[Bf-committers] Blender and Collada support. Does it matter?

Ton Roosendaal ton at blender.org
Fri Aug 19 13:01:17 CEST 2011

Hi Juan,

At Siggraph I sat down for a meeting with Khronos, and they started  
with "what can we do for Blender". I mentioned two main issues; 1)  
OpenGL compliancy (Intel especially) to make vendors give better  
information what kind of options to avoid or how to bypass it; 2)  
Collada support, which still fails to deliver up to expectations for  
(more advanced) animation im/export.

For Collada, Khronos would "look into it". They do seem to have some  
funding opportunities, but it's not common to pay for integration  
really. I'll keep in touch with them on it.

The main point however; as for most aspects in an open de-centralized  
project like Blender, is that we have to define & involve the  
stakeholders for features well. The responsibility of BF or (BI)  
should be as limited as possible here. It would be much more  
interesting - and beneficial for everyone - if our Collada project at  
least gets involvement from people who directly benefit from it.

In all our past Collada efforts, the developers working on it did this  
out of general interest or as GSoC project, but they were not the  
actual users nor depended on it for productions.

I really would prefer to not do this via donations or fund raisers,  
but to locate a couple of companies with development departments who  
can practically help us out here. Would you be able to help with that?  
It can be quite simple even, just companies scratching their itches...  
what would hold them back to help us, or how can we get them involved?



Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation   ton at blender.org    www.blender.org
Blender Institute   Entrepotdok 57A  1018AD Amsterdam   The Netherlands

On 19 Aug, 2011, at 3:49, Juan Linietsky wrote:

> Hi Guys!
>   I've been following blender development for a long time. I work as
> consultant in game development and worked with several companies,  
> providing
> technology for publishing downloadable games for PC, consoles and
> phone/tablets. I also published several open source libraries and  
> apps.
>   I work close with companies during all the development process,  
> and that
> includes artists. I've always used Collada, first with the now  
> discontinued
> FCollada and now OpenCollada. Collada support for 3DSMax and Maya  
> has always
> been rock solid and I've never experienced problems using it.
>   Now, you guys did an extremely good work with Blender. I've never  
> ever
> seen so many artists in the game development industry so eager to use
> blender and commenting how the 2.5 interface allowed them to finally  
> try it,
> and notice how their productivity increased tenfold. Thanks to the  
> 2.5 work,
> it seems there really is a lot of people willing to use Blender for  
> game
> development.
>   But Collada support is just not there, year after year there is  
> some work
> done but left unfinished, be it for GSOC or individually. Basic  
> geometry
> works, but more complex stuff such as baking IK or constraints is not
> supported and has never been. So It's impossible to use Blender for  
> very
> simple tasks such as animating a character, blend shapes, or export an
> object that follows a curve, thus alienating a large amount of  
> potential
> users.
>   Collada support was supposedly going to be completed in this GSOC,  
> but it
> seems none of these issues were even worked on, the developers and  
> student
> working on it did not  seem to have a clear direction on what to do,  
> and at
> the end, the only "relevant" changes on the collada exporter are  
> strange
> features such as animating light colors. I mean, it's as if work on  
> Collada
> is not even taken seriously by the community.
>   I know that Blender is volunteer work, that volunteers mostly work  
> in the
> areas that motivate them. I guess Collada is complex, difficult and  
> not very
> motivating, and I guess the Blender Foundation does not have the  
> resources
> to cost the development of it. But at this point I think it's weird  
> that the
> most relevant open 3D creative package does not properly support the  
> most
> relevant open 3D exchange format. I am constantly having to  
> recommend my
> clients to force their artists to continue using propertary software,
> against their will to use Blender and this doesn't feel any good. I  
> even
> considered getting donations from companies to add proper Collada  
> support to
> Blender, but after seeing how that worked for the Illusoft exporter,  
> which
> was always broken, unfinished and never really integrated as core,  
> it sounds
> like making clients waste money.
>   So, to attempt being more constructuve, shouldn't it be possible  
> for the
> Blender Foundation to work together with Khronos on this?  (read: get
> funding)  Khronos seems to be doing a great job developing and  
> promiting
> OpenGL, GLES and WebGL and OpenCollada already has paid developers.  
> So why
> not extending support to Blender?
> cheers
> Juan Linietsky
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