On Wednesday Valve Software announced the upcoming release of Source Filmmaker (SFM), a storytelling tool the studio developed inside the Source Engine to create all its animated short films. The SFM condenses the production pipeline of an animation studio down onto a single gaming PC, Valve said.
"The goal of the SFM was to develop a story telling tool that allowed us to create computer animated movies more efficiently, and with greater creative freedom," said Bay Raitt, designer at Valve. "Over the past five years, we've produced more than 50 animated shorts with the SFM."
Raitt added that the Source Filmmaker tool will allow Valve's community to create their own movies in Team Fortress 2 and in their own Source SDK-created mods. Currently the movie-making tool is in closed beta, but is expected to be made available later on this year via Stream free of charge.
To celebrate the announcement of the SFM, Valve also released the ninth and final short in the "Meet the Team" series today, "Meet the Pyro." The video caps off a three-day "Pyromania" event taking place over at the http://www.teamfortress.com/pyromania/ website.
Earlier this month, Shane Acker, the director responsible for "9" (2009), reportedly teamed up with Ireland's Brown Bag Films to create the post-apocalyptic film "Deep." The team is using Valve's Source engine to cut production costs and to "amp up" the project's overall flexibility.
The Source-powered movie will be produced by Brown Bag's Darragh O'Connell and Gregory R. Little, who heads Brown Bag's LA production office. According to O'Connell, Valve's tools and technologies will provide Acker and Brown Bag real-time rendering and editing, simplified character animation and economical lighting,
It's presumed that Brown Bag is using SFM to create the flick, but we've sent over an email to Valve to verify nonetheless.