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Ubisoft and Epic Games are now supporting Blender development

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Two surprising bits of news recently about Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite as they've managed to secure some extra funding from two big names.

Firstly, it was announced on July 15th that Epic Games awarded them $1.2 million from Epic's MegaGrants program. Quite an impressive number and good to see a company such as Epic support open source software in such a way. They don't get it all at once though, it will trickle in over the next three years, to help with Blender's "Professionalizing Blender Development Initiative".

"Open tools, libraries and platforms are critical to the future of the digital content ecosystem," said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. "Blender is an enduring resource within the artistic community, and we aim to ensure its advancement to the benefit of all creators."

Additionally and also quite a surprise, is that Ubisoft have also joined in which was announced only today. Ubisoft has now become a "corporate Gold member" of the "Blender Foundation’s Development Fund" which will further help support Blender developers. On top of that, Ubisoft Animation Studio will be moving over to primarily using Blender as its main digital content creation tool and have developers contribute too. If you want to know more about all that, there's an interview on Ubisoft's website.

"Good news keeps coming" says Blender founder and chairman Ton Roosendaal, "it’s such a miracle to witness the industry jumping on board with us! I’ve always admired Ubisoft, as one of the leading games and media producers in the world. I look forward to work with them and help them finding their ways as a contributor to our open source projects on blender.org."

This is fantastic. Having open source software like this, that runs on Linux and is properly funded will only strengthen their position to providing awesome tools for everyone for free.

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25 comments
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sub 22 July 2019 at 8:50 pm UTC
I bet this is kind of a green-washing attempt.
Still great for Blender, though.
riidom 22 July 2019 at 9:05 pm UTC
Interesting that you use Blender for video editing. While I use blender for animations, for video editing I prefer DaVinci Resolve.
Now Ubisoft said in the interview they sticked to inhouse solutions before. I'd like to know if they have an inhouse video editor too. And if their development work will be focussed on video editing or some other part of blender.
Personally, I find the announcement of contributing to blender almost more exciting than the 2.5k€/month.
Valck 22 July 2019 at 10:11 pm UTC
KimyrielleGreat to see Epic doing -something- not totally evil, for a change.
Makes you wonder about their ulterior motives, doesn't it...
MayeulC 22 July 2019 at 10:24 pm UTC
It is worth noting that, at 1.2M over 3 years, which averages to 400k per year, Epic's grant is 13 times higher than ubisoft's (if you take 30k/year) at least over the first three years.
Which one indicates most commitment ? I wouldn't really know, but ubisoft's sounds more long-term.

Alm888I wonder, what Autodesk® had done to piss these guys off so much that they openly started undermining its dominance by supporting the direct competitor?

Usually, Big Bucks Companies stick to each other.

Ubisoft was pretty explicit about this in their interview: they have specific needs, thus like the ability to modify their tools. Previously, they had to spend quite a bit on their in-house animation tools, and they expect to spend less on development costs, while both reaping benefits from the huge manpower behind blender, and contribute back some of their improvements (likely the not-so-specific ones).
It's the free software mindset, quite literally. At least from reading the announcement. Usually, companies tend not to contribute that much back (but then, so do users).


Last edited by MayeulC at 22 July 2019 at 10:30 pm UTC
mirv 22 July 2019 at 10:40 pm UTC
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Alm888I wonder, what Autodesk® had done to piss these guys off so much that they openly started undermining its dominance by supporting the direct competitor?

Usually, Big Bucks Companies stick to each other.

The only problem with Maya and 3DSMAX is their price. For indies/hobbyist Blender is the way to go and I think that Unity and Epic wants to reduce newcomers costs.

I think you are correct here. There have been blender exporters to unreal engine 4 for a little while (no idea how well they work), but Blender is becoming increasingly important because it's easily accessible for customers - and to universities. Students are an important consideration.
Tie all that into their marketplace, and it starts to make monetary sense.

As for Ubisoft, well, they'll have less of a burden for in-house tools, and something more familiar for new artists joining the company. And probably less grumbling from existing people who need better support and have been wanting to use something else anyway.


Last edited by mirv at 22 July 2019 at 10:40 pm UTC
STiAT 22 July 2019 at 11:26 pm UTC
WendigoI wish they'd use the money for the new game engine. (just dreaming)

No, we have a very good open source game engine.

The money is placed where it should be. Blender is an excellent free 3D animation project, and funding to improve it is exactly where the money should land. I'm glad the two companies, even though I can't find a reason and it's very unexpected, I appreciate the support those Ubisoft and Epic are showing.

I'm sure there is interest behind that and not just gratitude, but that said - the more sponsoring we can get for projects like this, making and keeping the tooling for game development free, the better. There is some interest behind that, but it could be as little as making tooling more accessible to startup game studios. We don't know. It does not matter. We got funding for a great project (which I personally never donated to - not a designer :p).

Congrats, Blender!
jarhead_h 23 July 2019 at 12:02 am UTC
Great, EPIC and Ubi are now supporting open source tools.... but not open source operating systems.

WendigoI wish they'd use the money for the new game engine. (just dreaming)

There's really no need, not with Godot now in the picture. Eventually we won't need Epic or Ubi any more than we need Adobi, Autodesk, Microsoft, etc right now.

x_wing
Alm888I wonder, what Autodesk® had done to piss these guys off so much that they openly started undermining its dominance by supporting the direct competitor?

Usually, Big Bucks Companies stick to each other.

The only problem with Maya and 3DSMAX is their price. For indies/hobbyist Blender is the way to go and I think that Unity and Epic wants to reduce newcomers costs.

Blender is good enough now that is starting to be used in television. It won't be long and it will be the primary software for lower budget animated features, especially with GreasePencil.
Smilex 23 July 2019 at 4:49 am UTC
Perkeleen_Vittupää
SmilexEveryone behind what is Blender today put in an immense effort to get this far. It's such an impressive project.
The recent UI changes are impressive, and even more so because it is not often that open source projects manage to do overhauls of any of their big systems, like the entire UI.
I personally use Blender as my video editing tool.

How in practice does Blender compare with say, OpenShot, Kdenlive or Lightworks in the day to day simple video editing?

Should anyone interested give it a go as a daily driver you think?

I'd say it only competes with the other free editors out there, as in, it's not super good. I pushed through because I trust Blender to be capable of doing anything I'd ever want, because of the animation movies released by the team.
The mode I use most is the "Video Editing" one, but I'm moving towards the full 3D view because it lacks features
elmapul 23 July 2019 at 5:19 am UTC
x_wing
Alm888I wonder, what Autodesk® had done to piss these guys off so much that they openly started undermining its dominance by supporting the direct competitor?

Usually, Big Bucks Companies stick to each other.

The only problem with Maya and 3DSMAX is their price. For indies/hobbyist Blender is the way to go and I think that Unity and Epic wants to reduce newcomers costs.

unity?
etonbears 23 July 2019 at 11:16 am UTC
WendigoI wish they'd use the money for the new game engine. (just dreaming)

I think it would be better to ensure Blender is a capable and flexible asset creator that is usable as part of a variety of games, simulations and other applications: either through an extension mechanism or embedding.

The Blender games engine was useful when written, but is less important now, as well as acting as a drag on other changes. I am sure someone will find a way to make an engine integrate with Blender if it is useful to do so.

Obviously, if you used Blender to create games, you would probably disagree. ?
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