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Brecht van Lommel leaves Blender Institute, will work on Arnold renderer


Brecht just announced that he's leaving Blender development and that he has landed a new job at Solid Angle.

Brecht writes:

In July I will start a new job at Solid Angle, working on the Arnold renderer. This unfortunately means I will no longer be able to add new features to Cycles, though I'll still be around and happy to assist other developers.

Many important features in past releases have already been implemented by other contributors, and I expect that the improvements will keep coming.

As for other Blender development, I'll continue to be involved as a volunteer.

Many thanks to all contributors and users. I'm especially grateful to Ton for supporting my work on Cycles. I think we have pushed open source production rendering quite a bit further, and I hope to see you all continue doing awesome things with Cycles.


You will be missed Brecht! Thanks so much for all the amazing things you have done for Blender.

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. Congrats and good luck to you, Brecht! And truly, thanks for all the wonderful development you've given to Blender. Solid Angle's hiring a good guy--you're a game-changer.

  2. rather painful news, I really liked the direction Brecht brought to the blender development, hopefully he'll have time to stay in the loop ... but good luck with the new job.

  3. great to see a blender developer crossing the bridge and being hired to work on highly recognized commercial renderer. without him we would probably be stuck with the blender internal. I just hope we can find a developer that is anywhere near as talented as him to keep Cycles going. clearly he got a great head start in modern renderers and was a great hiring choice by solid angle. we all wish you, Brecht the best of luck on his newly forged career path. thanks for all of your important contributions in making blender awesome.

  4. Thanks for all your work! I wish you the best of luck at your new job. You've done amazing things with Blender.

  5. Terrible message. Thanks for all Brecht, it's probably a big step for you, but for Blender is very bad news. I am personally of the opinion that the money from the failed project goosbery should be used in the vast majority for programmers.
    Do we need short films? I'm not a fan of them. Both the Sintel and Tears of Stell are not breathtaking, especially storyline is week. In my opinion only great short film is Caminandes 2. Would it not be better to collect money for a specific part of program improvements?
    Money is the weakest point of open projects, as a blender. I'm curious what are the Brescht reasons for leaving, just prestige, or also cash.
    Would not it be reasonable to pay a small fee for downloading Blender, for example 1 euro?
    Without developers such as Brecht Blender future is questionable.
    All the best Brecht.

    • But there are more developers like Brecht. Ofcourse, Brecht has been and will be important for blender. But cycles is feature complete now and Thomas knows an awful lot about cycles as well.

      • not to mention the other bunch of developers, such as dalai falento (baking), broadstu (hair), and about 5-10 other developers who submit patches less often. and also not mentioning the development of metropolis sampling by lukas stockner

      • of course, that was not my point. There are many great deweloprwów working for Blender, and Cycles too. But not so many working on the development full time. There is no so many developers who are familiar with rendering, so Brecht loss is significant.

        if anyone knows how many programmers are working on the development of V-Ray, Arnold, or Renderman?

        • It's up to the people using Blender professionally to view it as a software like maya or max, deserving of the same price. 1 euro per download probably won't change the situation and might make less people try Blender.

          This companies only have so many developers because most professionals are paying quite a lot for it, regularly.

          I think the only hope is on us who use it professionally. We are not as many as autodesk's users, but we are the ones who can start this. With more people donating considerably, Blender will be a more professional tool, allowing more people to donate and so on. It's an investment we need to make.

    • People have a right to free personal decision in life, without owning anyone an explanation. Just because he's been of great aid to Blender thus far doesn't mean it's his obligation to do so. Sometimes, a choice in life is just a matter of personal direction. It's better to congratulate him on his accomplishment, to thank him for the contributions he has given over the years, and to respect his personal decision.

      • YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I did not meant that Brecht was obliged to
        stay. I keeping my fingers crossed for him. I know that the dream of
        every developer is to work on great softwere like Arnold.
        I just wanted to point out that Blender to continue to grow should attract full time developers such as Brecht.
        these are only my high expectations. I think Blender with Cycles has
        already become a very good 3D program, but maby is is too good for
        hobbyists, while, behind other programs for professionals.
        Blender wants to dewelop towards a professional tool, for such a small
        group of developers Brecht loss can be significant. Ofcorse I can be
        wrong :)


  6. Well, of course, I wish that this is the best decision for you Brecht. You've been in a similar situation with Octane and the BF before so I guess that you're now equipped with what it takes to make a successful transition from OpenSource to closed source. Although I do not consider that this is any more recognition for him than staying as the lead at the BF -after all you won't be any better on your first day at Solid Angle than on your last day at the BF- it still can prove to be an opportunity if the move was made for the right reasons.

    Anyway, I can only wish you the best of all lucks and the same for all Blender users because we will need some to replace you. :)

  7. First of all good luck to him.
    Cycles is the best thing blender had in many many many years so... very good job.
    Should I now take popcorns and watch the end of a golden age? I'm seriously confused.

    • Why should you be? With the addition of volumetrics, cycles has been declared feature complete. I don't think it is a coincidence that Brecht leaves now. The fact that the renderer is entering the state where it is mainly aboout speeding it up (for which Sergey joined the cycles team), means Brecht can leave with pride. He is ready for a new challenge. I just hope we will learn what his contributions to Arnold are. Very exciting!

      • I would be as optimistic as you, but for what I saw so far I think that the development of cycles could pass from running in a Smart city car on a highway to running in a Lada 1200 car with flat tires on the dirt.

      • well cycles is not completely feature complete, (is anyone forgetting micropolygon displacement.) but it is off to a great start and I would think that the hardest in development is already behind us. that said who knows what kind of technology the future may dish out and the development team needs to be prepared for the evolution in modern rendering.

    • Well, don't know if I could take this weekly meeting minutes as an answer to my question .
      "Brecht will not be able to further work on Cycles features"
      pretty obvious, tell us something we don't know about plan B.
      "With Brecht less active, Ton suggests to add Pablo Vazquez (active user) and Antonis Ryakiotakis (as coder) to the UI Module team"

      ehm, what?
      Now my byte of optimism is a bit.
      Maybe it's worth it to spend a dollar in popcorn.

  8. Thank you for all you've done Breacht. The Blender community is eternally grateful. I hope you enjoy you're new vocation.

  9. Congratulations, Brecht! Good luck!
    I would like to thank you with my whole heart - not only for the Cycles,
    but also for other new/improved features and hundreds (thousands?) of fixed Blender bugs...

  10. Congrats Brecht! Thanks for all the hard work. I'm sure you'll blow everyone's mind at Solid Angle, like you did with us :)

  11. SuperDamuho . on

    Congratulations on your new adventure, Brecht! You'll be missed here in blender-blender land. I guess some of the boys here have to get out sometime. But I'm sure you'll be back with more goodies! Happy Coding:D

  12. wow.. I had to pick up my jaw from the floor after reading this.. amazing news for Brecht, congrats.. however horrible news for blender.. we can only hope there is another genius out there that can fill his shoes.. the good news is that cycles is practically feature complete so he is leaving at the best time...

  13. andrewpprice on

    Congrats Brecht! You earned it. It was only a matter of time before another company recognized your talent.

    Serious question: Any devs out there to fill his seat? :)

    • I think there are quite a few. Sergey was moved to the Cycles team to do speed ups. He will prolly also do the opensubdiv integration. I guess Thomas will continue to improve volumetrics. Etc. And perhaps there is someone completely new out there...

    • There are a few I've seen listed. I think with time, we'll see new faces emerge. Though, let's also not forget that Cycles is also an open standalone product now. Gradually, we're seeing more developers gaining familiarity with and working with Cycles now. We might see work that might very well find its way back to the original Blender implementation.

      As more people take interest in Cycles, and its capacity grows onward with current developers such as Thomas Dinges, we might benefit from this open effort in much the same way several other open standards have grown.

    • Charlie Ringström on

      Bug on your website, which makes it impossible to reach (another bug I wanted to report) There's no other way to contact you. I posted the bug description on "Press" at

  14. Really good news for Brecht, but also really sad news for Blender. Brecht was one of the pillars of Blender's success, kind of an icon in this software development. It'd be really hard to find anyone nearly as talented to work on Cycles (no offense to other guys, though).

    • Brecht is a very talented guy for sure, but I wouldn't know how to compare the different core devs. Saying that it is hard to find anyone nearly as talented is a strong exageration and overly dramatic. The man is not some kind of halfgod with superhuman coding skills.

  15. Congrats! And let me express my deep gratitude for the huge amount of time you and Thomas have devoted to Cycles.

  16. Very happy for you Brecht. It goes to show the quality of your work on Cycles that Solid Angle want to bring you on board for Arnold. Also very happy to hear that you'll stick around and contribute to other areas of Blender. Good stuff :)

  17. All the best to you Brecht. Good luck on your new venture. Glad to hear you'll still be around also. You've made a lot of people's life happier now that they can render photo-realistically.

  18. George Ritchie on

    congrats on your new job, Brecht. Cycles is the reason we are introducing Blender to our maya/max/nuke vfx shop. A great contribution. Like others, i hope you can a little time to spend on Cycles mentoring for the next waves of development.

  19. Thanks so much for Volumetrics, I cannot live without it anymore! I'm sure Solid Angle is not the end of the world, so keep up making magnificent stuff!

  20. Yes! we now got an inside man in the Arnold Renderer to gather all there secrets and bring them back to Blender.

  21. Denis Dzyuba on

    Best of luck Brecht, and thanks a lot for making Cycles what it is: I am a great fan of it and even coped some flack for writing off the Blender Internal along with CRT monitors and floppy disks. ☺And to all who already mourn the Cycles development, what's the point in all these open source community projects if one person getting on with his or her life can leave them in limbo? Surely there are other capable developers out there! The important thing was to start, to lay the groundwork, and Brecht has done that. Besides, with the possible exception of 3D-textures (I just don't know whether the Cycles volumetrics support them already), all Cycles really needs is speed, speed, and speed: optimisation.

  22. Brecht is still one of the blender people, who inspires me the most by his struggle for releasing his code under opensource...

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