Ara’s Tale is Released !!



After 3 years in the making, finally is the moment of truth:

I proudly present the release of Ara’s Tale !

Writer/Director: Martin Lubich
Music: Philippe Rey
Sound: Mikkel Nielsen

Watch the movie online on


or directly download the movie files from the following links. I have provided links to google drive and dropbox. (note for the links into google drive: to download it, you have to open the menu and select ‘download’ or just hit ctrl-S)

!! The alternate links (dropbox) are all down at the moment. Dropbox has dicontinued serving these files due to excessive traffic. I am really sorry for this !!

I developed this short over the course of the last 3 years in my spare time. Which started as a simple naive idea, soon grew into something hugely complex, but in the end utterly rewarding.

Without the work done by Phil Rey (Music) and Mikkel Nielsen (Sound) this movie wouldn’t be what it is today.

Without  the work done by Phil Rey (Music) and Mikkel Nielsen (Sound) this movie  wouldn’t be what it is today. I want to express my deepest gratitude for their work and dedication throughout the project.

Thank you Mikkel and Phil !

This short is intended to be seen and heard. So turn on the volume when watching this short.

I also want to thank all who have given feedback and have shown their interest in this project. This gave motivation in times when everything seemed hopeless :). Thank you!

The full movie is licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND). The movie was created in the spirit of an Open Movie, thus I am in the process of preparing all the production material for release under a CC-BY license as well. With this a visuals only version of the movie with a CC-BY license will be released as well.

Enjoy the movie. Any comments and/or critique are highly appreciated and encouraged.

If you like the movie, please spread the word. If you don’t, spread it nonetheless 🙂

23 thoughts on “Ara’s Tale is Released !!”

  1. The project finally attains completion after many long years of solitary work, and the completed film is a tremendous achievement for a solitary artist. Thank you Martin for your decision to share the journey with the internet community, it truly has been a wonderful experience.

    1. Thanks a lot Nathaniel.

      Looking back, I think by sharing all what I have done, the experience was enriched tremendously for me.
      And now I feel strangely relieved … 🙂


    This short was so well made! I didn’t follow this blog at all, and only learned about it through “Adventures in Blender” on Google+ about two weeks ago.

    Towards the middle, when she touched the dragon, I thought she was the villain, you can guess how [surprised / impressed / shocked] I was to learn she was a dragon keeper and she only wanted to protect it. I can only begin to image how much she has to suffer to live in a world that bans dragons. Surely she has to hide the power that lives within herself from the rest of the world.

    Whatever, I’m just thinking out loud…

    Great story and great work!

    Now, I just need to get my hands on the music album [when / if] it’s released.

    1. Thank you Apos.

      This makes me especially happy, that you enter the story and have these lines of thought. And yes there would be enough stuff to build upon these ideas and make some other episodes.

      About the music, currently there is no separate album planned for release. Maybe Phil will include it into one of his albums. Have a look at his site ( where he has some of his work for download.

      But I will ask him nonetheless.

      1. Imi place citatul: "A fost tradata de viata,de iubire si de moarte." Chiar mi-a atras atentia, iar coperta este extrem de interesanta (ochii modelului sunt geniali).Povestea este putin comun si pot jura ca am mai citit povestea asta undeva.

  3. Finaly this is BRILLIANT Simpel and a real bauty

    wunderfull animaton
    you got to became lunatic in making all the the Simulation….
    and the enviroment mindbugeling 😀

    this is a brillant Job 😀

    1. Thanks a bunch Christoph !

      Yes I am quite happy with the outcome :).

      And yes, the simulation cost me some of my nerves. Just lookup the post about the particles.

  4. I loved it. It seemed much shorter than 8 minutes. It’s hard to believe that this was done with such a small crew.

    By the way I recognized the Blender and Gimp logos at the end. What were the other two logos?

    1. Thanks a lot. I am glad you enjoyed the movie.

      The one logo is for MyPaint, a sketching and painting application. I used it for drawing the design sketches and the storyboard.

      The other one is Mari. A highly professional texturing application ( ) . I had the honor to be granted an extended test license to be able to finish the movie.

  5. congratulations, Martin! Finishing a project that lasts for three years shows an incredible commitment and staying of endurance. I am very impressed. I wished, the movie would last a bit longer, incredible that these are eight minutes. Also kudos to the composer of the soundtrack. That has real cinema character.

    It would be nice if you could do a last report on the amount of time you spent for the entire production and the estimated time if you would do a similar movie again (incorporating your experience and your workflow).


    1. Thanks a lot Martin 🙂

      You are right, I really forgot to put my final sum here up on my blog. Where have I had my mind 😉
      I have only put it on the WIP thread at blenderartists. That will be corrected.

      In the meantime here is a short abstract:
      Time Task
      5:34 01-Script
      43:54 02-Storyboard
      73:54 03-Concept Art
      14:48 04-Animatics
      152:45 05-Modeling
      76:57 06-Rigging
      189:17 07-Animation
      261:00 08-Texturing
      228:11 09-Simulation
      331:59 10-Project Management
      131:54 11-Research
      328:14 Lighting/Compositing
      1856:56 Total

  6. My dear brother,
    I am soooooo proud of you!
    Watching the movie gives me goose-skin. Reading all this fantastic comments makes me almost cry, because I am so glad for you and proud of you!
    Also congratulations to Phil for his wonderful music (I think Nutella will become sponsor of him) and to Mikkel for the real great sound!
    I wonder what Peter Jackson will write in his comment, when he watches the movie 😉

    Martin, writer/director of Ara’s Tale is MY brother ;))
    Love you – Barbara

  7. I don’t know you at all. I’ve never heard of this project before today, until I happened on the blurb post on the Blender homepage.

    Long comment short: I am incredibly impressed.

    The treasure in this short is not only the animation and modelling, but the cinematic shot direction, editing and storytelling that comes hand in hand with those things. You have a superb eye for the screen and feel for pacing. Kudos to you and your team!

    After three years of labor you should be extremely proud. I can’t wait to see what you produce next.

    And as someone who also hopes to produce something this well done, I have reserved the right to add you to the collection of inspiring works that I have archived for my own work. Thank you for that.


  8. Just had the pleasure of watching your beautiful work. Simply stupendous work, I was totally blown away with all vfx; mind blowing stuff. I can’t really complain about anything at all, and seeing you tamed Blender to do this single handed, it wouldn’t be fair at all in any sense 🙂 Loved the music, visuals and story. I do want to hear your version of the story though, I feel quite a lot of the symbolic scenes mean something other than what I actually interpreted.

    I can’t stop myself from saying one thing though, the scene where she touches the dragon’s face. It actually felt comedic than serious. The timing of the finger movement would’ve changed so much! But its just a picky little qualm, unnoticeable behind all this awesomeness!

    1. Milad, thanks a lot for your comments.

      Interesting that you mention the touching scene and that you find it a bit comedic. This scene ( and the timing of the finger ) , was one of the earliest things completed in terms of animation. There may be in fact some comedic aspect to it, maybe a remain of the very earliest approaches to the overall mood, where the basic tone of the story was a it different as it is now.

      For me, thats really something to think about …

  9. That’s a fantastic film, Martin!

    The movie file has been residing in my drive for a long time and decided to watch it with my friends and we loved it! Though there were a few technical glitches I noticed, the total aspect of the film overpowered it all.

    I’m really impressed that you finally made it and finished the movie, it has been awhile, I’m sure there’s a ton of lessons you have learned during production.

    Well, that’s just my reaction. 😉



    1. Reyn, thanks a lot lot for your feedback.

      Of course there are technical glitches :). But I am happy that they didn’t distract you from the movie itself.
      I hope to share the lessons I have learned during these 3 years with the community. I have just to figure out a proper way in doing so.

      BTW, do you have any knowledge if Ara’s Tale got included into the siggraph demoreel ? Just curious 😉

  10. Hi Martin,

    I had wondered whatever had happened to the release after waiting patiently on your WIP on Cgtalk. Have to congratulate you on completing your 3 year task! The hair and cloth sim was spectacular. I’m a big fan of this genre it’s nice that the solitary artist, like you, can take on this undertaking.

    1. Hi Noah

      Ooops, sorry about that. I somewhat neglected the cgtalk wip thread in the hot endphase.

      But I am glad you eventually found the final release. And yes, it is a real blessing to be able as an individual to tackle (and finish) such projects.

  11. it was fun watching this! im lucky to have known nothing about it before. that you did it alone and as a non professional is an inspiration.

    one though i did have though, with that dragon. unless its flight was mostly magical, i would think its wings would beat faster and cause a wind that would blow her hair and clothes around. think of a helicopter, but less force.

    appreciated the model of the woman. the details of her wear really added to the story. im done rambling, thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thanks for your comments.

      Physically speaking you are quite correct about the dragon’s flight.

      I did some tests with faster flapping wings, but this added to much unrest to the pacing, so I reverted it to the speed you see now.

      About the wind: I was happy to have achieved the little movements of hair and cloth. My testa with more wind force just broke the whole simulation into unmanagable pieces 🙂

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