KARUNAGAPPALLY: 22-year-old Canadian Mike Pan and 23-year-old US national Jonathan Williamson have iconic status in open source software communities. The duo had been dabbling with the free and open source 3D computer graphics software ‘Blender’ ever since their pre-high school days and are known as Blender gurus, with numerous e-tutorials and a handful of books to their credit.
Speaking to Express here on the sidelines of a Blender Game Development workshop held in Amrita University on Thursday, the two opined that ‘Blender’ would be able to give proprietary softwares for 3D modelling which are popular among the professionals, a run for their money within the next five or six years. According to Jonathan, a major factor that keeps professionals away from Blender is that they are too accustomed to the workflow of ‘the big three’ in the industry, ‘Maya’, ‘3D Max’ and ‘Softimage’ Jonathan, who is the co-owner of the Blender specific tutorial branch, ‘Blender Cookie’, said that the software had been gaining popularity among developing countries of South America and Asia. “Small and upcoming studios and Universities prefer Blender against high priced proprietary softwares”. Expressing their excitement on learning that schools in Kerala have included open source operating systems and softwares like Blender in the curriculum, they said that students in the US and Canada too were shifting towards Blender as they couldn’t afford proprietary software.However, they feel that ‘Blender’ fails to make the cut into professional arena for want of a comprehensive curriculum.
“The Blender Foundation, which manages the software, has of late started taking initiatives to develop a curriculum by partnering with external groups, while they would be concentrating on development of the software.
Lack of expert trainers and curriculum is globally an issue with open source software like ‘Blender’, which are constantly redefining the accepted standards,” said Jonathan, who is one among the 30 certified trainers of the Foundation. Mike Pan, who is the author of Mastering Blender Game Engine and five other books on the software 3D modelling, said professionals had started watching the latest ‘Blender’ releases.
“A stigma had been attached with Blender that since it is free, it’s crap. But that is being changing as people like us have been showing them what can be done with the software”.