Today Blender Foundation releases the Blender Development Fund 2.0 – an updated donation system created to empower the community and to ensure the future growth of Blender.
Join the campaign and become a member on fund.blender.org.
The community as driving force behind Blender development
Since its beginning in 2002, Blender has been a public and community-driven project, where hundreds of people collaborate online with the shared goal of developing a great 3D creation suite, free for everyone.
Contributions to Blender range from new features, to bug fixing, donations, producing documentation and tutorials. The Blender user community always has been a strong force in driving Blender development.
With the start of Blender Institute and the Open Movie Projects, Blender became more professional and suitable for CG production. This content-driven development model has helped bringing Blender where it is now, embraced by the professionals, studios and big players in the CG industry.
With so many people and companies depending on Blender, its future can’t be left to chance. That’s why the Blender Foundation keeps playing in important role – to be a neutral and independent force to manage the blender.org infrastructure and to facilitate the active contributors for the long term.
Goal: support Core Blender Development
The Blender Development Fund was established in 2011, with the following goals:
- Support developers with grants to work on projects with well defined objectives
- Support work on the core blender.org infrastructure and support activities such as patch reviews, triaging and bug fixing
- Enable the best talents from the developers community to work full-time on generally agreed projects.
Core development means to ensure high quality support for essential features: which can range from sculpting, texture painting, UV editing, rendering speedup, character rigging tools, boolean operations, modifiers, add-on management, logic editing, video editing, compositor nodes, support for file formats, outliner, physics baking, etc etc.
Blender 2.8 Code Quest: a success story
This year’s Code Quest campaign has successfully pushed Blender 2.8 to where it is now. The beta is being wrapped up now and close to a release.
Having developers work full-time on Blender, preferably under the same roof, is vital for a project as big as Blender. As a result several bigger decisions could be made for 2.8 – for example a much better design for the tools system. Everyone loved the near-daily reports and videos we made – it was vibrant, energizing and reaching out to other developers and users in an unsurpassed way.
Unfortunately the Quest was just for 3 months. Most developers went home or to other tasks, and progress slowed down to a level we weren’t used to anymore. If only we could bring back everyone to work on Blender!
Development Fund 2.0
That’s where the Development Fund comes in. However, the Fund was hardly promoted, only supported PayPal and needed to be manually managed. Time for an upgrade, and time to implement a much wanted feature for many years – the badges system.
Currently the (old) Development Fund has 400 subscribers, bringing in 5500 euro per month fixed income. We will contact all of them to migrate their subscription to the new system. We also have bigger Development Fund contributors paying less regular or variable amounts. In total the development Fund brings in roughly 12k per month.
Allowing continuity is the primary goal of the Blender Development Fund. We have defined two funding milestones that will allow to achieve this goal.
- 25K Euro/month: the main campaign target. With this budget the fund can support 5 full-timers, including a position for smaller projects.
- 50K Euro/month: the stretch goal. While this might seem an ambitious goal, this was the monthly budget during the Code Quest. We supported 10 full-timers, including a position for docs/videos and a position for smaller projects.
The funding progress towards this goals can be monitored in real time on fund.blender.org.
All Development Fund grants and supported projects have been published on blender.org since 2011. To improve transparency and involvement we will also:
- post a half-year report on past results and a roadmap proposal for projects to be supported in the coming half year. The reports will be shared on the code.blender.org blog (and mailing lists or the devtalk forum), open for everyone to discuss give feedback on.
- spend a small but relevant percentage (5-8%) of the budget on making development projects visible and accessible in general. That means improving communication (sending as well as receiving!), better technical documentation, and attention for onboarding of new developers.
- aim for the widest possible possible consensus on roadmaps. We expect that with the badges, development fund members have a good way to make sure they’re being heard.
Final decisions on assigning developer grants will be made by the Blender Foundation, verified and confirmed by blender.org development project administrators – the five top contributors to Blender.
A voting or polling mechanism is not in the planning – although it’s open for discussion and review, especially when roadmaps don’t get wide endorsements.
How to contribute
Individual membership and Community Badges
We offer a Development Fund membership based on a small recurring donation, starting at 5 Euro per month. As reward members can get “badges” (tokens that show their support on prominent Blender websites) and a name mention on the blender.org website.
Companies and organisations are also welcome to sign up for individual membership and have their company name and url mentioned.
This high rated membership level starts at 5k per year and is for organizations who want the option to monitor in more detail the projects that will get funded with their contributions. They will get personal attention from the Blender team for strategic discussions and feedback on the roadmap.
In addition to this, corporate members can get a prominent name and logo mention on blender.org and in official publications by Blender Foundation .
Amsterdam. October 16, 2018
Ton Roosendaal, Blender Foundation chairman