When did Blender get locked up behind a paywall?

I recently went to help a young user on Blender stack exchange. I thought the opening scene of Big Buck Bunny would give him (or her) an understanding of how to make the type of scene they were asking about. It used to be that you could download those scenes to prod and poke away at and learn the craft. Now you are forced to join “the cloud”. For a fee. And for a young kid learning the ropes you might as well be asking them to go to the moon. For me personally, who has no credit card by personal preference, I am also locked out of participating. After contributing to various forums (sporadically) over more than ten years, and making tutorials, and living with a sense of wanting to give back to a community who has given so much to me, I feel like the community has suddenly evaporated. On asking about the need for fees and the confinement of participation to those with credit cards I received exactly the kind of response I would expect from a commercial organisation that couldn’t give a fuck about community: well, you can also pay by paypal. There was also the usual self serving justification of, we have expenses to pay too. Sure. But the best of the rest of the world have found business models that more than adequately achieve that goal without alienating and locking out the people they depend on for their existance. I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before Blender itself will only be available for download from behind the paywall at which point it might as well sell up to one of the commercial entities having become one itself.

So you are frustrated that someone else isn’t paying for your bandwidth instead?

The blender cloud provides constant new good quality content, tutorials, source files and much more. You are paying a small fee for high quality material that would have otherwise be way more expensive.

Alternatively there are hundreds of thousands of Blender tutorials online, most of these are much better for learning, and while they suffer quality and consistency, they are completely free.

I think you need to take a step back, and move away from the typical “everything should be free because its open source but I don’t want to donate anything” mentality and look from sustainability perspective.
If you aren’t paying the price, someone else has to.

The open movies are released under a creative commons license. You could just ask here in the forum whether someone could share the files with you. And in the case you are getting them, which is very likely the case, you are open to do pretty much whatever you want with them.
I also just searched for a minute and found the link to archive.org where you are able to download the original dvd files:

Don’t worry, there is no reason to believe that Blender is going to be behind a paywall anytime soon.

also, for limited access all you need is to register: https://store.blender.org/my-account/
subscription is optional (full access)


see: Blender Production Files: All 2D 3D post .blends in a compressed zip file.

Open material is pretty hard to lock up after the fact. I am sure there are other mirrors too.

I’ve got a lot of respect for you and the contributions you have made over the years, but I’d appreciate if you would read what I said before shooting your mouth off. I am willing and happy to donate. I have donated. I have purchased and would be happy, for example, to whitelist my adblocker for Blender or any of the other working business models that people choose to use via the internet. What I object to is the commercialisation of Blender, locking what were open assets behind a paywall penetrable only by credit card.

Thanks for that, and of course I could do as you suggest. But in the example I gave I was simply trying to get a quick link for a kid who needed help and it wasn’t there. For my own personal use I would go the extra mile and start asking and searching. But this is a case of what happens with commercialisation. It’s like a cancer. A kid wants to learn. Someonone wants to help but is blocked by a paywall. Kid doesn’t learn. Community evaporates because “someone has to pay for the bandwidth” That somehow managed to be paid for until the commercialisation came along. I don’t buy it, but I’m happy to pay - if you know what I mean

The open movies are for sure not the best resource to learn Blender. There are plenty of useful and freely available tutorials for that. If a kid really gets to a point where one of the open movie projects becomes useful, that kid has very likely not too much trouble to find those links and to download the project.

Really? I would have thought they were the best. They were, in fact, presented as opportunities to learn best practice in Blender.

Definitely not suited for beginners. There is too much stuff going on and you need a very solid understanding of many Blender concepts to get clue how things are set up in there.

Funny, that’s where I started with elephants dream, figuring out Proogs jacket LOL. You’re welcome to your opinion so long as we understand it is your opinion.

You make a good point. How many of them are active in the Blender community do you think? How many would have credit cards. Is Blender really reserved for white middle class Europeans?

Blender itself (and a large portion of the ecosystem surrounding it) is still totally free (just download and you’re good to go).

The Blender Cloud service serves two functions. The first one is to fund open movie projects, and the second one is to facilitate the development of features and tools needed for said projects (ie. everyone benefits because many improvements become an integral part of the Blender application).

As I said, the only paywall is the one in front of the Blender Cloud service (so the thread title is misleading in this regard), this is fully in line with the GPL and the ideology of the FSF because it only provides extras (in which none contain actual Blender code).

Now you did mention a concern that Blender could be chucked behind the wall as well, the GPL license ensures that it would not only be impossible, but it would also backfire on the BF (the community can just fork Blender at the latest possible commit hash and keep developing it as free software).

Meanwhile there are lots of video tutorials on YouTube and in other places which are a rich resource where lots of concepts for Blender can be learnt and have been made exactly for that. Working with those kinds of resources is definitely better suited for beginners, because they are a lot more focused and you don’t have to deal with all the surrounding stuff. Once those individual concepts are understood, it can make sense to have a look at how it is done e.g. in the open movie projects. But it is clear that they are not the only resource anymore where it can be done. And thankfully, they are still freely available.

I understand that, but it’s not my point. The headline wasn’t meant to be misleading, but there is Blender the program and Blender the community. Blender the program for free without the community is like saying you can have a body but you have to pay for the heart. The heart of Blender is that collegiate, sharing activity that I have come to know and love. The open movies used to be, you know, open. It helped me immeasurably to be able to study the rigging and texturing and, and and of these incredibly talented animators. It was best practice and while there is heaps of tutorials and such like online, I have always learned best by picking existing stuff apart. Now we have a situation where the assets from the open movies are locked behind a paywall.

One thing to note is that the Blender Open Movie content is only a small fraction of the total resources available for use as learning material and for use as components for your own scene. It also does not support a generalization that the community aspect of Blender needs to be payed for (look at this forum, the largest you’ll find in the world of Blender, tons of resources and information, and yet you didn’t pay a cent to join).

Besides, you can’t argue over the advances Blender makes with each Open Movie Project, and the cloud has only accelerated that process. The Cloud has allowed for a continuous stream of projects and likewise a continuous stream of Blender development (there’s no more having to go through the arduous process of holding a fundraiser in hopes they can even do it). Are you needing to render scenes with hair in Cycles, you’re benefiting from what was developed specifically for the recent Agent movie (and that’s just for starters, 2.8 is getting an entire 2D animation suite via the Grease Pencil thanks to the Hero project, and Spring will get 2.8 into a production-ready state). By the way, version 2.8 will be just as free as 2.79 (but you will reap the benefits from the movie projects).

The headline screams frustration and is a bit immature. I do however understand your conundrum…I have a general dislike for the cloud and the cloud services…I am totally OK with the blender store or blender market…to sell learning materials or user created content…I do not like the sale of addons though…I feel there are only a handful that quantify themselves as being valuable and robust enough to be paid addons…but everyone wants to make a buck now a days.

I don’t know what to say to this…What are you ding dongs on about?

demagogic, liar, manipulative,… Yes, a great addition to the blender community, you’ll go a long way

Lets not forget now that up to at least durian/sintel the community payed for the projects an we were promised that data would remain freely available to us. If bandwidth was the issue then why not offer a torrent link on blender.org for these projects.

Now a change in direction for new/future projects is fine and all, but just respect promises and commitments made in the past.