The top 30 Blender developers 2016

Let’s salute and applaud the most active developers for Blender of the past year again! The ranking is based on commit total, for Blender itself and all its branches.  

Obviously a commit total doesn’t mean much. Nevertheless, it’s a nice way to put the people who make Blender in the spotlights.

The number ’30’ is also arbitrary. I just had to stop adding more! Names are listed in increasing commit count order.

Special thanks to Miika Hämäläinen for making the stats listing.

Ton Roosendaal, Blender Foundation chairman.

Joey Ferwerda (28)

openhmd-logoJoey (Netherlands) worked in 2016 on adding real-time VR viewing in Blender’s viewport. This works for Oculus, with Vive support coming soon.

He currently works on OpenHMD, an open source library to support all current Head Mounted Displays.

Luca Rood (30)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-18-49-08Luca (Brazil) is to my knowledge the youngest on this list. With his 19 years he’s impressing everyone with in-depth knowledge of simulation techniques and courage to dive into Blender’s ancient cloth code to fix it up.

Luca currently works with a Development Fund grant on improving cloth sim, to make it usable for high quality character animation.

Gaia Clary (32)

collada-banner-200x55Gaia (Germany) is the maintainer of COLLADA in Blender. Her never-ending energy to keep this working in Blender means we can keep it supported for 2.8 as well.

Martijn Berger (40)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-18-43-59Martijn (Netherlands) was active in 2016 as platform manager for Windows and MacOS. He helps making the releases, especially to comply to the security standards for downloading binaries on Windows and MacOS.

Antonio Vazquez (41)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-18-39-22Antonio (Spain) joined the team to work on Grease Pencil. Based on feedback and guidance of Daniel Lara (Pepeland), he helped turning this annotation tool in Blender into a full fledged 2d animation and animatic storyboarding tool.

Ray Molenkamp (46)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-18-37-18Ray (Canada) joined the team in 2016, volunteering to help out maintaining Blender for the Windows platform, supporting Microsoft’s development environment.

Alexander Gavrilov (58)

26-manual-modeling-meshes-weight-paint-face-selectAlexander (Russia) joined the development team in 2016. He starting contributing fixes for Weight Painting and later on his attention moved to Cloth and Physics simulation in general.

He is also active in the bug tracker, providing bug fixes on regular basis.

Sybren Stüvel (59)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-18-10-55Sybren (Netherlands) works for Blender Institute as Cloud developer (shot management, render manager, libraries, security) and as developer for Blender pipeline features – such as Blender file manipulations, UI previews and the Pose library.

João Araújo (65)

800px-improved_extrusion1João (Portugal) accepted a Google Summer of Code grant to work on Blender’s 3D Curve object. He added improved extrusion options and tools for Extend, Batch Extend, Trim, Offset, Chamfer and Fillet.

His project is almost ready and will be submitted for review early 2017.

Benoit Bolsee (65)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-53-50Benoit (Belgium) is a long term contributor to Blender’s Game Engine. In 2016 he worked on the “Decklink” branch, supporting one of the industry’s best video capture cards.

Pascal Schön (78)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-48-36Pascal (Germany) joined the Cycles team this year, contributing the implementation of the Disney BSDF/BSSRDF.

This new physically based shading model  is able to reproduce a wide range of materials with only a few parameters.

Nathan Vollmer (80)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-44-50Nathan (Germany) accepted a GSoC grant to work on vertex painting and weight painting in Blender.

With the new P-BVH vertex painting we now get much improved performance, especially when painting dense meshes.

Philipp Oeser (83)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-38-34Philipp (Germany) is active in Blender’s bug tracker, providing fixes for issues in many areas in Blender.

Contributors who work on Blender’s quality this way are super important and can’t be valued enough. Kudos!

Phil Gosch (131)

pack_1_comparisonPhil (Austria) accepted a GSoC grant to work on Blender’s UV Tools, especially the Pack Island tool. While a bit more computation heavy, the solutions found by the new algorithm give much better results than the old “Pack Islands” in terms of used UV space.

Tainwei Shen (142)

blender33Tianwei (China) accepted a GSoC grant to work on Multiview camera reconstruction. This allows film makers to retrieve more accurate camera position information from footage, when one area gets shot from different positions.

His work is ready and close to be added in Blender.

Thomas Dinges (144)

cycles_278_single_channel_texturesThomas (Germany) started in the UI team for the 2.5 project, but with the start of Cycles in 2011 he put all his time in helping making it even more awesome.

His main contribution this year was work on  Cycles texture system, increasing the maximum amount of textures that can be used on CUDA GPUs, and lowering memory usage in many cases.

Dalai Felinto (192)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-17-06-00Dalai (Brazil, lives in Netherlands) added Multiview and Stereo rendering to Blender in 2015. In 2016 he contributed to making VR rendering possible in Cycles.

Dalai currently works (with Clement “PBR branch” Foucault) for Blender Institute on the Viewport 2.8 project. Check the posts on to see what’s coming.

Martin Felke (199)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-16-57-06Martin (Germany) deserves our respect and admiration for maintaining one of the oldest and very popular Blender branches: the “Fracture Modifier” branch.

For technical and quality reasons his work was never deemed to fit for a release. But for Blender 2.8 internal design will get updated to finally get his work released. Stay tuned!

Mai Lavelle (202)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-16-51-58Mai (USA) surprised everyone by falling from the sky with a patch for Cycles to support micro-polygon rendering. The skepticism from the Cycles developers quickly changed. “This is actually really good code” said one of them, which is a huge compliment when coming from coders!

She is currently working for Blender Institute on the Cycles “Split Kernel” project, especially for OpenCL GPU rendering.

Brecht Van Lommel (210)

cycles_shader_ao-200x170Brecht (Belgium, lives in Spain) worked on Blender for a decade. His most memorable contribution was the Cycles render engine (2011). 

Aside of working on Cycles, Brecht is active in maintaining the MacOS version and Blender’s UI code.

Joshua Leung (264)

bbone-restpose_curves-inactionJoshua (New Zealand) is Blender’s animation system coder. He contributed many new features to Blender in the past decade (including Grease Pencil).

Joshua’s highlight for 2016 was adding the “Bendy Bones”. A project that was started by Jose Molina and Daniel Lara.

Lukas Stockner (277)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-16-34-38Lukas (Germany) is a new contributor to Cycles, since 2015. He accepted a Google Summer of Code grant to work on Cycles denoising.

Lukas’ specialism is implementing math. One of his last 2016 commits was titled “Replace T-SVD algorithm with new Jacobi Eigen-decomposition solver”. Right on!

Sebastián Barschkis (300)

300px-nb_flipSebastián (Germany) is a recurring GSoC student. He is currently working in his branch on “Manta Flow”, an improved fluid simulation library.

Mike Erwin (308)

imgresMike (USA) has been contracted this year by AMD to help modernizing Blenders’s OpenGL, and to make sure we’re Vulkan ready in the future.

He currently works on the Blender 2.8 branch. making Blender work with OpenGL 3.2 or later.

Lukas Toenne (413)

cv7t4cnxaauludsLukas (Germany) worked for Blender Institute on hair simulation in 2014-2015. In 2016 he went back experimenting with node systems for objects and particles and wrote a review and proposal for how to add this in Blender.

Most of his commits were in the object-nodes branch, a project which is currently on hold, until we find more people for it.

Kévin Dietrich (516)

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-15-59-04Kévin (France) has mainly been working on two topics in 2016. In a branch he still works on integration of OpenVDB – tools for storage of volumetric data such as smoke.

Released in 2.78 was his work on Alembic input/output. Alembic is essential for mixed application pipelines for film and animation.

Julian Eisel (760)

manipulator_spinJulian (Germany) not only finds usability and UI interesting topics, he also manages to untangle Blender’s code for it. He contributed to many areas already, such as pie-menus and node inserting.

His 2016 highlight is ongoing work on Custom Manipulators – which is a topic for 2.8 workflow project. Goal: bring back editing to the viewport!

Bastien Montagne (1008)

screenBastien (France) is working full-time for Blender Foundation for many years now. He became our #1 bug tracker reviewer in the past years.

His special interest is Asset management though. He’s now an expert in Blender’s file system and works on 2.8 Asset Browsing.

Sergey Sharybin (1143)

xmas3Sergey (Russia, living in Netherlands) is on his way to become the #1 Blender contributor. He is best known for work on Motion tracking, Cycles rendering, Open Subdiv and recently on the Blender dependency graph.

And: of course we shouldn’t forget all of his 100s of bug fixes and patch reviews. The Blender Institute is happy to have him on board.

Campbell Barton (1156)

290px-bmesh_boolean_example_03Campbell (Australia) surprised everyone in August with his announcement to step down from his duties at He is taking a well deserved break to renew his energy, and to work on other (own) projects.

He’s still Blender’s #1 committer of 2016 though. Even after his retirement he kept providing code, over 50 commits now. One of this year highlights was adding a high quality boolean modifier in Blender.