Friday 22 November 2013

2013 Harb40 Passion Competition winners announced

Moviestorm are pleased to announce the winners for the film animation 2013 Harb40 Passion Competition.

The competition urged contestants to make a film set to a specific theme of passion. There were some restrictions on content, but films could be made using any animation program, video game or live action technique.

Two films submitted using Moviestorm made it into the winners list and the top five.

The winning films receive software prizes and the creators were interviewed on The Movies On Air Radio show.

The competition has received other sponsorship from Sony and Reallusion.

Creator of the competition, Craig Harbison said:

"Animation programmes like Moviestorm, The Sims and iClone are taking over in the competition.
"One of the nice things about the prizes like Moviestorm is the winner is given a choice of a free user license or to receive credits to purchase more gaming assets and enhance their animation video skills."
Craig (Harb40) began experimenting with animation back in 2005 after playing a game called 'The Movies'. After following a website called The Movies Underground, he was introduced to other games animation tools such as Moviestorm. Today, Moviestorm is now one of his primary animation programmes. 

Winners List

Here is the official winners list:

1st Place
Biggstrek -- Haunter of the Dark -- made with iClone

2nd Place
Josephkw -- Pickman's Model -- made with MS

3rd Place
D.L. Watson -- Dichotomy -- Live action film

4th Place
Mystery Egypt -- Friends -- made with MS

5th Place
Nahton -- Your Brains -- made with The Movies

The winners were announced during the Machinima Expo on November 17th.

A list of all films submitted can be found here.

Craig Harbison added: "We also added a short story category this year. The top story was submitted by Richard Poshard, aka RPO.

"Along with some professional writing software he will receive a one year subscription to a Moviestorm themed bundle or 5000 Moviestorm points (if he is already subscribed) to either turn his work into a short video or help to illustrate the story or any other work he has done."

Sony Creative Software, HitFilm and Reallusion along with Moviestorm were the sponsors again this year for the video category and Scrivener, Reallusion and Moviestorm sponsored the short story category.

A list of all 4 stories submitted can be found here.

Further links

To find out more about the competition, visit 
Visit the competition Facebook page at
You can also follow the competition on Twitter @Harb40PassComp

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Education: A Cinematic Approach to Filmmaking with Moviestorm

Here at Moviestorm we are delighted to bring you a case study by Gerry Paquette, Game Development Professor at Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada.

Mr Paquette discovered Moviestorm after searching for an filmmaking alternative for his students.
Here, he tells of his journey with Moviestorm and the effects it has had on his class, education and learning. 

Video game cutscenes and cinematics are staged within computer generated environments populated by virtual actors whose performances are recorded using simulated lights and cameras. 

As experienced gamers, my students are inherently aware of this fact making it hard for them to justify all time and effort required in learning how to operate standard digital video.   

My efforts to resolve this inadequacy lead me to consider using machinima and further research along these lines eventually led me to Moviestorm - a tool which removes all these hurdles making machinima accessible to all.

My students took to Moviestorm quite readily thanks to its game-like features.


Popular features


One of the most popular modules was the Dressing Room where they quickly figured out how to create virtual representations of themselves and their classmates often with hilarious results as they pushed the various parameters for eyes, ears, and noses to their limits. 

Navigating within the Set Workshop and Directors View was equally intuitive through the use of the WASD keys commonly used in games. 

Female students, in particular, seemed to appreciate the Sims-like interface used to control a characters movements and interactions with the set or other characters.

As an educator, one Moviestorm feature that I greatly appreciate is how it imbeds the classic “rule of thirds” composition guidelines into the user interface. 
 Rather than simulate real camera controls such as tilt, dolly, and pan, Moviestorm presents users with compositional lines attached to the characters which facilitates the placement of their bodies and eye levels within a picture plane that is subtly divided into thirds. 

Reflecting real-world limitations


A few students did experience some frustration when they realized that Moviestorm did not provide complete freedom in the manipulation of objects and characters which they are accustomed to having when working with regular 3D modeling and animation software. 

However, I found that these virtual world constraints to be a great benefit as they reflect the real-world limitations that need to be overcome when making movies.

There’s a lot of trickery involved in making the audience believe what in what is presented to them on the screen and many of the techniques developed for film are equally effective in Moviestorm.


Student examples 


The illusions of a character falling into a bottomless pit, for example, can be created in both worlds through the use of a green screen. One of my students needed to make his character appear as if he had been shrunk down to the size of an action figure. 

Just as in real filmmaking, the way he found to accomplish visual effect was to place the character onto a wooden floor and surround him with oversized desk props such as a lamp and computer.

Working with virtual sets, rather expansive 3D environments, is also useful in terms of screen direction.
Since most sets feature just 3 walls, it’s practically impossible to place your camera in such a way that will break the 180-degree rule which must be adhered to diligently in order to keep the audience oriented in a scene.


Thanks to this new approach, I’m finally able to see cinematic results in the work produced by my students.

There’s nothing so rewarding for me then to cut them loose for their final assignment and watch as the group together to create engaging movies featuring gun fights, bank robberies, car chases, alien encounters, and even cast themselves as the struggling protagonists in a zombie apocalypse. 

The time and effort they put into these movies, often going above and well beyond my requirements, clearly demonstrate just how powerful a tool like Moviestorm can be in enabling learners.


Read this and other education case studies on the Moviestorm website at