In my honest opinion, if the highly impressive Blender release logs in the last year or so was not considered sufficient for the commercial vendors to pour more of their income into their R&D departments, I do not know what will. However, it does look like Autodesk is in fact beginning to deliver bigger updates, enough to actually bring back some of the excitement and praise that used to define DCC releases a couple of decades ago.
Now of course, this is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the BF’s ability to maintain the large core team it has enjoyed having since 2.8, but the commercial vendors are making their move and have a clear intent to ensure that this time around, it is actually Blender that is on the decline. Competition is slowly, but surely coming back and the BF must ensure the momentum it has now is kept up.
What is unknown at the moment is whether the licensing and the EULA will also return to how it was in those days of innovation as well, as bringing back perpetual licensing options could only make it even more possible that former users will return to them. It is not a huge chance, but they already have signaled a willingness to do things like reduce license costs the more powerful Blender gets.
Competition appears to be coming back, and the BF needs to be ready for possible upsets in things like funding to keep the current pace if the trend continues.
I consider that the momentum in Blender development has slowed down.
The geometry nodes project evolved to be a behemoth to develop, Vulkan and EEVEE projects, turned into human-power resource grabbers. Due to the complexity and time consumption to work on such huge projects, is indeed true that is unavoidable to have other shortcomings to start appearing.
Consider that the rate of talented developers is becoming scarce as well, with all of the current problems on the world and the economy, more people eventually won’t have enough time to spend on their side-projects (contributing to Blender).
If you imagine that from all of the millions of developers in the world, it only took one Pablo Dobarro to revamp the entire sculpting mode. However the problem in general, is that you need 10 times the Pablo in order to start having great momentum.
Also there is another point, that Blender has no business team. More or less is developers+users, and the missing link between them is a team of business and product experts that can direct development in certain ways.
Currently all of the open source projects have in any way possible, some form of commercial activity, even legendary Linux distros (RedHat) or even the Java programming language (Oracle). Is not a matter of only securing funds, which are critical, but also as well having a guarantee that things will evolve towards the common benefit of the users, and not by enforcing the whims of the mama-company over the others.
These subjects will have to be seriously be taken into consideration in the future. The more they are postponed the more waves we will be making for the years to come, without a strong sense of direction, of where Blender should eventually go…
I go away for two weeks and give myself a news blackout to come back and find that Blender is now in decline ?
I hear about people and small teams switching to Blender all the time. I would also encourage all here to contribute what they can through the Dev fund and the Blender Studio. Especially if you are concerned Blender is not developing fast enough. Get involved and help move it along. If you use Blender a lot in your work and it is important to you then please help pay for it. I dont have the badges right now as I don’t use my Blender ID to log in here. ( Perhaps I should sort that out ? ) But I have been giving back to Blender on a regular schedule for years now. Ever since I first seriously was using it.
What gets forgotten I think so much in these sorts of posts and conversations is that Blender is not Maya or Max nor Cinema 4D. It is very much it’s own thing and has so many unique advantages. This is much more clear if you have used the others intensly at all in production or experianced different studio pipelines. It’s easy to compare features in a simple company press release or latest cool feature video. But what is most important is stability and how something works over the longer term and how everything works with everything else.
Blender has developed to become it’s own mini production platform. This is really what sets it apart. It has it’s own appeal and a clear niche and fills an important and very vital role. It can be pipelined into itself in so many brilliant ways. It can be used alongside other apps and systems or it can be used entirely by itself. Personally I don’t think there is anything better out there right now for individule artist creators or small studios and teams. It’ doesn’t need to be in competition. Just keep getting better at what it is.
The SDF Node project has VDB booleans on the todo list, but it will come after everything else is working well.
I never said Blender was in decline at this moment, I am just saying that Autodesk is starting to rev up their R&D on the idea they can eventually bring a lot of professionals who switched to Blender back to Max and Maya (which means people once again seeing Blender as a hobby app.). I am not too concerned though, as it is very unlikely that the BF will lose the progress it made over the last decade unless they started to make major mistakes in areas like development and project management (which itself is not likely under the current leadership).
I didn’t mean to mis-represent your original post or words. I was just responding to the general vibe in the thread. Anyway if the big commercial apps are responding and feeling some heat then that’s better for everyone. Hopefully it will translate as well into better value and customer service. Well we can hope.
But I think the momentum now behind Blender is so strong and so too is the user base and community. I just see a lot of positivity there right now. And a lot of excitement.
Also I think the real free in Blender is freedom. As in freedom and security of knowing you always have complete ownership of your own work and projects. For now and forever. And for small sudios and teams and individule artist creators that is always going to be a huge deal.
The MAX team has woken up; they’re renewing their efforts to offer artists better 3D tools, and to make the subscription have actual value (compared to a previous year, where I believe the major update was "new bevel modifier.) Maya is streamlining animation, adding better topology tools. Both apps are focusing on UI improvements.
Blender has talent, they have resources, and they have (albeit, less) funding. They’re coding a new Compositor.
Let’s look at something positive, though: For all their tools, AD subscription pricing is simply a non-starter for many. I’ve owned a copy of Max (personally purchased, not a work expense), and paid for followup upgrades at least twice. But I’ve simply no interest in renting software, and avoid it unless it’s simply not possible (cough: adobe). Blender - beyond any issues - offers artists a toolset that is frankly astounding, given the cost of Zero.
Put differently: It’s great that Blender is offered for free, but it’s also great due to it’s feature set.
And as to “it’s free” - actually, it isn’t free. There’s a cost, it simply isn’t demanded that the users cover it.
From the 2021 Report, Blender has been downloaded over 16M times. Imagine if 10% of those users were Bronze Members. Support the Foundation.
We already have so, so, so many threads about the pace, direction, future, potential, structure, shortcomings, weaknesses, failings, and opportunities of Blender development. There’s at least 5 threads for each of those points. We don’t need another one. Let’s keep this thread focused on Autodesk only, thanks
Yeah, I’m aware of that… and yeah the priorities are very weird there. SDF/CSG should be the first milestone imo… Also, it’s geometry nodes which is not suitable for regular modeling/sculpting workflow, so…
It sucks even further cuz they had a game changer modifier ready to go years ago, which from a modeling perspective would be a better way to implement this… but surprisingly, they managed to do the impossible…
Vdb boolean is a great tech and should never be postponed to oblivion like that… That’s bad, man…
But hey, that’s just me…
Max’s implementation as modifier is nice, kinda like c4d…
I don’t like max, but it’s starting to look decent…
Fully agreed. Funnily enough, when I went on a studio visit with my school last week, half the studio was using Blender in their pipeline. Can’t specify more than that, but my point is, some big name studios are already using Blender, and it is actively being taught to students going into the game development field.
Every single level designer at my school uses Blender while us graphical artists have a mix between Maya and Blender for modelling. Most are using Maya, but some, including myself, are building our modelling portfolios with Blender. Plenty of students actually start off using Blender before joining the school as well.
Even when I begin my internship or get a job later this year I see no reason why I would need to switch to another package for just doing modelling. Every single 3D model I have worked on for my portfolio for the last 3-4 months were done almost exclusively in Blender minus needing to use ZBrush, Substance Painter, and Unreal Engine for some specific stuff. Because of Blender’s unique niche I am able to do stuff that would be extremely impractical if I used only one industry standard software. As good as rendering in Unreal is, Blender is flexible to be able to work on my rendering while working on my models simultaneously. As powerful as ZBrush is, Blender can mix tons of modelling workflows to throw together something decently fast. As solid as Substance Painter is, Blender materials and texture tools can create some decent results if I need to experiment with my rendering results before making any decisions.
Blender may not excel at everything, but man is it useful for problem solving while working on projects with its all-rounder style approach. Just this week I used Blender to create a skybox cubemap, which I am now working on adding stylistic clouds that would have taken ages to paint and render all by hand. Would have been very hard to achieve with the limited time that we have for group projects each week.
The transform matrix nodes for Maya rigging are really something I need to get more clued up with. One of the beauty’s of Maya rigging was that for so many years it essentially never changed. It was quite easy to be out of Maya for a few years and then jump back in a few versions or years later and get going again with minimal to no re learning needed. Rigging using nested groups was so second nature. Blender spoils us really with how this is all done automatically under the hood.
Nice to see Max continue to get development love. I still have a soft spot for it. I was a Max licence holder for very many years before the price increases and lack of real development drove me to Blender. But I was much happier with Blender anyway. Mostty because it’s all round mini production platform nature suited me much better. Athough the list controller in Max mentioned here a few times is sublime. So infinatelly flexible. I really missed it in Maya. But the Max interface when I see it now drives me crazy. I dont think I could ever go back to it. Even though for so many years it was second nature.
I always personally found Maya horrible for modeling. It might have improved in the last few years but the last time I used it I still found it horrible. Max was always the poly modeling king over Maya. But now I far prefer Blender for poly modeling. It is just so fast and efficient.
If you are a Blender user, using geometry nodes, why would you care about improvements of 3DSmax modifier list UI ?
If you are a Blender sculptor, will the fact that Maya has improved retopology tools make you sculpt in Maya ?
I don’t see a competition threat, here.
Blender 2.8 UI hype had a limited duration. Geometry Nodes hype is stopping.
People had time to test them, and see how it works, if it was matching their interest or not.
If it was acceptable or too limited according to their standards.
After 3.5 release, it is time of Viewport Compositor hype and Viewport performance Hype.
That are not hair nodes, without simulation nodes, that will make a change of perception in mind of user basis of another software.
They may be a demonstration, that no default modeling modifier update have to be expected.
But that a lot of GN nodegroups could be collected in community sites as assets.
Cycles hype is a never-ending story. After Cycles X, Path Tracing, there is light sampling in 3.5.
And development about light linking just started.
We know that Blender 3.6 will be a big interesting stable LTS, before a Blender 4.0 jump.
Adding one more month to Blender release cycle is not a decline.
A new Blender will continue to be released more than once a year.
Autodesk is updating their software with welcomed improvements.
May some of these improvements be inspired by Blender ? yes.
Do some of those features making Blender users envious ? yes.
Do some of those features letting Blender users indifferent ? yes.
Is it fundamentally changing workflows ? Is there a change of paradigm ? Is there a game changer ?
I don’t think, so.
Blender development is open. So, it can not surprise Autodesk.
Now, that they understood that does not make sense to focus on a feature planned by Blender development team. They are listening to their users.
Their development is just back to normal.
The site was saying this was your first time posting so big welcome.
I thought all boolean operations using Blender with add ons like Hard Ops were always live and non destructive too ? As are most modern boolean modeling workflows like ZBrushes live boolean. Am I missing something with this video ? It looks just like a live non destructive Hard Ops workflow in Blender ?
I still have a big soft spot for Max. I was a licence owner for very many years and it was my primary 3D app for most of my independant work. I had a permanent licence on subscription. So you paid a small amount each year for the latest version. Ahh those were the days. I left when it started to go rental only and the freedom flexibility and work ownership security that Blender offered was a whole new world.
Hardops is interactive (If You choose to) but at the same time restricted because Blender isnt fully parametric. 3ds max allows you to go back to your original objects and change their initial settings, quite useful when using cylinders with array modifier and want to change segments when modeling a disk brake. You also have the option to make it vdb, retopo on top, or use chamfer.
Live Boolean from Zbrush is still better than both 3dsmax and Blender, as is the only one who allows you to cut millions of polygons (again, useful when working with large arrays of cylinders)
Not saying the workflow is anywhere near as nice or as quick as it should be, but in Blender you can get to that outcome if you generate your cylinders and arrays using Geometry Nodes. This way they will stay parametric and can be changed at any time.