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Yesterday, Epic Games announced that it is awarding Blender Foundation $1.2 million in cash spanning three years, to accelerate the quality of their software development projects. Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite which supports a full range of tools to empower artists to create 3D graphics, animation, special effects or games.

Ton Roosendaal, founder, and chairman of Blender Foundation thanked Epic Games in a statement. He said “Thanks to the grant we will make a significant investment in our project organization to improve on-boarding, coordination and best practices for code quality. As a result, we expect more contributors from the industry to join our projects.”

The $1.2 million grant from Epic is part of their $100 million MegaGrants program which was announced this year in March. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games had announced that Epic will be offering $100 million in grants to game developers to boost the growth of the gaming industry by supporting enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing excellent work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

Sweeney believes that open tools, libraries, and platforms are critical to the future of the digital content ecosystem. “Blender is an enduring resource within the artistic community, and we aim to ensure its advancement to the benefit of all creators”, he adds.

This is the biggest award announced by Epic so far. Blender has no obligation to use or promote Epic Games’ storefront or engine considering this is a pure generous offer by Epic Games with “no strings attached”.

In April, Magic Leap revealed that the company will provide 500 Magic Leap One Creator Edition spatial computing devices for giveaway as part of Epic MegaGrants program.

Blender users are appreciative of the support and generosity of Epic Games.

A Redditor comments, “There’s a reason Epic as a company has an extremely positive reputation with people in the industry. They’ve been doing this kind of thing for years, and a huge amount of money they’re making from Fortnite is planned to be turned into grants as well. 

Say what you want about them, they are without question the top company in gaming when it comes to actually using their profits to immediately reinvest/donate to the gaming industry itself. It doesn’t hurt that every company who works with them consistently says that they’re possibly the very best company in gaming to work with.”

A comment on Hacker News read, “Epic are doing a great job improving fairness in the gaming industry, and the economic conditions for developers. I’m looking forward to their Epic Store opening up to more (high quality) Indie games.” In 2015, Epic had launched Unreal Dev Grants offering a pool of $5 million to independent developers with interesting projects in Unreal Engine 4 to fund the development of their projects. In December 2018, Epic had also launched an Epic game store where developers will get 88% of the earned revenue.

The large sum donation of Epic to Blender holds more value considering the highly anticipated release of Blender 2.8 is around the corner. Though its release candidate is already out, users are quite excited for its stable release. Blender 2.8 will have new 3D viewport and UV editor tools to enhance users gaming experience. With Blender aiming to increase its quality of projects, such grants from major game publishers will only help them get bigger.

A user on Hacker News comments, “Awesome. Blender is on the cusp of releasing a major UI overhaul (2.8) that will make it more accessible to newcomers (left-click is now the default!). I’m excited to see it getting some major support from the gaming industry as well as the film industry.”

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