Apple joins Blender Development Fund, macOS back as supported platform

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in macOS
Apple has joined the Blender Development Fund as a patron member, pledging monetary contribution, engineering expertise, and additional resources to the 3D graphics tool.

Credit: Blender
Credit: Blender


Blender on Thursday announced Apple's joining of the Blender Development Fund, stating that the company will support the "continued core development for Blender." Blender is an open-source 3D graphics tool.

In addition to a contribution, Apple will also provide engineering expertise and other resources to both Blender's team and the broader development community. Apple's contributions will "help support Blender artists and developers."

The CEO of Blender, Tom Soosendaal, on Thursday also noted that macOS will return as a completely supported Blender platform. Apple has also issued a patch to the Metal backend for Cycles GPU rendering on Mac platforms.

This has been in the making for a while. I'm very proud to share this news today. macOS will be back as a complete supported Blender platform. Thanks Apple!

-- Ton Roosendaal (@tonroosendaal)


Blender says its development fund provides free and openly accessible services to all Blender contributors. Some of the support activities made possible by the fund include bug fixing, code reviews, technical documentation, and onboarding.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,502member
    This is great news, hopefully Apple will lend their expertise and monetary support to more open source projects. 
    gregoriusm
  • Reply 2 of 9
    thttht Posts: 4,130member
    elijahg said:
    This is great news, hopefully Apple will lend their expertise and monetary support to more open source projects. 
    Seconded. It's going to be a long road to get parity with CUDA, and they will need to spend a lot of money on developers as well as selling a lot of Metal GPUs in the right markets.
    elijahg
  • Reply 3 of 9
    tht said:
    elijahg said:
    This is great news, hopefully Apple will lend their expertise and monetary support to more open source projects. 
    Seconded. It's going to be a long road to get parity with CUDA, and they will need to spend a lot of money on developers as well as selling a lot of Metal GPUs in the right markets.
    CUDA has ARM support, yes? I'd guess that is the opening to the support of Apple chips without the need for third party GPU acceleration. Maybe?
  • Reply 4 of 9
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,733member
    This is such good news. Fortunately, some companies that began on the Mac all those years ago, such as Wolfram with Mathematica, have continued to support the platform more or less equally whereas others such as National Instruments provide now just token support. With its tight integration of hardware and operating system, Mac OS, in concert with iOS, could support breathtaking, utterly compelling applications.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,615moderator
    This is a great move and will help 3D creatives a lot, I always wondered why they weren't supporting them when other big companies were but it seems they've been working with them a while and just announcing it now. The Apple Silicon Macs are well suited for this because of the unified memory that allows for lots of large textures to be loaded into memory. An 8k texture uses around 268MB of memory, even just 10-20 objects in a scene with multiple textures can start running out of video memory on higher-end machines. Modern games at 8K do the same, Battlefield was tested here at 8K needing up to 16GB VRAM:

    https://www.tweaktown.com/articles/9957/battlefield-2042-open-beta-benchmarked-at-8k-16gb-vram-required/index.html

    If the Pro Apple Silicon allows for up to 64GB unified memory, they can allow for 32-48GB of video memory on a laptop. This brings mobile closer to the capability of the Mac Pro that has up to 64GB video memory on its GPUs.

    Apple has submitted some work on Metal for their rendering engine. This will be needed to tap into the GPU power available on Apple's chips. The CPUs will still be fast but Metal will likely allow up to 10x faster rendering than the CPU.

    https://developer.blender.org/T92212
    https://developer.blender.org/rBa0f269f682dab848afc80cd322d04a0c4a815cae
    https://developer.blender.org/p/michael_jones/

    The engineer who submitted the patch has been at Apple since October last year:

    https://uk.linkedin.com/in/michael-jones-3a742864

    He may have been influential in pushing for this support. He has experience in visual FX and gaming, working for The Foundry and even Microsoft before Apple.

    The timing of the announcement is interesting given the Pro Mac hardware next week. Maybe they'll demo some 3D capability like they did on M1 with Maya. The Metal patches don't look complete yet though so they might not be able to show the rendering but even viewport stuff using cinema quality assets would be a good enough demo.

    What else would be good is some kind of way to use iPads as they can enable 3D texture painting and sculpting using the Apple Pencil, especially with continuity. People are already experimenting with this:



    There's also live facial animation tracking via the iPhone's face sensor:



    This can be used for game creation as well as post-production and AR. It's very nice to see this kind of official support and involvement, 3rd parties don't all have the resources to support Metal and Mac users lose out on good tools. AMD figured this out too and made their own rendering engine so that they wouldn't have to rely on 3rd parties supporting OpenCL. Redshift will be another option for rendering too:


    iqatedoFidonet127cgWerks
  • Reply 6 of 9
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,733member
    @Marvin - thanks for your insights. There seems to be a groundswell of support for Metal. Maxon!
  • Reply 7 of 9
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,749member
    tht said:
    elijahg said:
    This is great news, hopefully Apple will lend their expertise and monetary support to more open source projects. 
    Seconded. It's going to be a long road to get parity with CUDA, and they will need to spend a lot of money on developers as well as selling a lot of Metal GPUs in the right markets.
    Apple really has to start doing these things if Apple Silicon is to succeed beyond the consumer (and 'non-pro' business) markets. Enough pro apps, games, etc. need to support Metal, or all that extra speed and low power consumption isn't going to mean too much. Glad to see it.
    iqatedo
  • Reply 8 of 9
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,784member
    It would be nice to see Apple get it's hardware back to a position of preeminence in video post, editing, compositing, animation etc. They were once dominant or at least the preferred platform. Final Cut (original) destoyed the market for expensive, high end editing equipment but the animation and compositing world turned to cheap PCs and Linux boxes as Apple never offered budget priced workstation type machines or machines with the chassis and power to handle multiple graphics cards and giant amounts of RAM. The creative people I was working with wanted to do their work on Macs, but the people with the money didn't want to pay for Macs. This happened all over the world and it was probsbly Jobs who let it happen. The current MAc Pro doesn't really fix the problem because, again super expensive compared to the other options. Also I still hear a lot that people would work on Macs if there was Nvidia/CUDA support.

    Is this article suggesting that Apple has turned some corner and want's to get back into these fields? I think that would be great, but is Metal the way to do it? I guess if they are going pay developers to offer apps that utilize Metal maybe so. Also, would Apple ever develop it's own Metal based, stand alone graphics card? Would they allow someone else to do so? If they were open to this sort of thing they could probably sell a lot more Macs into the pro-video/animation/compositing space.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 9 of 9
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,749member
    welshdog said:
    It would be nice to see Apple get it's hardware back to a position of preeminence in video post, editing, compositing, animation etc. They were once dominant or at least the preferred platform. Final Cut (original) destoyed the market for expensive, high end editing equipment but the animation and compositing world turned to cheap PCs and Linux boxes as Apple never offered budget priced workstation type machines or machines with the chassis and power to handle multiple graphics cards and giant amounts of RAM. The creative people I was working with wanted to do their work on Macs, but the people with the money didn't want to pay for Macs. This happened all over the world and it was probsbly Jobs who let it happen. The current MAc Pro doesn't really fix the problem because, again super expensive compared to the other options. Also I still hear a lot that people would work on Macs if there was Nvidia/CUDA support.

    Is this article suggesting that Apple has turned some corner and want's to get back into these fields? I think that would be great, but is Metal the way to do it? I guess if they are going pay developers to offer apps that utilize Metal maybe so. Also, would Apple ever develop it's own Metal based, stand alone graphics card? Would they allow someone else to do so? If they were open to this sort of thing they could probably sell a lot more Macs into the pro-video/animation/compositing space.
    I think it is possible they *could* do all of this stuff, but I kind of doubt it. They'll probably just keep similar pricing and make more profits (and justify it by saying it's faster, etc.). Maybe we'll see lower prices towards the higher end of the lineups, we'll see. Going with Metal certainly isn't helping them as far as I can see, which is why they'll have to pour a bunch of $, time, and marketing into that if they are actually serious about it. (They are serious, but maybe not towards those ends.)
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