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Libre Graphics Meeting Features Big Buck Bunny Animation
Drupa print show will include Web video
William Pollard (will789)     Print Article 
Published 2008-05-21 04:36 (KST)   
Big Buck Bunny.
©2008 Blender
The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) held at Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland included a showing of Big Buck Bunny, a new animation film. This demonstrates the range of graphics now covered by open source. The DVD will include version 2.46 of Blender, the software developed during the project. The trailer is already on YouTube and shows the high standards of the production. Most of the other software at the meeting continued the tradition of graphics suitable for a printed page. This balance of interests may be reflected at drupa, a print event in Dusseldorf, where Adobe is expected to concentrate on Flash and Web conferencing.

The DVD of Big Buck Bunny is expected during May with a Creative Commons license so that the entire contents can be used for other purposes. An online version will be available later. The Blender Institute previously released Elephant's Dream, already on YouTube. The rendering has been available through the Sun Grid Compute Facility. Sun has worked with Blender so that there is a menu option -- "Render Animation using Sun Grid" and another option for choosing where the output will be stored. This makes Blender capable of matching the capability of any local resource.

The blog for the Google Summer of Code, a summer school for open source, includes two reports from the Libre Graphics Meeting.

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Pawel Solega explained some background: "The purpose of the LGM is to allow developers from diverse projects to collaborate, share ideas and code, cooperate on cross-application standards, and simply get to know one another. It is also a great place to get feedback from live end users and artists, all of who are considered an integral part of the conference."

Michael Dominic Kostrzewa added some detail: "Software packages ranging from font-design applications to digital publishing were demoed. The most interesting topics included vector-based sketching using tablets. Thanks to the latest code in the Inkscape project artists can create scalable, fully editable pen-alike renderings with same quality and feeling as traditional raster-based canvas. Another highlight was Krita -- an application using advanced physical model to simulate the look and feeling of real-world brushes and paints."

Discussion continued on the complexity of the user interface for the Gimp for photo editing. Peter Sikking has discussed the issues in his blog, noting that the Gimp vision "mandates it to be a deep, feature rich application that takes commitment to master." Open source still has a reputation of requiring energy from users.

Scribus, the desktop publishing software, is considering a rewrite of the file format to be 100 percent XML compliant. The wiki includes discussion of tables in FrameMaker and suggests that this could be better supported in Scribus with the new format. Currently FrameMaker is often chosen for technical documentation and connecting with XML data. Scribus is already suitable for most of the requirements for printed documents. Improved consistency with XML standards would expand the scope further.

Meanwhile, Adobe has been quiet about the possibility of a MARS rewrite for the PDF format used in Acrobat. This is another project to rewrite a format in a way that is more consistent with XML. There is no information ahead of drupa although there will be an Innovation Parc with a section for XML and PDF.

Adobe seems much more interested in Flash and video on the Web. Acrobat Connect has been launched independently of any new release for Acrobat itself. Connect was previously known as Breeze, part of Macromedia before merging with Adobe in 2005. Although this appeared to be an acquisition, the word "merger" better describes the way that software has been integrated or repositioned. GoLive, the Adobe take on Web design, has been discontinued. Acrobat Connect includes video for conferencing and presentation. If Adobe continues promoting aspects of Flash throughout the June interest in print around drupa it will signify a challenge for how the print industry is regarded. Discussion about how "pre-media" can relate to more than "just print" could appear more urgent.

Twenty years after the adoption of Postscript made desktop publishing possible, Adobe seem to be moving on to a similar project in making video production widely available. Open source can now cover most of the requirements for print and has also expanded into online animation. Corporate documents may be boring by comparison but there is still potential for developers who maintain a focus on XML. For example, the draft of an "end-to-end publishing solution" on the Scribus wiki seems not too far away.

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Reporting on drupa and open source continues on blog at drupa2008.blogspot.com.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter William Pollard

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