The use of violence in open source productions

Posted in Events, Random Fluff by Sacha

The day after the BBB premiere Ton was a member of a panel at a conference called ‘Economies of the Commons’, where topics as ‘financing open source and open content projects’ were discussed. Before the panel started Ton gave a presentation during which he also showed material from BBB. During the panel discussion there was a question from an audience member for Ton.

Taken from here:

The last major topic that was raised concerned the narrative of the Big Buck Bunny film, just released by Blender. Anthony McCan asked why open source productions can’t steer clear from the use of violence, as violence evokes violence. Ton Roosendaal replied that this was the best way to show the technical abilities capable by the Blender rendering software and that creative freedom in the way these technological abilities are displayed is highly regarded.

While I was listening to this on some audiostream, I understood this audience member had a North Irish background and witnessed a lot of violence in his life. I believe he just wondered if the ethical question about using violence in projects made for an entire community was raised.

Unfortunately the text above mixed up Ton’s reply; it almost seems like he encourages violence! His real answer was of course that the development of Blender comes first. And in order to make a project like this work, the best artists of the community are invited and are given this creative freedom.

Growing up in a world of violence is not a joke, but what worries me the most is that some people from this world are unable to distinguish real violence from the cartoony violence we know from Looney tunes and Tom and Jerry… and soon from BBB.



Rabbit and bow

Violence in Big Buck Bunny? I have no idea what you’re talking about…

116 Responses

  1. Michael Writes:

    What’s wrong with sharks! No need to teach that they’re violent monsters, perhaps they are just part of the cycle of life!

  2. joeri Writes:

    Arghh… what a dumb people here…
    Sorry folks. Even Sasha didnt get it.

    ” Also, it’s fcking cartoon violence. Does anyone get mad at Tom and Jerry? ”

    A story is a story, if its “only” a cartoon, then why watch it? To prove blender can render some frames??? Geez…

    Violence, or interesting violence, is about strugle! If a story depicts this strugle, or depicts how to overcome problems then its valid, if its “just for fun” then its evil and should be avoided. Seriously. … /me goes and plays some more GTAIV.

  3. Kasper Writes:

    Just a dog gone minute here people.
    Most of you seem to live in a bit of a dream world and that in itself is OK but when you are talking about censoreship then the first thing you need to ask is “for whom?”
    The answer is obviously, for CHILDREN and then we need to agree upon what age describes children that need to be protected. The general consensus on this according to the law in most western countries is 16 although I would venture to say that the age bracket 14 to 16 needs to be considered slightly differently.
    OK – now that we have established this we need to ask what we want our children to see because they do not have the maturity to make this decision for themselves.
    In this regard there are many opinions but I will tell you mine.

    Not in order of importance either:
    3 – NO RACISM
    4 – NO BEHAVIOUR that can be regarded as anti social

    Make happy, funny and educative cartoons or leave it be.
    There is no excuse for any of this crap and any person who tells you otherwise is an intellectual idiot.
    My final statement is about this garbage that artists have some sort of special rights of freedom of expression. That is idiotic. I am an artist too.
    Artists are not special and “MUST” obey the law of the land and in many countries this means that eg if you put out PORN or Racist cartoons you will be prosecuted – so there goes your rights and rightly so!

  4. Anon Writes:

    The moral of the story is… if you use open software, butterflies will die.

  5. steff Writes:

    hi all. thanx to ton and all of bbb project for such profetionnalism ! really ! the point is that in cartoon the view of violence is no sense when you can watch on tv for kids itcht and scrathy in the simpsons adventures. and examples are not a few ! perhaps this guy thinks simply violence isn’t the way of making a movie but from my part it’s only the liberty of script which import and that BBB is a great demonstration of capabilities of the software. i’m part of a multi technic intellectual sometimes lol forum in france i love for freak project and real authors delights and sometimes not showing violence but suggering it by atmospheres can be richer but it’s another discussion. congratulations to all and pleaz continue as this i upload the movie in not full hd and the film is huge ! blender becomes essential and well bill gates haven’t understood anything primerely at web 2.0 so i don’t think he will understand anything to blender phylosophy hehe . thanx ton for answering him as this. liberty and open source on the web is important and the french communoty was against an appropriation by windows of blender. just to said in france the actual thinks. take care of sharks of the buzzness in 3d ton and don’t hesitate to continue the right way of free movies and games you have the power my bro’s lol

    best regards from france


  6. DaBoyz40+ Writes:

    I personally feel that you are too narrowly defining violence. Our society makes it very clear (and more so every day) that physical violence is unacceptable. What you’re ignoring, are the more common and acceptable forms of conflict. Emotional violence (the teen drama “Gossip Girl” springs to mind), economic violence (for this one, we’ll go to “The O.C.” where people with money treat people without money differently). These are types of violence which ARE damaging and are committed every day more commonly than physical violence yet are tolerated and indeed celebrated in our society.

    I’d sooner be used as a kite once (yes I watched BBB) than treated like trash from the wrong side of the tracks every day.

    I LOVE “BIG BUCK BUNNY”!!!!! That is some funny stuff and a great feature showcase for Blender.

  7. Aygun Abibula Writes:

    From my point of view the violence from BBB it,s some thing that it is happening on real life.How? let,s see.

    I’m a kind persson. I like to do some thing’s that i like. You see me smelling a flower , watching the sun rissing over the ocean and stuff like this and you start to do some bad things on me just becaus you dont like me. Well , here it come the idea Eye for an Eye. If you not let me alone and you are comming over me again and again and again i’ll show you how can it be. So , I make a plan and if you came again in my place i will kick you’re ass. Dont you think it’s fair enought ?

    The message behind the movie is. Let me live in peace. Let people be free.

    I Have an little word wich say,s :


    Kind regards ,


  8. Ryan McDonough Writes:

    Obviously he missed the scene where the bunny actually saved the boss rodent from being spiked in a very gory way.

    Surely the message of this movie is to stand up for yourself,because we live in a world of violence and there’s not much BBB can do about that however once he stood up himself the level of violence dropped quite alot in that area.

  9. sean Writes:

    I’m surprised that I was not the only one that thought that BBB was too violent.
    What I see in the film is an overweight individual ( Buck ) that is picked on by others and takes revenge using violence.

    So the message of the film seems to be that if you get picked on, the thing to do is to resort to violence.

    With that said, everything else about the film was absolutely top notch. I have a new found respect for the program. Well done !

  10. Daniel Scott Writes:

    I think its primarily up to parents to filter what their children watch.

    But, I will say that any cartoon geared towards children should be developmentally appropriate and be aware that ANY character or behavior could be copied.

    As parents, if you don’t want a child to copy a behavior, don’t let them see it. As producers of children content, you should always be teaching by providing models for children to copy. I’m not saying to shield children from every day situations, but show them proper problem solving skills in dealing with them. I personally do not think that Buck is a role model I would want children to copy so I would wait until my children are at least 7 before exposing them to this kind of comedy. But that’s a parent’s call, not the producer’s.

  11. Ninjambitsusanikano Writes:

    Not all cartoons are made for children. Many adults and people in their 20’s often enjoy cartoons. People shouldn’t assume that just because it is an animation, that it’s made for kids. It is understandable that kids would perhaps portray what they see in a cartoon or animation because they are young and find it harder to draw a line between reality or fiction. There is a reason why games, animations and movies have ratings, to serve as a guideline for the parents. Anybody above the age of 16 should know that the world portrayed in a game or animation is different to the real world, and therefore so are the morals and ethics. If parents didn’t raise their children with healthy logic, then the developers behind games and animations shouldnt be blamed. Violence is anyway a part of life, most people with an I.Q. higher than 100 should know where to draw the line.

  12. Ninjambitsusanikano Writes:

    Another thing… Sean, not everything has to be interpreted or adapted to a real life scenario… It’s called FICTION\FANTASY.

  13. Ninjambitsusanikano Writes:

    Aaaaaand another thing haha… Not everything has a deeper message behind it. BBB is just fun, that’s all, and if anyone interprets it differently (or more seriously) then it should preferably stay their opinion.

  14. simon Writes:

    As Sean (#110) said, “everything ELSE about the film was absolutely top notch”. Good movies (including good animated movies) often depict plenty of violence: what they don’t very often do (although cheap, badly conceived movies do it all the time) is ask viewers to identify with a “hero” who turns out to be much the same as the “villain” except that he’s on “our side”.

    In better films, ethics are more or less universal: what makes the “baddies” bad is that they treat others without respect or dignity, and what makes the “goodies” good is that they have the courage to stick to those human values, even under pressure. The more immature, childish ethics of not-so-great movies are closer to “patriotism” and so forth, in which the baddies are simply “them” and the goodies are us, and it’s a happy ending when we inflict suffering on them (i.e. become ourselves what would be a “villain” in a decent movie that can tell a story from a broader perspective than that of the egocentric “me/us”).

    I was keen to show this movie to others as a demonstration of what the free software community can achieve, but as high-quality as it was technically, it’s obvious that nowhere near the same amount of thought went into the narrative as went into its technical production. The graphics etc looked like the craft of highly skilled adults: the story on the other hand did not.

    Like Sean said, everything ELSE was top notch: I just wish the writers had looked at some of the best animated films and noticed the other things, besides great animation, that made them great. So much about BBB is really excellent: it deserved a story of the same quality.

    So, unlike the majority who’ve posted here, I strongly agree with the original point made by Anthony McCan: given that it certainly is possible (as many good films have demonstrated) to tell good, entertaining stories without resorting to the dirt common “hero gets revenge” narrative, there was an obvious way that this movie could have been better, and it’s good that people are letting the BBB team know this so that work they do in future can be even better.

  15. edutiao Writes:

    First off, what a great achievement this is for the Free-software community! Congratulations! Now off to the discussion.

    Can’t help but to think of Adorno as i read about the film, and this thread:

    “Cartoons were once exponents of fantasy as opposed to rationalism. They ensured that justice was done to the creatures and objects they electrified, by giving the maimed specimens a second life. All they do today is to confirm the victory of technological truth reason over truth. A few years ago they had a consistent plot which only broke up in the final moments in a crazy chase, and thus resembled the old slapstick comedy. Now, however, time relations have shifted. In the very first sequence a motive is stated so that in the course of the action destruction can get to work on it: with the audience in pursuit, the protagonist becomes the worthless object of general violence. The quantity of organized of organized amusement changes into the quality of organized cruelty. The self- electors of the film industry (with whom it enjoys a close relationship) watch over the unfolding of the crime, which is as drawn-out as a hunt. Fun replaces the pleasure which the sight of an embrace would allegedly afford, and postpones satisfaction till the day of the pogrom. In so far as cartoons do any more than accustom the senses to the new tempo, they hammer into every brain the old lesson that continuous friction, the breaking down of all individual resistance, is the condition of life in this society. Donald Duck in the cartoons and the unfortunate in real life get their thrashing so that the audience can learn to take their own punishment” : Culture Industry, in Dialectic of Enlightenment

    Of course, the general idea being that culture as a commodity is transformed from an legitimate form of human expression (whatever that might be), to a dose of daily submission to the state of things – of the existing social structures, ultimately.

    He also makes a great case of the audiance not really coping with the scripts or the plots, but with the (always-improving) psychological techniques used on to write them. What drives the audience is not a good story, but a “well” told story, where plot elements are easily recognized, yet not too obvious, etc. Of course that was in an era without too many special effects, wich are todays blockbuster-makers (whilst the plots are getting ever stupider, IMO).

    That said, i do think we should move to making other types of animation, see for example, ANIMAMUNDI festival, there are tons of great ideas for an animation that don’t consist of more-of-the-same use-violence-because-its-an-easy-plot-device/because-we-can.

    Alas, a critique os the plot was comming, folks, you’ve just reached 1 mil persons!

  16. Ninjambitsusanikano Writes:

    Sometimes violence is fun haha.