Source Filmmaker

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Source Filmmaker
Source filmmaker logo.jpg
Source Filmmaker, using Team Fortress 2 assets (Meet The Scout).png
Source Filmmaker UI, beta release[1][2][3]
Initial release27 June 2012; 10 years ago (2012-06-27)
Preview release / 15 May 2020; 2 years ago (2020-05-15)[4]
Written inC/C++
  • Source
Edit this at Wikidata
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
Size15.71 GB[2][5]
Available inEnglish[2]
Type3D computer graphics software

Source Filmmaker (often abbreviated as SFM) is a 3D computer graphics software toolset published by Valve for creating animated films, utilizing the Source game engine.[6][7] Source Filmmaker has been used to create over 50 well known animated shorts for popular Source games, including Team Fortress 2, the Left 4 Dead series, and Half-Life 2. On June 27, 2012, Valve released a free, open beta version of SFM to the gaming community via Steam.[1][2][8][9]


Source Filmmaker is a tool for animating, editing, and rendering 3D animated videos using assets from different games which use the Source platform, including sounds, models, and backdrops. SFM also allows for the creation of still images, art, and posters.[10][8]

SFM provides three different user interfaces and a "work camera" that can be used to preview the current scene without altering the other cameras placed in the scene. The three different interfaces are used for creating clips, controlling animation, and fine-tuned adjustment:

  • The Clip Editor is used for recording, editing, and arranging shots, which can contain recorded gameplay and virtual assets arranged by a user. The Clip Editor also allows the user to place and arrange sound files and video filters.[8][10][11][12][13]
  • The Motion Editor is used for motion adjustments over time, such as blending two animations together. Motion presets (e.g. jittering and smoothing) can also be applied to selected motion paths.[8][14][15][16]
  • The Graph Editor is used for editing motion by creating keyframes that can be used for pose-to-pose animation.[8][17][18]

SFM allows users to record and edit motion, either from scratch or imported from game play. Characters can be recorded many times over in the same scene, creating the illusion of multiple entities. Additionally, SFM supports a wide range of cinematographic effects and techniques such as motion blur, Tyndall effects, dynamic lighting, and depth of field,[5][6] while a character's bones can be manually animated to create movements that do not exist in the games the characters are imported from (since most games store a finite set of animations).[8]

Production and updates[edit]


SFM was developed internally at Valve from 2005, forked from the Source engine's in-game demo playback tool. SFM was successfully used to make Day of Defeat: Source trailers with experimental effects that could not be achieved in real-time.[19] The tool's full potential was finally realized with the release of The Orange Box, particularly with the Meet the Team featurettes for Team Fortress 2. This version of SFM, which ran using Source's in-game tools framework, was inadvertently leaked during the public beta of TF2 in September 2007.[20] By 2010, the entire interface was re-implemented using Qt 4, and given its own engine branch for further development.

Before Source Filmmaker was officially released to the public, Team Fortress 2 carried a simplified version of SFM known as the Replay Editor, which was limited to capturing the actual events occurring over the course of a player's life and provided 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. The Replay Editor also allowed users to upload completed videos to YouTube.[21]

Beta versions[edit]

On June 27, 2012, Source Filmmaker became available on a limited-basis through Steam, the same day as the final Meet the Team video, "Meet the Pyro," was released.[1][8][22][23] SFM was released for open beta for Windows as of July 11, 2012.[3][5][24][25]

On April 1, 2013, Valve implemented support for the Steam Workshop, which allows users to upload their own custom-made assets onto the Steam community; these assets range from video game models and sounds to animation project files.[26]

A port of Source Filmmaker to the Source 2 engine was released on May 15, 2020 alongside development tools for Half-Life: Alyx.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Source Filmmaker homepage". Valve. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Source Filmmaker". Steam. Valve. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Valve Tutorials". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b Hamilton, Ian. "Valve Launches Half-Life: Alyx Workshop Tools, Updates Game For Linux". UploadVR. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "FAQ". Valve. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b Valve (27 June 2012). Source Filmmaker (Steam) ( ed.).
  7. ^ "Source Filmmaker". Valve Developer Community. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Introducing the Source Filmmaker". YouTube. Valve. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  9. ^ "The Source Filmmaker is LIVE!". Team Fortress 2. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  10. ^ a b "00 basics". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  11. ^ "01 recording". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. ^ "02 editing". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  13. ^ "03 sound". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  14. ^ "04 manipulating". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  15. ^ "05 time selection". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  16. ^ "07 puppeteering". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  17. ^ "06 graph editor". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  18. ^ "13.1 Pose To Pose Animation". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  19. ^ SFM Team (23 May 2013). "Day Of Defeat: Prelude To Victory". Valve. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  20. ^ "Source Film Maker Tutorial". YouTube. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  21. ^ Valve (9 October 2007). Team Fortress 2 (Steam) ( ed.).
  22. ^ Valve. "Showcase". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  23. ^ "Free Source Filmmaker brings Valve's 3D animation tools to the public". Ars Technica. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  24. ^ Daw, David (12 July 2012). "Trying Out Valve's Movie Making Tools With the Source Filmmaker". Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Happy New Year! ( Released)". Source Filmmaker. Valve. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  26. ^ SFM Team (1 April 2013). "The SFM Gets Its Own Workshop!". Source Filmmaker. Valve. Retrieved 4 April 2013.

External links[edit]