'll want to experiment with different codecs to see what kind of render quality they offer.

You are trying to identify a 'workflow', a path you can take to make your project, that uses open source software. The programs that have been brought up are very good, and could be the tools for the whole workflow, for many projects. You may also need some kind of video editing software. I'm not sure if there's a good open source video editor, or if Blender allows you to edit.

You should proceed by figuring out your production workflow, and looking for tools that can fulfill that workflow.

I would like to suggest Celtx as an excellent open source script writing tool.


The production group you refer to has a team of 20 guys ("no girls") and 40 computers. Do you think there is an open source for 20 CGI professionals and 40 computers too? This is a very real production company with a budget to get things done. They have created enough attention to fund the project 'Iron Sky'. No easy task.

What you are asking is like this, you see a beautiful Lamborghini Murciélago and want to know if you can make one of these with free tools and labor. By the way, what you are asking costs way more than a Lamborghini Murciélago. I would say that you have a very ambitious mind. However, there are no free open source tools that can do all the things these guys are doing and I would include the skilled labor of these 20 guys and the cost of 40 64 bit i7 machines as well.

Even if it were possible to replace all this great software with a free open-source version, where are you going to get 20 skilled and seasoned artists with 40 computers to do this work for you? I can't stress the importance of who the people are that run the programs and make the editing decisions. Software will come and go, but the imagination and talent of a skilled team is priceless and timeless.

  • Please, leave rhetoric away and answer q. One can use pen-and-paper, Gimp, InkScape, ImageMagick (all open-source) -- and do simple short demos -- but then the next technical puzzle is to find the filming tools where you can move the camera and make the nice vector-graphics etc work together. We have currently everything in SVG -format so it should be easy to scale and change things later in the production, layer -stuff. Also I have no idea what the heck the rendering actually means and which tools to use for it, I hope some more talented op could addres this with genuine answer.
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:29
  • Rendering is the process by which software turns zillions of decisions into a video output. For example, I just 'rendered' a 15 second logo, and it took 15 minutes. Rendering time is dependent on how complicated the tasks are and how much CPU and Memory horsepower you have under the hood.
    – filzilla
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:46
  • Yes but where is the line between rendering and morphing for example? The term "rendering" feels extremely broad term to me, more about morphing here with ImageMagick.
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:50
  • Morphing is an effect, so is a cross fade, so is adding spherical distortion, and so on, these are assigned in the editing cycle and then RENDERED! I get that you have never used any video editing software yet? Is that correct? You will see the 'light at the end of the tunnel' once you try even the simplest editor, e.g. iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker. Dabble, get your feet wet so you know what the heck 'render' means.
    – filzilla
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:55
  • Please, stop patronizing -- please, be as informative as possible. Look I want that even the dumnest person on this planet can read this thread, perhaps it is me but there is still the question.
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 23:02

The very simple answer is yes - all these tools have open source equivalents...after a fashion. But they haven't had as much development, as there is less money going into them - so you may need to work out alternative ways to create some effects...

and that will take more time for skilled people - which costs more than using tools

So I reckon @filzilla actually has the right practical answer, despite the answer really being "yes you can"


You do need to keep in mind that, there is an entire production team behind that movie, with some money to start.

However, a lot of this can be accomplished in Blender.

Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

Full movies have even been made on Blender, its awesome. You can check them out on Youtube.

enter image description here

GIMP is a great tool for image editing too

  • ...yes but Gimp is a general tool (not doing the vector -graphic) and in Film -production it is pretty essential to use vector -formats such as SVG so if you make a small mistake so it is easier and faster to fix it later (scale things to different things etc). Anyway +1 for the right direction. Is there some camera mode in Blender btw?
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:43
  • 1
    @hhh Yes there is. Blender has some awesome camera tools, and full options for animation, as well as exporting your videos. Click the youtube link to see some awesome stuff thats 100% blender Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 22:46
  • Any idea whether there is some built-in demos with Blender to trial? (Trying Blender with Wacom Intuous 4 and it is freaking cool -- double nicer than with mouse :)
    – hhh
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 23:05
  • 1
    @hhh blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-261/… Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 23:06

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