Blender has long been a loose confederation of artists, programmers, and hobbyists. And with Blender becoming more and more powerful, people, schools, and studios are beginning to have the need and desire to use Blender in their organizations. However, there is often a great hurdle that must be overcome with Blender: Learning how to use it.
When it comes to learning Blender, the internet or possibly outdated books might be the only way you can get into a software growing at such a fast pace without already having someone who knows it well. For single users that might be sufficient, but it looks like someone is stepping forward to get organizations up and running with Blender. Who better than Dave Millet (aka spiderworm). Being a pivotal member of the Blender community for years, he has begun a trend that can only strengthen Blender's use by offering Blender consulting services.
From the site:
David Millet, a pioneer in Blender 3D instruction, provides consultation and training services to North American businesses that are seriously considering adding Blender 3D to their toolkit.
Consultation services include:
- Consultation on whether Blender is right for your organization
- Consultation on successful integration as a primary or secondary tool
Professional-grade Blender training:
When you're serious about bringing Blender 3D training to your organization, you need David Millet. David, founder and author of the award-winning online Blender training book, Blender 3D: Noob to Pro, brings fun and excitement to any crowd with his novel approach to teaching the joys of "blending." Training programs are highly personalized and include:
- Blender interface training
- Blender as a collaborative tool
- Modeling tools
- Linear and non-linear animation tools
- Producing short films with Blender
- Game content creation
With professional level services like this, Blender is certainly on the way to becoming a standard in every classroom and organization!
not so sure about this
Actually I am in favor of this. I don't know if it will succeed yet, but it is a good thing for the open source movement to show that money and a living can be made by providing a service instead of a product.
The complexity of Blender is more than enough to require stuctured training if it is going to be succesfully implemented as a tool in any enterprise. This requires a professionnal intervention and David is one of the best for the task.
If the future success of Blender is anything like I expect it will be many others will be needed. Thanks God there is a certification program in the works. Nothing more than incompetence at that level could damage Blender's budding reputation more.
All the best to you David.
That is a much needed service. I wish you all the best as you get it going.
I think this would be a great idea:
Millet should finish the Blender 3D: Noob to Pro book and publish it as his textbook!
That would be awesome!!
Oops...sorry if that sounded a bit...meh :/
I wish you continued success.
If you can pry yourself away from the fair and find yourself on the â€œeastsideâ€ let me know if there is anything I can do to assist
I think this is a great initiative David! As I wrote before in Where are the Blender Products and Services?, I firmly believe that more entrepreneurism in the community will benefit Blender.
Way to go david!
I've given blender trainings and most of my 'students' still enjoy blender, some even professional.
A personal tutor give real artists (not the techy "I wuv the internet" and the "O boy BA is great" ones) a good jump into 3d.
Sounds like a great move to forward Blender. All other software companies have professionals doing this. I seem to doing more of this in the educational sector everytime I go to a conference.
I have my thoughts about this. I mean, is blender already capable of working on a professional level? Their are still a lot of features missing in blender and it is not the most user-friendly program.
And I also don't like his book name: "Blender 3D: Noob to Pro". Noob means a person who doesn't whant to learn and a newbie (newb) is a person who is new to blender but is willing to learn.
I don't want to sound insulting, but I don't think blender is ready to go to the professional market. I see that most of the people just whant blender to be big, almost everyone is staring dead on that subject. You must look at blender (project) with a clear head, not like a child who doesnt whant to learn.
Sorry for my English. And I could be wrong on the noob/newb thing.
Actually Ruben, I think Blender may well be ready. It is fully capable of producing professional results, I have already seen some, however it does not do it in a way many people think of at first. That is exactly what David's service would be addressing in my understanding, teaching people how blender operates.
In the case of Blender, making it more user friendly, would mean copying an already existing interface and thus IMO Blender would lose one of its strongest suits, its interface is FAST. Much faster than any of the others I have used. It takes some learning to get used to, but once you are used to it it is a very well designed interface. Again this is something David's service would be addressing I believe, not by changing the interface, but by helping people understand it and its strengths.
In as far as the noob/newb thing, first I had heard of it. I believe Newb was the original, short for Newbie, which was slang for newcomer, meaning someone that was new and really didnt know much yet. Noob became the 'cool' way to spell it phoenetically instead of using the shortened version. The premise I had always worked under anyways.
Anyways back onto useful topics, while I don't know if his service will succeed or not, I hope it does, and it is the buisness model that people should be looking at to make a living in open source projects, a service based model instead of a product based one.
I think there are legal complications being overlooked here. If not due to his end using open-source software I believe he will frequently run into clients on the other end of things legally unable to add open-source to their reportoire. Government/Contracting teams, for example, are prohibited by law from using open-source apps, that's a huge target demographic eliminated immediately.
With respect, this seems somewhat morally reprehensible too. Should a consultant be among the first handfull of people to aggressively seek a living or a portion of their living off the time and effort generously donated from volunteers?
@T-ry: the GPL does not prohibit you from making a living using open source software and I believe that the Blender Foundation has always been supportive of people who start such initiatives.
I also disagree fully with your remark about it being 'morally reprehensible'; do you think that companies such as Red Hat are 'morally reprehensible' as well? On top of that, all the developers who help building Blender know the terms of the GPL when they contribute so I can only conclude that they agree with them.
For what it's worth, I *strongly* believe that these initiatives are beneficial to Blender.
I understand the legal concerns, and it needs to be identified, however it depends where you are and how enlightened the agencies is. A quick search shows the opposite may be true, at least within the agencies themselves, I don't know about contracts.
A number of government agencies have adopted Open Office as THE suite in Europe and S.A. There is/was a bill in Oregon and probably other states like MA (which now mandates (open document files) for example REQUIRING agencies to evaluate O.S. software,
Even at the Federal US level, the Office of Management and Budget, a memo from 2 years ago says that evaluation of the license and "safety", support, etc is required before blindly using O.S.S. but its not forbidden.
I'm sure that anything that reduces their software costs will be looked at by any company or government these days. O.S.S. is not as scary as it used to be for organizations.
Not to mention, I can't believe that even GPL is not accepted at some level... I'm VERY sure there's a lot of LINUX boxes running in governments!
I think you need to be more specific in the legal ramifications you mention, specifically the country of origin about government/contracting teams. I've seen ZDNet articles on countries that discourage or prohibit open source software such as Linux on government owned computers and I've seen articles, I think specifically India, that was mentioned at somepoint in the year of actually enouraging open source adoption among government offices to use open source software on their computers. I work in the US in IT as a civil service employee, and open source software is not discouraged or prohibited, and in fact a lot of websites are hosted on servers running open source software, such as the Apache web server.
I think there is a lot of confusion among people about the usage of open source software. Many people seem led to believe that because they create something with an open source software package, that their content then has to be open source, and that's not the case. A film company could produce a movie using Blender as the primary modeling and animation package, and then release the final product in theaters and they would NOT have to release their .blend files or make them publicly available. Now on the otherhand if that film company were to make modifications to the actual Blender program code and were to distribute the binary form of Blender, they would also have to comply with the GPL and make the source for their modifications available.
As to someone making money off supporting an open source software product, that is not morally reprehensible, that's business. That's how companies such as Red Hat and Novell stay in business, is by providing technical support for open source products. I do not know Mr. Millet personally, but I have read through some parts of his online book that he's posted on the web for free, and from that I do not think that he is going to hole up somewhere and not give anything back to the community. I think, if anything, his work might produce some sort of manual for Blender from which everyone can benefit. Everyone knows Blender's documentation is usually quite a bit behind it's actual featuers.
Anyway, my 2 cents.
Dang it Bart you beat me. LOL
@Thomas, Shiftingclouds, dreamsgate, lauging cheese, pyziual, Bart, joeri, JimC, James, and anyone I missed - Thanks for the support!
@punkfrog - I hope you aren't an executive of a US corporation, because if you are, I may have already lost you as a client! XD
@Ruben - Is Blender capable of working on a professional level? Project Orange, the Plumiferos team, and thousands of other professionals around the world say "Yes!". Is "Blender 3D: Noob to Pro!" a stupid name for a book? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless, I like it, and the market has responded well to it.... take a look at this Google search: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&q=%22Blender+3D%3A+Noob+to+Pro%22&btnG=Search .... as well as this one: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&q=Blender+3D&btnG=Search .... You also accuse me of looking at Blender as a "child who doesn't want to learn." It's unfortunate that you decided to insult me about this endeavor that, so far, has only required that I do a little work to put up a website and pay a little money for hosting.... money I was already paying beforehand anyways. Ask yourself, which is more childish, taking a small risk by offering a service to professional studios and doing a bit of promotion so that the market knows about this service, or putting up a passive portfolio website that showcases very little creativity or talent?
@T-Ry - I appreciate your concern that some potential clients will be legally unable to use Blender in their production environments. I do know, however, that several big names are interested in adding Blender to their tool chests. Most of my market is not affected by such problems as you say. In terms of your question on morality: have you considered how such a service would benefit the Blender project and help promote those that volunteer time developing Blender? Any additional corporate interest in the Blender project will actually help promote all involved to the corporations. Also, I should mention that I'm not looking to make a million dollars: I'll be charging reasonable rates because my passion is TEACHING Blender, not gouging clients. In addition to this service, I volunteer time teaching Blender at local schools, in IRC, and writing books like Noob to Pro. What more do you want from me??!
Anyways, I do appreciate everyone's comments (even the negative ones), and Eugene for writing a nice article!
I hope my comments were taken in the spirit in which they were intended, thought it seems they weren't.
These were thoughts that initially crossed my mind immediately upon reading the story. This was by no means a calculated attack on the movement or an indignant declaration of political opinion.
That said, I happen to sit here in the office with several former government employees, both direct and contract who have expressed on more than one occasion that they would have loved to use Gimp, Open Office, Linux, etc. but couldn't due to prohibiting regulations. I have no doubts that any agency wishing to use Open Source software titles will do their homework before jumping into anything. Moreso than some stories that come through the site like people hoping to finish a complete blender book for paperback w/dvd within a few short months to fulfill a publishing contract. I know that this project will be taken on with a higher level of professionalism.
Please don't think that I'm unappreciative or ignorant of the benefits of this possibility. I obviously have to praise anything that rewards the blood, sweat, and tears that go into Blender's development. I do believe, however, that should this movement become successful it will demand almost immediate response from the blender team and there will be a completely new level of responsibility to be aware of. I do think it may be a little silly to announce the support of the full developers list indirectly through a GPL agreement.
Again with respect, I think this is more of a personal gain endeavor than a movement to support the community. It's unfortunate the level of defensiveness displayed here towards community members who are only voicing concerns (questioning the definition of noob on the part of Ruben was clearly not an attack on you and shouldn't have been treated as such). Though I have no doubts you were a pillar of strength for the noob to pro project I see a long list of contributors on the page of users who worked hard out of the goodness of their hearts. I'm not fully opposed to money-making initiatives surrounding blender but have you made efforts to get other key players from the community involved? I like to see projects that the user community is truly behind, I just haven't seen that here.
Again, all points are just thoughts and I'm just exercising the right to share them.
I should have explained a bit more, it's a good idea, im sure of how successfull its going to be, or if theres a demand for it.
but there is this, too:
anyway, blender is not difficult, but unusual; i think 3d is difficult!
and i think that this is a very good idea, so that also peolple who want to use it in some professional way can do that
and if there are a lot of things that we want in blender, there are also a lot in it, and some uniques; almost of all: very good interface, clean modeling, very little space in a pc, stable, multiplatform, great community, people making it better every year... month... week, sometimes!
but if you need to use it in a professional way you need something more than a community (you need to understand everithyng in few time, and to use it without errors);
so, this service is good!
i think that ruben did not want to insult, but only had some difficult in using english language; like me!
all right, now i finished my english words, bye!
GO Daviiiiiid you ROCK DUDE :P
but seriously here's a bit of my mind as i've been watching david for a while, after contributing so much to the blender community, you cannot put down an idea that might be a personal endeavour, i mean you cannot put down an idea because it may help a person assess himslef as a company, especially offering blender related services . especially from a man who has given so much to the community, the least you can expect is as man like that joining business to pleasure ...
most importantly, i wouldn't sell david short, i bet we will see floodback from his company or any personal endeavour of his back into the blender community.
last and least, no matter how large or important a project is carried out by the community there is always more that can be brought from individuals working on blender in a business environment, for projects under stress usually brings results faster and a thrist to complete something hastly delivered in a more complete way if not exerting to improve yourself to improve the quality of your next work with regards to a tight deadline. (you also value your time off more when you'r under constant pressure and therefore gain a more straight to the point approach that can only be benefactory to this community ...)
Rock on Spiderworm... you have my support dude
@T-RY actually I think many people did take the comments how you inteded them to be taken, not offensively, but perhaps misinformed. For instance...
>That said, I happen to sit here in the office with several former government employees, both direct and contract who have expressed on more than one occasion that they would have loved to use Gimp, Open Office, Linux, etc. but couldnâ€™t due to prohibiting regulations.
This one for example would be a good example. There is nothing prohibiting those institutions(Key word) from deciding to use this software. It is the individual users of these institutions that have much more restrictions put on them, typically by the IT dept in order to control software used for various purposes, most of which boil down to attempting to keep the number of problems down. But should the IT dept or institution as a whole decide to use that software, in the US I don't believe there is much against it. The recent debacle in Mass is good reading for this, the institution was considering changing to a different Office software suite, OpenOffice, due to MS's lack of use on an agreeable(To them) format. This was started by the IT folks in that office.
Various govt institutions DO use Open Source software on a regular basis, there have been many govt inquiries into it with varying results, typically looking at different aspects. I have worked in the govt for brief stints, currently working in a educational lab(Among other places) to help pay bills while I attend school(Again). Int his lab since I have been here, we have moved from a strictly MS lab with one powerbook running OSX, to running Open Source software on about every machine, and even a full blown linux distro on one.
It has much less to do with the software being open source, as the software not being something approved by the IT department of that institution. This can be very true of closed source software just as much as it can be of open source.
Best of luck and I look forward to hearing about it's success. A good idea and something that will help us to get the world to view Blender as a professional-grade tool that doesn't carry a stereotypical "professional" grade price tag.
I think that if you love what you do, you should be able to make a living out of it.