It’s been a big year for the Blender organization for several reasons. First, 2019 is the 25th anniversary of the Blender 3D software application, which Ton Roosendaal began developing in 1993. He had the first version of Blender running on January 2, 1994. Also this year, Ton and Blender were recognized for the ASIFA-Hollywood Ub Iwerks Award, the Blender Foundation has won a $1.2 million grant from Epic Foundation, and Ubisoft has joined Blender’s, Development Fund. As part of the Ubisoft agreement, the company will contribute funding to further develop Blender’s tools, but also Ubisoft Animation Studio will use Blender for their productions and assign developers to contribute to Blender’s open-source projects.
Blender has taken a unique path in the software market over the years. A supporter of Open Software, Roosendaal offered Blender 3D for free and fostered a community to further develop the software and create add-ons. Roosendaal founded the Blender Foundation in 2002 to oversee the development of Blender software and provides resources for content creation using Blender’s tools.
In addition to software development and education, content creation has become an important activity for the Blender community. Projects include games, educational content, and movies including the first open movie, Elephants Dream, which was released in 2006. The success of Elephant’s Dream led to the foundation of the Blender Institute, a permanent office, and studio to coordinate and facilitate Blender related projects.
Everything created by the Blender community as an Open Project is published under an open license meaning it’s free for everyone to redistribute, reuse, remix, or publish usually under the Creative Commons license.
Jon Peddie Research has followed the evolution of the Blender software portfolio, the creation of the Blender Foundation and Blender Institute, and most recently the Blender Animation Studio, which is working on its first feature, Agent 327: Operation Barbershop.
Over the years, we’ve gone from skeptical indulgence to open admiration as we’ve come to understand how someone, with a true commitment to cooperation, collaboration, and respect for the work of others, can build a thriving organization around free software and open project development.
We are proud to recognize Ton Roosendaal and the Blender community with our Technology Advancement Award for 2019.