Beware of "Add-ons" that don't do anything

I recently did some add-on shopping, and again and again, I noticed so called add-ons that didn’t actually do anything that Blender doesn’t already have built in. I just noticed one that appears to simply be a standard function of one of the modifiers, one that many people are probably unaware of, but is there nonetheless. It reminds me of that guy who basically made a custom splash screen for Blender and sold it under a different name.

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I just implemented my own version for “Import Image As Planes” but is only for personal use, I don’t plan to sell it. I just mention it as an example. :slight_smile:

But my goal was that (a) I disliked the material setup it offers and I wanted only one specific (texture+bsdf) without bells and whistles. (b) I wanted to do import only one plane facing the default front view. (c) Only one click and go, without settings and other confusing stuff.

Though it looks like a dumb logic to go through this trouble, but for me made importing images much more joyful.

But in general terms, I have no problem with addon reimplementations. Perhaps sometimes they are fraud but sometimes they might be correct. Though each addon creator has particular principles on the design so is kinda hard to distinguish peculiar interests in comparison to general interests of the rest of the public (some people won’t notice the difference - unless they know the same thing).

The real problem here, is with deceive and misconceive due to lack of detailed information and explicit stating of things. We should be really make things clear as much as possible through comments and feedback so there are no unwanted misunderstandings.

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I think it’s totally fine to do that, do you think it would be fair to sell it ?

I find the addon business with blender kind of weird, especially given that it’s open source and available for everyone for free. And yet it’s the software with most tiniest plugins monetized.
To be clear, there are amazing addons made with lots of time and effort and that’s fine to sell them.
Just like selling good assets is totally fair.

While everyone is free to sell very simple addons, and even more people are free to buy them or not, I don’t think this is doing good for blender as a software and as a community.

Look at these 3ds plugins : https://www.kinematiclab.com/shop
There are lots of free stuff that looks like quite advanced to me, but also even more powerful tools that are payed.

Look at all the shared stuff by the community on Nukepedia : https://www.nukepedia.com/gizmo-downloads

Some addons simply streamline built in actions, indeed, many only do what you can do natively, but they often put them into a workflow which means you are saving time and that, for some, is worth paying for.

Then there are those like Mesh machine, which provide functions I don’t think you can replicate at all in native Blender.

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Some times people just can’t read the docu… or are even unaware of the docu ? Because they are incapably of clicking Help → Manual ??
So maybe this is the reason they can be told into buying the simpled things liked plastic spacer for plates for example…

In every shop or marketplace (virtual or real) you can buy trash because there are people who buy it…

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My philosophy for writing add-ons is simple: I add functionality that Blender doesn’t have or streamline existing functionality. I charge a small fee - less than 5 dollars - as a “tip” for my time. I always note on my add-ons that it’s simple to recreate my add-ons and I encourage people to do so if they have the coding expertise and time. If not, then I’ve saved them a lot of hassle and effort learning how to make an add-on.

Instead of me nickel and diming profit, I’m giving people the choice of “make it yourself or pay me next to nothing to do it for you”.

Generally people seem perfectly ok with this arrangement- there have been times when someone has asked how an add-on has worked and I’ve told them exactly what I did and let them know they’re welcome to write it themselves if they want. So far, they’ve always opted to just buy mine instead.

note: I have some large production suite level add-ons planned that will take hundreds of hours of development. In that case, I’ll be charging quite a bit more, simply because my time is valuable and I believe those add-ons will add a lot of value to user experience

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Well, all software have addons, plugins, scripts, whatever, which are nothing else than just presets, clever ( more or less ) combination of couple actions. But there is also stuff which need more time, effort, programming, but also heavily depend of host application. Great example are XParticles for C4D, which can’t be implemented in other software because depend on C4D features. For Max exist tyFlow which heavily expand Max capabilities.
However even “small” stuff often can have big value. Also someone must make this stuff put his time and effort in process. Someone offer it for free, others ask for money.
Now imagine Blender without Loop Tools or Node Wrangler, I’m sure that everyone will pay for these gems. There are many others free gems, I just “randomly” chose this two… because use it so often :smiley:
Only real issue is that sometime people ask for “big” money for really simple stuff ( I don’t name it :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: )… And even worse is that developers to often don’t care to make his own version ( of free or payed stuff )… because someone else do his work. Also they don’t need to worry about further develop, combability, bugs, etc.
PS. I say this in general, all developers have this approach, not only Blender. Users for years ask, demand and then someone make this stuff and release it.

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I get that there are add-ons that streamline functionality, and I see nothing wrong with that. But as stated, if an add-on is doing something that can already be easily accomplished in Blender, it should say as much. The other thing that doesn’t sit well is the rate at which I see people’s add-ons being copied. Some one will come out with a cool idea, and before you know it, there’s a whole lineup of clones. That doesn’t seem very fair. Oh and I forgot to mention about the guy who cloned Blender…He also stole RobertT’s artwork for the splash screen. That was the final straw, and the community came down on him, and he took his product down.

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It is fair in the way that I implemented (reinvented the wheel) everything from scratch so no copyright infidgement here. Behind the scenes, the same actions one would take do all of it by hand. (Open image, create plane, set plane dimensions same as image and divide by 100x to scale down, setup material, rotate, apply transform etc).

But in terms of idea, if users get something original, or should they buy it. It would be more like a “donation” rather than paying for premium addon.

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Yeah this kinda sucks, because this disourages top of the top addon developers to consider Blender as a safe platform.

Though javascript code can be minified and objuscated aggressively so it becomes real junk to the eyes of the human though still readable. C# is obfuscated nicely as well. C++ rocks because is 100% binary code. Only Python is missing some bullet-proof mechanism for protecting source code.

As a side effect, every Python addon comes with tasty full source code. And it makes studying perfect and efficient. So not only the addon is reimplented but the entire design and logic as well.

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Yeah, must admit, that tend to grind my gears as well, the best I can do is support the “original” developers and promote their addon. I know they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is a limit. :wink:

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Also bear in mind that some older add-ons did things that Blender now does, but did not do at the time.

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True. Good point.

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May I add that we should also beware of add-ons that used to work but no longer for newer versions of Blender ?

I have been in contact with dev where I told them that their add-on doesn’t work, they acknowledged it and two stable release versions of Blender later, they still left it dead, and yet it is still being sold in BlenderMarket.

A part of me wishes that someone can test whether it still works and MARK WITH RED add-ons that doesn’t work for the last two stable versions of Blender (including the current stable version).

BlenderMarket will show you in the product details sidebar before you buy what versions of Blender the product is compatible with

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