That's pretty cool. I wonder what kind of anime-focused features will come to the next version of Blender as a result.
Work is currently being done on the LANPR branch as part of the GSoC. This branch is meant to replace the Freestyle system which is currently used for line rendering. 
Otherwise we already have the "Shader to RGB" node which is extremely useful to create NPR shaders.
There's also an add-on which can be used to deform a mesh based on greasepencil strokes, I assume 2D animators would love this. 
If you're interested in blender NPR news I highly recommend following the BNPR Show on youtube. 
(I am a 2d artist who spent some time in the 2d animation world around 200x.)
I've been long out of the loop and am delighted to see it's come so far. Ages ago, I had the notion for kid friendly games, contingent on NPR. But I didn't have the maths or design chops to implement it.
Now that the NPR heavy lifting is done, perhaps my notion is feasible.
Again, thanks for the links. Amazing works.
I was the fastest ever to complete the ACAD design challenge (3 - hour test, finished it in 33 minutes)
I was the only person to have ever completed the autocad design interview test at the first architectural firm I worked at.... (8 minutes)
I came is second in the US CAD Olympics (only second because I skimmed the notes and it also required me to draw a bolt and I didnt notice that req in the directions)
I love autodesk --- but I hate their arrogance. They have lightened up a bit with 360 and such....
But I am rooting for Blender.
The amount of amazing talent around the world that will blow shit up is immense.
We will see some guy from freaking thailand or something just come out with something unbelievable.
I was asked to design a rendering factory in asia for lucas film some years ago... (I was the designer for the Lucas Presidio Complex's Data Center) -- their comment was "US 3D designers are over-paid pre-madonnas and complain too much"
So, I hope blender kicks some fucking ass and that we see some amazing shit come out from a completely unknown person as of yet.
> In linguistics, an eggcorn is an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker's dialect (sometimes called oronyms). The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original but plausible in the same context, such as "old-timers' disease" for "Alzheimer's disease". An eggcorn can be described as an intra-lingual phono-semantic matching, a matching in which the intended word and substitute are from the same language.
I sure don't. Buying up the competition and killing it off (see Softimage). I would migrate from a proprietary package to Blender just to make sure Autodesk can't get its paws on it and wreck havoc to my pipeline once again.
I went to mesmer animations labs school for softimage... (all still on SGI machines.
One of the best pieces of software ive used.
I was really good at building bodies on metaclay.
I built the entire human muscular system with meta clay, and was able to animate its movements in natural form. In 1995.
Sadly we had a tape backup system for all our data (these were all done on SGI machines) and after several years i lost that tape which hd all my projects on them.... i cant recall what format the backups were in.
Also, whatever happened to Poser and Kai's Power Tools -- what are those groups upto these days?
Check ouy what I just bought at an art exhibit last week:
AVID adapted the Edit Droid into their editing system...
What's more, Mr. Lemercier's asked that Autodesk no longer sell their software to dirty companies like the ones they were discussing. "Policing couldn't be easier...Don't accept their money."
Without even getting into the question of what Autodesk should or shouldn't do, I do think it's completely unfair to elide the difference between (declining Mr. Lemercier's idea) and (actively endorsing the environmental destruction found in Autodesk's downstream).
A truly undervalued property of free software is that nobody can exert pressure on you for using it. Users can stay ideologically uncompromised.
That tool forces use of their cloud, which they have said they inspect the contents of to verify claims of hobby (free) use.
It also uses dark patterns to hide exports to standardized formats.
I hope blender wins.
However, that's also not the same type of program as Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is a parametric modeler, which means it's used for create precise mechanical designs, rather than artistic pieces or animated figures. For example, you might use Fusion 360 to design a adjustable desk or car part. Fusion 360 also has built in CAM features, which allow you to automatically generate commands for a CNC mill, lathe, or router.
I'd love to hear your war stories. Glory years.
Some of us are still pissed that Autodesk tubed Generic CADD.
As for arrogance... You probably didn't work with Bentley Systems or their MicroStation. As a long time AutoCAD nerd, I made the switch for a gig (1993), because it's the work that matters, right?
As a kid, it was a cold shower introduction to the arrogance of the phenomenon of the willfully ignorant. I was invited to participate on their product steering committee. Big honor, right? Total waste. I don't think the Bentleys ever used, or watch someone use, their products for real work.
Why not? You could use anything, including AutoCAD, to do art. Wim Delvoye likes it, for instance:
Blender's internal representation of objects is vertices (defined with IEEE single precision floats) connected by lines, and faces --just the shell of the object, and no real curved surfaces (just more and more faceted to approximate curves, and smoothed normals to look curved.) It also does not have guaranteed precise measurements. Blender can do some parametric and Boolean operations and many of the same things, but sometimes it fails and the limitations get in the way.
Some have built CAD tools into Blender, but it's a hack on an artist's tool. For some types of CAD projects, it'll do great, particularly in some very creative directions, but I'd start with the other tools you mentioned.
I export Inventor models to Blender for better rendering and animation.
I also believe I read about parametric model definition being something they are working on more, since so many folks are asking for it. I do hope that comes to fruition. A free parametric modeler would be absolutely lovely.
In Blender, with care and if you're clever, you can do many of the same things you can with a CAD program... good enough for many cases. But Blender is still more of an artist tool than an engineer tool. For serious uses you're going to run into the limits.
There are free cad parametric modelers. FreeCAD is one.
Traditional CADers work in 2D and "lift" or "project" the 2D work to 3D.
As a long-time consumer and contributor to open-source, I would caution one to temper their expectations when it comes to velocity. Glaring problems (like CVEs) get immediate attention, but features are another story - remember that open-source projects are a democracy and the loudest guy in the room often gets their way...
With Blender they can create their own fork and Blender will merge their work if they like the code.
One business model they wait for Autodesk and the other they make their own modifications to Blender.
I would conclude they are on the right path.
With all the money they save on licensing fees they can hire developers.
No more dongles.
Instead of paying X dollars per year in licensing costs, you can spend that money on getting features you really need.
Check out https://www.blender.org/press/industry-support-for-blender/
Several companies have paid devs working on specific areas of the program that they want improvements in.
They've been proselytizing Blender for years now, seems like the tide is rising.
Woo, what a trip! Great use of colors and sounds.
I recognized some Scheme code scrolling by in the futuristic synthesizer.
Must have taken tonnes of effort.
There is still other tooling (Cinema4D, ZBrush) but those are actually working.. Maya has failed me so many times, I cannot recommend it in any way other than it is still (sadly) used very commonly among studios. And artists do not like to learn new toolings, that I also know from experience..
But, FWIW, I used to animate effects at PDI/DreamWorks, and we were using Maya. Today I think it’s Houdini. In my time, modelers were using Maya as well. We had an in-house character animation tool mainly because the character rigs were custom, evaluated with an in-house scripting language, and Maya couldn’t evaluate them.
While costs are always scrutinized, the decision to use Maya had very little to do with the price of a seat of Maya. It was just a tool that many people knew already (which is a huge factor in cost, BTW) and it also did most of the things we needed to do.
All the in-house tools were constantly scrutinized for cost, and usually the question was not whether we could reduce costs by building in-house, it was the other way around: can we reduce costs by purchasing off the shelf software. Remember that each and every developer is a 6-figure salary, which can buy a lot of seats of Maya. Note this applies to contributing to Blender too... it’s very expensive to contribute to Blender, so it really has to be appreciated when it happens!
Places like Pixar/DreamWorks developed proprietary tools because they didn't exist when they started. Disney/Pixar heavily uses Maya. Disney was one of the first places to use Maya before it was released in the late 90s. Like many other places they heavily modify it. DreamWorks uses a lot of Maya and Houdini, but have proprietary rigging, animation, and renderer.
I haven't seen any of those places contribute much to Open Source unless they're driving development.
I haven't used Blender much at all. Apps like Maya, Houdini, and Nuke have a lot of under the hood architecture necessary to use in large studios that I hope Blender has, too. Photoshop, for example, is very difficult to build that kind of pipeline around.
I remember reading that Blender's Sculpt mode was far behind the commercial sculpting tools such as Zbrush because they have things like Sculpting Layers.
Cost isn’t the issue, it’s mainly the fact that Autodesk effectively put Maya on life support. Pixar is paying hundreds of software engineers in the Bay to develop their proprietary animation tools, which is most definitely not cheaper than a few hundred Maya seats per show.
Maya is far, far from being on life support. There are hundreds of studios around the world that use it, and autodesk do substantial development in Maya till date including updated adding USD, Bifrost and parallel graph evaluation.
The fact that Pixar have their own animation package (Presto) has nothing to do with Maya whatsoever.
The first ancestor to Presto effectively predates Maya. They've developed a lot of custom tooling and workflows around it for animation. They still use Maya for many aspects outside animation like modelling etc...
Similarly DreamWorks and rhythm and hues also had their own proprietary animation software (premo and voodoo) for similar reasons but still use Maya for other purposes.
Your comment is completely off base.
This is clearly some made up FUD
Maya's USD support so far is effectively just Animal Logic's open source stuff bundled with Maya, Bifrost is indeed the one place they're actually still doing development (as they still have that R&D team), Parallel graph evaluation in 2019 and 2020 are really just riding the coattails of work they did a few years ago.
Improvements to rendering infrastructure (Arnold) are orthogonal as far as I'm concerned as it's done by the SolidAngle team they acquired a few year ago.
They're effective keeping it running (moving to newer Qt versions and the future Python 3 version for VFX platforms in line with other DCCs) as far as many people are concerned, which at a stretch could be construed as "on life support".
Maya isn't on life support, it's simply that so many studios augment Maya with their own tools & pipeline that it's not necessary for Autodesk to update it with the same frequency that Alias did. It's effectively an OS for 3D content creation for some of the larger shops.
If Maya is only adopted because of habits and ongoing projects, investment in training and customization, and network effects it has no future.
I love this thing to bits, so .. basically blind to its defects, tell me
Often at large studios, the pain points I've seen with Maya are scaling. For rigging it can be difficult to manage complex rigs. When the number of nodes in the scene increase things slow down a lot. The architecture isn't that great at being procedural or modular compared to something like Houdini. There's similar scaling issues with lighting on a large project (I haven't used the new render layers, but I doubt that will fix core issues). The larger studios have spent years working on their own wrappers to manage lighting large shows, but they're still are looking to other apps like Katana or Houdini.
I was recently talking to an fx artist who started in Maya and moved to Houdini about 5 years ago. They were saying the number of times they got corrupt scene files (on crash) was breathtakingly smaller in Houdini--I think they said 0 or 1 ever. That alone was a huge win for them.
Personally, I hate opening a geometry heavy scene (or one that requires computing a lot of things) just to change an attribute and resave. I've been on a few projects where it'll take an hour or more to open a scene to start working. (here and there if it's a MayaAscii file and I can edit the text)
And somehow not surprised that houdini rocks.
Just never close Maya and pray it doesn't crash or leak too much memory =)
I gave Blender another shot (Blender 2.8 to be specific). The new UI is just fantastic! And it's actually usable with a touchbar-only setup.
I wish GIMP progressed so much—*nix environment + Adobe CC are the two main reasons I'm sticking to MacOS.
(Actually, now I think about it, it's worse than running CC on Mac. Because on Mac at least they get a *nix based OS.)
Very few people that are hanging onto OsX for Photoshop are wanting to switch to Windows.
There are so many things I wish humanity could apply this to, glad to see it working in practice!
I'm not countermanding you. Blender is awesome, the volunteers who make it perpetually better are awesome.
A liberal non-commercial offering from Autodesk would at least help. Houdini realized this. Unity and Unreal are both essentially free to learners and hobbyists.
You need a pool of talent. And it needs continually refreshing.
Blender usage exploded around 2.6 with the first UI revamp,
and it seems to have swelled even more as 2.8 approached.
No amount of UI revamps are going to compensate for those who want to do 3D art, but refuse to do the hard yards to make things look good.
I had the same "issue" when I was learning music production on a tracker-inspired daw: Renoise. Really steep learning curve, Lots and lots of buttons because you have lots and lots of doable actions. You just need to do it badly enough until you are okay with it. It becomes second nature, part of your hands, really.
But with computer applications, I think it is pretty fair to say that there are certain expectations of behaviors for applications (or groups of applications) across various OSes which correlates to the intuitiveness of the application itself. Vim and the like are powerful tools, but if someone feels like they're battling it from the onset (or still after a few hours), they may be discouraged from continuing to try and use it and stick with something more akin to what they're used to like edit or nano or something else entirely.
As such, the artificial barrier to entry of an obtuse UI and mannerisms (for one, iirc, Blender has/had an opposite behavior for mouse buttons) may've kept some people from using that otherwise would've been inclined to do so. Now it becomes a case of whether they can get over the learning curve of the subject matter itself which, who knows, time will tell I suppose. But at least now, presumably, the application itself won't be the thing that prevents them from digging deeper.
The mouse button argument is utterly ridiculous and has been going on at least for as long as I've used Blender, which is over 10 years. The number failed 3D careers I've read about online that are blamed on that choice of "right mouse button click to select" is hilarious (note: left click is the default as of 2.8 so there are no more excuses). It is a minute problem compared to the learning curve of defining a good silhouette, 3D modelling, sculpting, topology, UV layout, rigging, triangulation and animation etc. If people are still getting stuck at the select button being on the wrong side of the mouse, they really don't have the interest.
I suggest taking a look at ZBrush UI if you haven't already. Yes it lets you select subtools (meshes) with a left click. In nearly every other way, it has one of the most unconvential UI you will see in nearly any piece of desktop software. It actually works in its favour once you get to know it, but its much more intimidating than Blender, at least for those starting out. You don't hear many complaints about it, well, because ZBrush is not cheap.
Yet a massive amount of meshes for 3D games, film, etc are created in ZBrush. Apologies if this comment comes across as brusque but I'm tired of this specious complaint about Blender's UI.
Again, I’m saying that if an application doesn’t at least behave in a way that is expected from coming from other applications (either similar ones or common behaviors of applications for a particular OS), it’s going to deter some: perhaps in a way it acts like a gut check of sorts, but it probably eliminates a few that just can’t wrap their heads around the UI.
ASP.NET WebForms I don’t think anyone is going to say is God’s gift to web development, but it worked in that the barrier to entry was low for WinForms developers so it allowed companies who wanted to take their desktop applications and move to the web a little easier. If not for it, who knows how many (small) companies would’ve had to shift direction entirely.
But you wouldn't know it from all the complaining over the years on the Blender subreddit about how it "could never compete" with the incumbent commercial offerings with right-click select. Anyone who ever looked at the art gallery on blenderartists.org would know this was bunk.
A common retort from right-click fans was frequently "can you show us any of your work you've done using left click select in Maya?". Almost all of the time, the response was crickets. When it wasn't, they'd be told how to change it, and they'd get on with dealing with the rest of the differences between Maya and Blender (because there are plenty).
Personally I never found right click select difficult at all, it's just a muscle memory thing and I retrained my self to the default left click select in 2.8 in about 5 minutes. I do appreciate that I am not everyone, and that some people, particularly new users, are much more put off by it.
The developers acknowledged all this by making left click the default in the dev branch nearly a year ago. In the stable branch, it's been possible to change it with four (left) mouse clicks after opening Blender since 2.60 was released - in 2011. Eight years ago, and people are still going on about it.
I acknowledge you want to repeat the argument that user interfaces should be as uniform as possible between all applications on all platforms. That's a fine goal from an application or software developer point of view. But working artists (in my experience) are generally way less bothered by this kind of thing. They tend to overcome small obstacles like this because they are really driven to create. Those people actually look at the Blender docs since 2011 and realised that they could change the setting with four clicks, and went on with their life and got shit done.
Or as per my other example, ZBrush, which is really difficult to use it well in mouse mode. The interface is completely different to anything because it's designed to be used on a drawing tablet, with the menus rolled up/down with the pen. It's an extremely fluid experience for 3D sculptors, but at first sight it looks ghastly, and frankly even most Blender users would run from it.
I'm not trying be rude, I just think this issue is extremely old news, and overplayed. Blender has long accomadated the masses, now it has kowtowed to them, and that's fine. The massive increase in usage over the last 10 years though seems to suggest that changing the setting wasn't really a problem for most people who really wanted to make 3D art.
I'm familiar enough with the 3d workflow/pipeline, so it has nothing to do with an ignorance of what 3d art is and what it takes to accomplish ... but I've mostly stuck with making 2d games when I make games because pixels are easy to push around, and there are a plethora of software out there to do so.
UI is important in terms of cost slope, and easy UI allows people (like GP) to dabble — even if they aren’t going to make a masterpiece (or become professional programmers).
Your comment strikes me as incredibly elitist: we should want anyone who wants to dabble to be able to, even if they don’t meet your standards for “good art” — just like we want people to have access to scripting languages, for their own purposes, even if they don’t meet our aesthetic preference of “good software”.
As I've pointed out in another comment, the 3D industry is full of professional software with "unconventional" user interfaces (eg. Zbrush, Syntheyes) that don't have a lot in common with other 3D software, let alone desktop applications in general. Those expensive packages are used by professionals who occasionally bitch about the interface, yet they still manage to produce astounding works of art with them.
I'm a rubbish 3D artist. But I understand it is because I'm not prepared to put in the amount of work required to get to a level where I'd like to be. I don't blame my tools.
I think your comment is a little disingenuous; I never suggested that only "good artists" understand how to use Blender. Like being a good programmer (which I am also admittedly not), becoming a professional 3D artist is a 10,000 hour (if not more) kind of problem, except for those with extraordinary talent.
The reason we hear these comments so frequently about the Blender UI is that it is free, so many people download it, and when they realise that it will take more work than they expect to become proficient, they take they easy way out and blame the UI (IMHO).
Unless you thought it'd get you a job.
Plus, you're betting on your commission rate being steady. If your commission rate drops off with Blender, no big deal. If it drops off with Maya, you have to make a decision now about whether it's worth it to renew your subscription, or whether you should drop Maya and start over learning a brand new program.
If you value your time at $20 an hour, you could spend 75 additional hours learning to get good at Blender instead of Maya, and you would still break even. And then every year after that for the rest of your career you'd get to save $1500. Take that extra money and put it into buying a better desktop computer, or into upgrading your GPU, or into getting a good drawing tablet, or into buying professional textures, all of which will probably have a much bigger impact on your productivity than Maya will.
(Checked - it is for students/educators)
The other frustrating thing is student licenses usually require some affiliation with a formal school as if that is the only way folks in the world are learning.
Clever move to not stand in the way of cracks for amateurs too much until they introduced an affordable (!) subscription.
Granted, my 3D experience is limited to making some custom planes for Flight Simulator 10 years ago; but is that not what Gmax is/was?
Unity and Unreal are Game Engines, not 3D Software. Yes, It's possible to use U and U for 3D modelling, but nobody with a chopchop brain do it. If you work with U and U you create the model in Blender/What ever and import it to the engines for the programming backend.
Regarding the approval of the Blender development fund,
> アニメ‐ジョン制作ツール開発をサポートするため、 Blender開発基金賛同いたします。
This company, as well as this company's affiliated (incorporated, public) company Project Studio Q, in order to support the development of the open source animation creation tool, are approving the Blender development fund.
Hencerforth, we look forward to the advancement of "3DCG Animation".
Announcement from the Blender foundation:
I think too little too late.
My guess is they will continue the indie program and this wont be a problem, but ya if they don't then that would suck to have to upgrade to full price.
That basically means you are self-employed and undercharging, you are going broke, or you are a startup using some creative accounting.
Even in the Bay Area the average is $83k: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/san-francisco-3d-modeler-...
If you run your own business, you have to account for these things and more (accountant, equipment, advertising, etc). Staying under 100K gross seems almost impossible unless you plan on running yourself out of business.
Does anyone know how they're using Unity? I'd be curious to hear more about gamedev tools being used in animation.
This is ironic considering that along with Softimage, Maya is the history of CGI, written in software. Most of the features and paradigms we see as classic today have been developed in TAV/TDI Explore/PowerAnimator/Maya and accompanying software either by request of leading animation studios, or by the studios themselves. However, they slowed the cycle down significantly even before they've been bought by Autodesk.
It's an amazing tool. It was always powerful, but used to be very un-approachable (vim-like), but they have made tremendous progress to fix this.
The integration with external renders has also been amazing. I am a fan of luxcorerender which - these days - is almost unusable outside of blender.
If you like doing 3D work, spend the time to learn Blender, it's a long term investment really worth making.
Likewise, the Cycles render engine is built into the package, without the need to go to VRay or Octane. The texturing pipeline in the modern PBR era make most rendering environments much more of an apples-to-apples comparison.
There are other features like particle systems and cloth simulators that are bonuses to have inside of the 3d package, although the best in the business like Houdini are as available to Blender users as they would be to Max/Maya.
In 3ds Max; simple things like selection are broken. You double click to select an object and its children in the Hierarchy (contrary to single click in every other software ever made), the problem is, this is laggy; you get a loading spinner when selecting objects!
In blender despite the UI refresh in 2.8, the interface is still horrible. There are hundreds duplicate menu entries, and many functions without any menu entry at all, accessible only by keyboard shortcut.
The only software I've use that doesn't drive me mad is Cinema4D, but it's missing some features from other softwares.
This has been solved since version 2.5. In blender versions prior to 2.8 hit spacebar and start typing the operation name. In 2.8 and later the default keybinding has moved to F3.
If you're criticising blender at least use up-to-date nitpicks instead of stuff that has been fixed literal years ago.
With an OpenSource base like Blender, anything you need to add to your pipeline can be grafted on top of blender by a small team of coders, and you are guaranteed that it'll keep on working for the next 10 years.
3ds max and maya are both owned by autodesk. So the former is better for architectural stuff and product design, the latter for modeling, rigging, animation etc. Blender is fairly close to both. Especially with useful addons. A lot of major players customize things like their rigging so in that sense blender is far from being able to remove maya's position. Objectively, I would say blender is even slightly better at things like modeling. Blender's animation tools are good, rendering... is in some ways really good with the new eevee engine. Cycles is horribly slow.
I would say the real standouts are probably Houdini and Substance3d with kind of zbrush. Houdini is just a step up in simulations and particle effects. Its insane how good it is at the things it does especially with its procedural workflow. Blender's materials and painting system is there, but even with tweaking its only somewhat as good as designer+painter let alone the extensions that allow to export materials to unity/unreal. Even though the painting is primitive, the material node system is fairly powerful if used with textures instead of procedural generating everything. So depending on the workflow its still pretty powerful and can achieve the same results.
I mentioned zbrush for sculpting, and it just has a way higher ceiling. I don't know if most people will reach it, but zbrush can handle way more polygons and is just a way better tool for sculpting since that's what its main purpose is. Blender's sculpting can still be used to sculpt complicated things, but it probably has to be planned a little bit better by separating the mesh up. It has things like dynotopo to add details and the brush engine can do a lot of the things zbrush can do so its possible to make things. But you quickly have to start using textures and normals to simulate details whereas I've seen people just sculpt those details directly in zbrush.
tl;dr Blender is a jack of all trades and covers a lot of bases fairly well. Its good now, but it will be an absolute beast once the kinks get ironed out with eevee and the painting + sculpting tools get improved.
Blender would really benefit from exposing its inner data structures in a way that lets people write high performance plugins.
Not that I want to dismiss the benefit of plugins, but why not just work on getting the new features merged in instead if the Python API isn't sufficient for the task? Unless you have something the maintainers really don't want to deal with long-term there's little benefit to keeping your functionality out-of-tree.
I worked a bit on a "proper" API but there was zero interest from anyone so found something better to do with my time.
In our current age of endless SaaS tools that bill themselves as being made for professional use, it's somewhat frustrating encountering this attitude that things are too complex or "overkill" to be worth learning.
I understand that isn't the intention of your comment, but it's something I've struggled with at my work where co-workers seem to have no interest in learning new and powerful tools if it might take them more than a day to master.
It annoys me here at work, i go home and watch videos, download demos and put the effort in (and it is noticed at work) and some of my coworkers dont and then get annoyed when they dont understand how the new software works. it is just frustrating, glad it is not just where i work.
The comment very much does come across as being mad at coworkers for not putting in time after-hours.
All fine, if your contract has the "I am a robot" clause or if you happen to write COBOL for a living. The rest of us will have to learn to stay up-to-date, just like carpenters, doctors or gardeners. Because nobody wants to hire someone who missed all progress since graduation...
I'm not saying that you should never learn anything new. For example, I really hope that I have a chance to ditch C++ and Java both for Rust one day, but I can't just go and do it today and that's fine. Change does not need to happen at the pace that some people seems to think it does.
And yes, I would be pretty irritated to find anyone in my team who thinks there is nothing else for him/her to learn, even in their field of expertise.
I do go looking for libraries when I have a need for some functionality, but I don't seek out new libraries to replace other libraries or my own code when the existing solution works. It's the frequent rewriting of working code to use some new tool/framework/library just because it's new and sexy that I find problematic.
I spend plenty of my own time on math/CS/<techs that I'm personally interested in>, and I think companies benefit from those as they make me a better programmer - but most/all? companies don't really appreciate and never reward those efforts 'cause those aren't the latest fads <sigh>.
Actually ... with things like Google, youtube and stackoverflow, that's not really true anymore.
These days, whenever I want to do something non-obvious with blender, I always find an online tutorial.
And all the coffee cups around everyone ...
I'm not sure why Khara would care what their name means in Arabic.