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AWS are now funding Blender development for three years

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Another surprise for 2020! Blender has pulled in yet another major company to help fund their awesome free and open source 3D creation suite.

Not long after Facebook joined in, we now have AWS (Amazon Web Services) funding Blender at a Patron Member meaning they will give the Blender Foundation at least €120K a year and they've commited themselves to three years. This funding is going towards improving Blender's character animation tools development.

From the press release:

“We’re excited to continue to expand our support for open source solutions for our customers in the digital content creation space.” said Kyle Roche, GM of Creative Tools. “The Blender Foundation has been an industry leader in providing production-grade open source software solutions, and we look forward to helping our mutual customers work more efficiently than ever before through continued improvements in Blender.”

“It has always been my preference to work closely with industry talents on improving Blender,” said Blender chairman Ton Roosendaal. “Thanks to AWS’ support we can recruit additional top developers to help us bring character animation in Blender to new heights.”

Currently it seems like they don't have the people to work on it, as the post mentions they will "start recruiting" in Q1 2021 based on when travel and meeting restrictions start getting lifted.

What do you think to all these companies announcing their support on Blender over the last year or two? Pretty amazing to see so many companies seemingly just wake up to how important open source is.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Apps, Open Source
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20 comments
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BlackBloodRum 18 Dec, 2020
Well, I hate Amazon.

But I'll happily let them spend their money on Blender as I make video game modifications with it, so the more funding and continued development the better 😺

Blender has lately had the most used time on my tux 😂
CatKiller 18 Dec, 2020
QuoteWhat do you think to all these companies announcing their support on Blender over the last year or two? Pretty amazing to see so many companies seemingly just wake up to how important open source is.

I'd like to see other projects being the target of that mutually-beneficial PR boost as well. Yes, content creation is a fundamental aspect of lots of industries, so it's appropriate that Blender get funding from the people that benefit from it, but they aren't the only one. I expect Gimp or Godot could do with a shot in the arm, too, as well as infrastructure things like OpenSSL.
rkfg 18 Dec, 2020
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Best thing here is that the sponsors are legally unable to do any evil stunts like buying the company, luring away their staff, making the code proprietary or stuffing spyware into it and all those usual big corp tricks. It's just money well spent that will benefit absolutely everyone who has a computer, Internet access and will to learn and use Blender. So many people were worried when Facebook donated to Godot that even the lead programmer had to explain several times that it's absolutely fine to accept money from these guys and the project isn't endangered in any way. Worst they can do is shifting the developers focus to something they need but from what I saw the devs rather hire new people for that money or simply start paying those who already worked on that feature before.
Ehvis 18 Dec, 2020
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I don't think this support is primarily about supporting open source. Most of those companies (Facebook being the odd one) have 3d engines or create 3d content in some way. Having a stable and easily accessible system for 3d modelling would be very beneficial for both creation and developing future talent. A lot of own interest there I think and that's probably a good thing as well.
gradyvuckovic 18 Dec, 2020
Well Liam, I think bloody amazing and I love it!

The Blender Foundation has worked very hard for many years, and on a shoestring budget, to prove to the professional tech industry that they are serious and committed to developing a production grade quality tool, and the industry in 2019/2020 has finally recognised that. It's been a lot of hard work for the folks who make Blender happen, and by 'Blender' I mean the whole deal, the software and everything around it, the ecosystem, such as Blender Cloud.

I have repeatedly heard from Maya users that they are thoroughly impressed with Blender and increasingly believe it's the better app to use for most tasks over and above Maya (not better value, simply 'better') and recommend to artists who want a long term career in animation to start learning Blender now 'because it's probably what you're going to need to know to get a job in the future'.

But the one thing I repeatedly hear following those comments is, 'Except for animation, Maya still has Blender beat in that area.'.

Well Amazon just signed on for 3 years to fund Blender Foundation to improve just the animation tools. It's fair to say that the animation tools are going to get better rapidly.

Blender is soaring right now and it's beautiful to watch.
inkhey 18 Dec, 2020
Quoting: CatKiller
QuoteWhat do you think to all these companies announcing their support on Blender over the last year or two? Pretty amazing to see so many companies seemingly just wake up to how important open source is.

I'd like to see other projects being the target of that mutually-beneficial PR boost as well. Yes, content creation is a fundamental aspect of lots of industries, so it's appropriate that Blender get funding from the people that benefit from it, but they aren't the only one. I expect Gimp or Godot could do with a shot in the arm, too, as well as infrastructure things like OpenSSL.
Note that the same thing can not happened in Gimp now, the fact that many company contribute to Blender this way is because:
1. Blender is good enough to catch the attention of theses company.
2. The Blender foundation itself has promoted these last year a mechanism which promote financial participation from external company.

It's important to not forgot the second point, because Gimp organization is very very far from Blender:
- Gimp doesn't paid developer. If gimp developer are paid they are paid by other company.
- Gimp doesn't want to paid developer. All money given to Gimp go only for meeting and conference.
- I really don't think Gimp will accept any money from a big organization.

It's also important to notice that whereas Blender is a big project with many paid developer from the beginning, Gimp has very few developer.
orochi_kyo 18 Dec, 2020
This kind of support for open software just came exactly when Amazon has grown a bad reputation for evading taxes, abusing their employees, and its efforts to substitute every single employee they can for a drone.

And it is shocking it actually works, see comments, people are like, "Oh my gosh, without this big money Blender or any other would not exist". I read this article pointing out how EPIC is saving the indie and shareware scene as if the indie games were barely holding up before Epic.

Blender was a wonderful tool before big money starts to hit Blender bank account, the only advantage I see on this is some tools being developed faster but with all the money these big companies are evading in taxes, don't you think we could have better education systems for our countries with more people having access to technology education so we can have more workforce willing to help in open-source software?

120k Euros barely pay two high technology engineers, in my third world country companies pay 60k$ for frontend web development. Just imagine how much could cost a coder for a 3D program in a first-world country...

Damn all those Amazon taxes would be paying a new whole generation of software developers which some of them could easily help Blender to grow, 120k euros a year? that is Jeff Bezos's budget for toilet paper. XD.

Blender is great because they are brains behind it, not money.

5 years using Blender.


Last edited by orochi_kyo on 18 December 2020 at 7:49 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 18 Dec, 2020
I remember when Amazon was a fresh new company that was about books. And when Google said "Don't be evil" and could almost be taken seriously. Every corporation with a normal shareholder model that grows past a certain size becomes horrible (and most of the other ones, but it's not quite as inevitable). It's the way our economy is structured.

But I'm fine that some combination of PR and direct self-interest has led them to do this particular form of whatever-washing, because open source has proved itself over many years to be pretty resistant to co-optation; open source things have generally remained publically good even after the big boys notice them and jump in.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 18 December 2020 at 9:31 pm UTC
Whitewolfe80 4 years 19 Dec, 2020
Quoting: CatKiller
QuoteWhat do you think to all these companies announcing their support on Blender over the last year or two? Pretty amazing to see so many companies seemingly just wake up to how important open source is.

I'd like to see other projects being the target of that mutually-beneficial PR boost as well. Yes, content creation is a fundamental aspect of lots of industries, so it's appropriate that Blender get funding from the people that benefit from it, but they aren't the only one. I expect Gimp or Godot could do with a shot in the arm, too, as well as infrastructure things like OpenSSL.

The difference here is simple though Amazon actively use blender as do facebook i doubt Amazon gaming or facebook gaming use gadot for anything thats not a pop at the engine which looks to be improving with every release. As for the infastructure side i would love to see that funded more but that would really only come from the server side if there was a cost vs deployment benefit it would be funded quicker for sure.
CatKiller 19 Dec, 2020
Quoting: Whitewolfe80The difference here is simple though Amazon actively use blender as do facebook i doubt Amazon gaming or facebook gaming use gadot for anything thats not a pop at the engine which looks to be improving with every release. As for the infastructure side i would love to see that funded more but that would really only come from the server side if there was a cost vs deployment benefit it would be funded quicker for sure.

Yeah, I'm not saying that these companies should fund all projects, just that more companies should look at the long-term benefit of funding all the things they benefit from, and throw some coppers at a variety of projects.

Apparently I missed the mark with the Gimp suggestion, since they don't want any money, but there are projects that do, and could make good use of it. The OpenSSL example was because Heartbleed happened when everyone was using the OpenSSL library but the project could only afford two developers. Now that example was sufficiently high profile that a fund for some of those infrastructure things was created, although I don't know how healthy or expansive it is after this time has passed.

I'm just hoping that people that use open source software will come to a wider realisation that, "the more you share, the more your bowl will be plentiful," rather than only funding the same projects.
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