How many developers need blender foundation to compete at every level autodesk maya and Houdini?

Right now blender Has 10 developers full and part time
So 20-25 will be enough?

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25 developers should be fine. You can donate the extra needed $ 100000 for that here. :wink:

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Do not get me wrong but that is a bit of silly question.

Both Maya and Houdini are totally different type of apps even though they can achieve similar results in certain areas. And you want Blender to complete with both of them at the same time? What is your goal?

Even if Blender could achieve that kind of victory that would be an exhausting one. Blender is well positioned, does not need to go after others. Everyone has their little corner here.

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While Houdini has only recently entered the landscape for indies and hobbyists, it is on it’s 17th version and has 23 years of intense development on an already well-established framework, and Maya’s history goes back into the 1980s with the modern Autodesk Maya dating back nearly as far as Houdini. And ofcourse, Blender is also nearly as old, but it hasn’t recieved the same level of development and funding either.

Even here, Maya and Houdini are completely different products with very different goals, at least currently (I think SideFX wants to ultimately be more artist-oriented). So having Blender meet the performance and flexibility of both products is … well, pretty impractical, really.

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Well, this is the beauty of the addons as well. There is a lot of independent developers adding features outside the main development. :slight_smile:

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Maya goes back to the 80’s? Please explain, since Maya was released in 1998. Also Houdini, Maya and Max Blender aren’t completely different because they all target the same market niche.

If you saw the interview with Ton on Blender Guru you get the impression that Autodesk are the ones who scared of Blender Foundation. Since they have obligation to their shareholders. I dont know how big they are now, but i remember a discussion on cgtalk 10 years ago (maybe more?) where Autodesk laid off half or their Maya/Max staff and the following years the quality of 3D Autodesk Products reached a record low.
About that time Autodesk customers looked for new alternatives wich gave Houdini a big push (Blender too).

Imagine where Blender would be now, if more and more of the annual Autodesk subscription money (about 1.500 $ for Max or Maya) would go into Blender develpment…

quantity isn’t the only factor

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A key reason why Blender is in such a good position right now and why it can afford such a good core team, is because it’s literally the only high-quality DCC app. right now under 1000 dollars. That is a massive cost savings even for small studios, and that would hold true even with a monthly development fund subscription.

This is partly because Blender largely killed off the mid-range of generalist DCC software as seen by how development is lacking in former hobbyist heavyweights like Carrara, Bryce, Shade, Realsoft, ect… That said, we also can’t discount the fact that Ton and co. have been getting better as hearing the needs of the userbase (as things that used to seem non-negotiable gets set on the table).


As for Blender competing with Maya and Houdini on every level, keep in mind that Houdini has a large team of developers specialized in procedural modeling and VFX while Autodesk can answer user requests by buying a company and integrating its tech. The fact though is that Blender cannot match the big commercial players is said player is placing the full weight of its billions into R&D and software development (but fortunately it’s not the case for Autodesk at least).

Blender doesn’t have to “compete” with Maya, Houdini, or any other commercial product. Those companies have their paying customers, and they always will. Paramount Pictures can snap their fingers and tell them, “jump!” and they will answer, “how high?” Okay, goody for them. That’s not Blender.

Generally speaking, software products never “supersede” one another and in many ways they don’t even really “compete.” Each successful product – commercial or otherwise – discovers its niche and fills that niche. It doesn’t pay to waste resources trying to be what you are not, when that money should be spent being the very-best at what you are.

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I’m not going to go into the history of Alias, though I’ll admit my assertion here was probably a stretch. My point though is that these companies have a long commercial history on which their products have their foundation. “Imagine where blender would be” if it had the revenue as Autodesk … that’s kind of my point.

As for Houdini being a different product, it is. I’m not really sure how anyone who is familiar with houdini could conclude otherwise.

Houdini is to Maya and Blender as MaxMSP is to Logic. Yes, they’re both music applications but the approach is entirely different. And yeah, I know that Maya has a node graph, but this is like arguing that “Houdini has a viewport”.

Houdini is much more specialized than Maya. Unless you’re doing what Houdini does well at you’re not going to completely switch Maya for Houdini, or if you are you’re going to have another modeler around (such as Blender).

Look. I love Blender, and it would be awesome if it took on more procedural tools. But i very much don’t want it to become Houdini. Houdini is great at what it does. But it’s not a replacement for either Blender nor Maya - at least not as of H17, because I know that this is teh direction SideFX wants to take Houdini.

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I agree with the idea that Maya, Houdini and Blender don’t need to compete at every level (which is also unrealistic), but here is the thing:
If you as an artist want to compete successfully with other artists, knowing your way around Maya, Houdini and Blender and use them to their advantage makes you a pretty badass.
Throw some Z-Brush in the mix and some secondary tools and you’ll become extremely deadly.
Its like knowing 3 types of martial arts on top of being a sharpshooter.

Tell that to all the studios I’ve applied at. :confused:

I’m glad the Blender Foundation doesn’t operate at the level of those big corporate machines… because then the Blender Foundation would be one of those big corporate machines.

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Well you just described me :slight_smile: However I agree that if you want to stick around for a long time you need to learn as many tools as possible at least at some reasonable levels. You can definetely stick to Blender as your hidden tool (which is what I do), but if one needs to work on and get different projects , then it is a necessity to expand the tool set in the belt.

I personally do not agree with the idea that ones becomes master of nothing if he/she goes after learning multiple tools. It is possible to master many things in life, depends on the dedication and the hard work. Cg is no different.

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TL;DR: Wall of text crits you for 200% damage. You die.

IMHO, Blender has been functional enough for a while now that you can produce the same quality of work that you can in Maya or Houdini. In some cases it might be more work or you would have to use a totally different workflow, but in terms of final output that looks just as good there’s nothing really limiting you other than your personal skill and creativity.

Now, if you’re trying to replicate something done in another program using the same process, it might be quite hard to get to the same result. But if you go back to the original artist’s conception of what they’re trying to achieve in terms of the artistic design, I think you could figure out ways to do something equivalently good in Blender, and if you assigned the same artistic task to a bunch of experienced users of different software then from the final results you’d have a hard time telling who used Blender vs. something else for their result. Pixels are pixels.

So if one is bothered that Blender isn’t Maya or Houdini, then it’s worth looking a little deeper to see why that might be. Here are a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head why someone might feel this concern. Maybe you can think of more.

  1. Beginner’s tool fixation.

Beginners frequently fixate on tools, and focus on the tool as much as the artist. On seeing a great image or animation the first thing they’ll ask is “what did you use?” and they want to hear answers like “Maya” or “Blender” and they hate answers like “I modeled the base mesh in Maya and then brought it into Zbrush and then assembled the scene in Blender with some FX from Houdini that I brought in via MDD and I rendered it using Octane for Blender” and they really hate hearing that you used Photoshop to finish it, because that’s CHEATING lol. They want to be able to feel that if you used Houdini then all they need to do is get Houdini and then they could make images just like yours because the computer is doing most of the magic.

So in asking this sort of question they perhaps want to feel like Blender is the ONE TRUE 3D APPLICATION so they can focus on it to the exclusion of everything else and learn how to drive the program to produce amazing results, and not have to worry that they didn’t choose (or maybe can’t afford) the software that’s actually needed to make TRUE ART.

The novice says “Check out this cool thing I made in Blender”, where the master will just say “Here’s my latest work.” The novice still gives their software something like half the credit for the work of producing an image, but the master is simply using their tools to an end, and is not limited by or to a single program, using whatever they have to get the result they want, and that result is generally 100% them, not the software. If you gave them different software, you’d still get the same result.

  1. Want Blender to have high industry stature.

These people don’t care as much about the actual functionality Blender has, they just want everyone else to think of it as being as good or better than any other software, because they would like to stop hearing that “you can’t get a job using Blender” or whatever, or they simply want to be able to feel proud of Blender (you can be proud of Blender).

This is an issue that honestly no number of programmers is going to be able to solve, and the number of programmers is probably not strongly correlated to how fast Blender grows in people’s opinions. This is more of a community and communication issue where we can all probably do more to help people learn that Blender is a seriously cool tool.

  1. Want Blender to progress as fast as possible.

People who are excited about Blender and want it to get better and better because they really are looking forward to new features (and maybe they have specific needs which if only we could double the development staff then maybe they could actually get it). The good news here is that I think Blender is in an excellent position right now, and everything seems to be growing and accelerating. More people are using it than ever before, it’s getting much more industry buzz, 2.80 has everyone eager to take another look at it even if they tried it ten years ago and still think it’s crap from the five minutes they spent with it, and the development fund, partner collaborations (like AMD), and community activity are continuing to grow and provide more resources to improve Blender.

I think it’s mostly irrelevant how many developers Blender has compared to Maya or Houdini. I also think most people would be shocked to find out how many core developers Maya and Houdini have (I suspect it’s a lot less than you would guess). Software can be very susceptible to the too-many-cooks-spoil-the-broth phenomenon, and as you increase the number of developers you tend to exponentially increase the communication and coordination work that’s required. Honestly I think the optimal number of (core) developers for something like Blender is closer to five than twenty-five, at least for thing that require coordination between developers. Give me one dedicated smart programmer over a team of 100 every time!

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Well, the question is not only about quantity, but the product’s quality is also more important. Maya and Houdini are totally different type of editing apps. Blender could achieve that kind of prospect but it would a difficult task.

I remember a Riot artist stating that her workflow uses zbrush for sculpt, blender for retopo and UV mapping and Substance painter for materials.

And that’s a point even maya users have to concede: with the right add-ons, blender makes for a kickass retopo(flow) tool for a fraction of the price

I don’t think anyone would say that Blender isn’t without it’s strengths, and that price is only one.

It’s a very fast modeller with robust keybinding, cycles is flexible and intuitive and relatively fast for small scenes, and I’ve heard nothing but praise for eevee.

As a traditional modeller, I don’t think there is any reason to Maya over Blender. Where it’s lacking is in pipeline integration. The ability for addons to be “live” and constantly updating is definitely a frustrating roadblock, and the lack of any plugin architecture and C++ API is limiting. As far as I know there is no way to get AOVs out of cycles aside from a few shading variables.

2.8 has some really great features for production. The whole collections thing is probably the feature I am most excited for. Most of my production experience is with C4D and xref just doesn’t work worth shit. It’s terrible, and always seems to fall apart only once you’ve designed an entire pipeline around it. Of course, this is arriving right as USD is taking off, too, and while BF has some great innovation and talent, sometimes it takes a while for Blender to adopt industry standard technologies.

But hey, at least it isn’t as bad as C4D’s implementation of Alembic (at least as of R19).

None of this is “insurmountable”, nor will these features immediately turn Blender into a complete and total Maya replacement - but they are the sort of features that I believe are missing from a production workflow - they’re also the kind of features that aren’t necessarily important to most Blender users, either - and I don’t mean that as something condescending, because Blender does a great job at catering to individuals and small studios.