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Google Summer of Code - Results Announced


The Google Summer of Code Blender project acceptance results are in, and like many of you, we are shocked that so few Blender projects were accepted this year (in 2005, ten projects were accepted). That being said, some amazing new features will come out of SoC this year, and we're grateful to Google for their funding and support of these projects.

Technical limitations have prevented credit from being given where credit is due. Thank you to Eugene Reilly (etr9j) for doing this article with me. -- spiderworm

Nicholas Bishop - Interactive Sculpting with Multi-Resolution Models
Mentor - Jean-Luc Peurière

One of the neatest tools to come about in open source modeling recently has been SharpConstruct, a powerful stand-alone brush modeler built originally for Linux and now also available for Windows. This summer, Nicholas Bishop, creator and head of the SharpConstruct project, will be bringing his knowledge and experience to Blender. He plans to create native Blender brush modeling tools (not Python plugins!) similar to those available in SharpConstruct, as well as a feature not yet in Sharp called Multi-Resolution Meshes.

Brush modeling is a technique that has been around for a while, but has recently become very popular thanks to software like ZBrush. If you're new to brush modeling, imagine traditional painting on a flat white canvas, where a broad, thick brush is used to create general shapes and smaller, fine brush heads are used to detail the scene, and you've begun to understand what brush modeling is like. This technique, while less useful for mechanical or architectural modeling, will likely revolutionize organic modeling in Blender.

Despite the revolution that sculpting tools brings, they have one major disadvantage: the final mesh is often extremely dense, making it harder to make changes. Multi-Resolution Meshes (also known as MRM or Multi-Resolution Models) is advantageous because subdividing the model doesn't just change the model's topology, it adds a layer of detail on top of existing layers.  So when you're editing at a high resolution (high subsurf level) you'll produce small faces which you can then manipulate freely and individually.  Currently, you can subsurf small faces but you do not have full control over the individual faces created like you will with MRM when you switch from editing at a higher resolution to editing at a lower resolution.  For example, lets say you change from resolution 4 to resolution 1. When you make changes to the mesh at a resolution of 1 it will also affect the faces created by the level 4 resolution but you will not lose the detail. [corrections made to MRM description on May 25th by spiderworm and etr9j]

A very big thank you to Nicholas Bishop, Jean-Luc Peurière, and Google for making the creation of this tool possible this summer! More information about the goals of this project can be found in the SoC proposal draft, found here:

Benjamin John Batt - Modifier Stack Upgrade
Mentor - Daniel Dunbar

In Blender 2.40 we saw the inclusion of the mesh modifier stack, and while this great new feature has enabled a lot of new customization in how a mesh is formed and rendered, there are still a number of features that it lacks. Looking to change that is Ben Batt, a Computer Science/Computer Systems Engineering student in Melbourne, Australia. His project will involve upgrading the modifier stack, upgrading the current modifiers to work with the new modifier stack, and adding 3 new modifiers.

The upgrade to the modifier stack will address several constraints in its usage. The main constraint is the "original data" constraint, meaning that certain modifiers require the original mesh's data and cannot be placed in the stack after non-deforming modifiers have been added. Another constraint indentified is that many modifiers cannot be applied to curves, which would be very useful for some (but not all) modifiers.

The project will also introduce three new modifiers: Autosmooth, UV Projection, and Displacement.

  • The Autosmooth modifier will perform the same function as Blender's current Mesh Auto Smooth option, but the results will be visible in Blender's 3D view window without needing to perform a render.
  • The UV Projection modifier will change a mesh's UV coordinates by projecting them onto the mesh using the matrix of a helper object.
  • The Displacement modifier will use a texture to displace vertices of a mesh. This will act similarly to the texture displacement option already available in material settings, but the results will be viewable in the 3D viewport and subject to other mesh modifications.

As you might imagine, we are also very excited about this SoC project as well. Thanks go out to Ben Batt, Daniel Dunbar, and once again Google, for their work and support to bring these much needed features into Blender. For more information, take a look at the project page:

Dmitriy Mazovka - Sky Generator
Mentor - Kent Mein

The process of creating a sky for a scene is typically just throwing a big sky picture into the scene. But where is the control of the sky's look and feel? How do you light the scene to mimic the sky image? How do you animate the scene with a static sky image? Dmitriy Mazovka has proposed to solve the riddle of the sky with his ambitious SoC proposal.

First on the list is a controlled, physics-based simulation of skylight, sunlight, and aerial perspective effects that comes with cloud simulation based on cellular automata, all of which will be able to be stored as an environment map. Additionally we'll be given the ability to then animate the sky, and watch the sun walk across the sky as the clouds float by.

Not enough? Next is the creation of scene objects that can be used in constructing the lighting environment based on the generated sky properties. The proposal gives the example of light shafts being generated automatically from volumetric clouds based on the type of light you've added to the scene.

Integrated sky creation is certainly a sign that the Age Of Blender is upon us! Thanks in advance to Dmitiriy Mazovka, Kent Mein as the mentor, and yet once again to Google for bringing this functionality to Blender. A bit more information can be found here:

Bottom Line

Although many fine project proposals did not make it this year, we're very excited about those that did. All the best to the coders and everyone else helping with these projects. We will continue to keep everybody advised on the progress of these projects here at


  1. I must say that I'm somewhat disappointed with Google selecting only a few of so many excellent entries, especially when you compare the number to last year. Nonetheless, these three projects look like excellent additions to Blender and I give Google three cheers for sponsoring them!

  2. Congratulations to all three participants on their grant!
    We're all looking forward to your projects, it will be a lot of fun
    and yes - of course we're right behind you - ready to test!

    3 grants are not bad! That's very good considering how
    many other software-packages rarely gets that many!

    Yet again Blender proves to be the future potential
    always worth betting on!

    Great stuff!

  3. If anyone would want to do that, we could get some more folks together, throw out 5 euros each ...

    With 1000 guys we would be able to have two more entries, coordinated by the Blender Foundation ...

    What you guys say ?

  4. Rui- That's a good idea. This might also allow the community to choose/vote on the project that we feel is most needed. I'd be in on that.

  5. Specially since 5 euros for each person isn't that much to spare for a possible big feature addition in Blender...

  6. MRM is not explained correctly in the article. Adaptive subdivision is not the same as MRM, and it's not part of the proposal. MRM means here that you can edit the model (move/sculpt vertices) at different levels of detail, from the unsubdivided base mesh to the dense subdivided mesh. As mentioned in the proposal, if you want more details in a certain area you can subdivide the base mesh there, but that's something that can be done already.

  7. @Rui:
    I think that is an excellent idea! Why do we have to sit around all year long, waiting for handouts from Google? Not to seem ungreatful, thank you Google, but why can't we sponsor our own Summer of Code, Fall of Code, Winter of Code, and Spring of Code?

    I think this idea seriously needs to be officially proposed to the Blender Foundation. I believe there needs to be an official poll taken to show the Blender Foundation that this is what the community wants (assuming the community does want this). If the Blender Foundation sees that there is a very serious desire for something like this, then they will take it more seriously. If a poll is taken, it would be crucial that there is sufficient contact made to as many known Blender enthusiasts as possible. Otherwise, it'll be just some silly poll that only 27 people participate in, or are even aware that it exists (in other words, it must be properly marketed. You can't just set it up and hope people magically show up.). Another thing, if a poll is taken, there must only be one offical poll. So, a smarty-pants response to this post telling me to just go ahead and do it myself is not sufficient because, others will read that same response and go post polls on There will then be several obscure polls online and they all won't really amount to much at all.

    We see what the Orange Project has done for Blender. We see what last year's Summer of Code did for Blender. Why stop there?! There's tremendous talent out there that should be leveraged to make Blender even better. Ton and company can't do it all themselves.

    Let's do this! Put your money where your mouth is people! You want to see Blender absolutely sky-rocket? Prove it! If the Blender Foundation decides to do its own versions of SOC (I think it would be an almost unforgiveable blunder if they didn't) we need to seriously support them...with money (ooh, bad word to some).

  8. ShiftingClouds on

    I'm in for founding the voxel project which is much more than smoke and clouds if we want it to be.
    I can pledge for about 30 €.

    The idea should be forwarded to the Foundation for coordination though : they are the ones with the better knowledge of what were the most interesting (and likely to succeed) projects.



  9. Is there an official Blender Foundation email address (that actually gets read)?

    To get started, we could start pounding their Inbox with an OFFICIAL petition-type email. I stress "official" because I'm sure they've got plenty to do at the Belnder Foundation than read a pile of emails. If it's a templated email that contains a specific Subject line, then they wouldn't have to actually read the emails. They could just count the number of unique emails received. This could possibly serve as a substitute for a poll.

    Any thoughts?...

  10. ShiftingClouds on


    if this idea of projects founded by the community has legs rest assured that the Foundation will be quick to react : no need for 'pounding' LOL

    The community must have a say but the foundation too, especially the core developpers, since addition of code has consequences for the whole Blender code base most times than not. Also, any project will need a mentor and those can only be found among the core devs.

    I like your enthousiasm.



  11. I've always been willing to pay for Blender...heck, I was about to purchase Blender Publisher just before NaN went under. I'd be happy to throw in a few Euros for the efforts of our very appreciated coders.

  12. Rui Campos - rcas on

    -Edited by Bart as requested by Rui- 

    Proper response to this comments has been given by Ton Roosendaal below,
    CEO of the Blender Foundation

  13. ShiftingClouds on


    There's a momentum here : pick it up !

    First : there is no reason to believe that Google would be offended. It might just happen that they'd be even more interested into investing in a project with a community that is not simply leeching on the coders sweat and blod, but can reach deep in their pockets and organize and do other things.

    Second : the work already has been done to find students, build projects, to select and triage them too. All that is left is raising the money and it is not a measly 5-10 000 € that will bother us after we raised 100 000 of it in a matter of a few weeks.

    Third : your third paragraph is in contradiction with you P.S. make that clearer and I'll answer to it.

    Fourth : a permanent dev to assist Ton (one of great talent : I wish that it could be Intrr and that I could get a seat to watch the fireworks LOL) is a greatly needed thing. I'm not even so sure that we even should decide of the projects he should undertake : I'd be confident in Ton to decide since he really hasn't deceived us, ever. OTOH it would be harder to raise money for that.

    About your P.S. : it might not be so problematic as you seem to imagine. It is not every dev that can free himself from his current life to work full time for the foundation. Just that eliminates a lot of candidates. Also we lived that situation already with the Orange Projects : only 6 got the job and that didn't make the others bitter.


  14. bart,

    [QUOTE]I must say that I’m somewhat disappointed with Google selecting only a few of so many excellent entries, especially when you compare the number to last year.[/QUOTE]

    From discussion Googles allocations were based on number of applications to a project, last year we had 150, this year 24. Of course last year most applications were of low quality, this year almost all applications were of high quality.


  15. @LetterRip,

    While the number of entries may have been a factor in the number of allocations (don't ask me, I don't work there), I doubt it was a very heavily weighted factor, since some FOSS submitted fewer proposals than Blender and received far more allocations.


  16. Rui,

    from my discussions with Ton, he is very reluctant to hire anyone except for on short term contract for specific projects (and even then he isn't fond of the idea). So unless we as a community hire someone, it probably isn't going to happen.


    please don't email Ton, he already digs through 3 to 5 hours of email a day. If you want to do a petition, set up a website, have people sign it (and possibly put an amount they would be willing to pledge), once you have enough petitioners it can be brough to Tons attention (I'd be happy to bring it up at the Sunday meetings, for instance, when you are ready).


  17. Hmm...I hope project funding doesn't start to become an issue of political correctness or the desire to not offend someone...

  18. @brecht,

    After further research, talking to you and other guys, and emailing Nicholas on the subject, I have realized that I was incorrect in my description as to what MRM is. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.


    I apologize and will get a correction of what MRM really is up ASAP, which isn't really S, since I'm moving a thousand of miles away tomorrow.

    In the meantime, please refer to the internet sources and brecht's description to understand what MRM really means. It's still very cool :)


  19. spiderworm,

    "While the number of entries may have been a factor in the number of allocations (don’t ask me, I don’t work there), I doubt it was a very heavily weighted factor, since some FOSS submitted fewer proposals than Blender and received far more allocations."

    Really could you provide examples? My information wasn't direct from Chris DiBona but a few different sources told me that that was the case.


  20. I never said that would actually email Ton, I simply proposed the idea and asked for people's thoughts. I know Ton is busy, as stated in my post.

  21. I amend my previous comment... I guess they did submit 65 projects and asked that seven of them be accepted, which is different from seven being submitted.

    Apparently I can't get my facts straight today. I blame the stress of moving a thousand miles.


  22. @Rui

    I have think a while about your idea. Because not everyone has the capability to code what he wants.

    However, will money from users not transform Blender interface to something more Windows like if users want an interface they are used to? Maybe, it would be a better choice for many people who will send money for, but also a great disappointement from the blender interface spirit (we love since we know it).

    Nowadays, blender seems only going through the Ton's team decisions and free contributor who code for fun. In which direction would go Blender if money from non-coder get in? Would this lead to forks for each aim (CAD, sculpture, art image...) I have no answer, just questions ;-)

  23. This idea has been tried elsewhere. It's usually called a "bounty" system wherin people donate money to a given problem/feature request and the dev who completes it gets the cash. Results are kind of mixed -- once in a while you'll attract a new dev, but usually it's the same guys doing all the work, but now their list of priorities starts to get dictated by the bounties instead of whatever is easiest or most appealing. This can have a negative impact on their work on the project, in the same way that a kid who finds a shovel and starts digging is having fun, while a kid who is given a shovel and told to start digging is doing work.
    Still, it's an idea worth considering

  24. spiderworm,

    no problem :) moving is stressful.


    as stated previously - it looks like it is a straight conversion based on number of applicants, which if you look at Ogre, CrystalSpace, etc. seems to bear this out. Basically they sponsored one developer for every 10 applicants (and rounded up).


    the interface is going to get significantly improved customization - so people can change the keybindings, menu bindings, and button bindings (and probably menu and button layouts, etc.)


  25. Uh- does anyone see the silver lining in this? Development needs to SLOW DOWN so that people (like me) can learn all of Blender's features.

  26. Thank to Google.

    We have community power to do impossible things.
    If we need fund I think to show someone about community power
    And Google may good.

  27. these aditions are amazing, i just wish that we could make normal maps from the high poligon mesh thats the output from this new brush tool this way render would not be so ram expensive.
    thanks google and the congrats to the developers, if was going to have a fund raising to the others proposals i would collaborate as i never expended even one cent to use blender, it wouldnt be such a worry 5 bucks from 1000 people and we could have voxels and other cool stuff :)

  28. @Kernon & Everybody
    "Hmm…I hope project funding doesn’t start to become an issue of political correctness or the desire to not offend someone…"

    I totally agree. There are always going to be reasons NOT to do our own Code funding. What we need to look at are the reasons TO do it.

    @ Mantar
    It may be a bounty system, but it seems like it could be managed so that it didn't rot on us.

    I love the idea, and can pledge at least $50, and a lot of time to it.
    As for being coordinated and organized, we would need to start our own 'Blender Coding Organization' so that the Blender Foundation ( and Ton) wouldn't have to deal with it, at least in its infancy. Then maybe we could take the fancy name off and hand it over.

    First on the list would be a website, although before that we ought to find out if there are enough dedicated people to get this thing going.
    And if we get enough people we need a plan of action.

    We need a site. I don't posses the skills to write a nice website for this, so we need some skilled volunteers, and some way for us to comunicate easily. And most importantly we need a leader/coordinator


  29. I just love the idea. First of all thnx Google!! I know they dont need to do this, but still they are fundraising this proyects. So, if we just get 3 this year, but 10 last, just think that we could have none. Also the Orange Proyect additions will compensate for this greatly. For the other topic, i would be glad too cooperate even with a monthly fee of 5 buck or so, like when ur donating to any other foundation of your belief. If Blender is ur school and maybe your religion, then... lets go. But, I really think trying to understand the foundation infrastructure and think for ourselves what they can do or not (even with money), is not posible, because we're not in teh dev's core team or have daily contact with all issues that Ton and they have. But I do think Benjau's idea is great, we could just start the 'Blender Coding Organization' so that they take what they need when they can, this way we are doing job that they would really appreciate not having to do. And of course this will speed up development. This will also be a really nice way for knowing what the community wants, and of course to making them know about it. I'm not a pro in devoloping or in blender right know, but I will! And thats the idea I think most users have about Blender, so if we can have an organization that helps people to acomplish this goals and feel they're contributing, I thing is already thought enough, and let's start asking what people think about this.

  30. I would be willing to throw in a few bucks to help out with some cool new features like smoke/fire etc in blender. Maybe the best idea would be if this project was done with approval from Ton (once details are worked out), but by someone else. Pretty much start a website that would be linked to on the blender site, where people can donate money, as well as vote for their favourite projects. When a cirtain amount is reached (like US$3-4000 maybe), the project with the highest amout of votes gets allocated the funding, and removed off the voting. If some people have smaller projects, they may opt to not receive full funding in order to encourage their project up the list. They then receive the money once the project is complete, and if they dont complete the project in a cirtain amount of time, the money gets un-allocated, and goes the the project that has the current highest amount of votes. Maybe before money is allocated, you need to prove you have started the project and it will be possible for the dev to complete?

    Just an idea that may help encourage some devs to find the time to code some big features that they might not have had the time to do before. Some people who already do code some of the large features may get in on this in future so that they have a bit of a reward for their work as well.

    What ya think?


  31. I willing to contrabute...

    ...But not to any spacific progect. I feel that should be up to ton, or someone hired (short terms great) but I think developers should be left to develop, it takes something from the project when developers start doing it for the money and not project.

    Prehaps we should ask ton (not nessesarily personaly) to put up a challenge site for an earier that needs development but there are no coders intressed or the amount of time to realisticly work on it exceeds a volenteers ability to.

    just my humble opinion...i'm for blender iether way ;)

  32. ShiftingClouds on

    Guy (und Gals ;) if we are that lucky )

    there's a risk to dilute our effectiveness here.

    If Google went for a number of grants based on the number of proposals, trying to use 'objective' criteria I guess, it failed : this year's proposal had more good/feasible projects than last year in it.
    Now if we try to remedy to it by founding a couple more projects (that are all ready) I don't think that there is any offense in it. By not acting *now* we are missing an opportunity that may not offer itself any time soon : devs with big hearts willing to bring a project to fruition aren't that many : look at how Nurbana's project drag on and on and on... while fluid just popped out of the can !

    Carpe diem fellahs

  33. First congratulations to all the brilliant 3. :-)

    @LetterRip I couldn't find any link where this year's proposals are listed. Can u point to one or list the proposals here?

    This year my vert2face didn't make it to soc (well i didn't expected it to), but then I got an email from google saying that my proposal has been accepted! Then 2 mins after I get another saying that mine has been rejected, the last email was a mistake. What a heart break.:-(

    Anyway I hope blender will be in soc 2007. I will again try to make it then with a better project.

    ...And does anybody has any idea when blender 2.42 will be out? Somebody somewhere commented that it should be 3.00; wow! will it be so much more feature rich?

  34. It should definitely be decided by the developers what projects are sponsored and what are not. Otherwise Blender will develop in the direction the people with the most money want it to go. And that is BAD. Just imagine some big company paying 1.000.000 $ for making Blenders user interface Windows like.... A system that would work would be that Ton or someone else who has a overlook on Blender and knows where Blender has to go defines what projects get sponsored and then someone can do it. And of course only this person decides what gets integrated into Blender in the end.

    Someone shoud do a propper forum post on blenderartists.......

  35. I think in Google SoC Google doesn't force anybody to head towards one direction. Actually the process is (as I have figured out) is Google forwards all the proposals submitted to the concerned mentoring organisation and the mentoring organisation forwards the list of shortlisted & ranked proposals. Google then decides how many students it will sponsor from a particular org. Well on what basis Google decides how many students to be granted to a particular org.; I don't know. At the end it is the concerned org that decides which projects must be sposored; though all desired proposals may not have been accepted.

  36. Rui Campos - rcas on

    Will post something during the weekend on this, don't have time to do it right now.

    I already have the Blender Professionals Portal being worked on and have the domains setup to and . I may be able to set up this as the first thing to be available on the Portal.

    But I must warn that I'm getting married and don't have much time, SO, I'm not sure I will be able to do this. It is more likely not to be able to do it.

    Will post something later when I have the time.

    -- Rui --

  37. Hi all,

    When I found out Google had only 3 grants available, my first thought was also to find extra budget to fund (some of) the others too. In the end I thought it was better not to, for a couple of reasons;

    - it's Google's show, they've set the conditions, attracted students, and coordinate it. Their main goal is to get new people into open source mostly. They won't be mad at Blender if we pay own grants, of course.
    - if we (community + foundation) want to pay developers, then it could be organized in a much wider context too... like; why only allow students to participate?
    - currently Blender is still mostly a community/volunteer project. Apart from me (ok, the exception ;) nobody gets income from the Foundation to develop on Blender. Organizing professional & paid development is important, but when the Foundation starts paying people it might frustrate relations with volunteers. This is something we really should be careful with.

    Instead a couple of alternatives exist;

    - make sure we attract companies to hire blender developers for projects, and universities to pay students graduating on Blender related topics.
    - support larger animation projects/studios, like the Plumiferos team. The could really use a couple of in-house developers, and blender would benefit from that enormously.
    - help our current artists/developers to get into business
    - organize more "Orange" style projects, and involve more developers for it next time too. (such projects can be world wide even, no reason to limit it to amsterdam)
    - I could also use assistants yes, and creating a job for someone to work on support and facilitating developers (like fix leftover bugs, write docs, etc) would be very welcome. But expensive still...

    Other Foundations, like Python for example, have a special fund to grant people to work on projects for a while. This can be for students, but also for companies (the employee's wage then is covered for a while). I like this model, but for that we don't reallly have a lot of money available yet. Definitely worth working on for the future too.

    BTW: all rejected cool SoC projects were contacted, and most of them confirmed they'd love to work on it anyway, it will only take a while longer to finish then.


  38. Awesome, some input from the Man himself!
    As far as attracting companies, I'd say were doing that as fast as we can. I mean, any more sites, simply for the promotion of Blender as a plausable 3D solution, would only be redundant, IMO.

    Support larger animation projects - that's a brillinat idea! But how would we go about supporting them? Where would the money go, to then be distributed to this kind of team? Through the Foundation? Or would we still need a third party organization to deal with it?
    These are not posed as obstacles, merely considerations.

    As for helping our current artists/developers - we now have
    and IMO, that's a huge step in the right direction.

    More Orange style projects? Yes, yes! Lets do it! Seriously though, I have two ideas for projects like this already planned out, and would love nothing better than to see one realized. Of course, as I'm a relatively new face in the community, I'd not expect many to step under my banner. So, when's Orange 2 happening? For that the support goes without saying. ;)


  39. Its great to see that a lot of these projects are still going ahead. Maybe one way to help them along would be to try talking to some uni's and try encourage courses that include programming to help out with some of the projects as their "teamwork" module in the course. Is there any way that this could be encouraged?

    As ton mentioned, another orange project would be great and could include more devs. I posted a brief post at on an idea for another orange project. The idea is to target at the developement of blender for special effects/compositing for film, as at the moment, blender is lacking in this area. I have found multiple issues when compositing, and when I get a chance if anyone wants, I'll post in detail some of these issues. I think though that if blender could be more developed for tasks like special effects, or animating 3d characters into real footage etc, we may be able to tweak the interest of some of the smaller studio's at least. An openmovie that could show blender is capable of good looking effects would cause some publicity, considering how complicated studios try to make this sound on an "in the making of..." video.

    I suppose the area I would like to spend my time in is special effects, so that why I would like to see blender get better features in this area, but it is a large part of the industry.


  40. I’m very interested in Nicholas’ project. I’ve never used SharpConstruct but I was always interested in it. I’m sure Nicholas is the right person to accomplish to this job. I see the Wiki and his proposal. Hope this is a project that will be ‘officially maintained’ by Nicholas, even after the code is released. Hope we will have a new “Sculpting Mode” in Blender for these tools, instead of using traditional Edit Mode. ;-P

  41. Hy i was reading al the post and somewhere down the tread i read something about needing people who build websites. Well i'me a webdesigner and that is probebly the onely thing i can contribute to the project. So if you are in nead of graphics / html / css. or information structures / website concepts for the promotion/execution of one of ton's alternatives email me.

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