Blender Network Launches August 6th

I’m currently working with the Blender Foundation to launch the Blender Network at SIGGRAPH 2012! The Blender Network will be a service for Blender professionals, aimed at connecting them and further driving their business. It is our belief that creating a good ecosystem for Blender businesses will benefit Blender and all it’s users.


Ton Roosendaal writes:

I’m very happy to announce that the Blender Network now will finally happen! After more than a year of brainstorms and trials I’ve managed to find Bart Veldhuizen (BlenderNation) interested to build and manage the networking website for us.

In short: the Blender Network is the Blender Foundation’s partnership program, an online directory and social network for Blender professionals at blender.org.

It will help us realising three main strategic goals:

1) SERVICES & SUPPORT

We want to improve visibility for the outside world that Blender’s being used by professionals, and that there’s services being offered around Blender commercially as well. For example for integration and customising, development support, training and courseware, pipeline consultancy and for CG artwork and animation in general.

2) CONNECT, SHARE & GROW

Companies and professionals in our community need to get connected better. There’s a lot of activities around Blender already, it’s really time to map this out well and help everyone to find each other efficiently for projects or work together. Further growth of Blender as a professional product only can be established by a strong network of professionals themselves.

3 OPEN BUSINESS

We should support and stimulate business for professionals, with everyone who’s visiting the website. For that reason all information about Network Partners and their connections will be publicly visible, including contact details.

More details will be released soon, on the new network website that goes live on August 6, 2012 latest.

More information: whitepaper/proposal of 2010.

Amsterdam, July 19th 2012
Ton Roosendaal
Blender Foundation chairman

Links


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  • Masluch

    Will the membership cost somthing or is it for free ?

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      It will be free for academic institutions, €50/year for freelancers and €250/year for corporations. There’ll be a nice introduction discount during SIGGRAPH.

    • Jeroen
    • http://twitter.com/tonroosendaal Ton Roosendaal

      Membership will cost some, final pricing has to be settled still… the income from members will be spent for 100% on making the networking site better, for member support or to sponsor activities for members (conferences, tradeshows, etc).

  • Andrei Duma

    Congratulations!! It’s a great idea and (seeing how you manage with BlenderNation) you’ll do a good job watching over it! :)

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/martin_lindelof Martin Lindelöf

    Finally :D listened to this being announced at blender conf 2011. I just hope the site will be VERY easy for ‘clients’ to navigate… I see like two huge buttons/sections. [CLIENT] — [CREATIVE]. So Clients can logon and find right team of blenderheads for an project. and vice versa. and on top a huuuuge header [STILL/VIDEO HEADER], with video/stills from latest projects. This will gain trust for brand new clients to see what has actually been done by blender network creatives. Each year there should be a showreel montage of everything done via blender network also.

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      It’ll be a bit different than that, but just be patient and you’ll see ;-) All the information will be open by the way – no need to create an account if you want to search.

      • Manollo

        Right, no account is the best way.
        Anyway, this is good news. Thanks Ton and Bart !

  • Manollo

    Is it going to be possible for the client can find a professional blenderheads according to the country ?

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Yes, absolutely!

      • Manollo

        great :)

        • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

          We’ll start of with a simple version of the website (due to time constraints), so for now you’ll be able to filter by country. Later on, I’m planning to add an interactive map.

          • Manollo

            Thanks for the information :)

  • http://www.theemptyroom.co.uk/ Dewald

    This is fantastic. What a great idea!!

    I really hope you guys pull it off well. I am sure to make a success of a site like this is no easy feat. GO BART GO!!

    Launch is right around the corner!! I cant wait.

    • http://www.theemptyroom.co.uk/ Dewald

      Please, please can we have a clean professional looking and functional website.

      • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

        For sure. I’m working with a professional designer right now (getting the first sketches today!).

        • http://www.theemptyroom.co.uk/ Dewald

          Excellent!

  • Mafster

    awesome =D

  • Masluch

    sadly I can’t afford that. in my country euro is expensive. and in my opinion I’m not sure people would pay for something that colud not pay off. People usually join such sites until it is big enough (have a lot of members). So becouse of that some sites start as free and later on they introduce some paid memberships. A last but not least – a lot of people uses blender becouse it’s … (yes yes) free! (and good of course :) So I’m not sure people used to free software will want to pay for a membership. But that’s only my opinion. Good luck though . cheers

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      I understand. Still, as a business it can make sense to invest a little in getting more opportunities for projects. If you work from a country where the wages are lower you have an excellent change to compete with more expensive agencies!

    • tinonetic

      You still have BlenderArtists and with good work, you will be noticed.

      Remember time & resources are used to create, maintain and keep the site going. Hosting services wouldnt be free either. So whilst I may also not afford at the moment, I think it is reasonable that they have an asking fee.

      Though, I do agree with you that they should start with some kind of promotional period or free have membership with no profile or certain crafted limitations, just so they get numbers from the community. Then have the proper targetted functionality being paid for. Or “sell” membership in some kind of point-based system. Or have contests that give a year’s membership or 6-month’s membership to deserving professionals… noting that the site will stand to benefit those professionally using Blender.

      Just my opinion too

      • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

        There’s also real work going into adding new members to the site as we’re manually checking each member: are they really who they say they are, is this a serious business etc. I’m afraid there’s no way I could do all that work for free..

        • tinm@n

          I understand. In the 3rd paragraph was just bouncing off some ideas on how to encourage or attract interest. It is a typical challenge for any service that is starting up. If numbers can be achieved to sustain it, then perfect!

          In principle, if you do spend time on such a platform that promotes “the prosessionals” who will make money from your efforts, it CANT BE FREE. So I agree, absolutely.

          • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

            Yeah, but I share your concern: we need to have a nice number of members before other members will become interested. We have some ideas for that though (including the 50% launch discount). Throwing in a few contests is a nice idea as well, I’ll keep that one ;-)

          • tinonetic

            Or even offering to sponsor the winner(s) of well-known Blender contests with 1yrs professional membership. Would give the Network more visibility. I guess you could be as creative as you want to be

        • tinonetic

          Sorry, signed off as tinm@n but still me, tinonetic :)

          All the best, by the way!

    • http://twitter.com/tonroosendaal Ton Roosendaal

      The definition of a Blender professional (the members we target for) is: someone who gets paid for Blender work. If you are a full time freelancer or if you have a studio with artists or developers, you won’t have a problem paying for the humble fee. More-over; in countries where the euro is expensive (like India) people can work for very competitive fees, so this small investment should pay back immediate.

      This is not meant to exclude or to ignore part-timers, students, hobbyists, or people who are interesting in becoming professionals. For them there’s already a lot of great websites and communities. The Blender Network is meant to extend our community further, with people who make a living with CG.

  • graphixgeek

    Count me in…I’ve been using blender in my professional projects intermittently for about 5+ years, so a network for other blender professional (or professional Designers/Artists who use blender in their work), IMHO, would be just the ticket.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Murphy/100003276451924 Paul Murphy

    YES! :D Congrat’s Bart!

  • 4museman

    It sounds very promising and it can be great opportunity. I’ll be around too. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Carpaithian richard burns

    If I pay for the freelance but I have not yet had any professional work would that mean I can’t use the freelance option?

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Part of the member screening would be to look at their Blender porfolio, yes. It’s not the only thing I’ll look at though, so if you have a convincing story you might be able to change my mind. Still, having a good portfolio would greatly improve your success in the network, I’m sure.

      • Big Fan

        Member screening eh? What are to be the qualifiers for this discrimination? If all the pros have their own exclusive space then won’t the standard of participation in the forums plummet? I guess the large number of unwashed hobbyists can just chatter among themselves and compare their cube renders…. not entirely happy about this venture.

        • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

          We want to provide a certain level of trust – if you’re looking for a partner to do work for you, it’s good to know that they’re a real company (with a Chamber of Commerce and VAT registration, for example). The Blender Network is not going to be a community site – no forum or anything. It’s an addition to the Blender community, not something that will separate them. I’m convinced of that.

          • Ghost

            VAT registration?
            That may be all well and good in the EU, but what of the US.
            There’s no VAT in the US, and here, the chamber of commerce are just lobbying groups that support businesses and try to influence laws that effect business practices. They do nothing to grantee that a company is what they say they are, let alone say that they’re trustable.
            So I’d like to know what would be expected of those in the US?

          • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

            Yes, it’s almost impossible to find something that works everywhere. What do you think about companies in China or India? How would you check to see if a US company is legit?

          • Ghost

            I’m no global tax expert, but as far as I know, (and with much help from the internet), VAT has been used in China for around 30 years now.
            And in India, All businesses are required to have a TIN number, (Tax Information Network number) for identifying and handling state business and sales taxes, they also use VAT in 20 of the 28 Indian states.
            As far as I know, the numbers are interchangeable, TIN is their tax ID, and in the states that use VAT, the TIN number is the same as a VAT registration number.

            As for the US, I kind of wanted to know what ideas you had, but in any case.
            Businesses of employment, corporations and partnerships use EIN (Employer Identification Number) to identify business entities.
            So in the scenario you’re working with, self-employed, unincorporated individuals, who have no employees would be unverifiable. Though all sizable US businesses should be fairly easy to validate.

            And for validating the quality or trustworthiness of a business, I can’t really say what people in other parts of the world use, but many in the US and Canada rely on the Better Business Bureau to check up on businesses and their practices.
            Beyond that, commonsense investigative practices through the internet are about as much as anyone can do.

          • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

            Thanks! Checking trustworthiness is almost impossible – I won’t even go there. My goal is to verify that a company actually exists, that the registrant is allowed to register his company, and that the contact person is real. Basic stuff, I’m sure.

            To give you an example: every company (freelance and other) in Europe is required to register at the central chamber of commerce. It’s not uncommon to present an official abstract of your registration if you need to prove who you are as a company.

  • Alex Kemmler

    This seems smart. If I were launching this, I would interview industry veterans who are users of other packages, and who have tried sites/services like this before, if you do not already have a lot of information like this. I think learning from the mistakes of other services, and knowing what these people really want and need, will help a lot.

  • http://twitter.com/octagesimal Octavio Mendez

    Congratulations!! we was waiting for this launch since last Blender Conference!! :D

  • manny lopez

    AWESOME! I can’t wait to be a part of this new site and network :)

  • Arnaud Couturier

    Not sure I can benefit from the Blender network, and other professionals from my presence on it, since I sell addons (currently one, but a second is planned) and am not interested in contract work. I’m positively curious though. Definitely a good move. Congrats Ton and Bart !

    • http://www.blurredmotion.net/ stephen

      But surely, if you sell addons, your entire market will be inside the Blender Network? Wouldn’t it be useful to be on the site so you can get contract work from artists wanting a script/addon created?

  • troubled

    Cool! A lot of us in the community have been hearing and waiting a long time for this to be finalized and released, and now it is happening, and in such a short time!

    Are there any technical details that you have put in stone yet, like languages (php, perl, python…), framework (django, drupal, wordpress, etc.), database (MySQL, Postgresql, other), redundancy (DB master/slave replication), social integration (buttons for Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc.)?

    Also, considering how well you (Bart!) have ran this site, I think that Ton has picked the right person for the job, congratulations and thanks!

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Yeah, technical details have been defined already, but I don’t think they’re very relevant here. Everything is open source software, of course!

  • John D Smith II

    Thanks guys! I’m very happy to see this happening. It seems like all my Blender Wishes are coming true lately! When I first started Blender several years ago, it seemed like every ambitious project I set for myself kept running up against limitations, many from software, many my own:) But now? I’ve watched feature after feature added, many of them solutions to these very limitations I speak of… You guys building Blender have made me very happy this year. And this here is something that I was talking about years ago. A place for Blender Pros. Even as a beginner I was looking for this place because I needed to see that I had somewhere to go. A place to strive for. I wasn’t sure if learning the software was a waste of time, financially speaking. I’m glad I did! Now that I’m actually getting good enough to now use the tools I wanted then, everything seems to be coming together very nicely and Blender has taken some huge steps forward in the last couple years. It’s a looong way from 2.4 and before, haha. Bravo! and thank you to everyone who’s made it possible. (Now if I can just figure out how to get physical material properties in simulations, like steel that bends and breaks under stress, I’ll be like a high-poly pig in simulated mud. lol )

  • alextelford

    Awesome stuff, I literally make my living with blender so this could be very helpful :)
    I’ll look forward to seeing it go live :)

  • http://www.blurredmotion.net/ stephen

    Excellent news, can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m finding that I’m using Blender more and more for motion graphics work and will soon be dipping my toe into the VFX pool for the first time. Will you have your own dedicated video hosting service, or will you be using embeds from youtube/vimeo?

    Also love the idea of a Blender social network, would be brilliant to see other Blender users in Cardiff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/giuseppe.schiuma.7 Giuseppe Schiuma

    Very good!

  • draguu

    its on my birthday .. cooollll

  • erick parra

    Amazing! I wonder, is blendernetwork including programs for certifications like BFCT?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordo.viajao Gordo Viajão

    YAY!!!! Love the concept, love it, I’m sold!

  • Kyle Hag

    Awesome idea!

  • Bernie Mnemonic

    Wow, can’t wait!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerjeles Michalis Gkiokas

    yes!!! The project is vital and i believe they picked the right man for the job :)
    Congratulations Bart!!

  • Jay J

    At first, I was a little disappointing due to the “exclusivity”. But after reading the comments and understanding the purpose better, I think this is a great thing for the Blender community! I would suggest that the website incorporates a “mission statement” which is easy to find (on the main page, or 1-click away, no scrolling).

    I’d imagine you’ve already thought of this, but I would be sure to incorporate different categories of expertise. Other than the “artsy” areas, like detailed modeling, animation, and rendering, I often find myself using Blender to prototype code (using the BGE to quickly get helpful visuals) and creating quick-and-dirty models in a real-time, collaborative environment to flesh out design ideas before moving to CAD software. I’m not trying to suggest that these specific things deserve categories, but that professional Blender users may use Blender for a wider variety of tasks than we typically think of, and users with exceptional skill in these areas also deserve the chance to join the Blender Network.

    Another thought: perhaps add (free) recognition for exceptional Blender developers? I don’t want to loose them, but the world needs to know how awesome they are!

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      Thanks Jay! We’ll start out with three main categories: Design, Development and Training (exact wording still to be determined), with provisions to add subcategories later. I don’t want to over-specify right from the start – better start simple and add more depth when it’s needed.

      The ‘social’ feature (which is really, really light, to be honest) is meant to help quality people surface automatically: good people will have more links to others. Some links (like to the Blender Institute or Blender Certified Trainers group or renowned Blender ventures such as Blender Cookie) would even carry more weight purely bu reputation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexxtor Alexander Zubkov

    Great news about great idea! :)

  • Monster

    As a moderator of BlenderArtists.org I welcome that.

    I think it can act as the periodically requested “job board”. With the verified membership I think it is easier to find serious job offers and serious artists.

    BTW: I think I will continue as hobbyist ;)

  • Dirk Moser

    An central Platform for profs – another important piece to move Blender forward.

  • Thomas Eldredge

    August 6th – Launching the same day the MSL Curiosity lands – serendipity baby!

  • MadMesh

    “The basic definition of “professional” is: someone conducting contracting work.

    I work with Blender professionally every day but I don’t do contracting work. I work for a publisher that makes educational products for traffic training, however there are no animation services provided for other companies.

    Is the Blender network only for freelance animators looking for work?

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      No, certainly not only for animators. Book authors isn’t something I had considered yet, but if they are offering professional services for third parties they’re definitely welcome!

      In your case I’m not entirely sure – it looks like you’re working for an employer?

      • MadMesh

        I am working for an employer but not as an book author :P I’m more a 3d generalist. The publisher I work for also publishes interactive medial; apps, websites, DVD-rom, CD-roms, etc.

        • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

          Maybe I misunderstood then. In what capacity would you like to participate in the network?

  • Chris Himmelsbach

    Fantastic idea!!! I am very excited about the launch. I am in the process of building up my portfolio. Will application to the network be ongoing or will it close at a certain time? Also, as our skills and portfolio grows, will applicants have more than once chance to apply for the network (provided a first time application was rejected :)

    • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

      It’ll be ongoing! I wouldn’t mind people trying again after a while.

      • Chris Himmelsbach

        Hi Bart, thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear it :)
        A professional Blender network should be an aspiration for any new artist. A small membership fee will not deter anyone serious about joining the professional ranks.