Ubisoft AAA(not Ubi Anim Studios) moving to Blender

I’m posting this here because it’s absolutely HUGE! This is THE Ubisoft AAA game studio…Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clany, etc…you may have heard of them. :laughing: They have been a hardcore 3dsMax studio since their founding in the 1990s. Not to be confused with Ubisoft Animation Studios who have already migrated to Blender earlier this year.

The following is a copy/paste from legendary 3dsMax rigging expert and 3D professor, Paul Neale(Pen Productions) He has been a Max pro and user/teacher for 25 years. He posted this just today and it is pretty much proof that Ubisoft game studio will adopt a Blender/Houdini pipeline at some stage in the near future. Note: none of this is under any kind of NDA as it’s info from a public event. Also, the context/post is from the Max beta forums, but nothing discussed is under Adesk NDA. Enjoy :wink:


I thought that I should drop in here and ruffle a few feathers.

Blender has already caught up with Max and Maya in the eyes of the industry at a very high level. There is no point in discussing if or when, it has happened. Blender has many things that already surpass what Max has, a good UI for starts, great poly modeling, unwrapping, I can go on. No point in responding to this with a list of what Max has that Blender doesn’t as those that are using Blender don’t see those or don’t care about them at this point.

I just spent the evening on Wednesday at a faculty night put on by Ubisoft, one of the largest game companies in the world so the above is not my opinion, it is theirs coming from veterans of the 3D business that have as many years doing this as any one here. Multiple times in the Art / Tech Art session that I attended Blender and Houdini were mentioned as the future of their business as far as DCC’s are concerned. They did mention Max, they said it is not innovating and not keeping up with their needs, in many more words but that was the sentiment. Every one in attendance agreed and in fact multiple schools then asked how they should start transitioning to Blender and / or Houdini.

Houdini is already rooted in Ubisofts pipeline for anything procedural. The funny thing there is the example that they showed I can do in Max and they just never did it, how ever it was probably easier and more flexible in Houdini. This is an area that Max should have dominated in and they should have never been looking for other DCC’s to fill that hole. Why or how the ball was dropped at Autodesk, doesn’t matter, it happened and now it is Max that is going to have to play catch up starting from a bad reputation as the big bully in the 3D business that is stagnant, and no it doesn’t matter if that is true or not, it is what is perceived.

Ubisoft is starting to use Blender more and more for poly modeling, unwrapping tools. They don’t need it to do anything fancy really, nothing that Max doesn’t already do how ever it does those things better and for free. I guess you can argue if it is better or not, how ever, argue with Ubisoft, not me. At this stage they are letting their artists decide what they want to use and it really doesn’t make too much of a difference to them when it comes to game art.

At Humber college we have already started teaching Blender in the animation stream using it for the 2D tools. How ever we also now have as many faculty that want to teach Blender as Max and Maya as they use it in the industry. Three of our highly skilled faculty, two part time and one full time are pushing the use of Blender as we are seeing the rise of it. As a professor I need to ensure that I’m teaching students what will be the most used tools three years out, not what is most used today. Also we are in a position now that Max is taught only slightly more than Blender in our program and frankly could easily be replaced by Blender as we only teach modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering in Max in the first two semesters. I almost don’t teach it at all now as I use it only to create assets for games, meaning I’m touching on 0.1 % of the tools in Max that are way behind the curve in terms of UI and ease of use.

Many people here know me and know that I have been a huge supporter of Max for 25+ years. 3D artists world wide have learned techniques in Max from tutorials and forum posts of mine and time and time again over the last 25 years I have found my self telling 3D artists that Max isn’t dead or going to die any time soon. Although I still believe that, I can’t state in any way that it will remain as a dominant DCC application for 3D artists in the future as there are far to many companies like Ubisoft that are looking to other solutions and backing that up with donations to Blender and building pipelines around Houdini. And yes, after over 25 years as a dedicated Max user I’m considering dropping it in the classroom and replacing it with Blender / Houdini solution of some sort. And what choice do I have, the only large scale Max house in Toronto is telling me they are looking to other solutions more and more.

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I hope Autodesk respond not with a price cut but with innovation AND fixing a few long term bugs

Well done Team Blender

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If you’re a Max user and you didn’t see things like this coming, then you have your head in the sand. No offense to Max users.

Months ago, AD conducted interviews with folks here about Blender and what it offers over AD products, why we use it, what we like/don’t like about it, and they were handing out gift certificates for our time. This has been brewing for a while now, ever since 2.80 started popping up.

It really makes sense – Blender is free and for a lot of folks just starting out with 3D, it’s easy just to download it and start using it. The same can’t be said for the paid for apps. Industry is taking notice, backing Blender with precious money, so it’s no longer a joke to say in an interview that you use Blender versus Max or Maya.

Ultimately, this will be a good thing overall for the 3D industry – for profit companies will have to innovate in order to stay ahead, which is good for the people who spend their hard-earned money each month for the tools they need. Blender will continue to thrive as more companies support the Blender Foundation, drawing in more and more talented artists.

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I wonder if Epic will be following as well. As far as I know they use Maya for most of their modeling and animation, but with their huge donation I assume they are interested in switching. If they did switch completely, the savings from not subscribing to Maya would probably be much more than what their donation was.

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Possibly, but I feel that it’s more to do with cultivating the next generation of game designers that will download free Blender to make assets to use in free (to use) unreal engine. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. :slight_smile:

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I’m curious - does this mean that Ubisoft has to or will, PAY the Blender folks in any way? A revenue stream is always good, no…? :slight_smile:

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There was a talk about AAA game production at the Blender Conference yesterday too. It makes me wonder how many more game studios are out there experimenting with Blender.

Here is the talk for those curious:

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There’s also this 2 hour Epic stream on Blender>UE4 workflow just posted on the official Unreal YT channel. Exciting times.

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Now we need massive upgrades and comfortable and ease of use tools integrations for producing gameready content faster. First things comes to mind is UV tools upgrades that has very smart packing(preferrable C or C++ based) and automatic UV tools. 2-nd is that even more modifiers. 3-rd is easy texturing tools. 4-rth is better physics tools so it could be used to generate natural looking game props. There are tons of things to improve and upgrade.

I am only leaner last couple of years and know most of things in base level but i have observed 3D stuff 10-12 years as hobby and of interest. In beginning i learned Blender 2.7x but after started using 2.8… well i never want to see that stoneage 2.79.

Sorry my English is always a little wonky as it is self learned and is mixed soup of US+British words.

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@Musashidan, edit: nevermind, I see it’s Max Beta Forum. I can’t access that.

Super excited to see more studios jumping onboard using blender in production!!!

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In somewhat related news: https://www.blendernation.com/2019/10/23/embark-studios-backs-blender-development-fund/

The short of it is a new studio founded by former head of DICE and VP of EA has joined Blender development fund at the 30k Euro level and is using Blender and Unreal for their debut game.

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I have been claiming for 2 years now to every colleagues and forum, channel about CG that Blender was going to be the lead 3d application in the not so distant future and you all know what they reply to me don’t you all?

They called me a NUT and there was born my nick identity here on the BA forum!

Ton Roosendaal is a pioneer and he is proving to the whole world that working together to greatness is SUPERIOR to any corporate model.

Ton is a creativity titan look what he had accomplish, every single minute someone is creating amazing stuff with his dream, video games, movies, architecture, car design, etc you name it!

He is unleashing a gigantic wave of creativity and he is making the dream of many coming true!

I have teach game design to some people who work on big titles there at Ubisoft since i saw their name in the credits from time to time.

But unfortunately even if i am very happy to hear about that news the ubisoft i knew from that time was exploiting young folks making them work insane hours without paying them overtime and they were cashing millions if not billions.

Maybe this has change but the CEO there was sorry to say this here since i am a polite person but he was an arrogant dick head that i would have slap him in the face!

Blender is amazing it’s more than a free software it’s a phenomenal success story that should inspire the whole world on how to do stuff without the GREED equation.

We are meant to share not the other way around.

Unfortunately i have to disagree on one point here and it is where you say blender UV tool are superior to Max this is the other way around and anyone who had spend time in both software will tell you this. There is also many threads here about how the UV tool need desperate love in Blender.

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I grew up in the Greater Toronto Area (Brampton, Ontario). The consensus back in 2003 was that Blender at that time was just a cheap, hobbyist tool - not for professional 3D work. I would have been considered a nutcase for extolling Blender as an alternative to Max, Maya or Softimage.
It’s great to hear that Humber College is planning to teach Blender in their curriculum. I do know that the Toronto Public Library have had some learning sessions with Blender.
As for the continuing naysayers to Blender, they should STFU & keep their heads stuck into the sand.

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Most likely, Autodesk’s answer will be dumping Maya and moving on with 3dsMax.

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FYI Blender team actually went to Ubisoft Studios in France & had meetings & discussions with their Dev team which will contribute development…so if the AAA Studio makes this jump then there will be more support both financially & development for sure…& like the OP said it’s just matter of time before that happens.

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Just because it was mentioned in that talk, if you want to do a subsurf model and eliminate that wonkyness you get with the unapplied cage, just use a decimate modifier under the subsurf and set it to unsubdivide and itterations 2. Then you end up with getting what you are seeing.

As I stated above, this isn’t me, this is the words of Paul Neale. I didn’t edit the original post in any way…even though I agree that Blender’s current unwrap workflow is one of its weakest areas. :laughing:

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This is going to be a VERY common phrase in the next year or 2…

Yes, I do.

https://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php/143183-Watch-for-Project-Gooseberry?highlight=project+gooseberry

OK sorry Musashidan i thought it was your own opinion, my mistake. Sometime with my limited English skills i can skip a few important words and a phrase can get a complete new meaning for me.

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