The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is the movie-making tool built and used by us here at Valve to make movies inside the Source game engine.
If that doesn’t make any sense to you, just go watch the introduction video. This is an application that lets you create animated movies within a video game world. Imagine you’re playing a video game and at some point during play, you decide you’d like to create a short animated film of this scene in the game. You hit a button and you’ve just turned that scene into a virtual movie set. That’s Source Filmmaker.
Seeing tools like SFM offered for free seems like a sign of things to come in animation. These tools don’t make character design or getting a story right any easier. But they make the animation and editing process easier. And this allows people to focus on the characters, the story, the music, and still be able to try their hand at being an animated filmmaker.
I can’t wait to see how the world of independent animation changes over the next 5 years.