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View Full Version : Editorial: How open film project Cosmos Laundromat made Blender better



robertoortiz
09-04-2015, 08:38 AM
My good friend Jason Van Gumster wrote this article. My point of posting this article, is to emphasize that this kind of
shorts are great for developing and testing new toolsets. Maybe NT could take a page from them.
Quote:
"Roughly one year later, the production is complete. According to Ton Roosendaal, who helms both the Blender Institute and Blender Foundation, the production costs weighed in at just under 400,000 euros. This paid for everything, including three full-time developers, two developers for three-month stretches, seven artists for a 10-month period, and four artists for three months. The results? In addition to a visual treat of a film with a great start to an engaging story, there were quite a few development milestones:
•Improved hair/fur simulation and rendering
•Enhanced 3D view (with cool effcts like screen-space ambient occlusion and depth of field)
•Painting features and performance increases (including cavity masks)
•Updated/improved dependency graph
•Forceviz forcefield visualization
•Filebrowser preview of image sequences (including playback)
•Sticky keys
•Progress integrating open source libraries such as OpenVBD (volumetric data), Alembic (mesh caching), and Ptex (high-detail textures)
•Two external-to-Blender tools for rendering and pipeline management, Flamenco and ATTRACT
•Lots of bug fixes
•And of course, a wide array of small, but time-saving enhancements all across Blender (particularly in tools for animating, sculpting, and sequencing shots). These are the kinds of important improvements that can only be made by being in the same room as artists while they work."
https://opensource.com/life/15/9/how-open-film-project-cosmos-laundromat-made-blender-better

jeric_synergy
09-04-2015, 11:25 AM
And the biggest improvements from a open movies come in more subtle things like workflow speed-ups and resolving somewhat mundane (but very important) day-to-day inefficiencies that developers might not otherwise know (or believe) exist.
from one of the comments

"Or believe". I wonder how much of that sort of thing is an issue with LW.

I remember the users trying to convince Stuart of the need for something at a meeting at Digital Domain-- he certainly didn't want to take our (vociferous) say on it. It was quite a chore convincing him.

(Some of the same negativity we see here in LW-land is evident in the comment thread. Some folk just need to be slapped upside the head.)

OjN
09-05-2015, 08:15 PM
I love specially: •Updated/improved dependency graph

jwiede
09-07-2015, 08:37 PM
Quote:
"Roughly one year later, the production is complete. According to Ton Roosendaal, who helms both the Blender Institute and Blender Foundation, the production costs weighed in at just under 400,000 euros. This paid for everything, including three full-time developers, two developers for three-month stretches, seven artists for a 10-month period, and four artists for three months.

Non-profit/OSS reality distortion field is highly apparent in those numbers:

400000 Euro == US$446,600, and roughly 160hrs/month (avg is slightly higher, but 160 will do).

$446,600 = (42 x 160 x dev-hr-cost) + (82 x 160 x dev-hr-cost x dev:artist-cost-ratio)

Using artist ratio of 2/3rd that of dev (fairly real w.r.t. hourly rates), that yields...

$446,600 = (42 x 160 x hr-cost) + (82 x 160 x hr-cost), divide out the 160 from both sides...

$2800 = (42 x hr-cost) + (82 x 0.666 x hr-cost) = (97 x hr-cost) -> approx. $28 / hr avg total cost for devs, and approx. $19 / hr avg total cost for artists.

Those are ridiculously low hourly _costs_ for skilled dev and artist employees. That's not even taking into account the rule of thumb that employees' costs generally amount to approx. 2x their paid hourly rate. Changing the dev:artist cost ratio either way doesn't make a substantial enough difference to yield realistic hourly costs.

Good luck finding reliable, necessarily-skilled devs and artists willing to work for a for-profit business at those kinds of hourly rates. :rolleyes:

The reason such efforts are not being undertaken by commercial businesses solely for secondary benefits is fairly obvious. OSS orgs can only do so because their labor costs are so much lower than those for commercial businesses.