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Thu, Feb 7 2013 21:46:19 UTC

Blend Swap interview

Today we have an interview with Matthew Muldoon from Blend Swap, the main model repository for Blender 3D.

Could you briefly describe yourself and your background?

My names Matthew Muldoon, I'm 31 years old, have a wife and a 7 month old daughter. I've been an artist my whole life, it was the only thing I could ever seem to do well. I went to a 2 year tech school and got my degree in Communication Art and Design. Got hooked on video and motion graphics and that's what I've been doing ever since. I've been working in advertising for about 15 years now... wow, I'm one of those old guys now. I've been involved with Blender on and off for about 10 years. I was always drawn toward 3D but could never justify spending all that money on a 3D software just for a hobby. Then I found Blender 3D and I've been hooked ever since.

What is BlendSwap and the features it offers?

Blend Swap is the main model repository for Blender 3D. All of our models are offered via Creative Commons licensing. They're Open Source and free to download and use. Just like Blender 3D. Some of the key features of the site are portfolio’s, collections, private messages, advance stats on 3D models shared and easy messaging between artist to name a very small list of the sites features.

What made you decide to start such a site?

I remember trying out lots of different software when I started to get into 3D, Lightwave, Cinema4D, Maya, Electric Image (ya lets see who remembers that one) and all the software's had pretty good user bases and communities. Then I found Blender 3D and like I said I was hooked, there was a great community but not a really good model sharing site. I had the naive thought, I can start a site like that'' I knew a little programing and WordPress really well. LOL, well after having to pay an actual developer a couple thousand to get the site to do what I wanted, I launched Blend Swap and it's been a wild rollercoaster ride ever since.

Why would someone share models in .blend format on your site rather than on one of the many other 3D sharing sites?

We really cater to the Blender 3D community, we are very tight knit and our users can come to our site and find specific models for the software they use, so I assume it's just easier for them to use us. Instead of looking on another site finding a model in a obj or 3ds format and having to convert it in Blender.

Is this a full time job for you, is the site bringing in a good income?

In my dreams, I would love to make Blend Swap a full time job, but it has a lot of growing up to get there. The site brings in enough money to pay for server costs and very, very modest payments to my amazing developer Jonathan Acosta. We both dream that one day we can work on Blend Swap full time. But for now that's just a dream.

What kind of feedback have you seen so far from users?

Our users are great, amazing, spectacular…. I'm not sure if there is a word good enough to describe our users. They are the one and only reason Blend Swap exists. From the very beginning of Blend Swap the users have been great. Offering donations and server space and bandwidth when we were going through growing pains. Even helping develop site features in the early stages before Jonathan came on board. Most importantly they keep sharing models with the community.

What are your views on the Blender community?

The Guys/Girls of the Blender community are AMAZING!! Blender really does have one of the most amazing communities I have ever seen. I’ve been around for awhile and have been witness to many different communities including After Effects, Design, Mograph, even C4D and none of them can hold a candle to the Blender Community in my opinion..

You regularly seem to improve the site's user interface, do you have any upcoming features or services in the work?

Well we just launched our 5th version in 3 years a couple of days ago. This was our most ambitious version yet, we moved from a Wordpress based site to a fully custom web app. Jonathan spent about a year on the development of this version. We’ve also added many features for artist to showcase their work and be easily found for freelance work.

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