Blender Fork Bforartists searches for volunteers

Hey everybody :slight_smile:

I have started what nobody wanted to start so far, me included. A Blender fork. The project has now reached the point to call for help. The point to ask for volunteers, to organize the pipeline, and the point to start the development. So here we go.

What is Bforartists?
Yes, you have read right. Bforartists is a fork of the popluar open source 3d software Blender. And is, similar to Blender, of course also open source and under the GPL V3 license.

Here you can find the webpage for the project:

A Blender fork? R u MAD?
No! I know exactly what i am doing :slight_smile:

I am 3D graphics addicted. trueSpace once brought me the fun with its fast and easy workflow. It was always a joy to work with trueSpace. Blender then killed this fun nearly with its complicated and hotkey centered workflow. And it’s time to do something against it before i loose the whole fun at 3D. I now have the needed time since my other projects that i wanted to do are all finished, and i have the skills. So let’s start it.

Yes, i was in the past one of the folks that said that a Blender fork is something impossible. But Blender has produced this much unhappy bunnies over the time that i changed my mind. I am very optimistic to find the needed forces now.

To fork Blender is of course nothing that a single person can do. And that’s why i call for help.

What is the general goal of the fork?
To create an easy to use 3D Software package for hobbyists and advanced 3d graphics artists. Which is the opposite of what Blender is. Blender is known as one of the hardest to learn and to use 3D Software packages.

Why should i support Bforartists, and not Blender?

The million dollar question. What makes the fork so special and valuable that you should join? Why not simply contribute to Blender? Blender is so much bigger and well known, has an established community, and has even paid developers …

The main reason is that Bforartists has completely different development goals, and a completely different philosophy than Blender. I want to switch the usability philosophy by 180 degrees. Away from super complicated hotkey centered workflows that promises speed gains in miliseconds range, towards a self explaining and intuitive graphical UI that can even be used with one hand when necessary. With a development focus at a good usability, and not at throwing in yet another killer feature with bad usability. With a target audience of the hobbyists and advanced artists. Working with Bforartists must make fun in the first place.

I want to simplify the workflow here and there. A good example is the delete quiz with its more than a dozen entries. When i press delete, then i want to delete the selected element. And not play jeopardy what kind of delete i have to do now.

Another important point is that i want to give all those useful things a home that either gots declined because the responsible module owners didn’t even understand their value. Or because of wrong understood open source philosophy. Open source should offer freedom, not restriction.

I want to bring all forces at one table. One of my observations is that the Blender developers becomes very picky lately. Even fully functional patches that makes sense gets declined because they could “possibly” make trouble in the future. While half baked features still makes it in.

We will make Bforartists, not movies. Doesn’t mean that we will never collaborate with some artists. By coincidence i am one. The concept to connect the development of a software with a real project, like a movie or a game, is not a bad one at all. But our primary focus is at developing Bforartists. Not making movies.

I also want to implement a few more things that are standard since many years in other 3D packages, and where the developers never saw a value in. Stuff like a simple reset view. Or scaling of a selection to world coordinates. Or libraries for the different kind of objects that we deal with in Blender. Light libraries, object libaries, material libraries, etc.

And last but not least because i want to offer an all in one solution. Manual, tutorials, downloads. Blender has outsourced the documentation and tutorials and even the community to the users. And so the new users have a hard time to find useful beginner material.

On top of that you will find a friendly community without censorship. We take critics serious, we don’t censor it away. Note that this is no charter for trolling, flaming and bashing, which is not tolerated.

What exists at this point?
The whole infrastructure. A website with forum, bug- and issue tracker, wiki area, chatroom, etc. . So that we can go directly to work now.
A manifest that explains why i have started this fork and defines the general direction.
A roadmap that already defines some main goals. The detailled list is something that i want to figure out with the whole team then. At a one by one issue base.
A Bforartists UI Design Document that shows and explains the changes for the new graphical UI.

I also made some first changes at the repository to justify the copyright issues and to port the project over to Bforartists. The existing Blender icons are replaced. There are first changes at the CmakeText files to create a Bforartist.exe file instead of a Blender.exe file. There is quite some work waiting to become the whole project blender free though. And that’s already one of the issues where i would be happy about help. For example, the bforartists.exe still wants to start a blender-app.exe at the moment, and refuses to start therefore.

The modified files can be found in the Bforartists developer forums.

Where is the Repository?
Here at Github. . But the repository is currently empty. First we have to port the baby. See point before.

Is the job paid or unpaid?

Bforartists is open source. And purely volunteer driven. I want Bforartists to stay completely money free for more than one reason.

But note that i would have no problem with user crowd funded development. When the result fits in, then i would accept also such commits. Please contact us beforehand to clear if the commit would be accepted or not. It’s just that i don’t want to, and cannot be responsible for any money involved here. Bforartists is a pure private, non commercial initiative. Not a company that can hire employees. And so any crowd funding must happen without any official or even inofficial Bforartists support.

Who can help?
Everybody who is willing to, and supports the general development direction. See Manifest and Roadmap.
Blender is developed in three languages. C, C++ and Python. And so is Bforartists. In detail the project needs:

  • C / C++ / Python Programmers
  • C / C++ / Python Programmers
  • C / C++ / Python Programmers
  • QT specialists
  • An Icon artist (or two or three or as many as wants to do the job. Nobody says that a icon set should be unchangeable. But note that a set should be done by a single person because of consistency)
  • Manual writers
  • Tutorial writers
  • Bug reporters
  • Bug fixers
  • Forum Moderators
  • Users
  • C / C++ / Python Programmers!

And not to forget all the specialists that i forgot to mention here. When you think that you are of any value for the project, then please join. We simply need everything :slight_smile:

What is Bforartists not looking for?

  • People who thinks that Blender is just fine as it is. When you think that all is fine with Blender then you are at the wrong place.
  • Developers that are pure ideas and advice givers. Ideas are fine. But we are not short of ideas, but doers. You can write down your ideas in the tracker as a user already.
  • Trolls, bashers, and similar disturbing folks. I will not tolerate any of them here. I want Bforartists to become a friendly developer and user community.

What work is waiting?
There is a wide range of posibilities. We have five minutes jobs. Like to fix an easy bug, or to fix a typoe in the manual. And we have jobs that lasts months and years. Like developing the graphical UI. So it all depends at you and your skills, and where you want to help. The most important points are defined in the Roadmap.

How can i get involved?
It’s super easy. Just register at the Bforartists page, and tell the Admin, that’s currently me, that you want to be a developer. There is a chatroom, you can write a pm (see messages when you have registered), and you can write a short message in the forums to do so.
Once you have the developer role you can write in the developer forums and do modifications at the wiki. The rest is conversation and development.

Will the fork be a success?
For me personally it’s already a success. I have my fun with the project. And i will most probably go on, no matter how much people joins and helps.
The success as a software depends of how much people are involved. Bforartists is a code monster. And can simply not be developed by a single person in a useful manner. So the question of success is a question that the volunteers have to answer with their feet. When there are enough volunteers, when the concept can convince enough people to develop and to use Bforartists, then the project will succeed. It’s that easy.

Part two …

About me
One of the most important questions with such a big software project is always if the initiator is suited for the boss role, and is of any help for the project at all. Or if he is not just one of the usual dream dancers and ideas givers without any clue and without any further value for the project, like you can see so often at MMO projects.

First, note that i am not really keen at the boss chair. To lead a team of unpaid volunteers is a hells job, and can easily eat you up alive. I have been there, i know that part from experience already. So when somebody else wants to take the chair and lead Bforartist into the given direction, then i don’t really have a problem with it. Especially since my health is not the best anymore, and is limiting me.

Anyways. Playing the boss just for the sake of being the boss is definitely not my goal. I know a thousand things that makes more fun. But somebody has to channel the forces and to organize the baby. My primary goal is to develop an easy to use open source 3D software.

So what makes me valuable? In short, I am an allrounder. A jack of all trades. And if it were not for the sheer amount of work, then i would do the fork alone. I do everything needed. And i mean everything.

My background is game development. I develop games since 15 years now. With various tools and languages. And i make everything at my games by myself. The range goes from games that can be finished within a week up to games where you normally would need a whole team for. My longest game project took me three years to finish. And it was not the only game in this scope. And so i have a ton of experience in really all needed aspects. I am webdesigner, serveradmin, 3D artist, programmer, musician, sound fxer, storywriter, UI designer, Level designer, manual writer, etc. in one person. I need it? I do it. And i finish what i start.

I may not be the best in all areas. That’s the price for being an allrounder. But my background and experience makes me to quite a good UI / UX expert since i know it from all aspects, and not just from the limited view of a programmer for example. UI / UX is very important in games. And is one of the first things that you have to learn to do right. When a user cannot play the game within the first 20 seconds then he is gone. And same counts for applications to some degrees. I can exactly tell you what sucks at a workflow. And this from all angles. As a user, as a programmer, as a UI designer. And i cannot only say what sucks, but also provide a solution to the problem. And even implement this solution then.

I have already developed two little Blender plugins with Python a while ago. So developing for Blender is nothing completely foreign for me.

Also worth a mention is that i had my adminstrative fingers in more than one community already. I was for a long time administrator of a german developer community around Clickteam’s Multimedia Fusion, called Clickzone. And i am still one of the admins of the german 3D graphics community page 3D-Ring.

Still not convinced? Then have a look at my portfolio. I support the hobby game developers worldwide with freeware graphics since 2001:

The only thing that i currently really miss and have to learn is the needed C knowledge to modify the code. And while this is the thing that is most required for this fork, C is not my first programming language to learn, and will most proably not be my last. I don’t expect any problems here that couldn’t be solved. The monsterbig codebase worries me much more. But i hopefully get a helping hand in case i get really stuck at my way.

Gotcha! You say you cannot program yet! Dream dancer !!!
No, i did not say that i cannot program, i said that i don’t know C yet. I know how to program. You cannot develop games for 15 years without to write code at one point. And i did it with various languages and tools over the years. The language syntax and the tools changes. But the concept of a programming language stays the same. A function is a function, no matter in what language.

Also don’t forget, C is also not the only required thing for this fork. The concept is both, changes at the code base, and a all in one solution. We have a Wiki to fill, Plugins to write (Python), a community to manage, a page to maintain, advertisements, organization, and and and. It can easily happen that i don’t even find the time to write code, dependand of how much volunteers joins and how big the community grows, means how much organization work needs to be done. But that’s something that the future will show. For now i definitely plan to learn C and to contribute to the code base.

I have a few more questions!

Don’t be shy and ask. I will do my best to answer them :slight_smile:

One question, it starts with a W,

Why? Why does this exist?
So far nothing in the feature list is different from the original version of blender.

hes angry thats it

once we had dreaming kids which wanted to make an MMO with 0 experience
now we have people which want to make a fork of an already successful opensource 3D App
without paying anything.

what audaciousness is next I wonder?
shouldn´t this be placed in the volunteer section?

Edit; @ Tiles
To not to misunderstand me, you can of course make a fork , all the luck, but to get taken serious, you have to do a lot more than putting up a website, a little forum and walls of text.

Especially since my health is not the best anymore, and is limiting me.

this one is serious! hopefully you are at a better health than Darrel Anderson.

while your openness is great, it for sure plummets the future-proofness of your project.


You are talking about NoxAstra right? the “MMO”

@ fdfxd

never heard of that one but it will probably put a smile on my face :wink:

I’ve always advocated for a fork that caters to the disaffected parts of the Blender userbase. I very much like that the website for your fork is adorned with a rendering of a “crying baby”. You must have some wit about yourself.

Unfortunately, you’ve set yourself up for failure. What you need to in order to attract volunteers is to first create something meaningful (and even then it’s going to be hard). At the very least you should first try and maintain something that people might want to use (such as custom build with non-trunk patches merged in) before you ask for any more attention.

Websites and proposals are all the usual stuff that nobody cares about when there isn’t any substance behind a project. You haven’t done any actual work on the fork, you admittedly don’t even have the required skills yet and you don’t have any funding, either. Your management skills won’t come in handy until there’s someone to manage. Your website skills are frankly something that you should delegate to someone else, too.

Also, the choice of your name is simply horrible. Why put a passive-aggressive reference to the fact that you believe Blender is “not for artists” right there in the name? And, even then, why make it so ugly? What artist has the aesthetic numbness to tolerate a name like “Bforartists”?

I don’t actually know anything about your fork still other than its UI will be “better”.

If I’m not mistaken, there is going to be a lot more focus on Blenders UI for the 2.8 release in the future.

I personally love how hotkeys are a big part of things in Blender. My only issues with Blender’s UI is that some parts are simple not finished and that’s it. I think it’s a great layout and overall design.

I like that you’re doing something about it, but I think you might be more helpful developing alongside blender as opposed to with a fork.

You see? John get’s it so does Beer and Thenewones,

Seriously, this is the equivalent of me shouting at Cannonical and saying


Which ended up being ubuntu with no differences.

Hmmm, so you want to make a 3D software with a UI that conforms to your personal vision of user friendliness and you want to do this by forking an application that has developed along it’s own path for 20 years.

It’s going to be like unpicking someone else’s nest of knots! It’ll probably easier to start from scratch and create a new program.

You also want to attract a team of talented developers to help you achieve this.

Blimey! that’s one serious undertaking.

So basically, what I’ve read is that you want to make a fork with a heavy emphasis on a mouse-driven UI and lower standards for patch inclusion.

The UI thing may not actually be seen as bad as some desire to have a very visual (if not slower) workflow. However, if you start accepting hacks, patches that shoehorn code into places they shouldn’t be, and other patches that workaround intended architectures instead of first making needed architectural changes, you may have a future situation where where your fork is plagued with spaghetti code and where your users complain about commits constantly breaking tools. Case in point, hacks were once accepted by the BF for places like the game engine and the Blender Internal render engine and look at how well that is working out.

Look I might sound like a dick but then again that’s probably because I am one,

you really shouldn’t just build a frame from tooth picks and expect everyone to build a house from it,

But you know what? You can still prove us wrong.

I hope your attempt makes you appreciate what the BF is trying to do.

That’s a little (ironically) funny.
Do you will consider “Troll” those who constantly complain about your project, generating flame wars and repeating ad nauseam how bad software Bforartists is?
I could swear I’ve seen that kind of users in the Blender 3D community…


this was actually mentioned right before the meeting and Ton wished you luck with your project, he also said there is a lot of ‘hairy code’ lurking in the areas you plan to work on.

I’m personally looking forward to what you come up with, I know a lot of studios have queried whether Blender could use/switch to QT so you might help Blender with adoption there.

Good luck,



my suggestion, rather than diving directly into a fork, might be to see what can be done with the existing codebase without a fork. I’m sure a lot of the work needed to move to QT will be of benefit within Blender for decoupling interface code from tool code. Also showing that you can in fact navigate and contribute to the code might inspire confidence for potential collaborators.

Additionally you might want to document your code findings, so that potential collaborators can have a faster spin up time.

What this also doesn’t cover is how you plan to handle the inevitable complaints that Bforartists is still in a difficult position in terms of interop with commercial software due to the GPL. You will still need to employ the same workarounds that the BF uses unless you literally replace every line of code with something else.

You have stated before how you have a strong disdain for the license in some instances (which we have already said that is not readily fixable with a fork).

Where do I submit all my feature requests that will finally be listened to?

I think this is a good idea. It might make you realize how difficult it is to do things when you’re understaffed.

Well, if you decide to go forward with this somehow (considering all the other issues that have been pointed out already), please begin by actually studying UI design.

This is the opposite of what a more intuitive design would look like. Your changes are just about hiding as much as possible to a point where a lot of very common actions will always be several clicks away. And you still manage to make the viewport area smaller and not really reduce clutter at all.

A saturated UI is very distracting in a program where you work with color as well.