Open-source 3D software toolkit Blender has received another shot in the arm this month with the news that Ubisoft Animation Studio (UAS), a division of Ubisoft's TV and film arm, has thrown its lot in with the Blender Development Fund.

First released by developer Ton Roosendaal in 1998 and supported since 2002 by the not-for-profit Blender Foundation, the open-source Blender toolkit has become one of the most popular 3D modelling and animation platforms around - thanks in no small part to the release of regular open project showcases highlighting what can be achieved. Earlier this month the Foundation received a nearly £1 million over the next three years as part of its relaunched MegaGrants programme.

Ubisoft is now getting in on the act, joining the Blender Development Fund as a gold-level corporate member - meaning it is providing a minimum of £27,000 a year for as long as it remains a member.

'Part of boosting creativity is implementing technological solutions to support the creators. We decided to transform a workflow centred on in-house software to a more agile development environment supported by open source and inner source solutions,' explains Ubisoft Animation Studio head of production Pierrot Jacquet in an official interview. 'This way, our research and development and pipeline teams could focus their energy on bringing innovative ideas to the table, while working closely with the creatives.

'In that new workflow, Blender is replacing our in-house digital content creation tool. We will use it to produce short content with the incubator at first and start to use it on our upcoming shows in 2020. Blender was, for us, an obvious choice considering our big move: it is supported by a strong and engaged community, and is paired up with the vision carried by the Blender Foundation, making it one of the most rapidly evolving DCCs on the market. On top of that, this is an open source project. It allows us to contribute to its development both by joining as a Corporate Member, and by sharing with the community some of the tools our dedicated Blender team will be developing. We love the idea that this mutual exchange between the foundation, the community, and our studio will benefit everyone in the end.'

The Blender Development Fund raises around £63,000 a month from corporate and individual members. In addition to Epic and Ubisoft, corporate members include animation studio Tangent, Valve, Intel, Google, and Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution.


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