The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is a movie-creation tool built and used by Valve to make movies inside the Source game engine. It has been used to create over 50 animated shorts for games built on the Source Engine. The tool is directly built off of the Source Engine.
It is freely available to download from Steam (Windows Only).
Check out the official website for updates and news.
Prior to Release:
Source Filmmaker was developed internally by Valve as far back as 2005, forked from the Source engine’s in-game demo playback tool. It was used to create the Day of Defeat: Source trailers which used experimental effects that could not be achieved in real-time.
The full potential of the tool came into light with the release of The Orange Box, and esspecially with the release of the Meet the Team shorts for Team Fortress 2. That version of SFM, which ran using Source‘s in-game tools framework, was accidentally leaked during the public beta of TF2 in September 2007.
Since then, the tool has matured with a complete interface overhaul built in QT, and given its own engine branch for further development.
Before the tools official release to the public, Team Fortress 2 used a watered down version of the tool called the Replay Editor. It was limited to capturing the actual events occurring over the course of a player’s life with no ability to modify actions, repeat segments, or apply special effects beyond those already used in-game. However, arbitrary camera angles were possible, like tracking the actions of other players in action at the time. Replay incorporates the ability to upload completed videos to YouTube.
It differs from other movie making tools in that you can re-use assets and events from the game world in your productions, It merges the complete workflow of movie creation, editing, motion capture and post processing effects into one system. Source Filmmaker boasts a what you see is what you get approach of movie creation and editing. It doesnt require a render farm cluster, or very expensive compute processors, it functions well on a relatively modern PC.
The 3D recordings you create in the Filmmaker can contain recorded gameplay, objects, cameras, lights, particles, animations, effects, and sounds as well as the motion information for how each element changes over time.
SFM gives the user a “Work Camera” that enables them to see what they are doing without messing up the scene cameras.
The Clip Editoris used for recording, editing and arranging shots, which can contain recorded gameplay and user-placed assets. The Clip Editor also allows the user to place and arrange sound files and video filters. The Motion Editoris used for motion adjustments over time, such as seamlessly grafting two animations together. Motion presets (e.g. jittering, smoothing) can also be applied onto selected motion paths. The Graph Editoris used for editing motion through creating keyframes, this is extremely useful in pose-to-pose animation.
The Source Filmmaker allows users to record and edit motion from gameplay or scratch, as well as record a character many times over in the same scene, creating the illusion of multiple entities. SFM can support a wide range of cinematographic effects and techniques such as motion blur, Tyndall effects, Dynamic Lighting, and depth of field.
SFM also applies motion blur per-object. It also allows manual animation of bones and facial features, allowing the user to create movements that don’t occur in-game (as in games, nearly all character animation sequences are stored in a set of different movements, and the amount of different animation sequences is limited).
There is a caveat though, despite the deceptively simple UI, this is a very powerful and complex tool without a lot of safeguards. Think of it like a tractor, it doesn’t have railings or a lot of padding like you might find in a normal app or game. We recommend that you watch the video tutorials first and then read the documentation to familiarize yourself with the tool as much as possible before you dive in.
Saxxy Awards:The Saxxy awards are an annual event hosted by Valve promoting community creations in SFM for Team Fortress 2. The community create shorts, they are nominated and there is one eventual winner each year. It has been running since 2011.
- Best overall: El Muchacho
- Most Inventive Kill: The Lime One
- Best Mid-air Murder: Spy in the Sky
- Biggest Massacre: TF2 Saxxy Awards – Biggest Massacre
- Funniest Replay: TF2 Failed Griefing
- Best Getaway: The Ninja Scout. TF2 REPLAY (Finals)
- Best Revenge: Scout Comeback
- Most Pwnage: First Annual Saxxy Awards Film (by Maso)
- Most Heroic: uberblokK -The Medic Who blocked with an uber [Saxxy Most Heroic Finalist]
- Best Set Design: ‘What is beauty?’ – Best Set Design
- Best Team Costume: MIGHTY MEDIC UBER RANGERS!
- Best Original Soundtrack: Saxton’s Six
- Best 30 second trailer: Heavy Endorsing Guy
- Best Coordinated Combat: TF2 – Best Coordinated Combat – SAXXY Awards
- Most Dramatic: The Spying – Team Fortress 2 Saxxy Awards
- Best Cinematography: Saxxy Award Entry
- Best Editing: The Battle for DeGroot Keep
- Most Epic Fail: TF2 Replay: Most Epic Fail Finalist
- Most Extreme Stunt: Reflect! Reflect! Reflect!
- Players’ Choice aka Most Controversial: Badwater D
- Best overall: Story of a Sentry
- Best Action: Meet the Dumpster Diver
- Best Comedy: The Wishmaker
- Best Drama: Bad Medicine
- Best Replay: EPIC High Five Fail
- Best Overall: Lil’ Guardian Pyro
- Best Short: The Mann Co. Symphony
- Best Action: Chinatown Getaway
- Best Comedy: Disruption
- Best Drama: Till Death Do Us Part Two (Till Death Do Us Part One was nominated for Saxxy 2012)
- Best Overall: Animation vs. Animator
- Best Short: Team Fortress 2 in 60 Seconds
- Best Action: Rivalry Rush
- Best Comedy: About a Scout
- Best Drama: DEFECT_
- Best Overall: Turbulence
- Best Short: A Dang Good Cop
- Best Action: Micro-Mann
- Best Comedy: Food Fortress
- Best Drama: Dota 2 – Together We Stand
- Best Extended: It’s Play Time
- Best Overall: Timeless Thief
- Best Short: Power of Art
- Best Action: The Pybro
- Best Comedy: Healirious
- Best Drama: Living in Obscurity
- Best Extended: Reinstated – The Arrival
Official Movies by Valve:
|Day Of Defeat: Prelude To Victory||December 9, 2005||Day of Defeat: Source|
|Meet The Heavy||May 14, 2007||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet The Soldier||August 22, 2007||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet the Engineer||September 11, 2007||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet the Demoman||October 9, 2007||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet The Scout||April 19, 2008||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet the Sandvich||August 19, 2008||Team Fortress 2|
|Meet the Sniper||June 7, 2008||Team Fortress 2|
|Left 4 Dead Intro Clip||November 2, 2008||Left 4 Dead|
|Meet the Spy||May 18, 2009||Team Fortress 2|
|Left 4 Dead 2 Teaser Trailer||June 1, 2009||Left 4 Dead 2|
|Batter Up trailer||October 28, 2009||Left 4 Dead 2|
|Zombie Survival Guide trailer||November 17, 2009||Left 4 Dead 2|
|Half-Life 2 on OS X – Free Yourself||May 26, 2010||Half-Life 2|
|Portal 2 – Full Co-op Trailer||September 10, 2010||Portal 2|
|Portal 2 Co-op Intro trailer||February 18, 2011||Portal 2|
|Portal 2 TV Spot||March 18, 2011||Portal 2|
|Aperture Investment Opportunity #1: “Panels”||March 24, 2011||Portal 2|
|Aperture Investment Opportunity #2: “Bot Trust”||March 28, 2011||Portal 2|
|Aperture Investment Opportunity #3: “Turrets”||April 5, 2011||Portal 2|
|Aperture Investment Opportunity #4: “Boots”||April 12, 2011||Portal 2|
|Portal 2 ending cutscenes||April 19, 2011||Portal 2|
|Portal 2: Perfect 10||April 29, 2011||Portal 2|
|Meet the Medic||June 23, 2011||Team Fortress 2|
|Dota 2 Gamescom Trailer||August 15, 2011||Dota 2|
|Portal 2 Peer Review DLC “Art Therapy” ending video||October 4, 2011||Portal 2|
|Wheatley’s Nomination Speech for the VGA Best Character Award||December 20, 2011||Portal 2|
|Meet The Pyro||June 27, 2012||Team Fortress 2|
|Mann vs. Machine Trailer||August 13, 2012||Team Fortress 2|
|Dota 2: Diretide||October 30, 2012||Dota 2|
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Trailer||August 17, 2012||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive|
|Second Annual Saxxy Award announcement||November 28, 2012||Team Fortress 2|
|The Greeviling||December 19, 2012||Dota 2|
|Mann vs. Machine: The Sound of Medicine||November 21, 2013||Team Fortress 2|
|Expiration Date||June 17, 2014||Team Fortress 2|
Honourable Community Efforts:
|End of the Line||December 8, 2014||Team Fortress 2|
|Black Mesa Steam Launch Trailer||May 5, 2015||Black Mesa|