Blender is one of the most popular applications in the world if not the most popular choice for aspiring 3D artists and hobbyists. You can download Blender to your PC and begin using it in a matter of minutes without any strings attached. But is Blender just for the hobbyist enjoying life at home or is it something used by the big-name players in the industry?
Blender 3D is used by approximately 6,172 companies around the world in multiple industries ranging from Facebook to Ubisoft to even companies like Lockheed Martin. Its versatility allows it to be used in over 24 industries ranging from entertainment to agriculture. This does not include the many smaller companies like small-scale game developers.
This information was gathered from research performed by data analyst firms like Hg Insights and Enlyft and paints a compelling picture of how Blender has grown to be one of the most popular 3D applications in the world today, so let’s break down this analysis.
Do All Companies Use Blender Or Do Some Use Other Apps?
The short answer is no, a lot of companies do not use Blender for their CG-related tasks or workflows. It may surprise you to know that many of these companies are actually centered around the entertainment and tech industries, more specifically game developers and animation studios.
For many of these companies, their choice of 3D modeling software plays a pivotal role in the success of their products, and so they have to create a product pipeline where every application they use works seamlessly in the pipeline, and if there are any issues then they will be able to get support from the developers of that application.
In the case of many of the larger companies of the video game industry, they already have an application that they use to create their 3D assets and environment, which is normally Maya or 3DS Max. These options are already well established with these companies and even though Blender is free, retraining your entire workforce is not.
Examples of publishers or developers that use Maya include Bethesda, who are using the application as part of their pipeline to create future titles like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls. They have also used Maya for other titles as well and it is used to help design the 3D assets and animations before being moved to the game engine.
It’s surprising to hear that a company like Facebook could advertise for 3D artists who have skills in using Blender and then have a Bethesda who uses a different tool. But in companies where 3D design is a smaller part of their overall goals then Blender becomes a much more viable choice, especially if there is no real pipeline already in place.
What are the different job roles that you can apply for in these industries? Check out our article on the topic here.
In Which Industries Is Blender 3D Most Popular?
When comparing the data from data analyst companies such as HG Insights and Enlyft, we often found a notable difference in the number of companies registered to be using the software. This is because of the fact that a company will have different ways of gathering and analyzing data, and in this case, there may be different parameters for what constitutes a company being worthy to be put on the list.
However, while the total number of companies listed to be using Blender may differ from one party to the other, there are some very interesting patterns to take note of. One such pattern is in the separation of companies based on their industry sector.
The industry in which Blender is most commonly used is not the tech industry, nor the entertainment industry. It is in fact the Education industry where Blender is most commonly used. But this actually makes sense when you think about it, as Blender is the perfect tool for learning how to perform all sorts of CG-related tasks from 3D modeling to visual effects.
According to HG Insights, approximately 1000 companies in the education sector use Blender as a tool for learning, or even as the subject of learning. The only other industry that comes close in their data is the tech industry, as we would expect since it’s a 3D application.
The drop-off after that is apparent, with fewer companies using Blender in industries that are less obviously connected. Other industries where Blender displays impressive usage include manufacturing, construction, and business services. Entertainment and retail are two other industries that boast a high number of companies using Blender 3D.
Outside of this group you still have many other industries that use the software to some extent and these can include government, agriculture, mining, and transportation.
Based on the data provided by these data analyst firms we have created a couple of diagrams to help paint a picture of Blenders usage across the many different industries.
Other firms such as Enlyft paint a similar picture into which industries use Blender although they don;r cover as much ground as HG Insights. Both education and technology remain far out in front of the industries where Blender is most commonly used.
So how will Blender get you a job in these industries? We have a whole article on the topic which you can view here.
How Is Blender Used In Larger Companies And For What Purpose?
If you have used the application for any period of time then you will probably be aware of how powerful and how versatile it is. Blender can be used for many different workflows and projects. In many cases, you will be able to tell what Blender is used for by a company like Ubisoft who designs and create video games.
In this case, Blender will be used to design many of the game assets that are going to be used in the game engine of choice, which for the larger game developers is normally either Unity, Unreal Engine, or their own in-house product. Blender can work with any game engine as it can export its models in numerous universal file formats.
In some companies, Blender is often used as benchmarking tool. For example, Nvidia and AMD are the two main players in developing graphics processing units, or GPUs, to be used in video-intensive applications and video games. Blender is a great tool to benchmark how effective a specific graphics card renders an image on an animation.
The results of these benchmarks often correspond to the specs of the product like the number of Cuda cores for an Nvidia card. It is also used in the same capacity by high-tier YouTube channels such as Linus media group and Gamers Nexus. And yes you could argue that YouTubers don’t count but actually, these are also registered companies who use Youtube as their way of generating income.
Like Nvidia and AMD, these channels will often provide benchmarks of the graphics cards and review the findings to their audience, and then give a recommendation on if the viewer should consider purchasing the product.
That’s one example, but are there any others? At Ubisoft, Blender is currently being used to create video game assets to be implemented into their upcoming titles. Assets are often designed in the concept face using an application like adobe photoshop, then a 3D model of the concept is drafted in Blender, before being tested in the main game engine.
If you are curious about what Blender is used for a company like Facebook for example, well they are looking towards what social media will look like in the future, and are investing heavily in development for both virtual reality and augmented reality, where Blender will also play a key role in.
Even in companies where Blender is not the primary choice of software, it may still be used in some form. For example Disney Animation Studios use Blender to create assets for some of their movie projects.
Check out the awesome video below on someone’s experience using Blender while working at Marvel.
Are There Companies The Support Blenders Development?
In case you were not aware Blender is not a product that is used to create capital and is not something that can be bought or sold. Blender is an open-source 3D software developed by a non for profit organization, the Blender Foundation, with the single goal of providing usable 3D software to anyone in the world.
And this has gained Blender an incredible amount of support and fanfare over the years, with many users claiming there love the software that, in practical terms, can go head to head with any of its far more expensive rivals in 3D modeling, animation, and sculpting.
If you go to the blender.org website you will find the Blender development fund. Companies from multiple industries can join the development fund to invest in the future of Blender. Note that this is not the same as putting money towards buying the software, which is legally impossible due to its position as an open-source program and copyleft GNU General Public License.
But there will see a long list of companies, both large and small, who have agreed to invest in Blender’s future by joining the development fund.
Below are a few examples of companies on this list that you may have heard of…
- Epic Games
These are some of the larger patrons of the development fund but the list goes much deeper, and you can view the full list here at the blender website.
Examples Of Companies That Have Used Blender?
While many of the world’s top tech companies have invested in the development of the Blender software, that does not necessarily mean that they use it in their day to day. So lets take a look at a view examples where Blender 3D is used at some point in the project pipeline.
Perhaps the most high profile we can think of is NASA. Even NASA finds value in Blender 3D. They use the software to create accurate 3D visualizations of celestial bodies and spacecrafts, significantly enhancing their public engagement and educational endeavors.
An example of this was in a paper that NASA published demonstrating the use of Blender for TRM (Terrain Relative Navigation) applications.
Multiple video game companies use Blender either as the main tool for 3D asset creation or as an additional tool. For example, EA games has been known to use Blender 3D for the purpose of concept design, although its main 3D application remains MAYA, there is clearly some value in using Blender for companies that use Blender.
Where Are Companies That Use Blender Located?
If you are researching what companies use Blender 3D then it may be that you are looking for potential job opportunities for those companies. So another question that you may ask is where are the companies that use Blender generally located.
As a result of recent events in the last few years, remote working has become more common across multiple industries depending on the tasks. Many roles that are connected to using an application like Blender are now often advertised with the benefit of working remotely, in other words from your own home. If you don’t need to go to the head office to complete your work, then why should you.
More reputable companies are also far more likely to have various offices set up around the world anyway, so for that reason, the location of the head office is not as important.
Still, it’s a question that needs answering, and in the United States, the most prominent location for companies that use Blender 3D is silicon valley itself, California. A total of 566 companies from this state are registered users of the software, a far higher number than any other state in the US, with the closest location being New York with 208.
Another impressive stat is that there are at least 3 companies in every single state that are using Blender 3D for their projects. The software really is being used around the country, and for that matter, around the world.
Which Video Game Developers Do Or Do Not Use Blender 3D?
Most users of Blender are who ask the question of which companies use Blenders 3D are actually asking which video game companies are using the software, since most artists who discover it have a background of enjoying video games.
As we have already mentioned, most of the larger developers and publishers in the video games industry (As a part of the entertainment industry) do not use Blender because they already use alternative options like Autodesk Maya that provide them with all the tools and services that they need to get the job done.
While not video game developers, Unity and Epic are two companies who play a major role in the direction of gaming, as they provide two of the most powerful game engines in the industry with Unity and Unreal Engine 5. Both companies have invested in Blender’s future and are looking at ways to better integrate Blender into a traditional production pipeline using their engines.
This is important because a lot of game companies use these game engines for their projects. Unreal engine for example has become massively popular as an option for developing AAA quality titles for companies like Bandai Namco and Square Enix.
While not every company reveals what software they are using to create their games you may be able to predict that they are using Blender if their games are built using either of these two engines, although that is a prediction and not a fact.
There are companies though that have openly committed to using Blender for their games, such as Ubisoft, another member of the development fund. Ubisoft themselves have released statements on their own website outlining their goals for the partnership with the Blender Foundation and the use of the software.
The Number Of Companies Is Only Set To Rise
Blender is one of the most accessible 3D modeling applications available, and in recent years it has demonstrated growth at a much faster rate than even the Autodesk alternatives despite their heavy financial backing. The current trend across all industries shows that start-ups and younger companies, in particular, are leaning towards Blender as their software of choice for the future.
And even some of the bigger companies in the industry like Ubisoft and Epic games are committing their time and money behind what is in my opinion one of the greatest community-inspired projects that the technology world has ever seen.
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