Hi everyone. As some of you know, I run a company that makes Blender cartoons called TheoryAnimation. Before all that I worked on some cool movies, a well known game, and… some stuff that will never be well-known :\
In every situation I’ve had the chance to use all sorts of software. Sometimes the software was cheap and old, sometimes it was hacked, sometimes it was legitimate, and more often than not it was always customized or downright proprietary.
In all cases there was a learning period; in every case we did some amazing work (even if it winds up in the rental bin :D!)
That’s my point really. I was high enough in the food chain to seriously contend with VFX Supes over the use of Blender - hell on RIPD we used videos like these as reference for what ultimately would be the garage-eating vortex at the end of the movie. Some of my former Rhythm & Hues colleagues are on this board too and we all snuck in Blender where-ever we needed it. On the new 300 film I used it for modelling landscapes (though by this time RnH went bankrupt so I don’t know if it was used.) On Pi I know some clever people who used it for tracking. At this year’s SIGGRAPH we had a large number of developers from multiple studios at the Blender BOF who were curious about it’s advancements and technology.
It’s a great piece of software. Just as Maya, Max, ZBrush, Houdini and the whole myriad of 3D software out there.
Ultimately the tools don’t matter.
Why didn’t we officially use Blender on RIPD? For much the same reason as any other company will tell you. They had a pipeline that worked with artists and developers who knew how to use it. Any more friction than is already present in the pipeline could be disastrous. Plus, it takes a lot of resources to experiment with new software. Even ILM went through some big headaches moving to a Maya/Arnold pipeline for Pacific Rim; in some cases they went back to their proprietary software.
We built Theory with the idea that anyone, anywhere, could create something great. Blender gets us there. We can quickly train people if they’ve learned other software (with George) and not have to worry. Licenses are costly for a startup like ours, especially if people want to just create and not deal with headaches. Add in patches, different platforms and downloading extra tools to make it work leaves you in for a real migraine. With Blender, we’re good to go from the start. Other studios are proving this too.
Trust me, we’ll get there as a community; as movement. One day Blender will have its Oscar for Technical Achievement. I want to make that happen.
Until then, just have fun.