It looks like you're using an ad blocker! I really need the income to keep this site running.
If you enjoy BlenderNation and you think it’s a valuable resource to the Blender community, please take a moment to read how you can support BlenderNation.

BlenderNation Turns 10!

33

10 years ago, my humble website vrotvrot.com contained a number of Blender tutorials. Many Blenderheads started their journey there in those days - do you still remember A Ride in the Mines, Cutting through steel or the High-Tech Corridor? (See the full list here for some nostalgia ;-)

In 2000 and 2001 I worked for Ton at Not a Number and I became one of the earliest 'Community Managers' in the world. We had no idea what that meant, but during those two years we discovered that community building was all about sharing community stories and amplifiying community members' voices. Our weekly Community Journal was the predecessor of BlenderNation if you like.

After NaN's bankruptcy and several years later, I found that I missed reading those community stories. Sure, people posted about their work, but there was no central place where you could read up about the awesome art, development and tutorials that was created in the community. It was time for a new Community Journal.

So on January 3, 2006 I wrote:

It has been years since I have last updated my website. To my astonishment, still over 300 people visit each day and I figured I need to put in some more effort. I still need to integrate the layout of my tutorials with the rest of this site, but we'll see where this goes :-)

BlenderNation early screenshot

I installed a copy of WordPress and started collecting stories. Slowly at first, but always at least one story a day. Here's the earliest copy I could still find on the Internet Archives, from February 6, 2006. The format still looks very familiar, doesn't it? :)

On February 4, 2006 I had already decided that this wasn't just a 'vrotvrot' project anymore, but that it needed its own name: BlenderNation.

And the project certainly went somewhere! As I'm writing post number 9,595 now, BlenderNation averages 10,000 unique readers per day. In those ten years, I think I haven't missed posting on more than 10 days - like in the days after my son and daughter were born. The numbers of comments on those pages still warm my heart.

Another thing I always enjoyed (a little mischievous perhaps) was what people came to refer to as the 'BlenderNation effect'. Many sites were 'BlenderNationed' back then - ones I posted about some project, the immense amount of traffic would kill unprepared webservers within minutes. Usually to their owners delight ;-)

Another awesome side effect of running this site is meeting people internationally (I frequent quite a lot of 3D and 3D Printing events), learning that they are Blender users and finally learning that they're fans of BlenderNation! My favourite story about this is working for three days on a 3D Print show with a volunteer and only at the very very end he learned who I was and he freaked out :) Other people traveled for hours with their entire family to have a chance to meet me at a meetup. It still amazes me :)

I mostly run BlenderNation on my own, with help from a group of volunteers that is always in flux. These days, I post between 4 and 8 articles a day and that takes me between one and two hours of work. My day starts with coffee and BlenderNation - before my real job kicks in, and it usually ends late in the evening with the last posts. It's become both a habit and an addiction - checking my mailbox and social media for new stories is always a lot of fun :) Still, it has also become real 'work' and I always appreciate some financial support - some options, like starting your Amazon visits on my affiliate links, don't cost you anything but they really do help! For a full overview of how you can help, see the Supporting BlenderNation page.

All in all it has been a very fulfilling ten years and I feel truly proud that I've been able to provide you this 'home' for your Blender stories. I'll certainly keep it up for another 10!

But enough about me - I'd also love to hear your stories about BlenderNation! What does it mean to YOU? Do you have any cool stories to share about BlenderNation? Did an article about your work ever REALLY help you, like land a project or a job? I'd love to hear what your side of the site looks like :)

Thanks so much for being such loyal readers!

Yours,

Bart

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)

33 Comments

  1. WHOA! 10 years is such a crazy commitment to the Blender community. And the fact that you haven't not posted something for more than 10 days is just insane.

    Your tutorial 'A Ride Through the Mines' was one of the first times I can recall impressing someone with something I did in Blender ("you made that?!") and it got me hooked :)

    So thanks for everything you've done for the Blender community Bart! You've probably done much more than you know ;)

  2. Awww, this is just a lovely news.

    Thanks for the commitment and for all the cool stuff you've brought the community, Bart. Blender in itself wouldn't be complete without BlenderNation backing it up.

    BlenderNation is definitely one of the few sites that I visit on a daily basis and the news aggregation and quality is unwavering.

    You've been part of my personal journey as an artist—and for that THANK YOU so much! Happy 10th anniversary!

    Regards,
    Reyn

  3. Amazing work Bart ! Higlighting the work of blender artists is a great way to motivate people and give them some stage to show their work to the world. Blendernation is what the cummunity and Blender makes so special.

    Keep up the great work and lets go for another 10 years! New talent, special stories, interviews and way more epicnes :)

  4. I remember 1.5 years back when I made a kinetic typography video in blender, I send it to many sites but no one really considered it, it had some 50 views by then, I was dejected after working hard. I submitted it here and you made a post about it then immediately I received 1000 views in a day! The encouraging comments on the posts made me continue my blender education and shaping up to be the person I am today. Since then, you have featured a lot of my work here.

    Committing for 10 years takes a lot of grit and a lot of people starting blender are grateful for you to bringing all this blender stories everyday. Like Andrew Price said above, you have affected the lives of more people than you know.

  5. Blender Nation has been a great resource to me, to learn about Blender and Blender news.

    I would like to thank you for sharing my own tutorials on blender nation, if not for you I would have never been where I am today, about a year ago I submitted my tutorial to your website not own lay did you share it you or so gave me some feedback, on how to improve, and have shared many more of my tutorials too.

    So thank you. You have help me, and the Blender Community very much

  6. Happy birthday BlenderNation!

    I think I must've started with Blender around mid-2007, and remember, having finished modelling Gus the gingerbread-man (the one every beginner seemed to make back then!) , coming across your tutorials. I still had barely any clue what I was doing, but was motivated by the end result of the mines and dolphin tuts, so pushed through (the interface difference between 2.44 and the screenshots is what I remember struggling with most) and managed to get a render that looked at least a little like the preview in the end :)

    Working on projects with friends, getting featured on BlenderNation was always such a great achievement and boost, so thanks heaps for the times you posted our work over the years!

    I haven't been Blendering nearly as much as I used to, but still visit here every few days to see what cool things have been happening. I've always though one of Blender's best features is its community, and BlenderNation is such a huge part of that.

  7. Great ! I love the way you are trying so hard each day to help the rising artists using blender. And 10 years is crazy, I know it's so hard sometimes to continue but you kept pushing. Almost all the blender users follow blendernation regularly. Keep it up :)
    -S

  8. Wow 10 years! I enjoy Blendernation almost daily and it seems as though it's always been there. Thanks so much for you contribution to the Blender Community:) I too, love the "blendernation" effect, it shows how effective this site is:)

  9. BlenderNation is essential viewing! Your posts have pointed me towards many valuable resources that I would never have found otherwise, and so helped my progress through the years. BlenderNation takes one of only 5 very exclusive spaces on my Favorites bar, alongside Google and Wikipedia :-)

  10. Blendernation is the first place I go every morning, even before checking my email. It has become an integral part of my day.

    Thanks for 10 years of awesomness.

  11. Happy Birthday, Blendernation! Thank you Bart for all that time and hard work you put into this site. It's surely appreciated by me and everyone else visiting this place. Keep up the good work! :) Looking forward to the next ten!

  12. Congrats! ten years is a milestone by any reckoning, the more so in the graphics community.

    BlenderNation is always interesting to read and indeed being 'BlenderNation'ed' has been a privilege I enjoyed a couple of times :-)

    Ten more years! (At least :-)

  13. Congratulations for ten years of awesomeness, and big thank you Bart for all the hard work and time that you put in this website every day, keep it up the good work and thank you so much :D

    Cheers!

  14. Fantastic work, ever since i found blender nation it has been one of the sites i frequent mostly!
    Cheers to you, your commitment and to the blender community!

  15. Thank you so much Bart. I think I visit Blender Nation every day with the same pleasure over the years. I discovered so much thanks to you and I think you're essential to the Blender community... congrats for the hard work and continuity :-)

  16. SnippetsUniverse on

    Thank you Bart! Checking out Blendernation for interesting projects and inspiration has become part of my daily ritual as well :)

  17. The day you featured an article from my website was the day I received a mail from the host service and had my entire folder structure moved to another server due to the massive increase of traffic :D

    I started checking Blendernation close to it's start, and I wasn't even using Blender at that time, the content that I found here was one of the reasons that led me to the open source :D

    Congratulations on this journey, now aim for another ten! ;)

  18. so my favorite website turned 10 years !! congratulations, and thank you Bart, I'm addicted to Blendernation , there is a lot of inspirational news in so many areas of Blender that you featured and that's is why I can't live a day without visiting this website :)

  19. 10 years and still very awesome! Though I have only known about it for 3-4 years but I do view the old posts time to time. Thank you Bart for making the site and keeping it up!

    My daily dose of news for blender has always came from blendernation!

    Hold on - Wait, this means that blendernation is about to be a teen.. Keep a watch for it, because teens are troublesome at times ;). Just joking about the site needing to be watched! The site will behave but teens though.. teens are for sure troublesome, haha.

  20. Thanks for maintaining the site Bart! ;-) Thanks for all the hard work you continue to put into running this invaluable blender resource ;-)

  21. I'm some one who traveled hours with my family to meet Bart and it was more than worth it. My family and I were extremely thankful to get the chance to meet Bart at 3D printing event and the funny thing was he treated us like stars. Meeting Bart in New York City was one of the highlights of 2015 for me.

    When Bart puts up a tutorial of mine on BlenderNation typically the views on Youtube tend to increase so much and the Youtube often stops counting the numbers I believe in some kind of seemingly beautiful malfunction.

    Bart and BlenderNation have helped my personal business, helped to make me a better artist, and given me Blender news to look forward to just about everyday.

    Thank you Bart for making and keeping BlenderNation up and running and for giving us Blender users something to aspire to.

  22. Happy Birthday, BlenderNation. I visit BlenderNation every day from the time when I started to learn Blender back in 2011 until today. It has been and is an invaluable resource for me and the community.

  23. All the best Bart! I can't remember but it took me most or all time BN exists to write my first comment ;-) though I am regular visitor here. Wish You many more happy years with BN!

  24. I always try to be up to date with BlenderNation. Though it could be a little distracting at work, it actually saved the day several times. I cannot remember how many times the solution to a problem or challenge was on an article I read days or months ago. So keep up the good work, Bart. Thanks!

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with Gravatar.com. To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.