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It feels like FOSS is on a roll lately, with more and more great open source applications seeing funding from big names. Blender is back in the spotlight again, with backing from Microsoft.

Announced by the Blender team today, July 29 2020, Microsoft has joined them as a 'Gold' level Corporate Member. This means Microsoft will be giving the Blender Foundation at least €30K a year, which the Blender team say pays for half a year of developer time to improve Blender. The statement from the Blender Foundation Chairman was short and sweet:

We at Blender are very proud of this support statement, it’s another important signal that the industry migrates to open source and finds ways to contribute to it.

This follows a string of other major companies throwing their backing behind Blender. Over the last year we've seen Embark Studios, AMD, Adidas, NVIDIA, Ubisoft and Epic Games all pledge monies towards it. There's plenty more that already contribute like Google, Ubuntu developer Canonical, Valve and more.

Looking over their funding page, they're currently getting about €94,175 a month across 41 corporate sponsors and 4,601 individuals. Sounds nice on the surface but that's not much when split between a few developers. Hopefully this level of funding keeps up and they manage to pull in more as Blender is such a fantastic bit of open source software.

Also, it's worth noting that the Blender team have some open job positions right now including a back-end developer, a writer to blog about what they're doing and a community coordinator.

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tmtvl 29 Jul, 2020
Quotethat's not much when split between a few developers

90,000 Euros is not much when split between a few devs? You could hire 30 devs off that. Maybe 20 after taxes, but still.
Creak 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: tmtvl
Quotethat's not much when split between a few developers

90,000 Euros is not much when split between a few devs? You could hire 30 devs off that. Maybe 20 after taxes, but still.
Depends on the developers you'd like to have. A senior programmer with decades of experience in 3D graphics could easily cost 10K€/mo (considering all the taxes).
Purple Library Guy 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: Creak
Quoting: tmtvl
Quotethat's not much when split between a few developers

90,000 Euros is not much when split between a few devs? You could hire 30 devs off that. Maybe 20 after taxes, but still.
Depends on the developers you'd like to have. A senior programmer with decades of experience in 3D graphics could easily cost 10K€/mo (considering all the taxes).
Have there been decades of 3D graphics?
Creak 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: Purple Library GuyHave there been decades of 3D graphics?
Well, Matrix in 1999, the PS1 appeared in 1997, and even Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which started in 1993.

I'm pretty sure we can find something in the 80's quite easily 😉
rustybroomhandle 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: Creak
Quoting: Purple Library GuyHave there been decades of 3D graphics?
Well, Matrix in 1999, the PS1 appeared in 1997, and even Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which started in 1993.

I'm pretty sure we can find something in the 80's quite easily 😉

1987
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculpt_3D

1982
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron
Philadelphus 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: LinuxwarperWhat's their intentions with funding Blender?
Primarily it's marketing: they get a good PR boost for peanuts - much less than the cost of an advertising campaign.
[…]
Thanks for the explanation, I was sitting here thinking "That's cool that Microsoft is contributing to Blender, but what do they stand to get out of it? This isn't like Pixar or some other company that would obviously stand to gain from a 3D-modeling program." (And yes, I know Blender can do much more, I'm just saying it didn't seem immediately obvious that Microsoft would have any use for it. )
mirv 30 Jul, 2020
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Quoting: Philadelphus
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: LinuxwarperWhat's their intentions with funding Blender?
Primarily it's marketing: they get a good PR boost for peanuts - much less than the cost of an advertising campaign.
[…]
Thanks for the explanation, I was sitting here thinking "That's cool that Microsoft is contributing to Blender, but what do they stand to get out of it? This isn't like Pixar or some other company that would obviously stand to gain from a 3D-modeling program." (And yes, I know Blender can do much more, I'm just saying it didn't seem immediately obvious that Microsoft would have any use for it. )

If you follow the link to the announcement, you would know that Microsoft use Blender for creating synthetic models for use in training AI. There are certain advantages in using a 3D model of a person rather than a photo, such as being able to more clearly (and automatically) label what is a leg, hand, head, etc, and also being able to control the data variation (shape of a person, posture, clothing, skin tone, etc).

Here's an example of a very recent paper on the matter:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/uploads/prod/2020/07/high_fidelity_face_synthetics.pdf

And yes, it's explicitly stated that Blender is being used.
Philadelphus 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: mirvIf you follow the link to the announcement, you would know that Microsoft use Blender for creating synthetic models for use in training AI. There are certain advantages in using a 3D model of a person rather than a photo, such as being able to more clearly (and automatically) label what is a leg, hand, head, etc, and also being able to control the data variation (shape of a person, posture, clothing, skin tone, etc).

Here's an example of a very recent paper on the matter:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/uploads/prod/2020/07/high_fidelity_face_synthetics.pdf

And yes, it's explicitly stated that Blender is being used.
Oh interesting, thanks for sharing that. :)
Thetargos 30 Jul, 2020
Quoting: Creak
Quoting: Purple Library GuyHave there been decades of 3D graphics?
I'm pretty sure we can find something in the 80's quite easily 😉
Remember Pixar and Luxo Jr. Saw the light in 1986
Creak 30 Jul, 2020
Also, I wanted to precise that Open Source is not just about companies giving money to a foundation. It is more generally about companies contributing to the software itself, whether it is by giving money or by writing code, documentation, tutorials, etc.

So, while I very much appreciate all these companies giving money to our beloved Blender, I'm afraid some of them still don't understand the FOSS fundamentals...
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