Yesterday, Ubisoft Animation Studio (UAS) announced that they will fund the development of Blender as a corporate Gold member through the Blender Foundation’s Development Fund. It has also been announced that Ubisoft will be adopting the open-source animation software Blender as their main digital content creation (DCC) tool. The exact funding amount has not been disclosed.
Gold corporate members of the Blender development fund can have their prominent logo on blender.org dev fund page and have credit as Corporate Gold Member in blender.org and in official Blender foundation communication. The Gold corporate members also have a strong voice in approving projects for Blender. The Gold corporate members donate a minimum of EUR 30,000 as long as they remain a member.
Pierrot Jacquet, Head of Production at UAS mentioned in the press release , “Blender was, for us, an obvious choice considering our big move: it is supported by a strong and engaged community, and is paired up with the vision carried by the Blender Foundation, making it one of the most rapidly evolving DCCs on the market.”
He also believes that since Blender is an open source project, it will allow Ubisoft to share some of their own developed tools with the community. “We love the idea that this mutual exchange between the foundation, the community, and our studio will benefit everyone in the end”, he adds.
As part of their new workflow, Ubisoft is creating a development environment supported by open source and inner source solutions. The Blender software will replace Ubisoft’s in-house digital content creation tool and will be used to produce short content with the incubator. Later, the Blender software will also be used in Ubisoft’s upcoming shows in 2020.
Per Jacquet, Blender 2.8 will be a “game-changer for the CGI industry”. Blender 2.8 beta is already out, and its stable version is expected to be released in the coming days. Ubisoft was impressed with the growth of the internal Blender community as well as with the innovations expected in Blender 2.8.
Blender 2.8 will have a revamped UX, Grease Pencil, EEVEE real-time rendering, new 3D viewport and UV editor tools to enhance users gaming experience. Ubisoft was thus convinced that this is the “right time to bring support to our artists and productions that would like to add Blender to their toolkit.”
This news comes a week after 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. With two big companies funding Blender, the future does look bright for them. The Blender 2.8 preview features is expected to have made both the companies step forward and support Blender, as both Epic and Ubisoft have announced their funding just days before the stable release of Blender 2.8. In addition to Epic and Ubisoft, corporate members include animation studio Tangent, Valve, Intel, Google, and Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distribution.
Ton Roosendaal, founder and chairman of Blender Foundation is surely a happy man when he says that “Good news keeps coming”. He added, “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 working with them and help them find their ways as a contributor to our open source projects on blender.org.”
I have carefully constructed the Blender organization to be independent, with distributed copyright and firmly rooted as Free Software. We are strong enough to accept the industry to come on board. Welcome to our community, Epic Games, Ubisoft, Tangent, and many more! #b3d
— Ton Roosendaal (@tonroosendaal) July 22, 2019
Users are very happy and feel that this is a big step forward for Blender.
— Nazzareno Giannelli (@nazzagnl) July 22, 2019
i knew since i started to use 2.8 alpha that 2019 it was going to be interesting for the project.
First Epic now Ubisoft, didn't expect to be that much interesting, great job 👍👍👍👍
— Nahuel Belich (@Nahuel_Belich) July 22, 2019
Ubisoft shifting to Blender is amazing news for the tool, more media attention, likely more funding etc. 👏 https://t.co/OStK7EkdAF
— David Amador 🐙 (@DJ_Link) July 22, 2019
Been using #Blender for 18 years and can say without a doubt these are the most exciting times I've seen. Even then we knew it would take over one day, and now with 2.8 and a thriving dev fund with sponsors like Epic (and now Ubisoft!), there's no stopping it. Good times! -Chris
— CG Masters (@cgmastersnet) July 22, 2019
Many also see this move as the industry’s way of sidelining Autodesk, the company which is popularly used for its DCC tools.
Seems like the entire games industry is going to war against Autodesk….and I'm kind of here for it. We need competition: https://t.co/FKSW9mc3Nn Blender 2.8 is SERIOUS.
— Ralph Barbagallo (@flarb) July 22, 2019
A Hacker News user comments, “Kudos to blender’s marketing team. They get a bit of free money from this. But the true motive for Epic and Unisoft is likely an attempt to strong-arm Autodesk into providing better support and maintenance. Dissatisfaction with Autodesk, lack of care for their DCC tools has been growing for a very long time now, but studios also have a huge investment into these tools as part of their proprietary pipelines.
Expect Autodesk to kowtow soon and make sure that none of these companies will make the switch. If it means that Autodesk actually delivers bug fixes for the version the customer has instead of one or two releases down the road, it is a good outcome for the studios.”
Visit the Ubisoft website for more details.