Why don't big film studios just use Blender?

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Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
Hi and Merry Christmas to all :)
I want to ask this big question because I allways wondered why big studios just dont use Blender.
Is it because of the compitablilty for tools? Functionality? Because of that everyone else use Maya?
The big studios could have saved a bunch of money if they  used Blender instead of Autodesk` high pricerange
tools.  Have a look at the end of this page for comparing Autodesk tools VS Blender:

http://animation.softwareinsider.com/compare/1-19/Maya-vs-Blender

Its all the same. 


(I do not have anything against Autodesk or intend to insult Autodesk by any means, as I use Maya myself and those guys are awezome and helpful)

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  • thomasp
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    thomasp sublime tool
    with all the money invested into pipeline development, i expect the license cost for maya will be pretty insignificant to a medium or big studio and that's assuming they get only the regular deal - seems unlikely to me for starters. the other major reason is that it's the standard so it's rather well understood, the tools have great depth and have been production-tested, you can get a lot of aftermarket addons to enhance them further and most importantly everyone knows the software, so there's this large pool of trained candidates to hire from.

    to make these studios switch and thereby abandon a good chunk of their investment, you have to offer something significantly better than what they already have. some do have inhouse software that replaces maya entirely for certain jobs btw.

  • Wolthera
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    Wolthera polycounter lvl 4
    Despite what anyone will tell you, the major reason Open Source Software isn't adopted is that people are trained for certain types of software, and don't wish to change programs... and given how much time it can take to get used to new software if you're not tech savy, or even the amount of time it takes from regular production, it's quite understandable there's just no incentive to retrain everyone.

    That's why you tend to see adoption of open source software in the smaller to mid-size studios, because these can afford to train all of their 12 employees ;)

    You also see it being adopted more as part of a pipeline or only in a single department, and this is sadly something that Blender isn't very good at for various reasons. So usually it's something like the concept art department using blender but then the actual production work being done in maya or houdini.

    The real question is why courses don't adopt FOSS, as that would be much kinder to the students' wallets in many cases, but there you get the problem that the courses wish to train you for the industry, and the industry uses certain products because everyone is trained for them. A bit of a vicious circle there.
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    some good points, here are my two cents. 

    first of, A year subscription of 3Dmax/Maya is less or about the same of an employee earns in a month. secondly why bother learning a new program when your perfectly fine with the one you got? also all the tons of resources already invested, training, decades of work habits, rigs, material libraries etc.

    there is nothing wrong with either programs, so if money isnt an issue, why would you ever switch from what you have to the other?
    as for the May vs Blender link, interesting stuff, but I think blenders higher score is highly influenced by its small but loyal fan base.  I dont really think anyone is an autodesk "fan", im not a fan of the buss, but I still ride it to work everyday because it gets the job done =P

    EDIT: One more thing, when your a big company, you are much more dependent on other people, and sending files over from different programs is not really an option, having an "industry standard" both makes, and re-enforces collaboration between team members and even outsourcing agents much easier.
  • Farfarer
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    Farfarer Polycount Sponsor
    Also, when you're buying several tens or hundreds of licences of software from a big company and the software doesn't do what you need it to do (or bugs are there that you need fixed) you've got a lot more clout with that company.

    If it's free/open source then the developers don't owe you anything, not even support.
  • RaptorCWS
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    RaptorCWS polycounter lvl 7
    To an individual, sure a software license is expensive. To a company that buys in bulk, it's a very small price of doing business. They probably get a pretty big discount for the amount of seats they buy. The people they hire know how to use autodesk software, and for the most part enjoy to use that software vs blender. I would be extremely disappointed if I came into work one day and was told "we are no longer going to be using max and maya and we are going to completely redo our workflow and use blender." 
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    So it is time and intregation that is the key? Also, as you said Raptorcws, what people feels suits them best in production.
  • Blond
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    Blond polycounter lvl 5
    Somehow, one day, a big studio will start using Blender. If they manage to ship successful products with it, others will follow. It's just a matter of time now (and updates haha) :)
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    In pipeline a lot of softwares are involved some times Blender is involved too, of course most of the artists are trained to use autodesk products because they learn that at school, also as others say big companies already have pipeline based on Maya, that means that in the end the the final data will be an heavy .mb file.
    But again, give it time, Blender is young and understimated. ;)
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    MmAaXx said:
    Blender is young and understimated.

    Indeed it is. :) Sometimes, I having a hard time beliving it is free.
  • Yadoob
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    Yadoob polycounter lvl 4
    Indeed it is. :) Sometimes, I having a hard time beliving it is free.

    Well, probably because it isn't :smile: , the Blender Foundation is hiring developers thanks to various (but still low) donations. Meet them : http://www.blender.org/development/top-22-developers-2015/

    To stick with the subject, I aggre with @MmAaXx , Blender, for now, is not meant to be The Biggest Tool in a production : since it's easily accessible, I guess """Big Company""" (rather artists in it) use it time to time for specific needs.

    For that kind of topic, take a look at the Blender Cloud and Blender Open Movies (Caminandes, Cosmos Laudromat, Glass Half), they do a great job to answer those questions.
  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    The thing to remember is that it's not always about matching feature for feature and the out-of-the-box price tag. The more larger VFX studios have now become global businesses, with multiple studios in multiple countries. Core to all that is having a pipeline and framework for making all that work. Studios have essentially built their pipelines around Maya (and it is mostly Maya in film vfx) for very good reason. Apart from being very good, its main strength since release is its openiness in expanding the package and building tools for it and around it.

    Studios have accumulated years of experience and tools, and as time has gone on, the films and effects have become more complicated and pipelines have needed to adapt to that. So it's not so easy to replace and swap out for something else. It can be done, but I'd say its rare these days. 
    People can be retrained, and that isn't so bad, but the real cost would be replacing massive chunks of the pipeline and toolsets in order to make things work again. And this wouldn't be a short job either. That would take time and money. Sure something like Blender is free, but then there's also the cost of ongoing support and maintenance. Having to support their own 3D software on top of all the other proprietary tools they have is a big drain on resource.

    Anyone (including Autodesk) offers their larger enterprise customers extra levels of support (for extra cost) which studios pay for because it provides them with extra services, like custom fixes, special builds and perhaps dedicated resource that is assigned specifically to them.
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    We can then conclude with that Maya has become the standar, due to capabilities, beeing stable, high-end tools and in the need of time-saving?
  • thomasp
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    thomasp sublime tool
    it's part of the reason at least.

    the other is just history/timing:
    one of the first to really open up scripting and turning the app into a pipeline-toolset which was ultimately the killer feature if memory serves. before that generation of software, the tools were far less customizable in general.

    direct successor to a product-family already established in the industry at the time -  i think most of maya's general features were just gobbled up from various other alias/wavefront/tdi products and unified under one hood.

    then-parent-company SGI also being the default hardware/OS vendor for pretty much all the relevant studios, cross-promoting the software and getting it out in time for some high profile productions of that day (e.g. ILM on star wars, Square on the FF movie, if memory serves).

    close competitor softimage being several years late to the party (and on wrong platform for the time, probably thanks to being owned by microsoft) with a new version of their own tool also helped, i imagine.


  • Panupat
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    Panupat polycounter lvl 12
    Maya is a coding platform with GUI. That's the reason why its the standard right now. Everything you see in Maya can be coded by you, yes every bits of UI and interface. Its very easy to extend and inyegrate into any pipeline.

    Nuke is the same way.
  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    Pre Maya and XSI, software like Power Animator and Softimage 3D were big 'black boxes' that were very powerful and although having SDKs, could only be expanded with specific programming resource. Maya changed all that. Using MEL, artists could really start creating their own tools and plugins, making their workflow and pipeline more flexible and adaptable. Softimage had the same idea for XSI, but its first release was delayed. 

    Many studios used Softimage 3D, especially for animation, but Softimage couldn't get XSI out until 2000; 2 years after Maya. Studios did wait and adopt, but the momentum had already started to swing towards Maya. Same was happening in games too. At the time I was at EA, and we were switching to Maya as we were retooling for PS2/Xbox.

    It's this level of openiness now that many people expect to see in any software package or technology. Features and demos can be great but a big question will be  -'does it have an API and how accessible is it?' With multiple packages, applications and required integration, get this wrong and it can make or break a software technology 
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    So even more, with Blender you have the entire source code + python, should be really easy for a big company to expand it on their needs.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    Basically, because:
    "What we have already works and does everything we need."

    That's a HUGE hurdle to overcome.  You have to offer an extremely compelling reason for a switch to even be considered.
  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    MmAaXx said:
    So even more, with Blender you have the entire source code + python, should be really easy for a big company to expand it on their needs
    That sounds great on paper, but in reality isn't so easy. Am not sure if you fully realise and appreciate how much money and resource you need to fully develop and support your own 3d software, or how sustainable it is.

    A good example is Shake, the compositing software from Apple. The was pre-Nuke and everyone was using it, but then Apple killed it. They allowed studios to purchase the source code, which many did. The main reason in the short term was to help maintain their pipelines before considering long term options. Eventually everyone moved to Nuke. They could of tried to continue developing Shake, but they didn't. Think about why that was. 
    It's not that they probably couldn't, but in many ways its just not economical for their business.
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 5
    http://blenderaddonlist.blogspot.com

    You guys do know that you don't JUST have to program in C to add functionality to Blender, right? You can't make C or C++ plugins at the moment but there are loads of Python scripts out there already. And if a wanker like me can script Blender with Python with relative ease, I'm sure big studios with experienced R&D persons can do it too.
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    the strategic and economical aspect is an important part but studios often develop internal plugins or softwares for their needs, look at MARI or Presto ore even Renderman.
    also the industry is changing, everything get cheaper and cheaper, see the amount of softwares and utilities we have today compared even to 10 years ago. Year by year stuff get cheaper and there are standards, once you have a standard is simple to have different solution for the same problem. 
    Also for commercial application there is a problem called marketing, thats bad. Opensource focus only on the code thats good.

    anyway I'm positive about the future of blender in the industry, I already used it a lot in a lot of productions in combo with other softwares such as maya and 3dsmax and I will continue to do that because I feel confortable.
  • Panupat
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    Panupat polycounter lvl 12
    MmAaXx said:
    So even more, with Blender you have the entire source code + python, should be really easy for a big company to expand it on their needs.
    1 huge problem -  Blender likes to revamp things when they release new versions. Keeping the tools up to date will become an enormous task for your pipeline/TD department.

    Besides, you will only benefit from source code if you have dedicated programmers. Not a luxury most small studios have. Scripting API on the other hand can get pretty deep while being easy enough for artists to pick up and make something useful out of it.
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 5
    So, you don't update Blender right before a deadline, just like big studios do with Maya anyway. Scripts can break in Maya and Max from release to release as well, although the frequency of breakage seems to be somewhat less.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    But what's the payoff, Jed?  Switching to Blender gets them ... what, exactly, over Maya?  I'm not trying to be combative but if the answer isn't anything more substantive than, "It's cool", then ... yeah.
  • Snowfly
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    Snowfly polycounter lvl 14
    Switching to Blender saves studios the licensing costs, and gains them access to a much smaller talent pool apparently.
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    They would also save money for the cost of expensive plugins for VFX work.
  • Odow
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    Odow polycounter lvl 5
    Blond said:
    Somehow, one day, a big studio will start using Blender. If they manage to ship successful products with it, others will follow. It's just a matter of time now (and updates haha) :)
    That will never happen, huge huge lost of money. You throw to garbage all the license you have, you need to redo you ENTIRE pool of tool. you need to make a new pipeline and train your people to use it. It's not only about modeling, it's about rigger, animation, uv tool, rendering, baking etc. Everything you build, is going to scrap. No company is going to do that.

    Free software usually mean less support too, If we have a problem with an autodesk software, it takes 15mins to call someone and have personalize assist from them, because we pay, because we're customer we're ENTITLE to support, someone who bought 300licences as a better service than someone who have a student license. Free product mean = no assurance, they could stop any development in a blink, they could make a broken update, they could bankrupt and suddenly ask for 3k per license, etc it's a huge risk to take for a huge studio. When you have a well oiled ferrari and the money to kept it that way, why would you suddenly change for a civic honda but still use it as a ferrari? The cost of a license is nothing to a medium-big studio. It's well invested money for them.


  • pior
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    pior insane polycounter
    Odow : true !

    But regardless, this pipeline inertia shouldn't prevent any 3D artist with a focus on modeling from giving the app a try. After all, a program like Zbrush sits completely outside of game pipelines, yet is pretty much universally accepted as a powerful tool to produce high res meshes later converted to game assets. The same logic can be applied to any modeling tool, free or not.
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 5
    Warren: There are still a few features that Blender needs to have to work well in big film pipelines. Stuff like supporting UDIMs, Alembic, and OpenVDB. There's no Arnold plugin too (although there are plugins for Vray and Renderman, which I imagine should both support multi-tile textures but I don't know for sure.) So I don't think that it would be a worthwhile switch right now, but I also don't think that that's due to a lack of extensibility.

    Blender has better modeling (both polymodeling and sculpt/boolean) and UV tools IMO but that's not really enough to justify switching the whole studio over. And it's pretty straightforward to just layout UVs or just do the model in Blender and import it back to Maya. Once the threaded dependency graph becomes stable in master it might be possible to get higher performance out of Blender rigs than you might get out of Maya rigs which would be a win for animators.

    Ultimately the reason a studio would want to adopt Blender is that it's open source and, therefore, any of it can be changed to fit the needs of the studio or of particular artists, including some core areas of the program that can't be changed in Maya. The big studios are gravitating towards open-source libraries because it saves money and gives higher software quality in the long run. Stuff like OpenColorIO, OpenImageIO, Alembic, OpenVDB is a huge win for standardizing the pipeline between any two programs. (Of course, all of these have Maya integration because it's what everyone is using.) At some point people are going to realize that there's a benefit to having the main program be open-source as well and not having to deal with some of the legacy cruft and baffling architectural decisions that Maya can never get rid of because plugins depend on it, all the while benefiting from fixes made by the community and by other studios, but of course it's going to take a while to effect such a change for reasons cited earlier in this thread. It's a very long-run sort of payoff and you'd have to be delusional to think that anything like Blender becoming the new industry standard would happen with any sort of speed, but Blender is getting more and more support from Pixar especially so I think it's only a matter of time before we start to see some more new, small VFX and animation studios popping up here and there that use Blender as their main package.

    The savings from licensing costs are negligible compared to the better quality that happens when everyone's on an open platform. Linux is the poster child for high-quality software resulting from an open platform. It has commercial backing and source code contributions from many corporations as well as many individuals and runs most Web servers, supercomputers, and smartphones, as well as a good smattering of VFX workstations, embedded systems, and so on. It's one of the most scalable, customizable operating systems out there and it could never have been as successful as it is as a proprietary UNIX.

    Odow: Not all of the bad stuff you listed is possible with a successful free and open-source software like Blender. It's possible with proprietary freeware but that's a whole different animal. Of course there isn't any official support, but the chances of development stopping entirely because Blender Foundation goes bankrupt are miniscule. Even if BF went and said, "You know that whole Blender thing? Well, we've decided that we're just going to be a super cereal VFX studio now and switch all of our artists and productions to Maya now because it supports our pipeline better and, by the way, we won't be developing Blender anymore. We're taking down our git servers, taking down blender.org, and ceasing all hosting of the Blender source code. Ta-ta, and good luck in your future endeavours." What would happen if such a random apocalyptic event were to take place is that some people who had Blender's git tree on their hard drives would re-host that source code on Github and Blender development would continue there, done by some of the people who were working on Blender before, as well as some newcomers who heard that the Blender Foundation had to shut down and who wondered what they could do to help.

    The GPL doesn't directly prevent the Blender Foundation from charging $3k for Blender, but it does specify that source code must be made available upon request, so people could just as easily take the source code, build it for all the operating systems, and charge just $200 for Blender binaries. That's why Blender is never going to cost anything to download, because there would be a race to the bottom where ultimately it would be free to download and use anyway. Since Blender doesn't have a contributor license agreement, the people who write the code retain the copyright for it and license it under the GPL, so if the Blender Foundation decided all of a sudden that they wanted to change to a proprietary license or another open-source license, they would have to get written consent from everyone who ever contributed a fix to the program to do so. It would be a gargantuan task with a teeny-tiny chance of success and almost no benefit to anybody, and it would also violate the terms of the initial crowdfund way back in the early days to release Blender under the GPL. It's never going to happen.

    Also, please go read up on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs if you have the time. There would definitely be a cost to adopting Blender and making everything work, but at some point it might become lower than the cost of keeping Maya around and that's the point at which studios would want to adopt Blender. The money that was already spent on developing those Maya plugins doesn't really matter in the long run, it's comparing the cost of maintaining them, developing new ones, and having your artists continue to use Maya to remaking/porting the ones that are really needed to Blender or acquiring additional software that does what your Maya plugins did that and retraining your artists for Blender and having them use Blender that should influence the decision to migrate. Of course we aren't there yet and I'm not implying that we will be any time soon, but the gap is smaller than you might think especially once you're over the initial hump and have all of the tools you need put together. The money that was spent developing Maya plugins is technically lost either way, whether your main app can use those plugins or not. Sure, it feels bad to just throw money away and we shouldn't discount that, but let's be as rational as possible here.

    There are instances here and there of free software projects selling official support like Red Hat but there would have to be wider adoption and commercial use for that to be a practical, profitable choice for the Blender Foundation to make. Krita tried to do something like that but it didn't work out.

    Sorry for long post, felt like I had some things that needed to be said.
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Development always happens faster when you can pay a team of engineers to devote their full attention to product.  The grants that the Blender Foundation receives are NOT steady income, so Autodesk or The Foundry can still pay their engineers more, which attracts more talented staff.  Also, companies that feel pressure to compete commercially are likely to be more aggressive with meeting their customers' needs, because otherwise someone else will.  Blender is still developed with an "it's done whenever it's done" attitude.  For a studio, depending on Blender is like saying, "I hope they get more money and then I hope they put it toward what we want and I hope it gets done in a reasonable amount of time." whereas depending on a for-profit company is like saying, "Get it done or we're taking our business elsewhere."

    I'm a huge advocate for using Blender as a glue program, but it only seems to do the baseline very very well.  Once you start using it for advanced tasks, e.g. rigging and exporting to an engine, it begins falling apart.
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    The Blender foundation is founded by the Europen Community + the donation system that involve Valve and Epic Games (just to say a couple)  it has at the moment 5 full-time developers. Even with this small team Blender is the faster growing software in the industry.

    Open-source is not a problem, mozilla is open-source, linux is too, a lot of servers and the render farm run it, because it is better and because it is free.
    I think that the AD support is not good tho, if it really is, why 3DSMax UV editor is still a piece of crap? ehehe
    Actually they support you only if you have problems with installation and license, problem that you have only with licensed softwares.
    If you find bugs or errors they simple tell you to make a bug report and hope that someone over there knows where to put the fingers maybe in a couple of bug fix.
    that's why no single production in the world never gonna use the latest version of Maya, and sometimes they skip years before upgrade.
    (oh and if you have viewport problems their first answer is to upgrade your GPU to a professional one or to a newer one...)

    Like all the others softwares including Maya, I agree that Blender has some problems , as no solid UDIM support and not very good referencing system (but better than 3DSmax one imo) and no decent muscle system. yes it sucks. 

    Anyway while big studios are shrinking, artists sperimentig different solutions, thats why we have Blender and Modo for example, and thats why autodesk released Maya LT... 

    I think that for the same reason you can find MODO in a lot of studios around the world you can find Blender too, probably to became the big guy of the production (that actually means NOTHING) its gonna take a while.



  • .nL
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    .nL polycounter lvl 3
    Blender's my favorite modelling app. I tossed Maya and Mudbox for it. But its API isn't stable enough to really build on, I don't think.

    Past that, everyone's already invested in a set of software, and if it works for them, fundamentally changing the stuff you're using may just be more expensive than upgrading every few years. Besides, Blender's a niche skillset. Finding good job candidates that already know it is difficult when most people were raised on Maya.
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    MmAaXx said:
    The Blender foundation is founded by the Europen Community + the donation system that involve Valve and Epic Games (just to say a couple)  it has at the moment 5 full-time developers. Even with this small team Blender is the faster growing software in the industry.
    That's awesome! (Seriously) But it's also minuscule. I still argue that they're the fastest growing, because they're catching up, not forging ahead.
    Open-source is not a problem, mozilla is open-source, linux is too, a lot of servers and the render farm run it, because it is better and because it is free.
    I think that the AD support is not good tho, if it really is, why 3DSMax UV editor is still a piece of crap?
    Apples to oranges. There's a LOT more going on under the hood of a full stack 3D package than a web browser. People use Firefox because it adheres to web standards more than IE, so the internet appears to just "work better". Google Chrome (not to be confused with Chromium) is still by far the most popular and is not open source. Linux is great for boxes that do very few things, e.g. a single server in a larger architecture. It's horrible as a general use option because it's not widely supported. That's why your office computer likely runs Windows or OS X instead.
    If you find bugs or errors they simple tell you to make a bug report and hope that someone over there knows where to put the fingers maybe in a couple of bug fix.
    that's why no single production in the world never gonna use the latest version of Maya, and sometimes they skip years before upgrade.
    The ticketing system is common in software development because it allows teams to easily prioritize and track various tasks. (The Blender Foundation uses it too) Bugs happen though, and studios aren't oblivious to that. Blender was notoriously crashy for most of its lifetime.
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    ehehe, sure I can kind agree with most of your points, but as an artist that use Blender every-single-day in production I still keep my opinion ;)
    just one thing, Blender crashy? NO WAY! come on, Blender is solid rock from 2.4x series. ;) trust me on this.


  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    Well there's no such thing as a crash and bug free software.  :)

    To address some other points...
    As the thread asked about the larger VFX studios, when it comes to support these guys have a different level to those on the standard Autodesk subscription. As mentioned earlier, they can have dedicated resource and support, custom builds and fixes. Also, on top of all this, software vendors will undertake very specific work to help with productions. Many features that end up in the main products have come from bespoke work undertaken for a production. Autodesk do alot of this, but they don't really shout about it, probably due to NDA's.

    Other vendors do this as well. MARI was mentioned earlier, well that was co-developed with The Foundry. That was cited together with Presto and Renderman as examples of studios developing software, which is a fair point. However you have to factor in the reasons for this in the first place. Those technologies were developed because there wasn't anything around that met the requirements at the time. Weta wrote their own crowd system (eventually became Massive), as did MPC, because there wasn't really anything commercially available.
    Ideally studios don't want to do too much of this, but they have a job that needs doing, and that's where the business economics come in. Its well documented on the challenges of the VFX business, so controlling your costs is important, even crtitical. Whilst many do develop their own tools and software, pouring money into running and supporting a full 3D application when they could otherwise buy commercially isn't perhaps a smart use of funds. Sure they can save money by not paying in the first place, but that will get swallowed up very quickly on other things.
    There's been some very good studios go out of business, and I'm not sure running more open source software would of saved them.

    Studios are now really thinking hard about how and where they spend their money, especially when it comes to tools and technology. For years MPC have had their own coding libraries which has underpinned their own tech. They could continue this, but now they're doing more with Fabric Engine. (there's some good videos on this that are worth checking out).

    When it comes to versions, many comment that no one runs the latest version and everyone's on an older version. This happens alot, but more recently, certainly in the last couple of years, studios are realising the heavy burden and cost there is to running and supporting a version that is several years out of date. After a period of time it essentially becomes no longer becomes cost-effective. So many are alot more up to date. Perhaps not to the very latest version, but probably not more than a year. Many will be on multiple productions on different schedules, so they couldn't really update all at the same time anyway. They might tag team it though in that some will finish and move up while others remain.

    I'm not against Blender, I admire what they've been able to do, and how the group keep going. I think it's important they're still around and offer a choice to the user. They probably do enough to keep the main commercial vendors honest and on their toes. But I agree with the previous comment, that they're somewhat catching up and not getting ahead. And this is my main criticisim really, they're not really innovating. And in these industries and market, you need to be doing and offering something that is different to other people.
  • Lamoot
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    Lamoot polycounter lvl 7
    Bellsey said:
    I'm not against Blender, I admire what they've been able to do, and how the group keep going. I think it's important they're still around and offer a choice to the user. They probably do enough to keep the main commercial vendors honest and on their toes. But I agree with the previous comment, that they're somewhat catching up and not getting ahead. And this is my main criticisim really, they're not really innovating. And in these industries and market, you need to be doing and offering something that is different to other people.
    To be fair, it's a mix of both. With some things Blender is catching up, with others it is/was ahead of the industry. Since people can find areas that are lacking on their own :smile: here are some things in which Blender is keeping the pace or is/was ahead:

        *First in the industry with LSCM unwrapping (since 2004)
        *Non-overlapping UI paradigm
        *Grease pencil tools that can be animated https://vimeo.com/113610809
        *Sculpting with dynamic mesh topology http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Ref/Release_Notes/2.66/Dynamic_Topology_Sculpting
        *OpenSubDiv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzIl_S-qHIQ

    And more... but I hope it gets the point across :smile:. I'm not arguing Blender doesn't lack or that it's not behind in some departments. However I can't agree that it's only catching-up, especially after seeing what industry standard software release notes look like nowadays.
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    This has turned into an interesting discussion :) While talking about animation, I find selection of joints really hard to move the gizmos in Blender, current version. It wont rotate sometimes.
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 5
    Use the transform hotkeys!! G, R, S, X, Y, and Z. Blender's manipulators are way too fiddly to be useful.
  • Aasmund1986
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    Aasmund1986 polycounter lvl 5
    Thanks for the tips. Im learning animation, so beeing able to work quickly is very useful.
  • 2bytes
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    2bytes polycounter lvl 2
    Just wanted to mention a large studio will pay 500k a year in Autodesk liscences a year and some even more.  
    Blender just doesnt have the portfolio of projects to prove it can be better.  Autodesk development is slow though. Its an elaphant that cannot change direction quickly, which is why Blender has room to grow and develop.
  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude polycounter
    Just going to add rigging and animation tools in maya are sweet as a nut
  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude polycounter
    Saying that I have not looked into blender for animation
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 5
    Claude if you have the time take a look at this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLzCSzfQe8A

    It's a Blender biped autorigger that was used for the Cosmos Laundromat hero rig. Everything is bones so it could probably mostly export to a game engine except for some corrective smoothing. Blender isn't quite as good at animation as Maya but I'd put it ahead of Max (although Max has auto rigs that are somewhat more straightforward to set up initially.)
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 6
    2bytes said:
    Just wanted to mention a large studio will pay 500k a year in Autodesk liscences a year and some even more.  
    Blender just doesnt have the portfolio of projects to prove it can be better.  Autodesk development is slow though. Its an elaphant that cannot change direction quickly, which is why Blender has room to grow and develop.
    quote this.
  • Deathstick
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    Deathstick polycounter lvl 6
    As others have said, software costs basically equals loose change when it comes to a medium-large studio when compared to employee costs and efficiency. And when it comes to animation, things really have to be animated in a set program or pipeline when compared to modeling which transfers relatively straightforward between programs. IE alot of animation tools and rigs that work in one application won't in another, although don't quote me on that 100%. I personally use Max for almost everything, although I'm using blender more than normal since my current company has a lot of plugins they built to run in blender. A lot of serious animators I know tend to work in Maya due to its toolset.

    You'll also always need some sort of composition tool like NUKE or aftereffects to throw all of the elements together, as well as a dedicated video editing program. Then there's also making sure you have camera tracking using some type of program or plugin to match the 3D scenes with the real-life footage and other elements like particle FX if they're rendered out as their own separate elements.

    Basically even if you somehow got everyone to just use blender, you're still going to be using alot of other software for tracking, color correction, compositing, editing, etc. And that's not even getting into whether or not you're using VRAY, MentalRay, SpeedTree, FumeFX, Houdini, Renderman, etc. as well as a computer server farm unless you're doing a really simple style or don't mind waiting years for a movie to render.

    One frame from the movie Avatar usually took several hours to render. http://www.geek.com/chips/the-computing-power-that-created-avatar-1031232/

    So yeah, paying a monthly or yearly subscription so an employee can run software that they know and is set up in their pipeline with all of their other tools is next to nothing in operating costs as a whole.

  • Snowfly
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    Snowfly polycounter lvl 14
    Let's not forget this exists. Modeling, animation, VFX, match moving, compositing/color correction all done in Blender:


    Really, the main obstacle to Blender becoming adopted for feature film use is the whole ecosystem built around major software.
  • Panupat
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    Panupat polycounter lvl 12
    They would also save money for the cost of expensive plugins for VFX work.
    I dont think that's really our concern. We're more worried about reliability. V-Ray for example when we report bugs that seriously affect our show, Chaos Group would fix it WITHIN A DAY and have nightly build ready for us. Thats what we need more so than saving the license cost.
  • Blond
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    Blond polycounter lvl 5
    I don't care what others say. Someday, a small indie studio will start using Blender as it's main pipeline tool. If that studio gets big enough, others will follow. It's that simple. Personally, I believe everyone out there is conscious of its power. They're just too comfortable with their own tools.

    Seeing how further it improves on every update, I believe it will be a major software and a big rival to Autodesk software in some years!

    The CG industry is ever changing, the pipeline, the tools, the methodology of doing things. We're always looking for ways and shortcut to make things better, faster and of course cheaper...

    I used to spit on Blender before, but then I started to use it and realized how powerful it was...it does everything you would want it to do and if not, just add a couple of addons (already included in the software) and it's as good as Maya..

    Every day, new tools are popping out. Blender foundation is releasing new ground breaking demos and reels year after year...

    I can't see the future but I can sense it...

    Edit: I've read some really sweet stuff upcoming for 2.8..if the promises get held, it will have a nice impact out there.

    One day, they'll start implementing a serious PBR viewport renderer and that'll attract a good deal of people (if PBR still stays a standard)
  • Bellsey
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    Bellsey polycounter lvl 5
    I'm sure there are studios out there that are already using Blender, but we're talking about the larger studios here, and in my experience behaviour and trends tend to filter down, not up.

    A point to remember here is that Blender isn't/hasn't been the only alternative. Softimage (nee XSI) was more than a credible alternative, he had history, experience and was production proven right up at the highest VFX level, in fact it still does. It has features that are still better than some aspects of Maya/Max, and also surpasses Blender and that's even before you include ICE. It was best placed to replace Maya and Max as a core 3D package, but even taking the Autodesk acquisition into account, usage didn't increase and now its been retired.
    So if something like Softimage couldn't overturn the big studios, I'm not sure how i can see Blender being able to, imo.

    I'm sure Blender is moving forwards with features, but don't forget so is Autodesk and it would be foolish to underestimate them. They get a hard time but there are some smart people in their product teams. They might appear slow, but some stuff does take time to get working. The big studios aren't in the dark either, they're kept up to speed on alot.

    And lets not forget The Foundry and SideFX either. Houdini is a very good package and has significant advantages over anything on the market right now. Modo is a solid product, but still some way before it can match Maya in terms of a platform.
  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 5
    Modo doesn't have the greatest viewport performance when using multiple layers and it limits the app for certain tasks. Just try in Modo to use the Instance Radial Array in the "Duplicate" tab or Instance Clone with Instance unchecked and you'll see what I mean. The tool create objects on new layers, so with 4 new layers my performance drops to 25 fps. With 20, it drops to 5 fps. With 50 it drops at 2 fps. If all those objects are on the same layer, Modo runs at 230 fps.
  • Odow
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    Odow polycounter lvl 5
    Blond said:
    I don't care what others say. Someday, a small indie studio will start using Blender as it's main pipeline tool. If that studio gets big enough, others will follow. It's that simple. Personally, I believe everyone out there is conscious of its power. They're just too comfortable with their own tools.

    That won't happen, it will stay a small indie free tool and prosper that way. Would be a really bad marketing move to try to go against AD. Also do you know what autodesk does to rival ? They buy them and kill it.  You said it yourself " comfortable with our tool" why the hell on earth will we go to the bother of switching for something we're not comfortable. This is the exact same shit that happen to blackberry, they try to take on the apple market when they were a niche high end high security work phone thing. No one freaking switch to blackberry, THERE'S NO APP STORE. Well there is but it's crappy and nothing run on those phone. I have a blackberry i like my BB but i don't cry because the entire planet is not using blackberry, I leave them use their iphone and it's normal. It's the same thing, you like blender ? Fine, but don't go expecting everyone to used it or for it to have the marketing power of AD neither you should think that your employer is going to be " oh my gawd u r so rigggggggght let's throw everything we can afford to force everyone to change because the studio next door did that and ship a game :D "
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