In the past 6 months, I’ve only had time for a handful of tiny commits to the Blender code. As much as I love coding and work on Blender itself, I’m also quite useful for other tasks – especially to help the Blender project to grow, become more professional and to get more developers on board.

Blender has grown as a community and volunteering project very well in the past decade, but the current user demands and our ambitions also require that we need more full-time developers on board. The past Open Movies have helped with that, and last year the Development Fund and gifts from sponsors allowed us to hire more people as well.

To consolidate this development and Blender’s future, I’ve been mostly working on preparing for a huge project – making a feature film with a dozen of Blender studios and setting up a lot of big development projects to support this goal. That’s nicked “Project Gooseberry”.

A first big milestone achievement is the approval by the EU Media Fund to support us in their program for “Open Production Environments”. This is a two year project, approved for funding in 2014 and – if we do well – for another year in 2015. This subsidy – about 220k euro per year – is going to be spent mostly on supporting Blender development and general open source work on enabling small teams to collaborate online on 3D animation projects.

To mention some topics we will work on:

  • Content and Asset Management, local as well as online.
  • Project Management tools – to allow anyone to setup a large ‘virtual company’ for temporarily collaborative projects
  • Investigate and deploy Open Source Cloud technology
  • Collaboration of Blender and popular open source tools (GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Ardour, etc) within studio environments
  • Efficient and high quality physics simulation systems (particles, hair, cloth, fur, massive animation)
  • Sharing of internal CPU and GPU computing/rendering resources
  • Full statistics on usability and daily workflow for the entire project. (High demand by scientists).
  • And: lots of general development on improving our open source creation tools.

And that’s not all – it’s just the beginning! A lot of preparations were done on getting Gooseberry setup with many people already. An announcement of the teams (artists and developers) and much more is scheduled to happen early January 2014.

Check the teaser Gooseberry website here.

What I can tell already is that the Blender Institute developer/support team will be expanded – in 2014 that includes:

- Antonis Riakiotakis (Greece, full time)
- Brecht van Lommel (Belgium, full time)
- Campbell Barton (Australia, full time)
- Francesco Siddi (Italy, full time)
- Lukas Toenne (Germany, full time)
- Sergej Reich (Germany, part time)
- Sergey Sharybin (Russia, part time)

Via the Development Fund we will keep supporting people as well, listed are:

- Bastien Montagne (France, half time)
- Dalai Felinto (Brazil, half time)
- Jeroen Bakker, Monique Dewanchand (Netherlands, part time)
- Stuart Broadfoot (UK, part time)

And probably more!

Special attention will also go to ensuring that all current and new online projects for Blender can continue happily – for everyone. This project is not meant to be disruptive for releases or stability, but just a big leap forward :)

Let me end wishing everyone happy holidays and an awesome new year!

Ton Roosendaal
December 22, 2013.