Source Filmmaker

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Source Filmmaker
Initial release27 June 2012; 11 years ago (2012-06-27)
Preview release / 15 May 2020; 3 years ago (2020-05-15)[4]
Written inC/C++
  • Source
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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 tool published by Valve for creating animated films, which uses the Source game engine.[6] Source Filmmaker has been used to create many community-based animated shorts for popular Source games, such as Team Fortress 2, the Left 4 Dead series, and Half-Life 2.


Source Filmmaker is a tool for animating, editing, and rendering 3D animated videos using assets from different games which use the Source engine, assets such as sounds, models, and, backdrops. SFM also allows for the creation of still images, art, and posters.[7]

SFM includes three different user interfaces and, a "work camera" for previewing an active scene. The three interfaces are used for creating clips, controlling animation, and, making fine-tuned adjustments which include:

  • The Clip Editor; for recording, editing, and arranging shots.[7][8] They hold the user's recorded gameplay and virtual assets.[9] It also allows the user to place and arrange sound files and video filters.[10]
  • The Motion Editor; for motion adjustments over time such as blending two animations. Users can also use motion presets to select paths and manipulate different scene objects,[11] play clips at different times,[12] and puppeteer the characters in different positions and frames.[13]
  • The Graph Editor; for editing motion[14] by creating keyframes that can be used for pose-to-pose animation.[15]

Users can either create new projects or import data from Source-based games to extend their SFM animations. SFM also supports several cinematographic effects and techniques such as motion blur, Tyndall effects, dynamic lighting, and depth of field. Users can also rig 3D characters and can use inverse kinematics to manually animate movements.

Production and updates[edit]


SFM was developed internally at Valve in 2005 and forked from the in-game demo playback tool found in Source. SFM was successfully used to make Day of Defeat: Source trailers with effects that could not be achieved in real-time.[16] The tool was used extensively for certain promotional materials for the release of Team Fortress 2, particularly the Meet the Team trailers.[17] This version of SFM, which ran using Source's in-game tools framework, was unintentionally leaked during the public beta of Team Fortress 2 in September 2007.[18] By 2010, the entire interface was re-implemented using Qt 4 and given its engine branch for further development.

Before SFM was 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 throughout a player's life. It provided no ability to modify actions, repeat segments, or apply special effects beyond those already used in-game. However, arbitrary camera angles were possible, such as tracking the movements of other players in action at the time. The Replay Editor also allowed users to upload completed videos to YouTube.[19]

On June 27, 2012, SFM became available on a limited basis through Steam, the same day the final Meet the Team video "Meet the Pyro" was released.[20] The open beta for Windows was released as of July 11, 2012.[21][22] From 2011 to 2018, Valve operated a competition known as the Saxxy Awards of community-made SFM animations. [23] Winners were awarded an ingame item in Team Fortress 2.[24]

Other updates[edit]

On April 1, 2013, Valve implemented support for the Steam Workshop, which allows users to upload their custom-made assets onto the Steam community. These assets range from video game models and sound to animation project files.[25]

A version of SFM for Valve's Source 2 engine was released on May 15, 2020, alongside other development tools for Half-Life: Alyx.[26]

In February 2023, Facepunch stated they would be making their own version of SFM, as it was broken for their game, S&Box.[27] S&Box, like Half-Life: Alyx, runs on the Source 2 engine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Source Filmmaker homepage". Valve. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Source Filmmaker". Steam. Valve. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Valve Tutorials". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. ^ Hamilton, Ian (15 May 2020). "Valve Launches Half-Life: Alyx Workshop Tools, Updates Game For Linux". UploadVR. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "FAQ". Valve. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Source Filmmaker". Valve Developer Community. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
  7. ^ a b "00 basics". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  8. ^ "02 editing". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  9. ^ "01 recording". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  10. ^ "03 sound". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  11. ^ "04 manipulating". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. ^ "05 time selection". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  13. ^ "07 puppeteering". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  14. ^ "06 graph editor". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  15. ^ "13.1 Pose To Pose Animation". YouTube. Valve. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  16. ^ SFM Team (23 May 2013). "Day Of Defeat: Prelude To Victory". Valve. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  17. ^ Valve (January 17, 2009). "Meet the Team - Team Fortress 2 YouTube playlist". YouTube.
  18. ^ "Source Film Maker Tutorial". YouTube. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  19. ^ Valve (9 October 2007). Team Fortress 2 (Steam) ( ed.).
  20. ^ "Free Source Filmmaker brings Valve's 3D animation tools to the public". Ars Technica. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  21. ^ Daw, David (12 July 2012). "Trying Out Valve's Movie Making Tools With the Source Filmmaker". Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Happy New Year! ( Released)". Source Filmmaker. Valve. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  23. ^ "The Saxxy Awards". Rock Paper Shotgun. 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  24. ^ "Source Filmmaker". Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  25. ^ SFM Team (1 April 2013). "The SFM Gets Its Own Workshop!". Source Filmmaker. Valve. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  26. ^ Clayton, Natalie (2020-05-16). "Half-Life: Alyx gets proper mod tools and Steam Workshop support". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2023-03-17.
  27. ^ "Source Film Maker - News". Retrieved 2023-09-22.

External links[edit]