Lets brainstorm plan B proposals


This thread is for the community’s plan B proposals in case Gooseberry unfortunately don’t reach its goal.

EDIT (4th of May) : let’s forget about this time - things are already set or can’t be changed - so ideas discussed here could be of use for a future project - END of EDIT

(I know something has been thought about already,
and I know there are a few days left to reach the 5000 supporters limit,
but free brainstorming is good for our synapses,
and - who knows - some really great idea could emerge,
and there will be other projects after Gooseberry).

I begin.

Proposal 1 : Improve Blender + Library of assets

I’ve observed that out of 290 000 euros pledged only 30 000 would buy - and nothing else - a discount on the hardcopy of the film. All other pledges are for the cloud or are sponsor credits (yes, they include the discount but obviously it’s not the main feature of this kind of pledges).

My guess is that these 260 000 euros are given in the hope that Blender will be improved, or as a support to Blender and not necessarily conditionned to the making of a movie.

I would love a feature movie (I’ve pledged) and I understand very well that it’s a very good way to push the software forward but in case it fails, we still have at least people that were ready to give 260 000 euros to improve Blender. That’s a lot of money and we can make a lot of things with that much money.

So my proposal is to skip the movie part and affect this money to the implicite hope behind these 260 000 euros (of course, they can’t be reaffected like that, that means contacting the supporters or maybe launch an other subscription later- as I said, ideas that are brainstormed here might be saved for later).

So, in case, some day - or as a plan B - we collect money, my proposal is to the set the following goals :

  • improve definite areas of Blender : a list of improvements that would benefit directly the users and are appealing (the appeal part is important for promotion, new features could be promoted through mockups or Kickstarter’s style videos)
  • build libraries of materials, nodes, objects, textures, re-usable motion graphic animations,… whatever is usable and would save time. That would be presented in an organized way and could be downloaded. There are a lot of assets available but they’re spread and hidden in various websites, forum posts and so on… That would be an other way - by the way - to give some work to artists. Movies do produce a lot of assets but they are specifical to the movies created. We could focus on the most useful things we can think about.

Something I’m unsure about my proposal is the appeal part. Movies are appealing, set of improvements might not be. An other problem is that Blender is free and some people might think - and dislike the fact - they’re buying it with this proposal. I guess communication would be essential !

What do you think ? What’s your proposal ?
(please, I know Gooseberry has been controversial, no harsh words, let’s stay positive and as kind as a lamb to each other ! )

My guess is that these 260 000 euros are given in the hope that Blender will be improved, or as a support to Blender and not necessarily conditionned to the making of a movie
I would guess the opposite. If people donated mainly for the blender development they would have already donated to the current development fund. I expect the vast majority donated because of the gooseberry project itself, to actually make a film.

The discount on a dvd is pretty irrelevant, this was not even mentioned when the donations were first started.

Anyway, any bright ideas here (I can guess what they are as the usual suspects will bring up their own pet peeves) won’t make any real difference. I’m sure Ton knows what his next options are.

You might be right. But to be sure and stop guessing we should ask the supporters about their motivations…
I know about the development fund but it works differently.
When you give to the fund, you are alone (or at least you feel alone), you just contribute with a small droplet to the stream.
Collective pledges with set goals to be reached allow to be sure you’re contributing to something big and appealing.
Maybe what could be done would be to promote the development fund and make it look sexier (the developers videos that have been done recently are a good step in this direction).

Thanks for your answer.


If not… well, there’s no harm, no disasters happen, there’s no deception really! We will just do something smaller though… a great short film here in Blender Institute, building on the cloud platform features and videos, and then who knows… things might look different again next year.

That seems to indicate that they’ll just plan for a shorter version of gooseberry. Which I’m completely ok with.

It may not rock worlds or draw quite the attention a full-featured film would.
But if we can see a short and get some improvements to blender to go along with it I’ll be happy.

Moved from “Latest News” to “Blender and CG Discussions”

I think you’ll find Ton already has a plan B prepared in case the funding doesn’t reach its target

I’m sure of that. I should have express it differently (post titles are not editable so it’s too late !)

Actually, it’s more about future fundraising or projects. We have made movies till now, maybe other kind of projects could be made that would meet the community’s needs more appropriately.

We probably all tend to see our own hopes & wishes and tend to think they are shared by other. So, personnaly, I liked the short movies - expecially BBB and Caminandes - but a feature movie is a lot of work & money that will benefit the community of users only indirectly. That could be at the long term the best strategy (past history of Blender Foundation shows it’s well steered) but maybe it isn’t and it’s worth thinking about it - that was my two pennies :slight_smile:

you can edit the post title by going to the advanced options.

what exactly is not appropriate about the development targets set by the foundation for this project? and how do you consider that they wont be a direct benefit to other users? making a full length movie will expose more issues to the production team which they will have to fix in order to progress through to the finished film, yes there are development targets in place for goosberry, but you’ll see development in other areas as the studios require them

Your way forward should be perfectly clear: there cannot be a “Plan B.” If people have pledged money to you based on your original proposal, as apparently they have done (and in very respectable numbers …), then you must begin to execute upon that plan, exactly as you have laid it out. Otherwise, your pledges are void and you must return all money.

You emphatically cannot say, for example, “Gee, thanks for the €250,000, but since we didn’t quite reach €300,000, we’ve decided to do something else with your money, instead.” (Not with my money, you can’t!)

What you need to do … is to begin executing on the project, as I said in another recent post. Knowing fully well that not yet enough money has been pledged, nor tendered, to allow for completion. You set-forth your project along with how much money you thought that it would take. The investor-public has ratified your plan with their promises of cash, and they have advanced or presumably will-advance the amount of money that they are willing to put at-risk. This is “what you wished for.” The project is funded. Gooseberry, it would seem, is a “go.”

Only a fool would put “everything that you asked for” at risk all at once, knowing not only that the project might not succeed but also that it might cost considerably more than you think. Nobody’s a fool – incuding you. As you begin to demonstrate the success of the project-in-progress, you may safely presume that the remainder of the cash will arrive, in dribs and drabs, along the way, and that sufficient cash will arrive. Yeah, it’s out there. But you have to earn it.

Lots of people would like to watch Blender walk-off the stage having won the first Best Picture Oscar® ever actually awarded to a CG film. Think you’re up to that? No? Why not??

Forsake the talk of “Plan B” and get started.

Ah, okay. Thanks ! A bit late now, let’s keep it this way (let’s just remove the stupid ‘!’ )

I wasn’t clear. I’m perfectly okay with the development targets chosen. To sum it up, I was basically wondering if a project targetting directly at them wouldn’t be attract more support and allows more developments. There’s a lot of work - and money spent - on a movie (i.e. modelling, script writing and so on) that don’t improve directly the software.
I’m conscious both strategies have their advantages (movie demonstrates the quality of the software, allow to test it and generates ideas to improve it, gives work to studios that are using Blender which is good for the acknowledgment of Blender as a valuable tool too, and so on).

Yes, of course. But I guess, in any case, even for a short movie, you would have to ask the supporters because it’s a change in the target. What you offer - to begin and try to raise the money needed along the way - is probably the only way to keep to the inital target (and even though, I guess it would need to ask the supporters to confirm their pledge because the initial goal - presented as necessary for the viability of the project - wouldn’t have been reached).

But anyway my post wasn’t such a good idea. I’m not a big forum user and there are dynamics I don’t master. It’s probably not the best way to brainstorm ideas and bad definition at the start might harm a topic ! :wink:
I will put an Edit at the initial post and wait for the end of the week to see what has been cooked !

This right here. Not even whats best for the community’s needs either, but also where Blender has the MOST impact as well.

Regarding Plan B: Like any kickstarter or crowd funded project, the project lead should ask if those who donated want to get their donation back or return it and ask again with a new crowd funded project. Not delivering on a crowd funded project with the initial scope presented can open up a whole new can of worms.

Yes, perhaps it is premature. Nevertheless, if you ask for money, and especially if you take delivery of any of it, then you are obligated to do specifically what the money was advanced to fund. If you then choose that you cannot, in fact, do exactly as you said, then you have to return any money, and all pledges are void.

Beyond that … pledges are “just that.” Pledges, not checks in the mail. Only a certain percentage of them will actually come through. Others will come through but might not do so right away.

Gooseberry should be pleased with the apparent show of public support that it has received, given that its aims are ambitious and it does not have a known-quantity feature-film producer (yet?) on board to affirm to the doubting that you actually have what it takes to pull this thing off. No one’s going to assume that you do; and, probably, you shouldn’t either.

Assume that you’re going to fail, then prove yourself wrong every day. The only way to prove that this is the team who can actually deliver the world’s first open-source feature length film … is to do so. Frankly, a lot of people with keen interest in this project are going to remain on the sidelines, watching it anonymously but with their wallets still in their pockets. If you can execute, some of those wallets are fat. You’re making big promises. Can you uphold them?

Be very careful, team. If you ask for money, don’t get what you want, and fold your hand or start trying to grab for a different set of cards, then you are transmitting the indelible impression that you don’t, in fact, have any idea how this game is played. You might be a bunch of really good CG technicians … and I am not trying to push any buttons nor to insult anyone! … but that’s only one of a great many skill-sets, including pure-business and pure-financial skill sets, that will be needed to execute a project of this sort. You can’t just, so to speak, “sit on the side of the bed and say how good it’s going to be.”

This would be actually Plan C, Plan B was to extend the campaign more days and drop the amount of pledges needed. So it should be call Plan C, anyway… very unfortunate this Gooseberry. Maybe is better to go for a different project and bury this somewhere forever.

  1. Refund all the money.

  2. Get to know your user base. Talk with people who are using Blender in professional enviroments and with hobbyist who are producing outstanding work. Use the Blender Network not only as an income oportunity but as a “intelligence source” to improve Blender. Talk with studios and shops hiring Blender artists to know how employers use Blender in their studios and what they want from their employees. Try to guess how many people are actually using Blender, in which fields, which are the users’ preferred tools, most wanted features; ask them about cloud computing, training, etc. That will help the BF foundation to set realistic targets for funding campaigns.

  3. Talk with people in the animation industry, how they see Blender should improve.

  4. With data gathered in step 1 and if enough support, back your new cloud business model idea with professional input and a business plan study. Give your plans a more detailed outline and share them with the community.

  5. Put mechanisms in place to protect the Blender Foundation against its own mistakes. Rotation of positions, increased transparency, external input for knowledge, direct input from the community, etc.

  6. As much as possible, establish a transparent public predictable development model for Blender, mainly the way resources are allocated and how decisions are made.

  7. Separate as much as possible movie production from Blender development and Blender Foundation activities, so if the former goes badly it does not take neither prestige nor resources from the later.

  8. Separate Blender showcase animations from conventional film production.

  9. Feed a free open ecosystem for ideas and sketches for shorts and full lenght films. Get in contact with industry film producers. Start your funding campaign with some preproduction stages finished.

  10. Be In Control Of Your PR System!

  11. Make a full feature movie with the most support from your community and from external sources as well.

  12. Profit !

Yes but Blender Foundation is non-profit.

@Alvaro: besides your points 0,4 and 6, I don’t actually see what about your plan is so different from reality.

  1. The people involved in Gooseberry know the user base, they are in fact an important part of the user base. I mean, cgcookie is involved and several studios that already use blender in production. That was exactly the point of Gooseberry
  2. People in the animation industry might or might not use blender for production. If they do, they are included in the studios mentioned in 1).
  3. If 1) and 2) apply, than Gooseberry was meant to do exactly step 3).
  4. I don’t see a lack of transparency in the BF and rotation of positions or a more democratic setup is not a way to protect against mistakes. Most governments have a rotation of positions and it does not protect it from mistakes.
  5. The development model for Blender is predictable. Just follow the weekly meetings, listen to the podcasts of developers, etc., you can see where it is going quite clearly.
  6. This I strongly oppose. We have seen blender develop rapidly during open movie productions. Look at what Mango gave us. The model has worked extremely well up to now. I didn’t hear many people complain about motion tracking being included and cycles being improved during Mango.
  7. Blender open movie projects are made to be regular short films, not showcases. An effort is made to make the movies enjoyable for people who are not into 3d. My kids love big buck bunny. If I give my daugther (3 years old) the choice of watching big buck bunny or an episode of looney toons, she always picks big bug bunny. My son prefers caminandes over big buck bunny.
  8. There is such an ecosystem. Caminandes is a great example of something that started without bf involvement.
  9. How is Ton not in control of his PR system? He does it himself? How more in control can you be?
  10. That was the plan, but it failed.

That being said, there are things one can improve, for instance the financial situation of the development fund. This receives direct contributions for development and some more openness into the choices made of how to spend that money might be interesting. Now we only see the actual positions
granted. It would be interesting to see why a certain part of blender is being targeted. The blender foundation actually is under no such moral obligation,
as it is (as far as I understand) funded from sales.

I was only brainstorming, the BF and Ton will do as they please as the Gooseberry project shows. It fact all Gooseberry threads are mostly irrelevant. Despite a failed funding campaing and taking criticism at levels never seen before, they have shown little affection for recognising their mistakes, at least publicly and we have not seen much rectification in Gooseberry development goals and in other BF plans. I think many mistakes made during Gooseberry funding campaing are in fact mismanagement issues deeply rooted in the Blender Foundation culture. For instance asking for 10.000 supporters is a mistake, since I don’t think there are currently that many users trying meaningful stuff in Blender. And more importantly, you won’t get positive return from all of them. Many propietary 3D applications can not claim that many seats and their communities produce much more stuff that us. We live in a little very specialised and fragmented world were Blender is mostly irrelevant outside the boundaries of this community. We should brace ourselves and hope that the next time they will get it right.

You were not just brainstorming, you were giving a detailed list of things you thing are going wrong with the bf and I argued against most points. Now you say that you were just brainstorming and repeat your claim that there is something rotten in the bf, without responding to any of my remarks. I do not think that is ok. If you want to drop the discussion, than you should have just said that you were just brainstorming and left it at that.

Besides this, what reason do you have to assume there aren’t 10000 blender users in the world? Ton can check the number of unique downloads for each release, can you? You have absolutely nothing to base that claim one.

Lastly, the claim that the bf doesn’t listen to users is getting a bit tiresome. Split normals, much talked about by game devs who claim the bf doesn’t do anything for then, were just added. Opensubdiv, also much requested here, is being added. How exactly is the bf not listening to the community?

Actually, whilst I don’t use many of Blender’s 3D features on a regular basis, I recognise that I’d rather use an application which offers good tools, rather than mediocre approximations, and I see quite evidently that the few times I’ve need to do VFX, simulation or any form of 3D visualisation, Blender 3D has been my go-to software. I bought the DVD (and would have cloud subscribed If I had the money) because I wanted to support that ethos, and a project with momentum will do better than paying individual developers to implement tools that aren’t going to be demanded for a production, and hence tested thoroughly (through usage) as part of the development cycle.

Regarding PhysicsGuy’s comment about the Game Development aspect of Blender, you might be confusing BGE users with typical game engine users - they have complained in the past, with good reason, being that there are very few developers for such a large component of the Blender code base, and we barely keep up with Bug fixes, so consideration for new features is much further away.

Let’s not get into the semantics of these arguments though, just a quick P.O.I

As a matter of principle I will never give money to any charity or non-profit that does not publish financial statements. The fact that Ton said that he would do so 10 years ago, but still has not, does not give me cause to change my mind.