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Blender not for professional use? Don’t be so sure…

I was poking around looking for some information on how to test out walking around in a game level I am designing and came across something kind of interesting.

The website Art of the Title has an interview up where the creative minds behind the Wonder Woman end titles discuss the titles and what went into creating them. In the interview Jason Doherty, the creative director for Greenhaus GFX, states:

Jason: Much of our 3D modeling begins in Blender and is often refined in Maya. Krakatoa is responsible for most of the smoke simulations and Houdini was used for many of the scenes involving water. We love using Maya for realism, the watch for example, but Cinema 4D was used just as much and was just as effective.

Maya is, clearly, still the industry standard for realism, but as you can see by the above comment there is a place in the major film industry for artists who understand how to use the Blender 3D suite. This is not a surprise to me, I have always known that Blender had more under the hood than most people give it credit for. Many look at the fact that Blender is an Open Source program and take a step back, as though the mere idea of something being Open Source might have some kind of infectious disease element to it.

I am not sure why that mindset exists, but in my experience it does. Which is a shame, since Blender began its life as a professional in-house toolset for what was, at that time, the top animation studio in the Netherlands.

Blender’s story began, as I said, in the Netherlands. In 1995 the animation studio NeoGeo, founded in 1988, realized that their in-house 3D toolset was no longer doing the things they needed a toolset to do. The decision was made to mothballed the toolset and build a new one for the company.

In 1998 Ton Roosendaal, co-founder of NeoGeo, founded a new company where he worked to develop NeoGeo’s toolset and market it under the name Blender. The company, Not A Number (NaN), was aimed at providing commercial products and services around the Blender toolset.

When the company sought investors in 2000 the goal was to create a free 3D creation tool for online use and a commercial version of the program. A poor financial climate and poor sales of the commercial product caused the investors to shut things down and discontinue development of Blender in 2002.

The program could have easily been lost and forgotten were it not for the hard work of Ton Roosendaal in the creation of the non-profit Blender Foundation in May 2002 and his efforts to free the program from investor control that would lead to the release of Blender to the world by the end of the year.

In the years since Ton Roosendaal has led creative minds all across the world in the further development of Blender to meet, or exceed, the needs of the artists who use the 3D suit. Perhaps with creative directors such as Mr. Doherty affirming the usefulness of Blender in the production of major cinematic films like Wonder Woman, the path will be opened and Blender will find more acceptance in the professional levels of the 3D industry from which it had been born.

If you know of any other major productions that made use of Blender I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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