With the long-awaited 2.80 release of Blender soon upon us, to say that there’s a lot of excitement revolving around the free and open-source design suite would be an understatement. In a post last week, we talked about Blender’s RC2 build, which was released a couple of days ago. We also talked about some of what’s coming down the pipe, including something related to NVIDIA’s RTX.
An important detail we forgot to mention in that post was that Epic Games had divvied up $1.2 million from its “MegaGrants” initiative to award to the Blender Foundation, providing a much-appreciated cushion, and the ability to bring on more talent. The ultimate goal for Blender is a simple one: to make the software better. So moves like these will enhance its ability to reach goals quicker.
While Epic has received a fair bit of ire in recent months for its arguably anti-consumer practices with its Epic Games Store, Blender users have nothing to fear with its donation here. This is as hands-off as we can get – it’s a matter of Epic handing over money, and Blender putting it to use. While Epic has its own game engine, the health of a solution that sticks to Blender’s goals is important for the industry as a whole.
There once was a time when Blender didn’t seem like a serious tool, even though it’s always had the intention to be one. That’s the problem with a free product vs. one that sells licenses for multiple hundreds of dollars per month. Perceptions have changed a lot over the past couple of years, though, and moves like Ubisoft’s just-announced one are sure going to help continuing to improve them.
Ubisoft, one of the most popular AAA game developers going, has just joined Blender Foundation’s Development Fund as a Gold member. This move is a bit more involved than Epic’s, since Ubisoft will fund online support for Blender’s developers, and its Ubisoft Animation Studio will be adopting the software, and accordingly assign developers to contribute to the project.
Blender is clearly healthier than ever, and these latest moves ensure the next few years are going to be as smooth and productive as possible. We’re excited to hear of anything else that might come out at SIGGRAPH, which takes place next week in Los Angeles.