Valve's Source Filmmaker tool kit is now available in open beta status, allowing anyone to create animated short films using the same tools that the company utilized to create the Meet the Team shorts over the past five years. Source Filmmaker includes all assets from the Source game engine and Team Fortress 2 as well as subject matter from two of the Meet the Team videos, according to Valve.

Valve announced the filmmaking tools for end users when Meet the Pyro was released last month, perhaps as the Team Fortress 2 secret project that was alluded to earlier this year on the game's official blog. Valve designer Bay Raitt noted at the time that the tool was developed to easily create animated movies and facilitate better creative freedom. He said that Valve used it to create more than 50 short films.

The tool harnesses the power of a modern gaming system to provide WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) style control of the action. Valve has published tutorials to help get uses going in the right direction and there is even an official Wiki on the subject.

The Source Filmmaker is available for download free of charge for anyone that is interested. We are told that it requires roughly 15GB of storage and it only works on Windows computers. Furthermore, the Source Filmmaker is limited to non-commercial use only. Otherwise, you're free to produce whatever you want.