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What exactly is it that we're proposing will make up the software side of this project? Simple. A complete suite of utilities which, when used together, will act as a complete virtual film studio. Yes, this is ambitious, but it's almost irrelevent as to how close to the goal this project ever goes. Every utility that is written is one more utility people can use and one fewer that people need to rely on closed, proprietary packages for. Taking this one step at a time, there is no reason at all why this should not achieve the same level of success as the FSF has had in developing a full, free Operating System.

Software for producing free movies
Go to the software-repository at Sourceforge
Design Notes
This is a list of design notes so far written for the project. It is intended as a guide for programmers wanting to write software for this project.
  • Data and File Formats

  • This will document all the data and file formats for the project.

    Data Formats: no internal data formats have been established yet.

    File Formats:
    • Project managers should be able to read/write GNU makefiles and GNU autoconf files.
    • Modellers should be able to write POV-Ray or Renderman-compliant files. This can be done via external filters, if necessary.
    • Rendering packages should be able to read POV-Ray or Renderman-compliant files. This can be done via external filters, if necessary.
  • Remote or Distributed Processing

  • This will document all the requirements for remote access and distributed processing within the project.

    Requirements:
    • Where applicable, it should be practical to split a single task which is inherently comprised of seperable units, and make those units available to others.
      eg For graphics rendering, it would be possible to split the frames up into N blocks, and farm out those blocks. For CSO, the machine grabbing the physical frames, can farm off the work to merge the image with one generated by the computer, and a third machine can (if desired) patch the results back onto film.
    • Because these are the best packages, at present, the project is going to use Cosm for large-scale distribution of live data, and CVS for small-scale distribution for static data. A CVS server is up and running.


CVS Repository
Programs submitted to the project will be made available to developers through the FFP CVS repository. The maintainer may also have a copy available for download. If so, a link will be added to the location it can be obtained from.

Software under Development
These are all the programs that have so far been developed for this project and for which at least some version has been made available.

Graphics Utilities Script writing utilities Storyboard utilities
Things that need writing
These are the utilities that, so far, have been determined as being needed for this project. This list is not comprehensive, nor is it ever likely to be. As packages do get written, by myself and/or others, a reference will be added under "Software Under Development". Where "free" programs, from other projects, fit into this scheme and can be used, they will be added to a list of "additional packages". This shouldn't deter anyone from writing exactly the same kind of package, but specifically for this project. There'll then simply be more than one instance of that type of program, which is always a Good Thing.
  • Animators
  • Audio utilities
    • Editing suites
    • Manipulation suites
    • Mixing desks
  • Colour Seperation Overlay software
  • Graphics utilities
    • Filters
    • Manipulation toolkits
    • Rendering packages
    • Toolkits for manipulating sequences
  • Lighting control software
  • Modellers
  • Morphing toolkits
  • Musical score editors
  • Project management utilities
  • Recording utilities (ie: putting output onto film, audiotape or videotape or DVD)
  • Scriptwriting utilities
  • Software sound synthesisers
  • Storyboard utilities
    • Editors
    • Scripting tools
    • Viewers
  • Video editing suite

Additional Packages
These are programs which are either GPLed or otherwise free, which could be used as substitutes for applications specifically written for this project.
  • Audio Utilities
  • Graphics packages
    • Manipulation toolkits
    • Modelling packages
      • 3dom
        QT-based 3D Object Modeller
      • 3dPM
        QT-based modeller for POV-Ray
      • k4de
        KDE-based 3D Editor - generates code for POV-Ray
      • MindsEye
        Modelling/Animation Package
      • Mod
        OpenGL-based modeller
      • Mops
        Tcl/Tk 3D modelling environment - generates RIB files
    • Rendering packages
  • Project Management packages
    • Cosm
      Project manager and information server for distributed projects of any scale.


A number of non-free, zero-cost programs exist, which perform many of the functions listed. However, the lack of freedom means that they cannot be adapted to work with any of the packages above, or any of the other GNU software. I cannot, in good concience, recommend using them, as a part of this project, for that reason alone. Unless the programs are freed, there's simply no way to ensure that they'd work with the other software.
Even in those cases where there is compatiability, it is very strongly recommended that people use "free" alternatives, if at all possible. If no free alternative exists, and you are interested in writing one, please feel free to do so.