Blender 2.8 project status

The main topic of my Blender Conference 2016 keynote was the Blender 2.8 project; where are are and what to expect from it in the coming year. The biggest news is that we are really going to start working on it, with more developers than ever – especially thanks to the support we get from the industry.

The main sponsors currently are (in parentheses amount of full timers):

  • Blender Foundation (2+)
    Thanks to donations and Development Fund we can keep supporting developers to handle daily tasks – especially for bug tracker reports and patch reviews. For the coming period we can keep supporting two (near) full time positions on this job. Aim is to involve the active volunteers first, with them discussions are ongoing or will start soon.
  • Blender Institute, Netherlands (3+)
    Thanks to Blender Cloud, subsidies and some sponsoring the Blender Institute can hire a team of 12 people already; which includes myself (general coordination), Francesco Siddi (pipeline and web development),  Sergey Sharybin (dependency graph, Cycles), Sybren Stuvel (web tech, pipeline), Pablo Vazquez (web design, UI team).
  • Nimble Collective, USA (1)
    This Mountain View startup is investing a lot in Blender, via own channels and by supporting a half year developer seat in Blender Institute.
  • Tangent Animation, Canada (2+)
    This Toronto+Winnipeg based animation studio recently completed their first 100% Blender made feature film – Run Ozzy Run. They currently work on their second feature, a scifi story with robots. Tangent hired own developers to work on Blender and Cycles, and supports 1 year of two full time developers in Blender Institute to work on Blender Viewport.
  • AMD, USA (2+)
    AMD already hired Mike Erwin to work on upgrading Blender’s OpenGL, they recently hired a small team to add ProRender (open source OpenCL optimized engine) in Blender, and now support one Blender Institute developer to work on Cycles for OpenCL GPUs for 1 year.
  • Aleph Objects, USA (2+)
    The makers of the popular LulzBot 3D printer accepted a proposal from Blender Institute to fund the “Blender 101” project – which is a release-compatible version of Blender configured for kids (education) or for occasional users. This is closely related to the goal of the Blender 2.8 “Workflow” project anyway – we want users to more efficiently make (or use, or share) optimally configured Blenders for their own workflows. This would support at least two full time developers on “101” and “Workflow” for a year.

The result is we can roughly assign 10 full time developers on Blender 2.8 in the coming period!

What it means is the following:

  • At leat three full timers will work on the Viewport, including PBR, new shader editing, layers, compositing, etc. Which means we totally get something in the course of 2017!
  • Workflow and usability will get a good amount of attention. We still have to be realistic with the goals but we for sure can make another big step forward to finish 2.5 goals and make sure we’re ready for future development.
  • Work on Dependency graph (animation system, duplication, overrides) and asset management will move on as well, including Alembic caching. We might start a flirt with USD?
  • And of course we keep our flagship render engine Cycles up to date for all platforms!
  • Blender 2.8x (and branch) will be tested in highly demanding production environments.

What stays open for now:

  • The “everything nodes” concept will have to wait a while. It’s not something for 1 person (or part timer) to do in a short time, especially not now we’re doing so many other projects already. This project also depends on successful completion of “depsgraph”, which will take many months – if not half a year.
  • Better news: the Blender Game Engine project might be getting a revival. The UPBGE team is very motivated to keep Blender engine work, and help with aligning BGE with the goals we set for 2.8 – at least to use the new viewport and pbr shader system. A new logic system is still undefined.
  • Workflow issues for non-open pipelines: we will try to cover some of the topics (UDIM support), but most pipeline-specific issues to integrate Blender well in production pipelines with other (closed) CG programs is still something we’d need active help for – preferably code contributions by the companies who need such features themselves.

Next weekend (25-26-27 November) there’s a 12-person “2.8 Workflow” workshop in Blender Institute with active coders and contributors to Blender. Participants are Jonathan Williamson, Pablo Vazquez, Julian Eisel, Paweł Łyczkowski, Daniel Lara Martinez, Sebastian Koenig, Bastien Montagne. Brecht van Lommel, Mike Pan, Sergey Sharybin, Dalai Felinto and myself. I expect we then can align a lot of ideas and requirements and agree on design decisions that will help everyone to move on for several years! Expect elaborate reports from this team here and on the usual bf- mailinglists!

  1. Thank you very much guys. I’m starting to use 2.8 on Windows 10, and I must say is very impresive.

    Here is what I would really like to have:
    – the viewport is very very very very slow -> 0.1 frames/second when you play, navigating is a nightmare
    – ctrl + 1 does not add the subsurf anymore, I guess is something I can configure, but why did you change it?
    – When I render Blender crashes after 1-2000 renders.

    For the others, never open and save blend file in Blender 2.8 if you don’t have a copy.

    Thank you again for hard work. Blender starts to become better and better!

    For web development if you need help let me know!

  2. So Happy to read this!
    Especially the BGE part, which in my opinion, would be very useful for Walkthroughs if there was a default VR Implementation with the Eevee Engine.

    Thanks for the good news.

  3. Hi! How is the composition of the layers in the program now implemented?

  4. Why are they not worrying about the inport and export properly working

  5. I just remembered I was wondering if Devs of the Game Engine will work with Kivy Developers, I here Kivy = Unity, but having trouble with Mobile…though Blender games might be able to get onto Console

  6. I have a design for the game engine logic system,

    use something like PGI nodes, but calling native compiled code,
    also add node containers, that can have user defined input and output as well as a different folder states, (state input and state output)

    of course add a new python api, that is with better licence and python nodes,

  7. Wow, I was wondering if you guess I added Drag & Drop from File Browser to 3D View or Outliner, Updated FBX to use 2014+, Select by Backculling (To flip all Normals 1 Way), Fix how some Operators work and have Batch Export & Import, but snap I didn’t know Blender was so big…I feel terrible I don’t donate.

    I also like the fact that you use OpenGL, Python and have a Game Engine.

  8. Is it possible to add chromakey, sharpness, gif, flv, swf to Video Editor VSE?

  9. Nice to read about this news. when it’s gonna be released ? can’t wait to be able to work with it

  10. Awesome! I donate from time to time as I like Blender and want to see it develop further and succeed. Every little bit helps. What I really like to see in Blender 2.8 is 1. colored wireframes (per object or per collection/layer)2. better snapping (add midpoint snap, allow multiple snaps etc.) and 3. axis constraints on the manipulators like here:

    I’m a Max user but if Blender keeps the path it’s going on, I might soon switch to Blender for the majority of my work. My 3 wishes above will speed this process considerably I think not only for me but to many other Max users too.

    Keep up the great work! :)

  11. Dear Developers,
    Thanks for your previous work .
    I would like a faster Viewport. The Viewport for complexly objects in edit mode are to slow now.

  12. for blender I would like to see instead of Boolean “negative objects”. just like in unreal engine, use normal objects but with the option and a short-key to invert them to act like holes for normal non-inverted meshes.

  13. Hello, I’m from Brazil and I’m new to blender, but my producer was of the opinion that I’m using blender, what is the forecast for blender 2.8

  14. I don’t know where to send a suggestion/feature request so I’ll just pop it here and hope someone will forward it on. I’ve invested a lot of my own money on Mocha (the planar tracker) only to find that now my Mac has died and I’ve moved to GNU+Linux I’m in the wind.

    While I’m not sufficiently adept as a dev, it appears to me that the basics of planar tracking share a lot in common with normal tracking points but rather than looking for a small group of pixels in a search area, you’re looking at how a large group of pixels move around in 2D space (rotation, scale and such).

    We had a plane track added some three years back but it’s hopeless in many cases where you can’t get a high-contrast point to track. It’s also severely affected (as is the main tracker) by motion blur. Perfectly understandable of course!

    Planar tracking just seems to fuzzy match an area – often quite a large one to see how it bends and shifts. I suspect this means that you can apply a fast-gaussian to the search area and use that to determine how it moves. Edge detection might also work too but I’m speculating since this isn’t really my area of expertise.

    The point is that this system is amazingly easy to use on footage that wasn’t shot with point tracking in mind but still requires traveling mattes or area replacement.

    I can’t thank you all enough though – Blender has been an absolute godsend. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

  15. In the name Of jesus please attend the UDIM case UDIM will solve a lot of problems and make the pipeline more easy to handle in texturing sculpting rendering and processing areas

  16. I think more effort should be committed to improving caustics for the Cycles rendering.

  17. Workshop weekend was a great success! Three days of designs and reviews and passionate discussions has lead to a much better understanding of the work we have ahead. Reports are being worked on and will be posted on the code blog soon. Stay tuned, might take a handful of days.

  18. As for the game engine, why not integrate the “new logic system” with the “everything nodes” project?

    something along the lines of:

    something like the nodification of modifiers and constraints with some logic nodes

  19. I agree with SP, blender VSE is a strong feture, plese develop it further, gpu support would be nice :] Blender developers, you are the greatest thank you for your hard work.

  20. Thanks for the update and the amazing work You’re all doing!

  21. That is amazing new!

    I’m really happy for the entire team and blender community.
    Quick and hold questions that arrises again, what about the VSE?
    I would love to see improvement on the video editor side as well.
    And it is not a secret that most of us needs it.
    As long as it does not disappear, I would still be happy.

    Again, congratulations to the entire team!

    And as usual, a BIG thank you to you Ton for being in our lives :)

    Kind regards, SP.

    • nice feature list – thanks @ blender dev-team
      if somehow possible please add some VSE RAW support (DNG/r3d)… tried it myself; some workarounds available – dng2.psd file-renaming; but this way it’s really slow working with 4k sequences (suspect oiio)

      keep up the insane work and all the best for 2017

  22. Great news, thanks for all the hard work!

  23. You should continue the UDIM develop I insist because It will solve may problems on pipeline ( cache weight files and quality renders and also render time will reduce A LOTTTTTT) UDIM is not something seffish is a necessary property for a pipeline

  24. Ton,
    awesome to hear many people and sponsors are working on Blender and such amazing projects like Viweport and working on the UI. I just have questions about the team, because i see many artists coding, I know They are such amazing artist but My question more than questioning the amazing work you are doing, is with the intention of understanding a bit better the decision to hire these artists instead of hiring coders.

    • Develop007,
      Well i think having artists creating all those tools for Blender is it’s secret of success. An artist knows the needs and struggles of other artists, what solutions are allready out there, what their pros, their cons and the trends are.

      • Well, hiring professional coders instead of artist-coders doesn’t mean there should not be artists who manage the whole thing. Artists may give suggestions and set requirements, as well as audit all portions of work done by coders.

    • The workshop participants are not here for coding, they’re here for to help defining and designing the 2.8 targets.
      It’s important to have a good mix of technical and creative people to do this, and each of them has contributed to Blender and usability in one way or another.

  25. I always kept the option open for a crowdfunding, especially on the ‘workflow for non-open pipelines’ topic. Just too busy for now :)

    • Ton,
      awesome to hear many people and sponsors are working on Blender and such amazing projects like Viweport and working on the UI. I just have questions about the team. For example: Williamson, Daniel M.Lara, Felinito, Vasquez, I know They are such amazing artist and long time Blender users making great contributions (code, ideas, time, addons, etc) to blender,
      But I wonder if it would be better to hire full-time professional developers with 100% experience in code and not artists who eventually know how to code. It does not want to detract from the title of them, but I know that there are many great coders who have spent their lives developing software that would be happy to work coding and improving Blender from their experience 100% in code. On the other hand it is good news to have Van Lommel in the team, but it is not clear to me if he is full time because he understood that he was only half time with Blender Fundation. My question more than questioning the amazing work you are doing, is with the intention of understanding a bit better the decision to hire these artists instead of hiring coders.

  26. Nice read up, great to hear so many people are working in Blender, and even more that companies are willing to invest their hard earned resources.

    Any plans for crowdfunding additional helping hands?
    I understand running a campaign is a lot of work but perhaps hire someone or dedicated professionals, and pay them from the campaign earnings?

    From my part I would most definitely be interested in contributing a considerable amount

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