Microsoft becomes the latest technology giant to support Blender
Thursday, July 30, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
Microsoft is the youngest major technology company to support the Blender Development Fund and, together with Nvidia, AMD, Intel and Epic Games, supports the development of the open source 3D software.
According to Ton Roosendaal, chairman of the Blender Foundation, Microsoft has no restrictions on the use of its corporate gold sponsorship of € 30,000 / year.
Microsoft, along with Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Google and Epic Games, supports Blender
With the Microsoft donation, Microsoft is the youngest major technology company to fund Blender development since Epic Games made a $ 1.2 million donation to the Blender Development Fund last summer.
Although it is not quite of the same size – or that of the recent donations of Nvidia and AMD of € 120,000 / year – it is unconditional.
While the Epic Games donation was not required, the contributions from Nvidia and AMD were accompanied by statements that the money would be used to keep their technologies "well supported for (blender) users".
In contrast, Blender Foundation chairman Ton Roosendaal tweeted that "Microsoft did not mention a requirement (for the way we do)."
Instead, the money goes to general recruitment and is half the salary of another full-time Blender developer.
At the time of writing, the development fund was $ 108,271 / month, a fraction less than when AMD was donated last October, and still slightly below its "ultimate goal" of funding 20 Blender core developers.
The Blender Foundation has also announced eight other full-time positions for which it would like to be hired, from UI designers and backend web developers to financial and industry relationships.
Used in Microsoft research on models for artificial intelligence
According to the Blender Foundation blog post, Microsoft uses "Blender to generate synthetic 3D models and images of people that can be used to train AI models."
Microsoft also has a number of its own open source projects, primarily resources for academics who work in areas such as machine learning, cloud computing, visualization, and cryptography.
Read the Blender Foundation announcement that Microsoft has supported the Blender Development Fund
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