Great idea for Geometry Nodes?

It seems to me that there is a big potential for geometry nodes creations such as ‘generators’ to be able to be officially seamlessly integrated into Blenders modifiers as new modifiers in their own right with their own icon. All the complicated behind the scenes stuff is hidden from the average artist, just like the other modifiers…
I think this would be a boon to Blender in general as these new modifiers could be sold on the market places as add-ons, and it would help Blender boast more powerful features versus competing software, as modifiers are something most users understand as a feature, where as a huge bunch of complicated nodes trees usually goes over the heads of most artists who are not programmers or mathematicians and its not clear how to use them or get them working.
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What are your thoughts?

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or offered for free.
But there is lot of it now solded on gumroad or b market

Well, actually it’s already quite close.
You can already uses pre-made geo-nodes in place of a modifier just like you can do with a material. Where you append it and use it without having to touch the nodes.
Why not using the asset browser ? You drop a GN into one object just like you would with a material (which doesn’t work that way yet) ?

Even if your idea is simple ( just adding a layer of integration) it need a bit of design and thoughts.
That’s probably something we’ll see in one way or the other once GN is more used and developed.

I agree that GN node groups can be different things :

  • Custom made modifiers.
  • Custom made GN nodes (to add a generic functionality within a GN tree).
  • Some “nested” tree, where the purpose of the group is organisational, to cleanup a giant tree.

These uses are quite different and having a way to better organize all that instead of having everything in the same list would be quite useful, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t append at some point.

Whether the integration should be 100% seamless or convey the idea that it’s an addition to your own blender is debatable.

Same with having it integrated in the modifier list.
Because GN is broad , and will be even broader with time, you may have things a bit unrelated to modifiers mixing-in.
A GN can act like a modifier which is a non-destructive operation on your mesh.
But it can be also a procedural asset, like a parametric table/ chair/ building/ rocks/ vegetation …
And it will be things even more different once GN will include hair and physics.

I think asset browser may be a better place, you can make your own organization and it convey the idea that it’s not buit-in data.

Indeed addons have seamless integration and it works so far, so it may be the same case here.
For an user working alone standpoint there is no issue, but that can be when several people works on the same project, or when you buy external assets that relies on these tools.

Just food for thought, these kind of ideas reveals that there is a problem, but the solution is always a bit more complex and should provide a general solution.
Anyway I’m sure that’s something we’ll see at some point once the system is more used and developed.

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Blendswap, Gumroad, etc. exist

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C4D have ‘capsules’ which are in fact just setups with scene nodes. They can be used as regular modifiers ( deformers in C4D ). They have exposed parameters which can be tuned according to particular project. Blender can make something similar, but I think that this ‘capsules’ or whatever someone name it must have his own space. Because his number can get out of hand :smiley:
However selling such setups - capsules - whatever can be tricky. Imagine that someone make some nice, useful setup and sell it. But in same time someone make similar, very similar or same setup and share it for free. Or that someone make small changes, add functionality, etc. and try to sell it.
This can lead to … problems, to say it mildly. Don’t know how this are solved in other software. Know that for Houdini people make and sell node setups, same is with C4D stuff.
So everyone can make setup, but do this mean that this is ‘protected intellectual property’?

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Anything distributed derivative of Blender - which would include any geometry nodes setups- must abide by and include the GNU GPL license from Blender. You can freely sell GPL-licensed items, but in doing so, you have to recognize that there’s nothing stopping someone else from copying your work and selling it themselves. Technically you could buy any add-on or model off of Blender Market and sell it yourself. The important distinction is that you could not do so on Blender Market, which has its own terms. From a license standpoint, you could, but Blender Market (and most marketplaces) don’t allow it.

So to answer your question- from a license standpoint, no, no .blend file is “protected”, but there are limitations per marketplace that may protect it

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Correct if I am wrong, but I think the GNU GPL license only applies to python scripts? I would consider blend files more like artwork- which clearly are the artist’s sole property and the license would be their choice (not confined to GNU GPL).

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That’s an interesting subject !

I think , if you model something with blender it’s your intellectual property,
Or I do a video using blender, it’s then up to me to set rights about it.
If that was really the principles of GPL, then the video should be “contaminated” by it.
Same with modelling.

With python scripts, considered as a part of blender code it’s automatically GPL, but I don’t think that applies to models, materials etc…

What if I sell a model that uses a material bought elsewhere ?
I’ll probably do a property infringement here even if it’s just a small part of the model.

I think it’s just a side effect of making everything a product.
For addons, nothing prevent someone to make their own “free” version of a “paid” version with similar functionalities.
I think it’s the same with material and geo-node groups.

I think even if you make a really clever geo-node group, you have intellectual property over the resulting node-group, but I’m not sure that covers the idea behind it.
Anyway, that would look like a nightmare to me. Say I find a cool procedural texture pattern, then put rights about the method used , and sue you because you do the same in your project ?
Then you may need a law degree rather than art studies to be successful in CG…

But indeed, to use the exact same node group and sell it in another work may lead to property infringement.

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This is where it gets tricky. The artwork is the sole property of the artist. The .blend file is GNU GPL licensed. If you distribute your art as a render (a PNG, for example), it’s your sole property. If you distribute your art as a .blend file, it’s technically GPL licensed. The specific contents of that file are your intellectual property, licensed, however, but the file itself is GPL licensed. So someone can redistribute the blend file, they cannot (depending on the license) distribute the contents of the file that aren’t derivative of Blender.

That’s as far as I understand, anyway. If this sounds like nonsense, it is! Welcome to the extremely complicated world of licensing :sweat_smile: I’m also not a lawyer!

I’m pretty sure you couldn’t claim exclusive ownership over a geometry nodes setup because none of the nodes you use to make it are original - they’re all derivative of Blender, and all Blender nodes are GPL licensed. Again, unless I’m greatly mistaken, anything you make that’s node-based in Blender is GPL, so even if you sell it, other people can also sell it (depending on the terms of the specific marketplace)

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Interesting. So should someone selling 3d models made in Blender use some file format other than .blend?

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I think it’s fine as long as you don’t expect to have exclusive ownership over any of the node-based parts. Here’s a real-world example. This particular node setup- the basic Eevee toon shader- is sold all over ArtStation, Gumroad, and Blender Market:


I can find you a dozen of these node-setups (that have been packaged into one node, usually) right now that people are charging anywhere from $1 to $10 for. They’re all exactly the same, and yet, the marketplaces let people sell them anyway. This is because no one owns this node setup other than Blender, and Blender says it’s GPL licensed.
On the other hand, let’s say I made this scene in Blender with that exact node group (close enough for the purposes of this conversation):

Those objects and that render are mine. No one else can sell them or claim ownership to them. The node group I’m using to shade them (again, close enough) is not mine. I cannot claim ownership to it. I can sell it if I want, but anyone can duplicate it and sell it themselves per GPL. They cannot duplicate those objects or that render and sell them.

Again, I am not a lawyer. I’m passionate about media law, that’s all!

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I understand your point, but it seems weird to discriminate between objects and nodes like that :slightly_smiling_face:. If I used geometry nodes to create this same scene suddenly I can’t claim ownership to it?

It is kinda weird, not going to disagree with that. If you think about it:
You created the objects
You didn’t create the nodes
Even though you “made” a node setup, you didn’t actually create anything, you’re just rearranging what Blender provides spatially

I think when we sell something we sell more the convenience of not having to redo-it, rather than the thing in itself.
Say you sell a model, another person do wireframe renders of it. Then I carefully reproduce a 1 to 1 copy of that model.
Technically, I modeled my version of the object according to other’s references.
But it’s exactly the same as yours.

Your original model made by you is your property, my version is mine.

What we sell , in my POV is more a shortcut, instead of taking the hours to model/script/noodle something someone can just buy it.

That’s also similar with 3D software, they all do similar functionalities, except when it relies on a patented technology it’s ok to bring the same idea to another software.

You can claim ownership over your original setup/model. The nodes that you arranged and saved.
But if I redo the same setup, then it’s my version. We own rights over the actual work done in blender, but not the idea / technology behind it.

Say you found a super nodal trick , you have rights over your implementation of that idea, but not over the idea in itself. Or you need to copyright that idea, but it’s a different way of licencing, it’s about patent for technology. Or regarding to art, trademark like batman character or marvel’s , Disney’s.

That’s the way I see it, but it’s complex and as everyone I’m not a lawer.

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Like we poke wasp nest :smiley:
Couple years ago on my local art form was discussion about this stuff. People which use different software, Autodesk, Maxon, Blender, Modo… discuss about… legal issues when someone release just preset… and sell it as "Intellectual Property"©
Imagine that someone make very nice red color and try to copyright R 226 G 046 B 032, for example.
Sound hilarious, this was internal joke. But this joke have foundation in real world. Many times people make stuff which are simple, more or less clever ‘preset’ and sell it. If someone make something like this, they go after this dude. To be clear, there is no too much different ways to achieve something. You simply are forced to make same thing. Even worse, many times people use free stuff, repack and rename it, then sell. Even, even worse they demand that original free stuff be removed.
Do this mean that small developer can’t be protected? Not sure. This will discourage many people which make such stuff. Truth is that everyone can make such stuff, but NOT everyone have time, knowledge, dedication, talent, etc. to mess with node spaghetti.
Just like everyone can make hard surface model or sculp character but don’t have time, knowledge…
I don’t think that we can make final decision which will please all people. And keep lawyers outside of this discussion, we all know how "law’ system work.

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Hmmm :thinking: … (maybe somekind of offtopic)

Sharing or selling Blender add-ons (Python scripts)

Blender’s Python API is an integral part of the software, used to define the user interface or develop tools for example. The GNU GPL license therefore requires that such scripts (if published) are being shared under a GPL compatible license. You are free to sell such scripts, but the sales then is restricted to the download service itself. Your customers will receive the script under the same license (GPL), with the same free conditions as everyone has for Blender.

But:

Your Artwork

What you create with Blender is your sole property. All your artwork – images or movie files – including the .blend files and other data files Blender can write, is free for you to use as you like.


but now something totallly different (or more offtopic):

See Magenta → In business… and further Deutsche Telekom → Controversy… this is totally insane. I wonder why nobody licensed R and G and B and now nobody will be allowed to use any mix of them… :crazy_face:

It’s not really that weird, legally. For example the US Copyright Act says: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work”. You can’t generally copyright cooking recipes either (process/procedure), and even collections of recipes aren’t necessarily protected unless the author has managed to imbue the collection with their unique, deathless prose surrounding the recipes. Dance steps and simple dance routines are not protected, your choreographic work has to have complexity and original expression. Geonodes are like that, ingredients for a recipe, put together from a box that contains nodes that were created by the Blender devs. Even if they were not licensed under the GPL, you very probably couldn’t get copyright protection for your geonode recipe. (IANAL, but that’s how I understand it.)

Yes I don’t think there is any license that can stop you from 1 to 1 copying someone’s work. That is the territory of copyright. To be honest that doesn’t really make sense for Blender where the source itself is freely available. But that is much broader question. So for the sake of simplicity lets just consider a case like someone buying this cottage generator and reselling it.

Technically speaking objects can also be considered as “rearrangements” of vertices, edges, and faces, which are defined in the Blender source code. That should mean all objects in .blend files are licensed under GNU GPL. Further, almost all 3d models in Blender are created from mesh primitives coded into Blender- which would make them derivatives of GNU GPL.

From the Blender license page-

Also from the FAQ page

I think from this it is pretty clear that the artist can choose the license for node groups created by them.

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Yes ! I think this is where there was a misunderstanding with @josephhansen !
.blend , as with rendered images/video are your property and you can licence them like you want.

Addons, because they use Blender’s python api fall into GPL.

Well, that’s a bit sad to think like that, especially in an artists community. But as said, unless a preset is patented , you don’t own the rights about the idea behind the preset. Like the shader @josephhansen posted earlier, author own rights over their take on the shader. But I can come and recreate the same node setup and sell it too.
If I redistribute their version, it’s an infringement, if I redistribute mine, it’s ok !

That’s were it becomes tricky , especially for simple stuff like that, how can we prove that a preset / or a ~10 nodes network is our original work ?

Also, I think we should accept that we aren’t really well protected in these situations :
If someone rip your work, resell it and refuses to remove it from the market. You then need to sue him, and go for a trial. I don’t even know how this work when the two parts are in different countries (which law applies ?). As said earlier if things keep on like that, it will be better to go for a law degree to work in CG than to make art studies…

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Good catch, I was wrong :slight_smile:

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