Free Apps used by Pros

I often have to explain to people why Blender is so great, and why I should use it instead of Maya (I’m just sooo poor %| ). I’ve got fed up with this that I’d like us to do a search…

What free apps are used commercially? I know there are tons of people using Blender, Python, Wings 3d, etc for bigtime development. So who are they? It’s time we showed off free software!

Let me get this straight;
Are you using blender because you are poor, or because it’s so great?
Or is your point that gratis software is great for poor people?

I use alot of free software commercially. But most of them are not artist tools.
iTunes, mediaPlayer, Daemon tools, Firefox, Majestic Chess demo, wincvs, winscp370, ws_ftp, hdd hex editor, subtitle workshop, qtime player, stuff it, TmpgEnc, Nero dvd burner (OEM), PowerDvd (OEM player), blender.

I also use payed-for software:
Windows (os), notepad, microsoft works (OEM), Doom3, After effects, Photoshop, Premiere, Spruce Maestro, Maya.

(I’m sooo poor) = sarcasm. I use Blender because It’s so great!

My point was a forum where we would show off how free and open source software was being used commercially by large (and small) companys so that when free software was being bashed, we could point to this forum and say, “Hey, look at all these guys! They’re pros and they use Blender/Wings/Python/etc”

BTW, on Rythm and Hues website, I saw a certain job position that required experience with Cinepaint. Oh, that reminds me…

Read the first paragraph:

free as in cheap beer and loving hippies.

my tools are all open source, mainly because i believe in the ideology.

and blender feels like home to me, in this category (opensource 3d tools).

(what comes to commercial world… well, i don’t much care about that. sometimes i get paid for my 3d works, sometimes not… well, mostly not :slight_smile: )


But you’d agree that there is better 3d software?

Grudgingly, I do admit that there may be better apps than Blender out there.

Another link, you knew about this one:

I have used Wings(bsd open source) for my game job. (paid a salary, and worked with great pros)

I used Anim8or(freeware) for quick renders in other company, 2d basicly, they wouldnt buy Max or the like for just some additional gfx…

Several cg people is using wings as the modeller.Yet they totally need their Maya or XSI to make all the pther tasks…

In another company, I used the old freeware LithUnwrap for uv mapping tasks.

In a yet different one, I was in charge of setup and somehow maintain a Linux server with Red Hat, and config several for setting up a search system, an online shop, and other perl scripts, which were all free. In that public place they only trusted in Linux for servers and the main machines.

For this reason, while they had purchased also Win2k, and Photoshop 6, I ended using Gimp also, as often was more probs with that win2k…it hanged no less than 3 times a day (I think the total times in all my time there that the linux server hanged, and was me making crazy stupid things with the card drivers and x windows, or other silly things… never had the time/wish to fix the w2k… :smiley: ) often it was quicker just do do the gifs in linux Gimp.

All that being a total linux newbie, people was crazy leaving those tasks to me…

At the same time, if I wouldn’t have had PS 6, I would have been much slower with all my 2d stuff.

So yep, I think free software is used professionally, quite a lot.
Each thing with its own use, like allways.

i had heard a while back that the company that owns Black & Decker (a home appliance company here in the US) uses Blender for its advertisements…

but i never really heard much after that


p.s.: i like your new avatar, Basse. very festive

But you’d agree that there is better 3d software?[/quote]
If you’ve been meaning blender is for poor people think again, there’s a lot of people who could afford other software but stick with blender. Even though one of the reasons I got blender was because it was free.

There are some I teached blender.
I know TrackTo makes a good living out of blender.
He uses it on a mac, with final cut pro, and studio dvd.

There are some profesionals who I know who use blender as their favourite 3d tool, in print, video and multi-media, it’s fast, not only the renderer but also the workflow. In a single boss environment (no art director telling you what should be different), with no character animation, I see no reason not to use blender.

Blender is probably the most non-techy opensource out there. Yes it looks like an f16 cockpit, but it’s to create something artistic (unlike linux, that’s just an OS. Or python, that’s just a programming language. Or firefox, that’s to browse and look at internet documents ). Real creative stuff, say flash, director, painter, 5.1 dts, dvd authoring, is mostly pay software.
That’s not to bash opensource or freeware, it seems there are not alot of techies willing to spend their own free time on non-techy tools. Sure they will make a RGB only Gimp, desktops need icons. But that’s not an artist tool, realy. If it was it was developed on OS9, I think.
And another thing I don’t like about opensource is that’s it’s hardly ever innovative (gimp tries to be photoshop a bit to hard in my view).
Big companies of paid software come up with great new tools that actualy help artists. The opensource seems to be mostly buzy trying to avoid or fight patents (but don’t mind putting their own hand and feet binding restrictions on the code) and copy other people’s ideas in a nice freedom speech sauce.

Some who use it actualy believe in freedom of technology but others just want to be more cheap in the market.
There are lot’s of areas where people need computer tools.
Extrudeface seems happy with the tools he got for game development.
I’m not sure there is much commercial software for that. Using Maya only for the uv editor sounds very silly to me.
As for the products made with the tools, everybody knows their are bad artists and good artists, but sometimes I wonder, what would @ndy have made in 3 months with Maya. Or basse, what if he didn’t need to spend so much time on vertex skinning. Or If he had access to cloth, hair and paint effects. Or Dynamics and softbody dynamics, etc…
I’m glad they are happy with blender, but for real good artists I sometimes dislike the fact that techys say it’s okay for them (the good artists) to keep binded to the limited tools of the opensource apps, because this freedom is such a great good thing, when it’s their own programming freedom they talk about, not the freedom of the artist.

Anyway, just my opinion.
I hear nice stories on linux not crashing, that’s fine. My w2k also never crashes. Well sometimes it does after I start blender when I have Maya running.
I have apache and mySql running perfect on my w2k box.
As long as it’s techy apps for techy nerds I see no problem in opensource.

I kinda miss your argument. It’s not for poor people but you choose it 'cause it’s free?

Free and that it looked pretty good was the main reason, and I can’t afford any other 3D program outside the real simple ones.

as long as blender can give you the tools you need for the project there is no need for maya. but you have to train people in using blender. and in an environment where time is money and you alreay have maya this would not be a wise decision. but when you are new and dont own maya and blender gives you all the stuff you need take it.

from my experience with maya and now blender, blender is a nice piece of software but cannot in no way be compared with maya. not in terms of toolset or workflow.

there is a lot you can do with blender, but there is also a lot what you cannot do with blender but with maya and in my opinion that is where you have to devide between those two apps. gimp for example is another good tool but in terms of quality and workflow it cannot compete with photoshop. there are just things gimp cannot do but i need for my work. this does not mean gimp sucks it just does not fit my needs.

it all comes up for what you need it for.


cinepaint is used by ILM, Dreamworks, etc…

Exactly. and in an environment with so much pressure (games) is quite not an option, often. But even so, there are still possible uses that yet cut times even over the comercial tools.

I don’t know Blender enough. I only decided to learn it’s basic (I mean: I haven’t dealed much with the nla and stuff, as for games, my stuff is different) character rigging and animation system. As I already had Wings as a modeller, which i also prefer to Max or Maya.

So as I don’t know it fully, don’t know if there would be areas I would prefer it to those areas with highend packages. Maybe. I don’t know.

What I know, is…not every package is perfect in every area. Reason why we ended coloring and painting with Painter or the Pixia for the design doc concept art, and still PS was needed for all the rest. painter didn’t reach that in texturing layers and editing power PS has, neither Gimp . In other company, 2d based, PSP was used cause was cheaper, and the workflows where already setup with it…also, it also exported good png transparency for the java games, like ps. Gimp was very seriously considered as an option, as we really didn’t need more, and saved loads of money.

Maya nurbs are greatly powerful, but i keep prefering polygon tools in max. And what is more, Max with the meshtools script only get “some” of the Mirai modelling tools (of which Wings has a great set, and even some addons) people is really loving that maxscript, while it only brings a bit of that modelling style magic. Of course, Max as a lot of extra power in modelling, but i keep being faster for organic models. Evn so, I have to admit that the snapping tools, splines, boleans (no, their not so bad anymore) in max, makes it rather more suitable for level editing than Wings, sadly. While yet so , I have seen people making great levels with it. I wouldn’t use it fo rthat, as I don’t have an option to choose that which is not the fastest for me in each area.

Funnily, in certain company, the PS update was not working…ps 7 was released with no tga alpha channel support…you needed 7.01 (was a design decission, not a bug¿?)…we had no time to download again another update…we had to send the demo in minutes…i had a Gimp for windows somewhere in my hd, and remebered the tga chanel worked sweet with Gimp…seconds…Gimp installed…some more seconds, 5 textures with alpha channels exported… :wink: Demo sent. All happy. :slight_smile:

Of course, there was not a single one cuestioning continue use PS. Ps, is for me the king . while I’d love it be Gimp: I prefer WAY more open source philosophy…the colour things are getting lately is terrible…patents,weird copyright laws, censorship, making a crime of every move, comercial resticitions, etc, etc…I suspect many artists are gonna turn open source just for a matter of axphixia (partially my case)) …not so much for a matter of quality…it wont mean we have to stop learning PS and Max/maya (that would be our end) , is just that we may turn into that whenever possible, as much as possible (the way I see it)

I modelled every bit in Wings3d, partially as suits me as glove, but also as saw used the tools in otehr packages, and those where slowers for characters, and could make less modelling weird operations…the pivot modelling, for example, in wings…or how I call it (vectors)

My mate was slaower than me modelling complex shapes and characters. And I am afraid is as good artist as me. Is just, Wings was proving to be quicker in that very specific area.

Ultimate Unwrap(comercial and more recent version of the freeware Lithunwrap) was used for the uv mappings. I had it purchased, and used as my tool. Neither they understood it. But i had my mappings in time and well, so…Probably in that, is not so clear. Max uv mapping is very good. But I knew better the other tool, and we only had the choice of work crazily fast. There could not be bottlenecks. (very small staff for the task demanded) I carried also my wacom there: I just don’t trust on the feel of other models, so at the end I was putting quite a lot into the company; I suppose that was also respected.

As have been said before: what gets the job done. (and would add, for each one.One tool can be very good, but you don’t get the feel of it, then you can’t use it with tight deadlines)

Conclussion: it’s used for comercial, and in some cases, is better than comercial. I have now upgraded to Mozilla Firefox 1.0 and it gets only better. I can’t say so of IE, and I am not specifcially against comercial software.

@Whatever, that Win2k, crashed a lot, but I didn’t mean that w2k crashes…the other ppl had it not crashing, and recently have worked with xp, and that one is quite solid(remembering some weird things with WinME …). Is just my w2k had some installation or weird dll or somthing problem, but i already put too much time in the linux config, and anyway, they didn’t let me touch the windows as I would have liked , so…

I introduced first page 2000 at a former employer. They couldn’t believe it is a free app

Notepad is used by pros. Hehehe.

Business guy- " Hey you over there, yeah you the pro 3d artist with all of that Blender cool stuff on the web, I need an image of this guy with a t-shirt advertising my product. And make it a sunny day and put some sun glasses on his head. I need this by tomorrow afternoon. Can you fix this up for me?

3d artist -“Yeah, but… do you want me to use Yafray to render out the image , it makes the image look cooler like Mentalray and Final Render. And do you want me to use a realistic 3d hair plugin? It’s way better than using a hair map or particle hair. Oh yeah do you want me to paint your product logo on his shirt with Deep Paint 3d? Wow I can really paint some cool stuff with that software. And I well if I had Maya I could do…”

Business guy- Hey smarty pants, you look like you know how to put out some cool 3d images with that software you called Blender on your website. What are you bringing all that other crazy stuff up for? Just do it like you showed us on your website. Please, your going into too many other details that I know nothing about or even “care” about. All I need by tomorrow is a guy, standing in the sun, with sunglasses on wearing a t-shirt that advertises my product!!! Can you do that for me?"

3d artist- “Yeah”

It’s really that simple most of the time for 3d pros. You just show folks what you can do and go from there. It really doesn’t matter what you used to get your work done as long as it helps you get work done.

Blend on!

I saw a nice link in another topic.

Sounds to me that you are saying that blender is okay for non demanding clients.

I find cinepaint very interresting. Seems nobody wants to make an amiga deluxe paint for the new Os. Deluxe paint was the best animation package ever (I think). It had the very intuitive F1 for load and F2 for save :slight_smile:
but even better 1 for prev frame, 2 for next. Shift 1 for save frame; goto prev. And shift 2 save and next… brilliant! I made a lot of productions with that. (man I’m getting old). I have no idea why people stick to photoshop for sequence retouche, they must be mad. Combustion has some paint tools, and shake has, but they seem to look at what you want to paint and automate that. Like matte correction, or stuff like that. Anyway. I agree that cinepaint might be market leader, just by lack of competition.

I don’t think Open source is good or bad. But I think stealing other peoples ideas is bad.
If it’s a piece of metal nobody seems to ask any questions
/me is gonna be rich
But if it’s a computer idea then people demand it to be public property. I can’t grasp that philosophy. Seems to me it’s the same brainwaves that brought the innovation, why should the execution form determen the freedom? (/me wonders if pickwick would get a license fee everytime cpt pickard orders a tea from the enterprice replicator)

I saw a nice link in another topic.

Sounds to me that you are saying that blender is okay for non demanding clients.


Blender is ok for the 3d design studio that offers up their own good media services based on their ability to make use of Blender for those services. In this capacity the client gets what the studio promises to deliver.

Most regular day in day out business folks don’t ask for 3d characters/services of the type which are used in feature films or product promotions that use the most advanced film ready 3d character rigging systems that money can buy. You know Blender is great as 3d content development software for the real world.

But with Blenders constant advancements a Blender studio can throw in a little extra service offerings with each version upgrade. That’s a pretty sweet deal for an open source 3d software offering.

As always,

Blend on!

I don’t think Open source is good or bad. But I think stealing other peoples ideas is bad.

Like making an application that with the help of a virtual 3-axis coordinate system builds a representation of 3d-objects on a 2d-screen? :wink:

About the copying thing…It’s often brought to a no sense point…

Everybody copies everything. Everything had an starting point. That’s the way knowledge is built. Innnovation can be even do the freaking exactly same thing with a pair of important details improves. Wether is or not a totally genius thing, the artist wont care, but if it really helped her/his workflow.

When we write we’re not inventing every letter :wink:

Every comercial package out there, copies wildly from others. Maya from Max, Max from Maya, Character Fx from Maya, Wings from Mirai, Blender from XSI and Wings, (while I recon Blender has a lot of original Blender-only stuff) …nothing wrong with that. The same way when a coder makes a game, it usually bases on some papers about certain technologies. No need to reinvent the wheel, and yet the result can be a lot of creative, if u add your own stuff.

Sadly, I am afraid in games, that dialog bewteen the business man and the 3d artist would have stopped in the lightmaps or multi uv export issue. Besides they donpt need much issue…at least the game bosses do actually yes care about “fame” in packages names. They don’t trust anything free. If they do a bit, is in specializaed areas, thanks to some of us, that fought to make them. That is, (again, in games, can’t speak a word bout mmedia or video) Silo, Zbrush (not free software, but even those are out of the standard–> still need to convince them)

I mean those boses at least, in that type of busniess, move a lot for the hype (and must be said; for existing middleware, libraires…and as huge company a, or b, do use only max and Maya. Moves like Valve’s will change this a bit, but only slightly. )

Anyway, Ton added the other day normal maps…I think the stuff is going to change. At least, technically speaking. As for to change those heads (game bosses) , is quite hard. Anyway, they don’t shout too much if u use an specialized tool while keep importing the final thing in Max or Maya. It gives them some kind of better sleep. The only usual discussion at high levels (bosses) was if use/by seats of Maya, or Max.

But the route things are taking lately…I’m quite more optimistic than I was till recently.(not just for normal maps, lol)

1st page 2000 ? nice thing. I also introduced it…Anyway, have you checked ? Free dreamweaver-like for linux and win…I do really love it! :slight_smile: