Everything You Need to Know About Valve’s Awesome Source Filmmaker

Valve really are the company that just keep on giving. Their generosity is well known among gaming circles and their fans are some of the most loyal around. Most companies would be happy to sit on their backsides and bathe in pools of money after creating mega hits like Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2, knowing gamers will buy anything they release with their name on it – but not Valve.

They don’t take advantage of their followers, they reward them, and their latest present to the gaming community, the Source Filmmaker, is easily their most impressive gift of all.

Have you checked out the impressive “Meet the Team” videos that Valve have released for their Team Fortress 2 characters? Well, the Source Filmmaker is the clever bit of kit that they use to create them, and their offering it to everybody for FREE when it’s publicly released later this year.

The announcement even comes with the ninth and final entry in the Meet the Team series – Meet the Pyro – just to show the kind of amazing productions that the Source Filmmaker is capable of creating:

So what is the Source Filmmaker and how does it work?

Quite simply, the Source Filmmaker is a powerful tool that works with the Source engine to create a flexible, modifiable 3D recording that can be exported as a movie or as a still image. You can use it to capture gameplay and in-game objects and turn it into movies, basically allowing you to create works of art in a WYSIWYG environment.

Those familiar with creating source mods will have near endless possibilities at their movie making fingertips. You can create original objects, textures and environments using your Source modding kit, then use the SFM to create as many different movies as you want within your created world. You’ll be effecitvely creating a mod and a movie set at the same time!

As the official SFM website says, “..you can think of the SFM as a virtual movie set with lights, actors, props and cameras. Fabrication is done using the same tools you would use to create a normal Source game mod.”

Excited at the prospect of getting this for free? You should be – this is no cheap piece of kit. The pros at Valve developed the Source Filmmaker especially to create promotional videos and have produced more than 50 animated shorts using it. To give it away for free is pretty unbelievable, but give it away for free they are, simply because they believe in empowering communities with the tools to produce amazing creations. They, like us and everybody else, cannot wait to see what gamers will dream up with tools like SFM at their fingertips.

Budding directors can use SFM to create an entire movie without the need for several programs all working at once. Rendering, video clip editing, keyframing, motion capture editing, sound editing – everything is handled directly within the SFM software.

“The goal of the SFM was to develop a story telling tool that allowed us to create computer animated movies more efficiently, and with greater creative freedom,” says Bay Raitt, designer at Valve. “Over the past five years, we’ve produced more than 50 animated shorts with the SFM. The Source Filmmaker will allow our community to create their own movies in Team Fortress 2 and in their own Source SDK-created mods.”

If all of that info doesn’t get you salivating for the Source Filmmaker, the following introduction video will:

We say a thorough round of applause is due to Valve here. You can find out heap more information over at the official website: http://www.sourcefilmmaker.com

Mr editor man, so technically the supreme ruler of everything and anything. I promise I won't have a power trip though *trips on laptop cable* (Also known for utterly, utterly terrible jokes)