Let me preface this by saying that I love the Open Source movement. I love Linux. I ran it for almost 10 years at home until my hardware dumped on me. I run a Mac now because I love BSD, Bash and Python. I have a passion for Open Source. I Open Source every script I write under the 3-Clause BSD License because I want to give back to a community that’s given so much to me. This is a big part of who I am and I am VERY passionate about it. So this isn’t going to be a nice post. Nor do I care. Repackaging Open Source projects and selling them without doing anything is ethically wrong and it’s bull. That being said, let’s move on.
In the past few months I’ve gotten quite a few mentions on Twitter from people trying to get me to buy this product called “Illusion Mage”. I refuse to link to their site because I will NOT add into their web traffic. However, I will point you to Blender.org where you can get the same exact product that Illusion Mage is trying to SELL you. Yup. They’re selling you Blender. For $47 bucks you can buy their piece of software and you’ll get the EXACT same thing that you’d have gotten if you went to Blender.org and downloaded it… for free. People have put in countless hours creating this piece of software and have made it Open Source (GPL) so that everyone can benefit from it’s awesomeness. Now I don’t use Blender a whole lot – mostly due to time constraints and various other things – but I’ve played with it and have seen what it can do and it is an amazing program. Their latest iteration has gone even further and addressed a much need UI change (and it looks beautiful).
Now them trying to sell you one piece of Open Source software is bad. It pisses me off – hence the post on it. But they don’t stop there. No. Instead they offer you up 3 other pieces of software for “free” when you buy their “Deluxe” package for $77! THOSE OTHER PROGRAMS ARE ALSO OPEN SOURCE!* (* Technically one is FreeWare, but it’s still free.) When I saw that I went from pissed to livid. They not only put them up there, but they assign a monetary value to all of the software. You can’t assign a monetary value to something that’s been worked on by a group of people from all over the world who give their time willingly and don’t charge for it. It’d be like your friends assigning a monetary value to the amount of time you talk to them.
So what are these bonus programs? First you get “The 3D Modeler”… Wait. Why? You can flipping model in Blender. Regardless, they “give” you K-3D which is released under the GPL. According to them it’s “A $97 Value”. Then you get “The Ultimate Toon Creator” which is CreaToon which is released as FreeWare – and it will never be updated since it was released as FreeWare because it was discontinued. This particular program is “A $77 Value”. Next you get a “Sketcher” which is actually Pencil. Calling this program a “Sketcher” is like calling Flash a drawing program. (Pencil is actually a really cool program that I’ve played with on and off since it was first released to the masses.) This one is “A $49 Value”. Finally, you get their “PickaColor” which is just a flipping color picker – and “A $24 Value”. No idea which one, but I know that the one I use in Firefox is ColorZilla – which is supposedly licensed as FreeWare/Proprietary (although I couldn’t find anywhere an actual license for it – but I’ve contacted the author and will update this post when I find out).
What really gets me though is that this douchebag who’s selling this program (Seth Avery) probably has no flipping clue as to what it takes to make the things that we as 3D artists make! To do the things that we flipping do! To create anything other than a wack website selling stuff that other people have busted their ass to make! I take what I do seriously. Damn seriously. I have busted my ass to learn the things I have and so has everyone else in the 3D industry. There is no magic button click that makes a model, texture, rig, animation, light, camera or anything else. To quote Zach Lowery of Volition: “Making Video Games is really fucking hard….Don’t let anyone lie to you.” That pretty much sums it up.
Now here’s the real kicker in this whole scheme. Several of the images on the site – helping to tout how awesome their version of Blender that you have to pay for is – (this one is an example) were built in other programs! (That particular one was built and rendered in… 3DS Max!) Don’t believe me. Here’s an article on “40 Excellent Examples of Interior Designs Rendered in 3D Max” and if you search for “ELFTUG” you’ll find that image fairly quickly. The image is also being used illegally, since on DA it says it’s copyright, not CC or GPL. I didn’t go through all of the images, but I did for quite a few of them and you’ll find that most of them that don’t have the small ass “(C)2009 Blender Foundation Blender.org” were NOT built in Blender. I’ve put a few of the artists affected in the sources below and you can use TinEye.com to verify that many of the images were straight rips from 3DS Max, Wings, Maya and one is even a Photo-Manipulation!
Now if I wasn’t already heated, I go to their disclaimer page and it says this:
IllusionMage™ is proudly part of the Open Source movement. Open Source software gives you more flexibility in regards to how and where you can use the software. Main program is based on Blender and released as an open source GNU license. As a note please be aware that IllusionMage™ is a trademark and although this code is released under a generous open license the name and logo are not.
Please note the software, some content and images has been released under GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2, June 1991 .
Source code of these content and files is available to be downloaded from here
As per the license agreement, please note that there is no warranty for the program, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Except when otherwise stated in writing the copyright holders and/or other parties provide the program “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The entire risk as to the quality and performance of the program is with you. Should the program prove defective, you assume the cost of all necessary servicing, repair or correction.
I believe that you are “…proudly part of the Open Source movement.” about as much as I believe that donkeys can sprout wings and crap nickels. Hiding behind Open Source so you can pretend like you care is weak. Plain and simple. You want to show people you believe in Open Source. Man up and release all “your” software for free. Kinda like it already is. Now the “Source code” that you can download is only for one of the programs that’s Open Source. Specifically, it’s for Blender version 2.50a1. So they’re giving you an alpha build to boot.
All-in-all it just pisses me off and I’m infuriated about it. I’m also a little tired now. Not because I was so mad, but because tracking down all the data is just time consuming and, to be honest, I’d rather be doing something else (I hear Python calling my name – and sleep is whispering to me too). But I feel like if I don’t stand up for what’s right, then who will? I’m sure there’s other people out there that would too, but when I look for reviews of this “software” I see glowing reviews. And that’s bs. Yeah the software is great. Of course it is. It’s flipping Blender!
Now before anyone says, “He can sell it. It’s perfectly legal.” I know that. I think it’s bs, but I know that. (One of the many flaws in the GPL IMO.) Which is why we need to be out there educating people who are interested in 3D before they make a purchase from an idiot like this one. Thanks everyone for reading and I promise we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled stuff soon.
*Note* TinEye Results are only good for 72 hours after they’re created, so if you’re reading this post and it’s been more than 3 days, you’ll have to do it yourself. Sorry. :/
Individual Artists That Got Ripped:
3D Rendering Image via TinEye
Actual Image from above by smokejaguar on DeviantArt