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How does Blender Make Money

So you may be wondering how we’re able to freely use the software without cost, yet Blender is still able to make the money used for further developments.

Blender makes money through the development fund, donations, merchandise, training and subscriptions. According to the 2020 financial report Blender made over 80% of its income from the development fund.

If you’re curious as to how Blender makes money and whether it will remain free, continue reading on for further information.

Is Blender 3D free?

Yes, Blender 3D is completely free for all users.

The Blender Foundation is a not-for-profit organization.

Many other 3D programs are paid and use a regular subscription service, yet Blender is able to remain free for its users. This is because they still gain revenue through donations from users, selling merchandise and books, through classes and training and also through Blender Studio.

Since Blender is such a versatile software, it has found many loyal users in different industries who are willing to provide donations to the foundation. Blender also earns donations from artists and corporations who are interested in Blender’s continuous growth and development.

Blender is an open-source program and what you create in Blender is yours. You own it and you can do what you want with it.

Will Blender ever cost money?

The answer is no. Blender will never cost money. Fortunately Blender will continually remain free for all users.

The reason for this is because Blender is under the GNU General Public License. What the license does is that it grans certain freedoms for any user of the software.

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish for any purpose
  • The freedom to study how the program works and change it
  • The freedom to redistribute it
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified version of it

External content: GPL four freedoms

Since Blender is protected by this license, it ensures that the program will remain free for all users. Free not only in terms of cost, but also in freedom to distribute copies of and make changes to the software.

Blender development fund

The Blender foundation is like a holding entity while the development work for Blender is carried out by the Blender institute

This varies of course but The Blender Institute has 26 full time employees, and 12 freelancers working remotely at the time of this writing.

External content: About the Blender institute

These employees work to improve the code quality, documentation, developer operations and support.

The Blender foundation asserts that Blender is a community effort, which can be seen through the Development Fund where many people and corporations in the Blender community donate to support the work on Blender’s development.

External content: Blender development fund

The development fund is a place where Blender community members can support the development and the future of Blender by donating money.

To contribute to the Blender development fund, there are a few options which are separated by tiers, depending on how much people are willing to contribute. Certain tiers of donations/membership can gain badges and having supporters’ names or corporations mentioned on the Blender.org website.

When we take a look at Blender’s annual financial report from 2020 below, we can see that the Blender development fund is responsible for more than 80% of Blender’s income.

https://download.blender.org/institute/blender-annual-report-2020-v1.pdf

On page 26, it also states that 20% of this income in 2020 was from patron supporters. The top tire corporate sponsorships.

As such, we see that Blender growth and success is highly resultant from the support received from members of the community.

Blender Studio

Blender Studio, formerly known as Blender Cloud, is a place where many individual artists release artworks/videos/animations that they have worked on using Blender.

People can pay for a subscription to gain access to watch the films released by Blender Studio, as well as gaining access to assets and online training.

In the past, Blender Cloud also provided cloud services for production and render management.

Blender studio is a great means of revenue for Blender since it provides its users an opportunity to learn from and support others in the Blender community.

The revenue gained through the Blender studio doesn't directly support the development of Blender. Instead it supports the Blender Studio as it's own entity.

The Blender studio produces open source movies and training material. The open movie creation is used to put demands on Blender development and test it in real world scenarios.

Much of the development happen in tandem with the Blender studio so that the tools they need in Blender are developed along side the creation of open movies.

Final thoughts

Overall, we can see that even though Blender is free for all users, the Blender Foundation is still able to earn enough money to support continuous development of the program. They gain this income through donations, training, merchandise and subscriptions through Blender Studio.

Since Blender’s has a large community of loyal users and corporations, they gain many donations and earn most of their revenue through the blender development fund.

Thank you for your time.

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Written by: Jun

Editor & Publisher

Erik Selin
3D artist, writer, and owner of artisticrender.com

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