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Ton Roosendaal Leaves Blender Development, Gets Offer of $2.4M from Autodesk


TonToday some rather shocking news came in. I just returned from my vacation and had a phone call with Ton to hear how things went with the Elephants Dream premiere.

It didn't quite go as I expected...

Apparently it took a movie project to convince Autodesk of the real power of Blender and the threat that it poses to their own product line. Yesterday, I received an offer of 2.4 million dollars for terminating my involvement with Blender and staying away from the internet for the next five years.

Ton further commented that the last seven months took away all the last bit of energy that he had left and that he will spend the money on a house with a private beach on a tropical island.

I know that this will disappoint many people but I have spent the last 10 years of my life on Blender. It is now time to think about myself and I am confident that others will take over my old role.

Personally, I am not convinced of the latter and this leaves me very worried about the immediate future of Blender. Is our only chance to start a new community fundraiser to counter Autodesk's offer?

Update: Ok, this was enough fun for one day! I'm amazed at how many people fell for this April fools story ;-) As far as I know, Ton is still very much in Blender development so no worries!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
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 ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Robert Zimmermann on


    This is a chance for Ton and even as i love working with Blender so much, i think he does the right decision. And maybe Autodesk got themselves someone that sees the things different and he might be able to take influence.

    I wish you all the best, whatever comes! .. :) Greeting Robert.

  2. This sort of hush-money/payoff thing was inevitable once Blenders profile reached a level to threaten Autodesk/Alias. However, Autodesk/Alias have always had a line-up of shoddy products that took forever to develop despite having huge teams and budgets. Regardless of what happens now, Blender is competitive with the Autodesk/Alias product range plus its open source and free. Autodesk/Alias are going to lose out in the longterm as their products are available for free anyhow thanks more recently to p2p programs; the policy i was told and the one applied at companies i worked for was for people to get pirate copies of software-then 'go legal' once the company funds were enough. In other words, most people who use Autodesk software havent paid for it.
    If Autodesk wishes to throw 2.4 million dollars at a Blender developer in the hopes that it will make their own software more desirable then thats fine ;)
    I agree that Blender development may slow down, if this happens it is a reflection of the populations ebbing confidence and creativity.

  3. Heehee I fell for it as well! D'oh!
    If Autodesk wish to pay me 2.4 million dollars now in case one day I come up with something amazing using blender instead of one of their programs then thats fine with me :))

  4. Not a problem as I will probably buy Autodesk and perhaps also Microsoft in a couple of days!!! ;-)

    Nice try...

  5. shit I hope that these bastards of autodesk will never get their hands on blender and the lisence. please people save blender

  6. Hahahaha! you lousy prankster! You made me scare a lot!
    I still have the goosebumps!


    BTW I took your idea to scare some blenderheads!

    You know how to make jokes. Damn you, Bart!. XD

  7. Vassilios Boucer on

    2.4M......!Only!?? this amount is only for one Eye...maybe?!
    ....Ton is AMAZING!
    Blender without Ton is like a Women without......!!!
    every time i post a Mail to Ton i became a Answer!(think... he i so busy....coding...and many many other thinks)
    Thats also Amazing!Respekt!!

    i hope this is only a 1 April joke and not True!
    if its True....i Cry and i Cry...continious....and i Cry again ...forever!......continious crying!

  8. well... apart from the 1st of april jokes, i dont think Ton is the kind of guy to stay away 5 years from a son :)

    anyway it was a good 1st april trick... made me smoke 3 cigarettes in a row heheheehheheheh cof cof cof arghhhhhh

  9. I think it lak's on credibility... mainly on:
    "staying away from the internet for the next five years"
    "took away all the last bit of energy";
    "spend the money on a house with a private beach on a tropical island."

    First: I don't see what was the point of staying away from the internet, he always could send the code by regular mail or in the worst case smoke signals.
    Second: Ton doesn't run out of energy, ton is pure energy;
    Third: He doesn't spend money, he is money.

    2.4 million dollars!? Only 2.4 million!!!? ^_~

  10. Eeehm, people, I just checked with my Autodesk informant who tells me this has seriously been considered...this was about two weeks ago, so I wouldn't be certain if this is an april fool's joke... just like Apple was created on the first of april....

    And from what I see 2.390.000 $ got booked of from autodesk to an unrecognised bank account somewhere in australia.

    ....naaah just kidding, never fell for it...

    On a sidenote, blender 3.0 is out.

  11. If AutoDesk hasn't put a hit out on me yet for telling teachers to use Blender rather than pay lots of money for yearly licenses of AutoDesk's full line of software, then I think that we're safe from losing Ton..... Unless.... I told too many teachers about Blender last week at the national technology convention in Baltimore and AutoDesk took notice and offered the money to Ton.... ;-)

  12. Javier Reyes - Puerto Rico on

    Another April Fool, one of the best I ever read. But the real thing is that Autodesk will buy Art of Illusion.

  13. I was really shocked! You just do not know how terrible I felt. I even forgot it is the 1st of April. I really hope this is a joke. If it is, then it is the most realistic joke i fell into today. Ton is really worth more than that, but... Please, people, tell me Ton is to stay in the Blender community!!!

  14. tomorrow you must write here how many people decided to kill themselves... may be the newspapers discover blender... don't you think so? ;-))
    p.s. sorry for my english and long live ton&blender

  15. bart, bart, had me with my jaw dropped for a minute! I forgot what day it is...shame on you. :))

    Good one!

  16. y'vd almost killd my girlfriend and stand there on the line of throuing me down from the 5-th floor. this 1-st april gave me a hart atak....nice one

  17. It should have been 4.2, of course shouldn't it?

    Good one, nevertheless... ...and exactly on the first April, 1st after I decided not to do such harmful things to others anymore...


  18. huahuahuahuahuahuahua ......
    man .. You cat me!!! That let me thinking ... first the NaN fail.. and now this!!! lol ...

    I hate 1st april!! ;)

  19. Yeah, and Microsoft pays Steve Jobs $3.0B to stop development of iPod & Mac OS X for the next 5 years...

    This is an April fools joke, right?

  20. Does it mean that he won't be able to send and receive Emails for five years? Ah! I forgot! There is no Internet connection on his tropical island...

  21. I think we all realised how much blender and its guru are important in our lives. To a point we never suspected, because this felt REALLY sad...

  22. Also I'm pretty worried because J.Y. Arboit's last year's april's day joke of MAYAX (autodesk 3dsmax merging with alias maya) DID come true (or close)...

  23. Oh God my heart!!!!!!!! XD X( XD X( XD X( XD X(.

    Please don't do it again Bart.

    Damn I really hate 1-st April :P

  24. HAH. You had me going until the "house with a private beach on a tropical island" part. Then I realized. Brilliant article, Bart.


  25. Go to and they have a good April Fools joke there too...provided that this is really a joke.

    Right now, I'm gonna hafto call all my friends and tell them I might have jumped the gun.

    Ha ha if it's a joke, boo-hoo if it isn't

    Fekkin' April F1rst.

  26. David mcsween on

    Not so funny for those in earlier time zones (ie. Australia) we had all this yeaterday and wasn'r prepared to choke back nausea! on April 2.

    Bloody good one though b@rt! :)

    Is this the most replies you've ever had to a page?


  27. Shocking, I was just finding out that Blender is quite usable for making models of machines.
    And I am someone who really wants to get rid of big companies.

  28. All my "evil will take over the world" fantasies came true for a sec... danged americans and "fun" days.. i guess they aint that bad after all... ô_O

  29. Broken_Sword on

    That was a good one! I turned pale and held my breath for almost 1 minute.
    Oh.. what a relief... (phew) Can't lose Ton, not now, I'm still struggling with GameLogic Bricks and Blender Game Engine.... oh man.. I almost turned blue...

    Thanks for the Cardio-Exercise bart....


  30. phuh, i was shocked to read this....
    seriously, i thought, this is more blender development,
    everything what i create from now on has to be made with 2.41
    and i had so much dreams, imaginations what else could be more
    improved in the program....and you write down my worsest fear
    about blender, that ton has burned out sorta, and leaves :(
    fuckin april! :D

  31. I fell for it for about 1 minute until I realised the date. :) Just imagine the amount of disruption in peoples sanity you have caused B@rt! (Nice one)

    "With great power comes great responsibility" he he he. :P

  32. phewh! I was so shocked with the first lines! I called like 10 of my friends using blender and told them: "we're totally f...d!" and I think each of them did the same with some of their friends; then I went to my wife and started telling her the story in a very depressed mood.... then I sat down for a while and thought "all these years of fight!" and "precisely now that I had gotten the hang of it!" and "everything slips thru my fingers when I get fond og it" and... all that stuff you start thinking when you're down.

    Then I went downstairs and finished the article! Now I got some friends to calm down and some phone calls to make. I'll also have to get away from my city a couple of weeks since I'm sure I'll soon be chased, and taken down. LOL

  33. You're a dead man, B@rt! Dead! Especially since I read this on April 2nd!

    I need to go get my hand home de-frib kit now for the heart attack this caused.

    (Ok, good one.)

  34. Vassilios Boucer on

    ...if you read this forget what Date is today...because you loose your mind....not possible to use your Brain anymore...Blackout Man!
    If something like this Really Happens then i destroy my PC....because not usefull anymore!


  35. Garland-Waide Bradford on

    Damn you to hell. I was so worried that Ton was actually going to leave. Good joke by the way I admire the style and way it was handeled. I love pranks and that was a good one. But still Damn you to hell for that shocker.

  36. Good grief!! This was even worse to find after April fools was already over. I really got scared out of my mind! Then again, the thought of Ton on his own private island, kinda like Dean Kamen, and probably having beach ladies is interesting... I could go visit him from time to time and have dance competitions. Aww yeaahh!

  37. Whew!! I just read this post today and man! I tell ya.... My heart almost drop in my chest! Ha-ha-ha! I am happy that this turned out to be a big joke to the blender community. Thank you Jesus!!! BTW....Good One!!!

  38. Although it is a joke now, it is very possible become a truth one day. Not exactly 5 years away Internet just resting, but working a lot in a Blender payable version under a big company name.

    Thinking about it make us quite worried. I hope the power of money do not affect this important project one day.

    If someone watched that film called "One day after tomorrow", you will agree that it sounds like a tremendous destruction of a great dream.

    Tio Ilmo

  39. That was the best april fools joke I've ever seen.
    I was reading down the homepage and since it's now april the 3rd I had no reason to suspect.

  40. Wow...first I read that headline and my eyes started widening and my heart started to sink. I looked away, and then looked back. Thinking there had to be some kind of logical explanation, I started reading, and then noticed the date. Got me, Bart. It was a well-timed, very believable little prank ; )

  41. While I found it amusing, I'm a bit shocked how many people believe that Ton would abandon his baby.

    Tio Ilmo,

    [QUOTE]Although it is a joke now, it is very possible become a truth one day. Not exactly 5 years away Internet just resting, but working a lot in a Blender payable version under a big company name.[/QUOTE]

    Blenders source really can't be closed there is just too much code from other people in it that hasn't had the copyright assigned to the Blender Foundation (Fluid, Softbody, Contstraints, Transform code, Mesh Editing Code, subsurf and modifier code). Also even if it were possible to close the source - Blender would just be forked and the GPLed branch moved to sourceforge or such for development.

    Also Ton has enough money to keep him happy, he isn't in Blender to become wealthy, same with pretty much all of the core developers.

    So in short, there is really nothing to worry about :)


  42. i humbly admitmit that i was take by the article, till i clicked full story and the money didn't seem quit enuph...

  43. hey please don't !! i'm begging you

    if you stoped blender for 2.000.000 dollars
    more than 5.000.000 person will be sad :(

    don't make us sad :( please

    think about it ...

    you can gather those money by making payment for the program .

    making it not free 60 $ as a price

    you will become richer !! i'm using blender for more than 2.5 years .... i'm beging you

    think about the millions tha will become sad

  44. O'hh hardy har har I'm sitting here practically having a heart attack, yea real funny guys!!!!
    thanks for scaring the crap out of me.:)

  45. dude..... you fricking scared me!

    I was dying in my pants... I don't like autodesk for some reason.... didn't they buy Alias? :(... doesnt' that mean Maya won't be developed anymore? :( ....

    dude.... man, I have never been that freaked out before LOL

    and it's MAY!!!!!!!!! ROFL

  46. Haha, I just got a bit worried, I didn't realised this one dated right back to april lol.
    I was starting to feel sad...

    But I'm glad hes staying.

  47. ha ha ha but now that i'm over the shock of such a cruel joke, what is ton being paid anyways? whatever it is it is probably not enough!

  48. AHH! That sucked to read. It's 2 years later and I just read it for the first time.
    I had a sick feeling in my stomach till I read the end. I'm gonna go home and cry now.

  49. Wow! :)
    What a response! I read start to finish. Its amusing!
    God bless Ton and God bless Blender and all those devs working so hard to make sure Blender rocks :)

  50. Vladimir Tyazhev on

    HAHAHAHHA, damn, u r a joker! My heart almost stopped! I have supported Blender so much; I bought lots of stuff online, liek tutorials, so I'm glad u r all but good!

  51. Vincent Pestana on

    Wow its 3 days after April Fools day. But when I read the headline, my heart nearly stopped. Phew thank goodness its only a joke.

    Although there will come a day when Mr Roosendaal will leave.

  52. Bloody hell!!!!

    I read the article first.........went into almost a cardiac shock... then looked at the dates and well..I now know whats meant by calm after the storm....sheesh......

    I'm gonna get you one day for this BART!!!! (damn....posted 4 yrs back and he still get a new guy (me) knocked out).

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