Sunday, August 23rd, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Unity to pay $120,000/year to fund Blender development

Unity Technologies has become the latest major tech firm to back open-source 3D application Blender, joining Nvidia, AMD and Epic Games as a Patron Member of the Blender Development Fund.

Thanks to Unity’s contribution, which will total at least $120,000/year, the fund has now reached its original target of funding the salaries of 20 full-time core Blender developers.

In separate news, Unity has also become a Premier member of the Academy Software Foundation, the AMPAS-backed organisation for fostering the use of open-source software in the movie industry.

Unity joins Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Google, Microsoft and Epic Games in backing Blender
Unity Technologies’ sponsorship makes it the latest major tech firm to back the Blender Development Fund since rival game engine developer Epic Games’ watershed $1.2 million donation last summer.

The firm becomes a Patron Member of the fund – the highest tier of sponsorship, guaranteeing a contribution of at least $120,000/year – alongside Epic Games, Nvidia and AMD.

Unity’s contribution takes the Blender Development Fund over the magic figure of €100,000/month: its original target, intended to pay the salaries of 20 full-time core Blender developers.

At the time of writing, total funding stands at €106,109/month.

“Ten years ago, Unity already offered support for Blender files” said Blender Foundation chairman Ton Roosendaal. “Thanks to the grant we will continue investing in Blender core development, with particular focus on high-quality interoperability with free and open formats.”

Unity joins movie industry open-source body the Academy Software Foundation
In separate news, Unity Technologies has become the latest Premier member of the Academy Software Foundation, with senior product manager Bruno Sergeant joining ASWF’s governing board.

A joint initiative between the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation, the ASWF launched in 2018 as a “neutral forum” for open-source software development in the movie industry.

Founder members included the Blender Foundation itself; Autodesk, Epic Games, Foundry and SideFX; plus Intel and Google Cloud, and many of the world’s leading VFX and animation studios.

The organisation oversees development of a number of key open-source initiatives within the VFX and animation industry, including well-established technologies like OpenColorIO, OpenEXR and OpenVDB.

More recent additions include open-source render manager OpenCue, developed at Sony Pictures Imageworks, and OpenTimelineIO, Pixar’s open-source format for the interchange of editorial cut data.

Other new ASWF members include cloud rendering service Conductor Technologies, now a General member, and movie technology organisation SMPTE, now an Associate member.

Read Blender Foundation’s announcement that Unity has backed the Blender Development Fund

Read ASWF’s announcement that Unity, Conductor and SMPTE have joined as members