Discussion about Blender, and the commercialization of the Blender ecosystem

I’m going to go ahead and summarize this thread for the rest of the fine folks of Blender Artists using my newscaster voice:

Some people are upset because of the apparent commercialization of the Blender ecosystem. According to some ancient astronaut theorists, this is the work of the Illuminati flat earthers. Some say this is irrelevant, however, as the world’s governments will be gathering in an historic event to begin preparations for relinquishing their collective power, in exchange for free coffee and donuts. It is believed that this will inevitably lead to free health care and universal basic income, while robots take over our labour force. Critics are warning us not to quit our day jobs just yet, as the problem of the robots trying to revolt and enslave humanity has yet to be solved.

In other news; Did a California Man’s Tesla S refuse to start until it’s owner agreed to pay it for it’s effort?! Our news investigator reports, after the break…


I’ll gladly pay for independent developers hard work, if I find that their products help my workflow. As of right now, the economic system we’re bound to whether we like it or not, is the system we have to adhere to if we wish to be included in society.
For me this is a real non issue. As with every other product under the rules of the free market, demand will always be the driving force.
Furthermore, we’re not talking about any large corporations worth billions. We’re talking about talented people who release their hard work for a price they find fair. If you don’t like it, don’t buy. Really simple.


You may of been sarcastic, but in honesty, this tells you everything you need to know about the morality of these people. Really, at the end of the day, trying to reason with people like this is like trying to play chess with pigeons.

Indeed, very much this. I do take gratification in rewarding someone for their hard work, to show their efforts are appreciated. Any logical person knows they are not getting rich off this, jeez, $20 is about £15 at the moment, about the cost of what? A couple of bottles of wine?

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I would say I fall on a more liberal side of things when it comes to art. And I think art is something that should be subsidized. As 3D artists we kind of straddle this bridge between technology, commerce and artistic expression. And it is a real expensive proposition to have a decent rig to use for your work. Not so different from other forms of art.

The thing about art is it absolutely requires a gestation period. And the hard truth of the matter is that no art anywhere in history or in any walk of life comes about without subsidy. That is a hard cold fact.

And companies understand this and act accordingly with licensing. Some giving it free to students.

Blender for whatever reason is here. And it is free. By whatever means it got here. And it is being subsidized. This is also a hard cold fact. No matter what side of the political/economic spectrum you find yourself.

I myself came to Blender at a very very low point in my life financially. And I was already middle aged. I used Blender to build a new career literally from scratch at a late mid point in my life. Simply would not have been possible with commercial software. What is to be said of that?

And the cost of software and addons for a person in one country because of a huge disparity of cost of living and wages can be different by as much as 30x or more. For some people it makes not much difference. But for some people it could be a month or two of wages. Truthfully. And this is not an exaggeration.

So what is to be said of that?

So you have a software which by whatever means has been available for free, subsidized for all artists, yet addons for it - for no other reason than any other product - is costly. Considering the diverse user base and global economic disparity, I’d say it is a fair thing to comment on.

Not saying I have the answer.


As Triple said, simply put, if you can’t afford the addon, it’s a moot point, life can continue without it. I sympathise if you would love it but it is financially out of reach, I would love a high powered GPU, but the cost of it is simply way beyond my finances and likely to ever be so. Hey ho, I plod on, slower, with what I have. I amy grumble to myself occsionally, but what is, is.
If you can afford it but don’t want to buy it, then fine, just don’t go on a tirade about some mythical new world order to justify wanting it for nothing. Simple as.


This is the reason why I think that when CAD-CAM and Precise Modeling will be implemented, things will improve, because small studios and people will have more opportunities to better monetize their work

I am a small studio and I already monitize my work. Been doing that with Blender for 10 years. (also use other software too now).

And there are many many people like me.

But I agree that adding more CAD tools will open more doors. It is just that this is a tall order to make them compete with other free offers and commercial tools. Freecad has a long long head start. And the work needed to make Blender a real good CAD program will take…

A lot more subsidy.

And from where should this come?

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How did you do that? What do you sell? The art created with Blender? Now imagine people told you you can’t sell your art, because it’s created with Blender, which is free, so whatever you create with it should also be free.

What do you think addon devs are doing when they sell attempt to sell their work?

What makes art produced with Blender different from addons produced with Blender?


I believe he meant that art sells and makes money, only at certain social levels and in certain contexts, that compared to the possibility of creating tools of various kinds that are useful to people, art alone attracts less people.

If you say so… lol

I never said either thing. :slight_smile:

So because I did not say that and the questions where rhetorical, I don’t have a response.

But, for the sake of argument. What do you do when you are producing something that has a market value, but the market value exists only relative to your own country? And market value is based on local commodity value. For example, lets say a percentage of salary and the mean cost of living in your country. These things are all relative. And consider that the market value is based on the cost to produce it, plus profit, and within the context of what people are willing to pay for that product.

However, the price you are charging for the product is relative to the people who are paying for it. That is, relative to their cost of living and salary.

Now the thing you are producing, when sold in another country, is relatively more expensive to that consumer by the rate of exchange within that country between their country and yours. And in this country there are people who graduate college, live in nice homes and have good jobs. However, when it comes to buying software, the cost of that software - for you - is 1/4 of a months salary. But for them, it is one or two months salary. And you are both in the same social class otherwise.

This is the current real situation today with commercial software.

I know of one non-profit that sells membership donations based on local economies. So the cost of membership varies from country to country based on where you live. Fair.

But to my knowledge there are no commercial companies that do this.

So what about addon makers? Should they consider finding a way to drop the prices in places where there is a gross disparity in cost of living and exchange rate?

It is a costly thing to consider. To administer that I expect. How many addon makers of Blender would be willing to do that?

So that every Blender user gets addons at the same relative cost to free no matter where they live.

Just food for thought.


I flagged one of the posts with a comment that the discussion derailed as I expected this to be easier for the moderators. It would be surprising if I was the only one who this something like this. From that point of view, the message is still accurate, as the moderator got active on the demand of the community.

Edit: As this message is off topic, I am certainly flagging it as such as well :slight_smile:

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I personally took advantage of this very behaviour by developers for most of the addons I own. In their embryonic / RC stage, they have all been offered at very affordable prices, (not to say they are expensive now). Devs don’t have to do this, but I am grateful they do, many big companies also offer a discount for “early bird” purchasers. Indeed, I took advantage of the same when buying plugins for Lightwave as well.

Also, yes, the free upgrades, there are few indeed that provide this feature the way Blender addon devs do, even in “cheap” shareware software. The work involved moving to 2.80, especially given the constantly shifting goalposts codewise at the moment, would of led many to produce a “2.80 only” version as a whole new product, not just “latest build download”.
When I worked in the industry, we produced a yearly revision to the software, that was most assuredly NOT free due the the effort & resources needed, so to say I am impressed at the generosity is to put it mildy.


There are more global issues that, as you all have already understood, I care about, and without them I consider a limited view that put a potentially functioning and harmonious system in a broken system.

Speaking of the harmonious and delimited system:
my opinion is that we must consider the product targets with which people manage to extrapolate from blender.

Products like addons are useful to the blender users themselves.
You create them once, you can get value from work many times because this is infinitely clonable.

So there are some who buy them for a real benefit to their workflow, and others who simply buy it for fun or sympathy for the addon or the developer who creates this addon.

Obviously the price, as in all things, makes the difference.

Then there is to observe the appearance of what blender allows to do as surfacing of final products.
Big, very big and beautiful things. but the real difference is if you have a team of large groups behind you or if you are single person and a really small company.

Usually large teams can afford to create audiovisual products that, if well articulated in stories, can clone and sell their product over and over again. and extrapolate a value capable of “feeding” their entire team … but they must be really smart to be able to organize everything and be able to create a product that excites people.

Then there are the small and very small, which for the blender nature free, attracts in most, many of them can make small monetization because they do small jobs on commission, so they can monetize them only once. That’s why I consider that day that CAD and precise modeling will be expanded is a great day for this mass of people. Because this mass of jobs could grow out of all proportion, and people can re-use their previous works in more forms, reassembling everything in different ways, because the more technical things are more useful in the real world …
I am Italian, and I am a great fan of master Leonardo da Vinci, who taught and considered Art, Technique and the Sacred as one inseparable thing.

Thread has been split from this topic. All though it was not off topic, the thread went down its own path.

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Frankly, this “very strange ramble” has the markings to me of a bot.

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Won’t happen. CAD products use BREP, solid geometry and NURBS to define objects. Blender uses poly’s, so it cannot be a traditional CAD product. You should read up on this. Blender is not CAD.

Addons don’t prevent “artists” from using Blender. Blender is not like SketchUp, which depends on plugins for key features.

Products like Hard Ops, Decal Machine, KIT OPS, and Boxcutter make it easier to construct your models, and if you don’t have them, guess what-- you can still construct your models-- directly in Blender.

Using “ART” as a backdrop for your argument conflates things. Those addons are professional products which help to accelerate and streamline the model creation process for PROS. As such, they have associated costs, including support, documentation, tutorials, upgrades, and marketing/sales expenses. Is the developer supposed to eat these costs for the benefit of the community?

(Of course, these addons can be used by hobbyists and artists as well.)

While I understand you may have your own definition of “costly,” these addons are most affordable when you compare their price with commercial products.

Nobody is getting rich.


Fully agree with Chipp - addons are what make the difference for professionals between using Blender and not using it at all. It’s not even like Blender would be useless without them (more often than not it’s the same functionality only more streamlined), just not for professional purposes.

Same as most artists have to pay bills every month so do developers. The pricing is more than friendly imo, again, from a professional point of view.

Would be interested to hear if developers can even make a living just by making addons, especially with providing free upgrades in some cases after years.

it’s just a matter of time until some “ad-on developer” sues blender for using he’s proprietary code (witch code he got from free in the first place from open source and just changed a few parameters!). I use blender !because! it’s open source.
You want to make money from your code? Great, go and make ad-ons for Maya

so what’s the problem?
is there any mechanism in the universe that prevents some developers from seriously developing a set of tools for nurbs in blender?

I have dealt with both blender and other programs that manage meshes and software that manage nurbs for CAD for 20 years.
Do not throw sentences so easily.
Systems based on nurbs surfaces are also even easier to manage, they are assembled objects with Boolean operations and some trims and bevels
that’s all folks.