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Siggraph Day Two - Birds of a Feather Meetings


Afbeelding 1 kopie.pngSunday I spent the entire day at the Blender Birds of a Feather meeting. It is starting to show that Blender is becoming more and more popular: there were so many visitors that between 10 and 20 of them had to stand at the back of the room. I guess we had over a hundred people in there.

The day started off with a presentation by Ton who looked back at the last year. He went through the 2.41 and 2.42 release, talked about Elephants Dream and its influence on the process of professionalising Blender and looked ahead at 2.43 (which may be dubbed 2.5!).

There were a few surprising things that Ton mentioned:

  • Project Orange received a letter from the lawyers of Orange Telecom, telling him that he infringed on their trademark and that they demanded he would remove all usage of the color orange and use of the name 'Orange' from the website. The letter arrived during the world soccer championship, which is really big in Europe. As orange is the national color of the Netherlands and the entire country was painted orange during that time, you can imagine that this was a pretty crazy request.
  • He is thinking about starting another animation project, either in the same way as Orange (but probably larger and with room for other Open Source projects), or as a more permanent studio where people can work on animation projects using Open Source.

Oh, and we have some good news for you all: we have recorded the entire 'the Making of Elephants Dream' by Andy and Bassam and we'll put it online in its entirety . It'll be a lot of work to compress all this on my PowerBook laptop though so I'm not sure when it will be done...

Download: mirror 1 | mirror 2 [Quicktime, 17.4MB]

Note: right-click and save-as to store the files on your harddisk

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. Cool!

    Weird about the Orange trademark; it seems stupid to trademark a color, and in fact in the U.S. at least I know it's also not legal.


  2. Thanks again, bart!

    joeedh: They weren't claiming the trademark of the colour, rather the squarish white-text-on-orange-background-logo-with-the-word-orange that had already pretty much disappeared with the new site, before the main came from them :)

  3. Lots of really interesting things touched on there.
    Pity it is so abbreviated in the report.
    I would like Ton to put together a monthly talk for us.
    Perhaps this can be posted here.
    Sort of view from the top - involve people a bit with his thinking/roadmap.

  4. Not only were there 100 people in there, but the BoF was in a room that was very far out of the way compared to the rest of the conference rooms. In other words, you couldn't just walk by accidentally. People showed up there very much on purpose specifically to hear more about Blender. I think that speaks volumes about the interest in the software!

  5. @Big Fan: I'll see if I can also put Ton's talk online in its entirety. Grabbing and compressing these files take a *long* time on my laptop though, so maybe it's gonna happen after Siggraph..

    @Chris: true. Also, there were many other very interesting meetings going on, so I guess we should be honoured that those people chose to spend their time with us!

    YEAH! A huge stack of pizza's just arrived here at the booth. It's 9pm and I'm starving ;-)

  6. Hey Bart you are doing a terrific job there.
    I wonder if the people coming to the stand are mainstream industry types or just the hobbyist crowd?
    Great that so many folks are seeking out Blender purposefully.
    later -

  7. Thanks for the video!

    BTW, does anybody else think Ton sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger after a shot of novocaine? lol. just kidding Ton...

  8. Laughing Cheese on


    I can understand 2.4x coming out after 2.37a, but I don't think the next release should be called 2.5 unless there are HUGE upgrades, ehnacements and features added.

    I dunno, I guess it's just a rounding thing for me...I like symmetry...and jumping ahead to 2.5 so fast doesn't seem very symmetrical :D

  9. Sovereignncc-e on

    I am sorry to say this, but Ton is really hard to understand. I guess that the compressed video doesn't help matters though. Maybe he could take an English class over Christmas break...
    Anyway, it is great to hear that so many people are interested in Blender, especially considering how many "big names" are there.

  10. David McSween on

    I seem to remember that The English Postal system has trademarked their red colour! And I think there are couple of other firms thast have done the same thing, Cadburys chocalte purple from memory.

    Cool vid too! Good luck with the movement.

  11. @David McSween:
    Yes german Telecom, or T-Com as they call themselves now did the same thing. They registered the colour magenta. I think you're not allowed to use a magenta "T" anywhere.

    Still downloading the vid. Thanks alot Bart, this is a great service.

  12. Great work again Bart.

    It is as good as it can be.
    If you have access to a fast link, maybe someone could get the file from there and recompress it on a faster/freer computer than your laptop ?

    I too wish that there was a way to understand what Ton said : subtitles ? Just kidding :)

    @ Laughing Cheese : that's numerology for you ! 2.43 in the Cabala means 2-4+3 = 5, hence 2.5.
    Seriously though : finishing the render pipeline (will this solve the slowdowns that have accumulated since 2.40 ? Anyway there are other goodies...) ; integration of the SoC projects ; refactoring of the event system, a biggie for the Python API with all kinds of consequences like using SPE inside Blender among other ; in-te-gra-tion of Renderman (there : I am crying !)...
    It is worth sacrificing a couple of threes and fours and...



  13. Imagine if the blender foundation trademarked the fruit orange?
    And the blender apparatus?

    No more orange juice commercials (and I am pretty sure I wouldn't miss it)...

  14. I could understand most of what Ton said, but as others have noted the combination of compression artifacts, the microphone, and tons accent tended to make things difficult to make out.

    The key thing is that the next version will be 2.5, and as you could see from the slide target goals are finishing the rendering pipeline (sounded like key points were reducing memory and further isolation of different parts).

    Porting the rest of the Tuhopuu interface improvements done by Matt Ebb along with doing the low level windowing and event system refactor to allow custom keybindings and macros, etc. (the 'tool api')

    The other two items that are shown on the slides (but weren't in the video) are 'Mesh 'depth' painting' - which I believe is refering to porting the summer of code sculpting stuff to the main tree.

    And renderman integration which I've not really heard any plans of before asside from the generic adding hooks to the renderpipeline that any renderer could use, so not sure if that is related or not.


  15. I swear.... should farmers send a letter to Orange telecom asking them to change name and any
    orange color from their website?
    Surely farmers produce and sell oranges since far before anything related to telecom was invented.

  16. Hi!

    Big companies often try to intimidate smallers, even if they are not in their rights. In the past I received some letters like that.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I'm a freelance inventor and
    a scientific author using patents, trademarks and Copyright for my works for more than 15 years. So I have some knowledges.

    The main condition to protect a name is creativity, so the use of a single letter or an ordinary lone word of the dictionary, even in a specific color is not considered as creative.

    So, any word of the dictionary is open and can't be protected. This includes obviously colors names.

    You can protect an invented name which is not in the dictionary (like OracomZ ), or a trademark composed of several words which will constitute an original construction, like

    ORANGE the open movie project

    Orange Team

    Orange Telecom

    You can also protect the color of an original sign, like the purple color of the Milka chocolate cow, but you can' protect the purple color alone.

    You can't use a word in your trademark which can be pronounced and heared like an other word, even if it is written differently :

    Orrange Telekom is phonetically equal to Orange Telecom and it is illegal to register it, if the trademark is registered at international level.

    You must be aware that the trademark registration can be done country by country or at international level.

    Trademarks are also registered for specific products or service classes.

    If a trademark is registered only in one country, the same trademark can be registered in other countries by other people.

    If a trademark is protected for a specific class of product of service (for example Telecom), you can register it (with a different logo, though!) in an other class (computer art for example).

    A trademark registered in one country can't be written on a product sold in an other country it there is there the same name protected for the same class.

    For example, I have a trademark registered in France for more than 10 years, and the same trademark has been registered these pasts years (with different logos) in several countries for products both in the same class and in other classes. This is not a problem. The same thing could occur in France with companies registering for other product classes. it would also not be a problem.

    Last year, a french company used my trademark on his website for the same class of product as me... I've had to sue them in justice.

    If you have registered a Copyright for your original name, instead of a trademark, you keep your rights on it even if someone else registers a trademark, without regard of any product class. And by an action in justice you can get the withdrawal of the trademark.

    If I've missed something, feel free to tell me!


  17. Sovereignncc-e: Ton has a small hearing disability, which has an effect on his speech - you get used to it easily. His English is excellent though, just like many other Dutch people.

  18. @Matt

    Yeah, I didn't want to say anything in case I was wrong, but I have some friends with hearing disabilities and had always just assumed Ton had one. But, to be honest, Ton's can't be all that bad because I still find him very easy to understand.

  19. Anyway, if their marketing campaign started under this name after the BF Orange Project, BF is protected by the copyright laws even if Orange Telecom has registered a trademark, and even if the Blender Foundation hasn't.

    According to the laws, a copyright is superior to trademarks, and the BF could even prevent Orange Telecom from using the name Orange Project !

    Copyright is a right and it exists at the moment of some proofs of the existence of the named thing are available. registering a Copyright gives more weight to you if you have to defend or attack in front of the court, but some evidences of the existence of the works are enough according to the international laws about intellectual property (Convention of Berne).


  20. And I still say: "TON IS DUTCH!" *sticking out his tongue*
    And to non-Dutch BlenderHeads: Say "Blender is helemaal te gek, wij houden ervan, toch jongens!!?"
    Those Orange Telecom guys are just jealous I think;)
    Man I hope I can be at the next Blender Conference! Hope my school allows it again.
    And I hope I'll have the money for it at that moment. And blow up the stupid "Wallen" in Amsterdam so I can walk to The Waag without seeing all those anoying girls! For those who think I need to enjoy the girls, I'm a christian;).
    Oh I'm going a bit off-topic, I'll start writing now.


  21. Yes... They have power and money to pay lawyers, and until now no one has said anything about their trademark, but it is not legal.

    There is no creativity behing the word Orange, even written in Orange color.

    Orange is a fruit, is a color, is a city here in France, and the word was used far before they decided that it would be a trademark.

    They can protect their logo which is composed of the name, a color and a square shape, a composition which could be considered as creative, but the word Orange itself can't be protected, and they can't prevent anyone from using it in a text or even in an advertisement, over all if it has nothing to do with their own activity!

    Even if they have paid for the name, there is no warranty of any kind on trademarks, and their trademark has no value according to the law.

    A lawsuit takes time and would cost money, but if the law is applied, they would loose at the end.


  22. About audio, this is the same problem into any opensource conference.
    Why don't they use a microphone? If you want to move, bluetooth microphones are pretty cheap now.
    I hope for this at the BlenderConf 2006. :)

    ANYWAY, thanks for the update Bart and there's good information.

  23. unsettlingsilence on

    I've never found Ton hard to understand, but the quality of the recording was low. However that is understandable for most bootleg like recordings. Digital cameras compress everything and pic up every little bump. I' ve recorded many lectures and it is hard to record those things well. Especially with a lot of people.

    As for Ton being Dutch, that's great, but I think the really awesome thing is that I can be talking to people from all over the world and barely realize it. Blender is a great example of how a community can supercede government, locality, or race and bring many together as humans and lovers of the visual and electronic arts. In this small way open source becomes a lifestyle of sharing and thankfulness; no matter it's source. I'm glad to be a part of it.

  24. Thank You.

    "He is thinking about starting another animation project, either in the same way as Orange (but probably larger and with room for other Open Source projects), or as a more permanent studio where people can work on animation projects using Open Source."

    ANimaTiOn FilM ?!!? - That's the real Elephants Dream.

  25. Hi to anyone!
    First: the daily movie´s of siggraph is a great idea - i like that.
    Second: to that case of "orangegate" - i try to get a´n copyright on the word " HELLO " , and
    anyone who use it have to pay 50 cent (licence? ...oh my enklisch) to my bank on the
    kayman´s.......... world is a circus!?! -isn´t it?

    And please show no people in the video´s which give you the permission todo so in paperform
    - or you maybe get the next letter of this sort of lawyer, which surfing the hole day in the internet
    to find people where they can make cash. ( i ám not worry about lawyers who are seriosly searching
    for copybreaks and similiars, in which some people belive the can make money with the work of other people on the easy way...)

  26. thanks for these reports! i am always looking forward to the next one!

    what does "birds of a feather" actually mean? sounds strange...

    i didn't know that ton has hearing problems. i also don't find him that hard to understand. i always thought it's just some heavy dutch accent since i have heard dutch people which sounded quite similar when talking english or german. :)

  27. Eugene brought a mike with him so interviews should be getting better from now on.

    @blendercross: do you have any idea how many people are here? Getting them all to sign a paper would be insane ;-)

  28. Ho sorry, i've just watched this video, i have no pain to understand Ton, moreover as you can read, english isn't my native language :)

  29. maybe some one should tell the company that orange is a wide used color,
    and further more maybe someone should go to companies
    like and i do not remember the other
    ones which use red and orange and have a logo on a rectangle with the text
    at the bottom inside the box.

    that claim is stupid. i rather guess because of money they think they can win

    and please go to here as well:

    and many more wih the name orange ;)


  30. From what I've seen, the Orange logo isn't on the purchasable products or anything else money is being made from. Orange Open is just a codename between a whole lot of friends. To threaten an open-source developer or development team at all is ridiculous to begin with.

    Stand strong!

  31. @bart : Can't wait to hook up with you guys in Amsterdam in October, this videos get me sad, just wished I was there too :) .

  32. Hi Bart,
    you worry about the size of that "sign operation" ?
    Hmm..... thats it!! Start a new opensource projekt - a software that make any face quadpattern on a tape...full automaticly.... and we call it ...hmmm... the "orangefaceeraser" ;)

    ...this message harms, reading on your own risk !!

  33. @hugo

    Isn't it from the phrase "birds of a feather flock together"? As in, similar people will go to the same places and do the same sorts of things together? I'm sure it's something like that anyway ;-)

  34. right,

    "Birds of a feather flock together"

    meaning that all of us, with our common cause (blender/promoting open-source) stand together even despite our widespread locations.

  35. Sovereignncc-e on

    Matt: I guess that that explains it. If you ask me, he has done pretty well regardless of any hearing loss:).

  36. Firstly, Blender 2.42 is a leap forward in my eyes from 2.41. I can't wait for the next installment :-).

    Secondly, I think Cadbury takes the cake (pun intended) with trademarks. First they tried 'the colour purple' which failed dismally in court and now they have 'ellipsis device' ..... and 'glass and a half' WTF. My suggestion to Cadbury... BE LESS VAGUE ABOUT YOR TM's AND YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY WIN IN COURT FOR ONCE.... How about ...
    'Glass and a half of milk pouring into an ellipsis shaped device on a purple background' ... That's a bit more solid :-)

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