The Blender Community is awesome but is sometimes rife with fanboys
The Blender community is a very cool and humbling place that is unlike most any other online community. I have been a part of the Blender community for nearly 10 years now and I owe a very large part of my success to this community. Without the Blender community I would not have received answers to my numerous questions, I would not have gotten critiques on my work, and most importantly I would not have continually been inspired by the incredible artists around me.
The Blender community is an awesome place and it’s an honor to be part of it. In the time that I have been part of it, the community has accomplished some really incredible feats. For example, how many communities do you know that came together and raised over 100,000 euros to buy it’s own software in order to release it under GPL?
The “Free Blender” campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR, as a one-time fee so that the NaN investors would agree on open sourcing Blender. To everyone’s shock and surprise the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only seven short weeks. – source
How many communities do you know that have helped fund a significant portion of not one, but four Open Movie Projects and one Open Game Project?
How many communities can say they actively help support, fund, and develop the continued progression and success of the software it revolves around?
Blender is being made by 100s of active volunteers from all around the world; by studios and individual artists, professionals and hobbyists, scientists and students, vfx experts and animators, and so on. – source
In short, the Blender community has a lot to be proud of. However, the community has one big downfall, it’s users. The majority of Blender users are friendly, responsible, and contribute to the community and the software in positive ways. There is, however, a small minority of users that do more harm to the community and Blender’s reputation than good. This group of users are generally referred to as the “Blender Fans.” They are the users that refuse to hear anything bad about Blender and will standup in blind support of it, regardless of what the issue at hand might be. As is common with these small minority groups, they also speak the loudest and often give a false impression of Blender and its community.
These are the users that commonly say things like:
Blender is the greatest!!! We’re so much better than those crap Maya and 3DS Max softwares!
Oh my god! Blender is the greatest thing ever made! We should all boycott Max and put Autodesk out of business!
When I see these kind of comments this comes to mind. Having been a part of this community for a long time now (since before BlenderArtists was BlenderArtists) I have seen these comments over, and over, and over again. The problem is these comments do nothing but harm to the Blender community and Blender’s reputation. I constantly hear professional artists from other software talking about the “Blender Fans” and how it’s one of the things that keeps them from even considering Blender to be a professional tool. Let’s face it, these comments and the people making them represent the essence of fanboyism.
Fanboyism: The collective outlook and behavior of a group of people concerning a subject (movies, games, hardware, comic book characters, etc.) which when challenged results in an antagonistic, passionate, and unreasoned response.
Fanboyism doesn’t help anyone. It just hurts the rest of the community and particularly those trying to make a living with Blender. I love Blender as much as the next person and I love what it represents. However, we must all keep in mind that Blender is merely a tool that provides a means to an end. In this industry, it has gotten to the point (for the most part) where the tool does not matter, the results do. And I think this is the way it should be. We are in the practice of making art and making tools that enable us to make art so let’s please, for all our sakes, stop putting Blender on a pedestal and throwing everything else to the dogs. It’s just a tool. Albeit a tool that we all love and have a stake in.
Let’s help this progression to keep moving forward, rather than backwards by adopting a more positive, constructive outlook on Blender and trying to avoid being a fanboy.
Over the last few years, Blender has slowly fought back against its hobbyist and amateur status in the professional realm. Let’s help this progression to keep moving forward, rather than backwards by adopting a more positive, constructive outlook on Blender and trying to avoid being a fanboy. Instead work to actively contribute to the narrative, accept criticism of Blender (and its users) with an open mind, and accept that Blender is not always better.