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Blender compositor fund-raiser

60

Blender developer Jeroen Bakker is known for his tool Blender-aid and his recent demonstration of a hardware-accelerated compositor. Jeroen is now proposing a list of upgrades for the compositor (including hardware acceleration), and is raising funds so he can work on it. The project is divided into several separate stages - full completion will require $15.000.

Jeroen Bakker writes:

The initial proposal was done with technology in mind and has been discussed on IRC and the mailing list. The discussions lead to additional features that impacted the proposal.

The goal of the project is upgrade the core of the compositor to sustain current and future technological and artist's demands. The current compositor has known limitations in both area's. Francois Tarlier and Math Ebb has done a very good job on the artist side. Some of these wishes are very valuable and have big impacts on the core. Some of these wishes have been added to the proposal to make sure that the nodes don't need to be re-done in a later stage.

What will you get, when you fund to the project: Blender will get

  • Direct feedback to the artist during compositing. Parts of the composite that is finished, is displayed directly. No more waiting till the progress bar is at 100%. You can see and alter settings.
  • Better use of your computers hardware. This will increase the performance for workstations. Proposal is based on OpenCL.
  • Fallback for non-OpenCL capable systems. Not all hardware and OS's are capable to benefit from OpenCL (eg. render-farms and home users)
  • Optimized for massive resolutions. Think of 4k and 8K movies, high resolution posters. Resolution will not be limited anymore by memory.
  • Support for different color models:

    1. RGB, HSV, CIE 1931, and others
    2. A default color model can be configured for the compositor system. This can be changed per node.
  • Easier way to develop compositor nodes

    1. Conversion between color models but also other data-types will be done seamlessly.
    2. SDK will be updated
  • Introduction of a property data type.

    1. Camera information (used by Bokeh Blurs) can be synchronized with the scene data, but also retrieved from files.
    2. Frame information (original render resolution, frame number)

All nodes needs to be revised. This is an opportunity to update and align all nodes.

  • Pre-mul versus key-alpha
  • Same camera lenses on different blurs.

At the moment 1.900 USD has already be funded! But to make sure that this project will get a boost more money is needed. Total needed funds for the project is 15.000 USD, but the project will be started when 2.500 USD has been collected.

60 Comments

  1. I donate some time back and was looking at his site yesterday we are almost there to the first target amount of $2500. so hopefully this blender nation article will attract more attention and get him more support.

    these are some seriously cool proposals and will make a good tool even better.

    Fred

  2. That is totally needed. I think blender needs more devs involved in the OCL implementations. Most ifnot all the major speedups is due to OpenCL and the ability to do calculations on the graphic card(s) instead of CPU

  3. Ah that could be a really nice boost to blender's compositing capabilities.

    I hope i will use it as an efficient standalone compositor for compositing frames rendered by other 3d apps.

  4. Hi, guys&girls!

    Please, don't think that I'm snob... but is it not too much?
    Here we can hire the whole team of five talented coders for a month for this sum of money.

    I already donated to several projects and want to donate again but this "wish" for 15000$ looks a bit... discouraging for me. No, I'm not a poor guy and this isn't envy.

    Anyway - all these aims are really wanted things for Blender.

  5. Moolah: If you think you can get things cheaper in you area, why not hire some talented programmers and make a smiliar proposal for OpenCLing the smoke sim?

    And why do you think that development will take only one month. From what I read, the coder will be working several months, which makes things no more expensive than in your area.

    I personally don't think that 15.000 is a discouraging pledge. It's just realistic!

  6. Thanks everyone,

    Hi Moolah, I understand that it sounds like a lot of money, but the project is also big. Almost every part of the compositor needs to be touched. I am opening all books if anyone feels that this project is not worth this.

    Jeroen.

  7. Hi Jeroen. Sounds like a promissing project. I understand that dev-time is expensive and the time needed to really finish this should not be underestimated. My question: does it make any sense to split up the efforts like you did on the project page ? What if only the first "Tiles" part receives enough funding ? If you stop after that, does your work improve anything at all ? I just fail to see how a splitted funding for in example a "Tiles" section should work. Why not lift the bar to 5000 and be shure to get something useful in the end ? Christian

  8. Sorry but I have some objections to the proposal. First don't understand why is the money divided like that. Starting something is done in less in a second, i dont think it is worth $2.500. So it should be:

    Tiles $ 5.000 core of tile based compositor finished 0%, will not start
    OpenCL $10.000 core of opencl nodes finished 0%, will not start
    Migrate $15.000 migrate of all compositor nodes to the new compositor 0%, will not start

    And the last two should be merged into one. Why do we want the core of opencl nodes if we can't use it? So to be fair it should be:
    Tiles $ 5.000 core of tile based compositor finished 0%, will not start
    OpenCL $15.000 core of opencl nodes finished AND migration 0%, will not start

    And i also think all these donations should be done through the Blender Foundation.

  9. Christian: A tile-based compositor will already improve things a lot because well, it's tiled then. Meaning faster previews and also better support for multiple cores and possibly also higher resolution. Just like the current render system is also tiled, and for a reason.

  10. I agree with David, and on a side note...I think this whole precedent being set with making money for blender dev is ludicrous and more so...downright shameful....donate the money to the institute itself I say.......of course this is just my opinion. and I also would be less cynical if the number were a bit lower....

  11. Will certainly donate once I have the funds.

    I'm still fairly new to the compositor as well as the sequencer but I've noticed they overlap quite a bit in functionality. I suspect it's outside the scope of this project but it seems to me that they could/should be integrated a lot more than they currently are. Does this project address this at all (update nodes and the like)?

  12. Justin & David: Blender Foundation only hires people now on generic tasks, especially work that's not done voluntary easily. The open projects in Institute also have development targets, but for these projects *using* Blender is a focus too, so everyone in the developer community can help out.

    My preference is still to organize Blender as a world-wide collaboration project, distributed over as many people and companies as possible. That will keep it independent and strong. In such a project everyone can join equally, whether they do this 'gratis' in free time, as part of a job in a studio (already happens) or as an independent contractor who raises public funds.

    Blender is growing in complexity a lot, if we want to maintain a high standard we need to accept - even support - the fact that people will start making a living with Blender development. It'll bring us forward, and it'll remain in the true spirit of free and open software for everyone, including for professionals!

    -Ton-

  13. When I saw the title, it caught my interest. I would have donated but none of these features are in my interest. Although all of this work sounds amazing and the real ground work for the compositor might be good.

    Anyways i personally would like to see vector drawing and masking tools inside the compositor. That would have made me donate to the compositor overhaul.

    For some reason I am happy with the speed of the compositor. I feel like it mostly lacks some extended features

    thanks

  14. I understand Ton, but to Justin and David's point... people donate with the expectation that the money will be used to complete this... and this is all on good faith. There's lots that can go wrong leaving donating people left feeling taking advantage of. Jeroen could get hired full time mid project for example and no longer has time or is legally able to complete the project. Where's the obligation to release the source code?

    All they're saying is there ought to be something setup to allow development like this to occur but to allow the donating members some security in their donations. Right now there is nothing legal preventing this and nothing protecting donators from opportunists.

    Also, I don't mean this to be bad for this project or Jeroen, it's just that things happen that can't be anticipated and maybe the community could do better for projects such as this.

  15. I really like the idea, this makes blender a lot more competitive!
    The only thing I had problems with is finding the donate button. Maybe it's obvious for others, but 2 times, I just gave up because I could not find it in a few seconds.( I know, that's sad, but reality) Now I found it, but maybe a big link "donation page" or something like that would help.

    regards

    -Mau

  16. @David u said what I was trying to say -- in a much better way. Thanks.
    @Scott I was more concerned about the division of the tasks than the overall usefullness.
    And yes, I believe it can be done. And yes, I will donate.

  17. The German blender videotutorial site BlenderEi has also donated!

    If everyone of us could just spend one dollar, then with the help of the blender community, we would take Blender 3D into a new level.

    Thanks to all developers, who work on making blender stronger and stronger!

  18. I didnt mean to sound harsh. Im not against these kind of initiatives. I just wanted to point that BF could act as an intermediary, to gather the money, and give its name as guarantee, and even value the workload to establish the goals. Since it is an open project, no one can forbid other ways to do it, but i would donate more money to a independent dev that goes through the BF path.

    Im sure that Jeroen Bakker is an honest guy, and he has proven that he can complete the job. But seeing that Blender popularity is growing, and other fundraiser campaigns will pop up, i think that we, as a community, should open this discussion.

  19. @Scott, I'm really not strong with team's management. So pardon me, guys, maybe I had thought unrealistic about this thread.
    @Jeroen, Seems that I'm not competent with this stuff (b'coz I'm not a programmer). So I wish you the big success with this and try to get more attention to get this summ. I'll donate after I get the new credit card instead of expired. I use compositing a lot and plan to but a new PC with some powerful graphics card to use OpenCL.

    little off-topic:
    my really big wishes are OpenCL boosted particles, SPH fluids mesh generation (and fingers crossed - we believe in Raul Fernandez who will make this real) ^___^
    and Kai Kostack's Demolition Script for Blender 2.5 (also Open CL boosted).

  20. funny how people want cutting edge technology and when somebody is working on something
    complex and time consuming which cannot just be done with some hours spend in the free time
    the users rebell against this costing money.

    man guys grow up - this is sad to read.

  21. @claas: I don't know what you're reading, I don't see anyone griping about the money being needed, I only see concern over assurance that the money is being used appropriately and efficiently.

    "man guys grow up"

    ... no need to belittle peoples opinions like that.

  22. Very important:
    Support for DPXlog with industry standard look-up tables and also selection of standard color spaces such as REC709, P3, or whatever colorspace, just like -for example- Nuke does it.
    People in the VFX industry just want to take the DPX files from the lab or DIT, composite their stuff and then send it to the conforming/color grading.

  23. I would donate if I have the money (out of job currently). I think it's worth it to donate to people who already demonstrate their ability.

    We must not look at the small scale (donating to this person), we must look at it at bigger scale (we are actually donating to all blender user). This is because once everything is said and done, everybody get to use Blender for free.

    There are times I started to worry, in a psychological sense, what if everybody (blender developer) started thinking, "if he got paid to do this, why should I keep doing all these for free?" and suddenly blender development slows down. But I guess in the end the Occam's razor still rules true. There will be people who willing to develop for free, there are people who loves Blender but also got bills to pay, people with extra cash who willing to donate, people who short on cash and used Blender because it's free.

    Blender wise, it's a chicken and egg question. We want Blender to be powerful just like 3d app that people get paid to work on them, and yet we want Blender to stay free. Sometimes there are core thing that really needed but nobody want to work on it, yet.

    So I guess what happens here is a good thing. People with some cash to spare help donate to someone who willing to develop.

  24. Quandtum

    maybe I read something different - it reminds me a lot about past discussions when the term donation was used
    to fund development of Blender through independed people.

    I am not belittling people, maybe I am just sarcastic sometimes - structural concerns can also be voiced in a different
    more mature manner.

  25. Alex Delderfield (AD-Edge) on

    Would be great to see the compositor brought up to this level.

    I agree with david however "I just wanted to point that BF could act as an intermediary, to gather the money, and give its name as guarantee, and even value the workload to establish the goals."
    Ton knows Blender best, and I would hope he would have at least *some* input into the direction of the project. I dont know if he is or isnt however, and like David has said, its not that we dont trust Jeroen, not at all, but its like having a car which a bunch of people use, one of which built *the majorty* of it, and one of the users wants to do some mods. Wouldnt u consult the original builder first to see how best to approach the situation? This may have been done to some level already, so correct me if Im wrong.

    I feel like what Im suggesting somewhat goes against some of the open-source values of Blender, I hope not, but I just feel like, for such a major project, this angle needs to be considered seriously.

    Also what would happen if the project suddenly couldnt reach the right amount of funding in a later stage? Would everything before be mostly useless? Bit of a worry, and I know others have brought this up, but I am glad at least that it is broken into smaller sections, allowing other parts to be started sooner, rather than waiting for the whole $15k to gather. Having bits and pieces of promising development though-out the duration of the project would help to raise awareness and hype, leading to more donations and a stronger following (lets hope) :)

    Dont get me wrong, Im all for donating to this - and most definitely will, Blender needs more people like this, and I think its a good way for devs to improve blender whilst making some income to cover their time. Everyone wins.

    Goodluck Jeroen, looking forward to watching this progress :)

  26. @claas
    Whatever it reminds you of, it's not the case here. Hardly anybody is complaining about the idea of donating. The only concern is about the assurance the money is not wasted.
    I think the main problem is the organization of such ventures. As somebody has pointed, it's even hard to find the 'donate' button. Once money is involved, things should be worked out carefully, so that it's clear how to do it, how the money is spent, etc.

  27. The Gimp, once the jewel of desktop linux, is languishing without the love of the movement's software engineers, despite plans to fix many of the 'flaws' that the fickle community deemed is holding it back. Perhaps the money would be better spent completing GEGL integration with The Gimp and then using this library with the help of its developers to paint surfaces in Blender. Could community members, who are not developers but would like to contribute, successfully invest their time and skills relieving developers of the duties of planning, collecting, funding and guaranteeing paid development on the Blender code base without adding to the Foundation's workload? The successful development of self-organising, self-financing developers and sustainable sources of revenue is essential to the future of any major open source project. This may sound trite coming from a complete Blender noob, but I would like Blender, with ALL the features and ideas dreamed up by this community, to still be around by the time I no longer am (a noob that is), including a good fork or two and a kiss and make-up down the line to spice these pages up a bit. So kudos to those that do stuff, and bah humbug to those who don't!

  28. I've donated about 20, and I agree with Ton AND David, Blender is Free, Open Source and will remain, but it needs to improve with costs or not, but keep in mind that people who work on because we pay them, will work faster because they do it full time (often).
    Regards

  29. I am happy to pay what I can, which isn't a lot but adds up if everyone contributes.

    I would love to see interlaced support for SD video however, it isn't well supported at the moment.

  30. I stand by my word....as I do not see this as a "full time" project...on the other hand if it is a "full time" project, and there is no "day time job", then yes by all means this seems fair, but for people to contribute....and project will not "kick off" until the goal is reached???? what if it is never reached??? what happens then?...after contributions were already made.

  31. To those with concern wether Ton is involved in and approves this project, here are two quotes from Twitter:

    Ton Roosendaal
    Taking quality time to go over @atmind proposal for new compositor pipeline. He'll be here in 30 min. to go over it in detail.

    Jeroen Bakker
    Have discussed the compositor and had a good bite with @tonroosendaal. Came back with very heavy book about physical based rendering.

    JustinBarrett: This project is so big, even if it's not "Full Time", it must be at least "Half Time" (while from the scope anything but full time seems unrealistic.
    Fortunately, the goals are set in a manner that even if the 15k are not reached, thanks to the tile-based goal everyone will get speed-ups and high-res support even without OpenCL. And if only 10k are reached, it's at a stage where volunteers can convert the rest of the nodes.

    But it's right that to build up trust, an escrow holder for the donation would be needed (like in Kickstarter).

    calmasacow: OpenFX would be really really cool!

  32. my intention was to point out that I do think it deserves full time attention, but does not feel like it is heading in that direction, but I digress...let the voting be done through currency...and let me be silent.

  33. Isn't Blender in need of a total OpenCL (re)build-up, I mean isn't this doing only a small piece and later on doing everything will end-up in re-doing the 'same (15k) piece'?

  34. Thanks communnity for all the feedback and donations to this project.

    @required That will not be the case, you can't implement OpenCL on all area's. Also the project delivers some software components that will speedup OpenCL adaptions in other area's in Blender. The prototype of these components have already been used by other project with succes.

  35. Greetings All,
    If anyone cares 20 EURO is about 27 US.
    Slightly off topic - Can I claim donations to such projects (open source or foundations) on my US federal taxes ? ;)
    Tom

  36. not a lawyer, and not an American, but NO. You're donating to him, not Blender Foundation (which is a non profit, and I think this one you CAN claim).

    This is where letting Ton/BF do the fundraiser is a good idea (if my assumption BF being a a non profit organization and CAN claim is right) since people can get tax exemption, and BF can hires/pay him to do the work.

    but like i said, I'm NOT a lawyer and NOT an American. It just that Blender Nation KIVA group introduces me to KIVA, and started to learn all this US/International donation/tax thingy.

  37. We are all Blender users, some of you even have money to give. Why don't we raise money for Blenderartists.org.
    It is the unofficial Blender forum and has more users and better support than the official one. We really need it, and the site is down like 30% of the time.

  38. I said it before, differently but again... Why don't we setup another 'Blender-aid' so the Blender Foundation can spent its money on something else ;)

  39. Blender foundation must interject at this point as this is becoming a test case for future developments in the name of blender. In order to ensure that the correct precedent is set, it is ESSENTIAL that the blender foundation protects the interests of the users (specifically those donating towards the project).

    While it may be the case that on this occasion the developer is known to Ton and the Blender foundation it is not to say that a future developer may seek to use this goodwill in a fraudulent way.

    Please Ton and the rest of the Blender Foundation, please ensure that the correct procedure for this and similar developments is defined now.

    I second the motion that funds be held in escrow by the blender foundation.

    Additionally, it would be prudent for funds in the escrow account be paid out upon completion of development milestones. In cases it may be necessary to release a modest retainer at the outset of the project to ensure that the developer is being cared for and that they are financially positioned to begin the work.

    This is a very important change to the way in which blender development is being performed. As Ton mentioned this is essential in order for blender to shine, but let us ensure that this is not tarnished in the future.

    PROTECT BLENDER NOW!!!

    ps This in no way reflects upon the reputations of those involved in this particular development, but outlines a cautious yet flexible approach to the future of blender and the foundation.

  40. @jiggles100

    Ton can't, due to the nature of Blender itself. If Ton decided to protect Blender in any way by changing Blender license (by making it free to use and the source is open, but not GPL/LGPL/whatever) then Ton is against the original $100,000 donator. (Yes, I'm that old).

    Just like selling Blender in different name is not illegal, anyone can take any donation to make changes to blender. even if we try to stop this, there's nothing wrong with making a fork. But we don't want this. For each fork, Blender development is separated.

    In the end of the day, "customer beware" rules. I won't donate here and there, but since Jeroen have done great things before, and able to show proof of ability, he deserve it.

    Come to think of it, do any of us ever send some cash (via paypal or whatever) to people who do great things for free to Blender? You know, like, hey, thanks for putting this into blender, here, take this $25.

    I seriously don't understand some of the sentiment here. Just like that fundraising for Sintel director, it's like if someone is making any money with Blender (specially donation), except for Ton and the official BF people, suddenly it's so wrong.

    Occam razor conclusion, is that, in the end of the day, it's a DONATION. Vote with your money. Heck, if Jeroen want to create a fork of Blender and sell it (the OpenCL Blender or something) he actually can.

    Lots of people donated their free time and brain by donating code to Blender, and once in a while someone asked for donation, some of us actually have to voice things out.

    @Josip, ever put a donate button on the site? Even gamedev lock a thread on this: http://www.gamedev.net/forum-3/announcement-1-help-support-gamedevnet/

  41. moving into paid plug-in?

    i don't know why, but it seems that one day we might see paid plug-in for Blender. if every time someone ask for donation and we attack them like no tomorrow, maybe people would then develop paid plug-in for Blender instead. maybe a fork too.

    oh well.

  42. OK. OK. On the other hand, BF indeed can be a middle man.

    1) to vet person/s.
    2) to analyze project + path + future
    3) to allow for tax claim (if possible).

    but then it would go back to square one. should once Ton put his foot in, other developers might start asking/wish to get paid/donated too. so maybe it's a good thing for Ton to distance himself, at least as far as the money concerned.

    at least Ton can say "well, it's that guy pet project, and it's other people money and they wish to donate."

    while we doesn't want any predecent with external project donation for blender, we don't want people to start asking for cash before writing a line of code for Blender - officially.

    Occam razor conclusion, we must understand the nature of Blender, and the license involved. it's free not in beer, but in freedom. including the freedom to ask for donation to work on a pet project.

    oh well.

  43. Quandtum has many good points, good discussion all around.
    Its actually the VFX and Games industry (the studios) that need to fund Blender dev, both the Bfoundation and individuals working outside the BF. Studios can have the individual under contract and better make sure the work gets done. But the studios in general haven't realized yet they would be saving money and getting a better tool in the long run; instead they keep funding Autodesk. What is holding these many studios back? Integration into their existing pipelines is the main issue, and the GPL is not something that really gets in the way either (at least when looking at strictly integration). The biggest roadblock is blender's unstable API, the C API has no official version number, the Python API is better but still unstable.

  44. @Fable Fox

    Yeah, fair point ... I was rockin' my soap box at the time, but I feel that blender has a strong community and that it is in everybody's interests to maintain solidarity of spirit through the Foundation.

    I think perhaps that the sentiment you inferred from my comments may have been slightly awry. I simply wished to express my concern that a precedent is being set here and that it would be better for some framework to be put in place. As the bumper sticker says "Trust in your god, but lock your car!!!"

    I should probably be more restrained in my comments, but I feel so strongly about blender because it is so important (due to the monopoly that is Autodesk).

    I would gladly donate if I had the additional assurance that handling such developments through the foundation would bring. It would seem that from the comments above I would not be alone.

    I understand that the BF cannot afford to hire developers full time and that they have enough on their plate but I remain of the opinion that anything done in the name of blender (donations) should remain within the pervue of the foundation in order to protect the reputation of blender itself. After all, why limit the design of the logos yet not the reputation?

    So I would also like to apologise to those who may have misinterpreted my intent and also to Jeroen as I forgot to express my thanks for undertaking such a giant task which should be applauded.

  45. It appears to me that Blender Foundation (or an appropriate legal entity derived from it and perhaps subordinate to it) may need to start managing these "will code for money" initiatives. As an American citizen, I regard "this amount of money" as being quite reasonable, even slight. My concern is that contributors need to have some entity that can, in essence, provide for escrow of the collected funds. The money is paid out in installments as progress toward the funded goal is properly demonstrated.

    I agree with Ton's earlier posting that "we must accept and support the fact that people will make money from Blender development." Blender has quietly "crossed the bar" into a position where people do, in fact, rely upon Blender for professional work and therefore do need a level of software development and support commensurate with that ... a level that is above what someone might be able to provide "in their spare time," or "with their spare money, if they have any." It's going to be a full-time effort, by someone somewhere, and we must be able to compensate them accordingly.

    But... "do I want to give $15,000.00 to you, oh well-meaning and earnest individual?" No, to protect my interests as well as your own (and to give YOU(!) the documents you'll need a tax-time, no matter where in the world you live ...), I want to place my funds in escrow as what amounts to a "completion guarantee."

    This might not be something that the BF has stepped-up to do yet, but I do think it's time to have the necessary legal infrastructures in place to be able to engage in such initiatives when we so choose. We must recognize that from time to time this will indeed be required. Blender is more than an adolescent now.

  46. Postscript: "Oh Lord, please don't let me be mis-und-er-stood..."

    There are many ways that my posting above "could be taken wrongly, if you look at it the wrong way," and I do sincerely hope that what I am saying will not be misconstrued.

    I actually take the idea quite in-stride that someone may step up and say, "I can do this, and I want to devote my full-time effort to doing it, and so in order to support myself while doing it I need financial support." I have zero problem with that and in fact I expect it will occur more and more often. Everybody has to eat. Significant undertakings (like movies, for example) require financial support, and quite a bit of Blender's development is in fact supported by the financial commitments that were placed into worthy projects like Durian. (They also required a director and an executive producer!)

    Now comes the matter of ... what do we need to put in-place, legally and organizationally and otherwise, in order to facilitate these matters, given that they undoubtedly will surface again and again. This is not a matter of "I do/don't personally trust you," or "people in such-and-such place could live for two centuries on $15,000," or any of that. These are, at the heart of it, perfectly understandable business matters and necessary procedures. It is strictly in that vein that I made my original comments.

  47. :)

    Simple answer, only donate as much money as you are comfortable losing. you never know what the future holds. success is sweet, failure always teaches you something. Give without expectation and be happy if something comes of it.

    keep things in context, I would easily spend $20 on lunch some days, I have even given that amount to a homeless person on the street thinking it was likely he would piss it away.

    When people call for the BF/BI to manage these things I hope they realise the extra administration burden they would be placing on it. Honestly I think more independently managed development is a great thing. anything going into trunk still has to be approved by developers with committ access. the network of trust will keep blender safe.

    Sure there may be a couple of failed startups that people put money into, but thats how things go. dont be sad about it.. donate knowing full well that this can happen and be OK with it.

    Good luck with everything.

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