I’ve been lucky enough to have now attended two Blender Conferences. The conference takes place in Amsterdam every October. I can’t even begin to describe what fun it is! The variety of presentations given by attendees is just staggering, but what truly makes it an amazing event is the people. Everyone is there for the same exact reason, to celebrate Blender, and that means you have something to talk about with everyone!
At the end of the conference, the Blender Institute opens its doors for a day and anyone can swing by and hang out. It’s the perfect end to the conference, and usually everyone’s last chance to see each other until the next year.
I tend to go into the Institute with a little bit of an agenda. You see, all the programmers are there – and there are computers on every desk! There’s no better opportunity to sit with them and try to demonstrate some of the ways Blender could be improved. And I’m not above begging, if it comes to that. 😉
In 2013, I convinced them to add Bezier handles to their rotoscoping splines. Last year, in 2015, I grabbed a marker and actually started making suggestions for the compositor on their big dry-erase wall. I started it as a joke, but Ton (creator of Blender) thought it was a good idea and helped out. I kept it limited to small things that would just help speed up the current workflow. They’re well aware of the big things that need to be fixed, so no need to keep pestering them about those.
After the crowd thinned out a bit, Sergey (one of Blender’s lead programmers) came over and we talked about the features. Naturally, he had some ideas about how to incorporate them, and agreed with me that they were all pretty easy things. (Well, easy for a master coder like Sergey!)
Amazingly, he actually had about half the list done three days later! I was home in Los Angeles by this time, and was able to download a build of Blender that had the new features. And as of right now, a few months later, he’s gotten to just about everything. There’s still a couple of outstanding requests, but I have no doubt he’ll get to them. I’ve got some videos up on Vimeo showing those new features, and also did a demonstration of them for World Blender Meetup Day 2016. I’ll get that video posted here soon.
Anyway, in case you missed these on the Blender Foundation’s Youtube channel, here are my two presentations from the conferences I’ve attended. Both are about visual effects, mostly compositing. I discuss things like how I discovered Blender and began using it, what I used it for at Rhythm & Hues Studios, and I show demos of how I’m still using it today.
Blender Conference 2013 – Using Blender for VFX in Hollywood
Blender Conference 2015 – Real-world Compositing for Film & TV