MAJOR MOMENTS IN THE MAKING OF OPERATION BARBERSHOP
Key dates in the evolution of the trailer, and of Blender itself, which continues to pioneer open-source animation
AGENT 327 IS BORN
The first Agent 327 comic is published in Pep magazine, and focuses on the adventures of a Dutch secret agent who fights for ‘righteousness and world peace’. It is written by cartoonist Martin Lodewijk and illustrated by Jan Kruis. Lodewijk would soon take over as both writer and artist, and the series would continue to run regularly over the next few decades.
BLENDER IS FORMED
Ton Roosendaal, having written an animation package beginning in the mid-nineties, starts the non-profit Blender Foundation. It is aimed at promoting the Blender software as a communitybased open-source project. Later this year, after a successful crowdfunding campaign raising 100,000 euros Blender is released under the terms of a GNU General Public License.
BLENDER’S FIRST FILM
In order to show off just what was possible in the open-source software, the Blender team got busy working on ‘Project Orange’ in 2005, which ultimately became Elephants Dream. The nine-minute short would lead to the development of the Blender Institute, a permanent office for production of further films, games and visual effects projects inside Blender.
FIRST FILM MADE WITH BLENDER
Argentine animated feature Plumíferos, animated by Manos Digitales Animation Studio and directed by Daniel Defelippo and Gustavo Giannini, is the first film to be made in Blender. It follows the life of a sparrow who feels ordinary and then accidentally changes the way he looks. An English version of the film was released in 2014 under the title of Birds of Paradise.
BLENDER CLOUD IS LAUNCHED
The Blender Institute launches and operates the Blender Cloud platform, a subscription-based cloud computing platform designed for hosting and synchronisation of any backed-up animation project files. Subscribers to the Blender Cloud can also benefit from access to project files and updates on films and games that are in the works.
COSMOS LAUNDROMAT HITS
Cosmos Laundromat is debuted, telling the story of a sheep named Franck who wants a more interesting life. It is an in-development film project from the Blender Foundation, started in 2010. The project was aimed at continuing development in Blender, promoting Blender Cloud and also for investigating new business models for the Blender Foundation.
AGENT 327 ANNOUNCED
Chairman of the Blender Foundation and director of the Blender Institute, Ton Roosendaal, announces an animation test based on the Agent 327 comics that will be completed as a trailer – Agent 327: Operation Barbershop. It ultimately becomes a pitch for a feature film project. The piece will be directed by Hjalti Hjalmarsson, who also pitched the animation test to Roosendaal.
SEPTEMB ER 2016
BLENDER 2.78 RELEASED
The Blender Foundation releases Blender 2.78 with several updates to the Cycles rendering engine, viewport, modelling, animation and rigging, and UI. Further 2.78 updates in February 2017 optimised rendering scenes with hair and motion blur (up to ten times faster than previously). Work on Agent 327 helped facilitate many of the updates and improvements.
AGENT 327 PREMIERES
The Agent 327: Operation Barbershop trailer debuts on Youtube, quickly racking up over two million views. The Blender Institute plans to use the trailer to get attention for a feature film via pitches to Hollywood and crowd-sourced funding. Blender Cloud subscribers have access to production files, assets, walkthroughs and demos during the process of making the short.