Blender in the industry: A question.


I am using Blender for approximately 6 years and we all know how powerful Blender got throughout the years. Personally, I think that Blender is more than capable to do almost everything 3ds max can do (and even more). I really love Blender;).

My question is
: as a 3D artist, how tough is it going to be if I will ever want to work in one of today’s biggest companies with Blender? because regularly I see demands which state 3ds max, maya etc.

Is it really possible to approach large producers/companies with Blender, or the demands will eventually make me convert to programs like 3ds max?

Thanks in advance!!!

I think it will happen. Just don’t expect it to start at the big film studios and game companies. It’s going to be a gradual bottom up migration.

I know that some NASA locations use Blender and in my last job I got a number of television stations to use Blender. My current employer uses Maya, 3ds Max and Blender.

But I suspect that with Blender 2.5, the acceptance curve is going to start rising.

Thank you very much for replying Artkansas.

What you said is really encouraging, I just hope that in a couple of years, or less, Blender will be recognized as a true competitor in the 3D industry (if it isn’t recognized as that already).

And Indeed, 2.5 is really amazing!@#!!!

Thanks again!

It is definitely becoming part of pipelines around the world, however few companies are yet replacing their current software with it.

I’ve done many commercial projects using Blender. Not TV animations or anything, but certainly professional work.

In my own case I’ve been able to sneak Blender into my workflow, by sneak I mean my employer likely wouldn’t be using 3d if I hadn’t introduced it.

The benefit is that now they see the value and are really impressed to find what Blender is all about. I’m quite certain that with how tight budgets are these days, the more people that discover it’s available the more it will be adopted. That’s especially true for freelancers and small studios/broadcasters.

However I’d agree that learning a commercial app certainly can’t hurt, plus it’ll be so much easier for you since you already know the concepts. Not to mention you probably have a deeper knowledge than most because Blender is so vast.

anyways good luck to you!

Ive been in the sfx industry well over 7 years now and from my experience hiring animators etc…
the software background really doesnt count that much…as long as u have some experience with the 3d environment thats good enough…what most studios really look for is aesthetic abilities in ur chosen specialization be it animation,modelling,lighting compositing etc…
the main reason being…most big companies use proprietary software or will take an offthe shelf software and modify and tweak it heavily to make it their own and fit into their individual pipelines…
so dont worry about blender and max etc…focus on the art…software is just a tool which u can pick up in time…its the art that takes ages to even come close to mastering…

Yeah, I was thinking about this just today in fact. Trying to put a number on it. Like how much percentage of time and effort to become a great artist compared to mastering the technical side of the tools. Of course they go hand in hand. But looking at it from the view of having to learn a new software, really it is such a small percentage of the overall effort.

I think you have to look at it this way. Being competitive in the market place is not just about having cheap software, in fact that could be a drawback. Being competitive means turning out effects that look better, are done faster and cheaper overall compared to the quality.

The faster part of the equation is something that Autodesk is right on top of. With ICE and Face Robot, they are moving into the realm of the 3D generalist more and more and embracing the idea of great effects at a fraction of the time and in the hands of more users who are not required to also code.

You have to be very realistic about Blender. I don’t think it will ever compete with companies that are now doing the top of the line special effects. There is a reason they are on top. And there is a reason artists use these tools. It is not entirely out of ignorance. Sure there is some and you can make that case. But where the rubber hits the road is in overall functionality and performance. When you want to make special effects that are competitive you have to have great artists and the best tools. Blender is not the best tool yet and it really only comes close in some areas. In some areas better, but over all not there yet. So a larger competitive company would rather spend the money to do it right now. So they buy software that does what they need now. There are not many companies that would put up with what the Durian team put up with to produce Sintel.

With Blender it is going to be a relatively slow road. The BF does not really have enough people developing Blender. It is growing at leaps and bounds and it is a great tool. But these other guys already have head start. Just try and not worry about the tool so much. Just become a great artist.

Personally I look forward to using high end software if I can get my hands on it. I think it would be great to have fantastic tool set at my disposal.

So I would look at the bright side. If you find yourself in a position to use some of these other tools, likely you are doing something right.

One day Blender will reach the summit. But you have to look at your own career path and make the right choices as you go along. With or without Blender you have to move up at your own pace. If you want to work at a company that is being competitive now and in the immediate future, chances are you’ll have to make a switch.

None of this is to take away from how absolutely fantastic Blender is as a tool. I am just trying to put it into some kind of perspective.

Blender will continue to grow and carve out a niche in the market place. If you want to gravitate toward that niche and you are happy with that then it there is plenty of bright future ahead either way.

Internal render must be enhanced. There are bugs. For example, blurred reflections create artifacts.

I m teaching blender, maya and 3dsmax. I mainly teach blender because i m fond of it (maybe the outsider effect) and when my student ask me why they should learn blender i give them 3 reasons.
1 you never know what will be the inhouse software. But you are sure to be able to install blender and to start working immediately.
2 If you present blender as an advanced plugin for maya or 3Ds max you will certainly convince your company because it s free and got some great tools. Never ask to switch to Blender to a company if they don t use it already)
3 its damn free!

To get blender in big business just let it enter by the small door. it will make it s room.

Yes, don’t expect any of the major feature film animation studios to jump on to blender for animation tasks. I think a pro will likely use a mixed set of software, to get the job done with the least effort and as quick as possible. As an artist, you will be judged by your art, not the software you use.

Personally i am developing my animation pipeline around blender. Modelling as well. I am not so sure about the other areas though. Rendering and SFX for example.

I was the first person who used Blender in my company. Other had 3ds Max, some of them - Zbrush and Cinema. Although sooner or later you have to learn at least basics of those to fit the pipeline, there’s only one rule - if you are good with Blender, if you are fast and provide great quality of models, you’ll work with Blender.

If you can stay predominantly front end and avoid conversion areas (aka, you do modeling and texturing and sculpting, but no animation or rigging or anything) you can basically use whatever the frak you want. Usually the conversation will be:

“So because your art is good, we’re hiring you. What licenses do we have to buy?”
“Maya and Zbrush/Max and Mudbox/Lightwave and Modo.”

Once you get into areas of difficult conversion, it’s more meaningful, but they still won’t care terribly about your software package choice. Unlike models and textures, which is a super-easy conversion issue, translating a rig from one program to another, or a particle system or animation, gets way messier. Not really worth the upkeep to figure out a convertor, when just training you to animate in Maya will probably cost less in man hours.

I think it’s hard to enter a established workflow. Unless you bring with you programming skills. Then you could pitch it as a RD environment.

I believe though that a lot of startups are going to start using blender, and I hope blender artists start their own business.

a guy from pixar told me they can use whatever tool they want in the modelling stage, but they will have to bring stuff to maya at some point in time.

i think most companies (including the one i’m working atm) handle it this way. if you want to do certain tasks with your tool of choice because you’re more productive that way, go for it as long as your work integrates in the production pipeline.

but if you’re serious about getting a job, you better get familiar with one of the industry standard tools (like maya or 3ds …), because most likely you’ll have to use them.

I think of Blender more as a “Freelancer’s” tool. Because I move from shop to shop, I am never sure what software will be available for me. Blender can run directly from the desktop so it does not need to concern any tech or IT personel for an install. I can just run it from a USB stick if needed.

I agree with the others. It really is about the art. The art will get you in the door. But you will, more than likely, have to adapt to the software already in the work environment you find yourself in. That is why taking the Blender “purest” route is like shooting yourself in the foot. There is other software out there and you should be aware of how to operate it. It makes you that much more employable.

A robust import/export system is also important. So you can transfer you work into another software arena, if necessary. 2.5 needs work in this area.

WOW thank you very much for commenting guys!, what all of you said is truly encouraging.

The fact that some people actually managed to get Blender in to their working environment, when other softwares where regularly used (like 3ds max, Maya etc.), is truly inspiring.

I agree that what’s really matters in the end is the ART and not so much the SOFTWARE.

Thanks again!!!

You know there is another way to look at this too.

Recently I have been watching some Maya and Softimage(XSI) feature videos and tutorials. Every time I look at another software, I learn different ways of doing things. It is a great way to open your mind to possibilities.

If you are a student, you can qualify for 3 year student license with Autodesk for any of their software and it is completely free. I think it is a brilliant move on their part.

There are many things to be gained by this whether or not you want to keep using Blender.

  1. You learn how things are being done by these other artists with different tools. You can try and apply some of these things to Blender by a) writing scripts or b) simply adapting it to current tools and c) even writing Blender code if you are inclined in that area.

  2. You can learn exactly how these guys are working and be better prepared to integrate Blender into the pipeline. Having a very intelligent and informed discussion with a TD from a larger company as to how Blender can integrate would go a long way toward this end.

  3. And of course, in the end you’d be prepared to work with these tools should the opportunity arise.

In short, embrace other software. In this industry I don’t think you can ever have too much information.

as a 3D artist, how tough is it going to be if I will ever want to work in one of today’s biggest companies with Blender?

Unless you’re a modeller, in which case it often doesn’t matter what you use as long as you can spit out an OBJ etc, if you want to get a job in established production pipelines, especially for film/vfx, you won’t get it knowing blender alone. And again unless you’re a modeller, don’t expect to “work in one of today’s biggest companies with Blender” at all. If you go to work somewhere, you conform to their pipeline and process.

I just hope that in a couple of years, or less, Blender will be recognized as a true competitor in the 3D industry (if it isn’t recognized as that already).

It’s a nice thought, but don’t get your hopes up.

Thanks for commenting also, Richard Culver and broken.
All of you brought up correct and valid points about my question. I extremely appreciate all the answers here!!!

Thanks again!!!


you are right in that Blender is today a competent software and can be applied to many areas
but I think your statement that it is the 3D killer for Maya, 3DMax is well I would say a drastic