• Adrian Lopez Valle

Moving From Source Filmmaker...

I've always known that someday I would be making this announcement. It was only a question of when. As you can see, that day is now! You've guessed it. I'm finally moving forward from Source Filmmaker!

I think now would be a great opportunity to explain the absence and length of time between my latest major project and have proper engagement in terms of progress. As some may know, my personal life would be one of those reasons, but the other has more to do with experimentation and pushing boundaries.

On September 27, 2015, I've animated my first Source Filmmaker video of the now cancelled, "Twilight To The Future". While this may not seem like much to others, it was my first step towards professional animation. Five years later, I've released two major projects and I still view Source Filmmaker as a great piece of animation software, and boy do I know a lot about the software. Prior to SFM, I was a former "modder" for the Source Engine, which gave me an advantage to the learning process.

But it's time for me to do reality checks and without a certain doubt, my experience watching Incredibles 2 in the cinema was one of them. This alone made me realize the reality that Source Filmmaker is brutally obsolete. It's a 32-bit program running from a video game engine developed in the early 2000's and its frequent crashes for tedious reasons such as memory overloads and too many assets and lights is a pain. Lighting has to be cheated as the software is simply too old to produce the dynamic lighting that we have today. The software is, at best case scenario, in the middle between stable and unstable.

Is it possible to make a full-length hour movie out of Source Filmmaker? Of course it is! Would I want to make one with the software? Absolutely not.

Where will I go?

Renderman & V-Ray are without a doubt graphically far superior to Source Filmmaker. This is software that uses traditional ray-traced 3D rendering which will instantly knock SFM out of the park. However, these two have a big problem. They took a lot of time. If I was a major animation studio, this wouldn't be a problem. The majority of the time however, I'm a three to one man team and I don't have the budget to have multiple computers rendering frames at the speed of light. So where will I go? Only one place.

Unreal Engine 4

I've noticed attraction has gained for Unreal for the past few months from fellow animators. Given that Unreal Engine now has RTX support, I finally decided to give it a shot. After weeks of experimenting, I finally realized how much I missed out on and finally see the true potential this software carries. The best part is this new workflow will have me working in Maya, which was something I've always wanted to do to improve in my animation skills.

Unlike Source Filmmaker, Unreal is taking full advantage of my $2,000 hardware and produces beautiful modern graphics with real time ray-tracing. Rendering is almost like I was watching the film in normal speed. It is jaw-dropping fast. Unreal has finally given me the opportunity to focus more on my characters and story, with lighting, RTX, and a lot of the technical features are automatically being done for me. The large sum of work and hours I spent in SFM, Unreal does within a few clicks.

When will this process start?

I've got to finish what I started. Luigi Meets A Combine Elite and another SFM project has to be completed first, before I move onto UE4 for good. The overall agenda is to get SFM out of the picture for major projects. However, series like "SFM Fails" will still continue. I don't see the need for me to use big resources for small-scale videos, so Source Filmmaker Fails won't be going anywhere. However, the channel is being re-branded and it will be moving away from Source Filmmaker as a whole to bring forth diversity in my content. The content itself will now be the central point and not what its created with.

To summarize it all, I'm working hard to make the transition from SFM to Unreal/Maya for my upcoming films. SFM Fails will continue to live on and I will most likely being the transition after the release of Luigi Meets A Combine Elite.

It's been a great five years, Source Filmmaker. UE4 is now my future and you bet I'll be looking forward to it.


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