[Bf-committers] Blender Proceedings, proposal

Doug Ollivier doug at flipdesign.co.nz
Mon Oct 25 00:53:53 CEST 2010

I think its a great idea.

However, I'm quite curious how this fits within the overall universe 
that is Blender 3D  I.e. what is currently being funding, what community 
needs are being met (or not), and what community needs are most unmet. I 
certainly think it has a very high value but is it the best bang for 
buck at this point in time?

What is the goal of the magazine?
- To create more funding for the BF?
- To encourage new users to use Blender?
- To encourage more cooperation and a sense of community?
- To provide professional documentation?

*BF Met Needs*
- Open Movie projects - Pushing the software for advanced users and 
production, Aiming at the studio market.
- Developer funding - Pushing the software from the technical side in 
order to have new and innovative features that expand the possibilities.
- Training DVD's and Documents - Push education of the software.

*Community Met needs*
- The BlenderArt Magazine is already filling this role from an art and 
tutorial perspective somewhat
- Blender Nation is already filling this role from a development news 
- Blender Cookie is already providing high quality commercial tutorial 
content, and providing new feature tips for free

*BF Somewhat Met Needs*
- Usability funding - has currently been done with the hiring of Matt a 
while ago. but has so far focused on meeting existing user needs, rather 
than challenging some of the fundamental interface workflows.  Certainly 
a great effort with great results, but also somewhat limited in the 
scope of development.

*BF Unmet Needs*
- Repository / Thorough Documentation funding (which is where this 
magazine may half fit in) is certainly largely unmet since some of the 
earlier training manuals for Blender 2.3/2.4.
- Usability Funding specifically targeted at "New Inexperienced Users".  
Good usability will remove the need for certain amounts of 
documentation, and will thus allow documentation funding to be more 
effective in the future. It will also increase the user base of Blender 
by welcoming and encouraging users to give it a shot.

So yes, great idea. but from my perspective it may not solve what 
'I'(subjective) consider to be Blenders current largest challenge.  And 
that is inspiring new users to keep working with Blender rather than 
giving up to early on.

Perhaps funding can be organised for both?

*Usability Research*
I was recently asked to be involved in a Blender usability study by a 
student at the University of Waikato, So there are certainly 
supported/free efforts that could feed valuable information into the 
growth of the Blender user base.  The challenge will be implementing 
design changes within Blender based on the results of these studies.  
These studies need to focus on usability from 3 aspects in order to be 
holistic in their approach.
- New users,  Have the best and most honest questions that will 
challenge the most fundamental interface decisions
- Existing users, Will be able to describe, and talk about the aspects 
they find easy, and those they find difficult. they will be able to look 
at the challenge from a task based. or outcome based perspective and 
provide ways to speed up getting from A to B. They will be able to 
question more complex interface design decisions
- Expert Users, Will be able to push the development of Blender from a 
pipeline/integration perspective, but are often more accepting of 
workarounds.  (this is already largely met with the open projects, so I 
feel is the least useful from an independent study perspective)


Doug Ollivier
Industrial Interface Designer
/ Blender Trainer and Educator

P.s. I will be honest up front that this email somewhat pushes my own 
agenda from my unique perspective. But the big question that I ask is 
about "what projects/ideas could the BF be spending its time on" and 
"what ideas will meet the BF goals the best" i cannot answer that, but 
the questions do need to be answered.

P.s.2 If funding is available for usability research, I am willing to 
put in a proposal to do/organise the work, and to chuck in my day job to 
work on it full time for 6 months.

On 25/10/2010 3:35 a.m., Ton Roosendaal wrote:
> Hi all,
> This was mailed to the bf-docboard list as well, but it's a good
> topic to get feedback on here as well.
> Here's an idea I have to get public funding via our community to
> increase the quantity and quality of documentation projects.
> "Blender Proceedings"
> - Magazine style and size, full color
> - 80 pages, quality paper, 200 grs cover
> - Regular issues, like 4 x per year
> - Contents available in wiki.blender.org compatible formatting and
> license
> - Printed versions being sold online, pdf (ebook?) freely downloadable
> Topics for a Proceedings issue can depend on anything we consider
> worth investing time in. Especially it can become a means for our
> active documenters (and new writers) to spend considerable time on a
> documentation project while getting a fee paid for it. I also consider
> to invite developers to participate in this, to get good technical
> (but readable for users!) docs.
> In many cases a Proceedings can be filled by multiple authors, they
> then just share the fees. An editor (and reviewer) should be found as
> well, who can get a mentoring fee.
> The name "Proceedings" has been picked to not present this as manual
> or tutorials, but to always strive for reflecting current development,
> or important missing docs for Blender. Issues can also be a report on
> activities such as the Sintel Open Movie project, or the full report
> on all presentations at the Blender Conference.
> To make issues somewhat attractive, artwork or galleries can be
> included as well.
> Bizzplan:
> - printing costs 4000 euro (1000 copies)
> - writer fixed fee: 3000 euro
> - mentor fixed fee: 500 euro
> - DTP design: 2400 euro
> With a sales price of 19 euro, it will need to sell a little over 500
> to get return of costs. My estimate is we can sell maybe a 1000,
> provided it's well designed and attractive.
> Profits then goes to financing the next issue. The better it works,
> the more docs!
> After doing a first issue, we can also evaluate it, and offer a
> subscription model to pre-finance it all (4 issues for 60 euro or so).
> Start shooting crits! :)
> Thanks,
> -Ton-
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation   ton at blender.org    www.blender.org
> Blender Institute   Entrepotdok 57A  1018AD Amsterdam   The Netherlands
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