Stop Paying For BlenderLet 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 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 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 them trying to sell you one piece of Open Source software isn’t illegal, but it’s deceptive. But they don’t stop there. Nope. 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!* :o: (* Technically one is FreeWare, but it’s still free.) When I saw that I went from angry 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 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).

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” were NOT built in Blender. I’ve put a few of the artists affected in the sources below and you can use 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 poop 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? Donate half of your sales to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 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 infuriates me. I’m also a little tired now. I feel like if I don’t stand up for what’s right, then who will? I’m sure there are other people out there that are doing that as well, right now, but like Jurassic 5 said, “Either you’re a part of the problem or you’re part of the solution. What’s your contribution to life?”

Now before anyone says, “He can sell it. It’s perfectly legal.” I know that. Which is why we need to be out there educating people who are interested in 3D before they make a purchase from a company like this one. We don’t need more barriers to entry. We need less. 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. :/

TinEye Image Results Used to Find/Confirm Software Titles:
Blender Image via TinEye
K-3D Image via TinEye
CreaToon Image via TinEye
Pencil Image via TinEye

Individual Artists That Got Ripped:
3D Rendering Image via TinEye
Actual Image from above by smokejaguar on DeviantArt

3D Editing & Compositing
Actual Image from above by ELFTUG on DeviantArt

Complex 3D Shading
Actual Image from above by zodiac-gemini on DeviantArt

Noob to Pro
Actual Image from above by night-fate

Lamborghini Murcielago
Actual Image from above by Yasmeen Jahan


40 Excellent Examples of Interior Designs Rendered in 3D Max

Published by

John Neumann

Stuff and things


  1. Wow! :-[) Bravo! What a great post. I commend you on your willingness to dug up the dirt on this. I’m slow to dive completely into the Linux/Open Source world, however I AM slowly gaining experience and the more I learn the more I lean in that direction. This subject however is blatantly clear after having some years of learning about the two sides. More and more I see that 3D packages and other 3rd parties are ripping stuff from Blender and other GNU sources all the time! People have been doing this for eons in all sorts of aspects. The first job I got out of school I couldn’t believe how they wanted me to go to their competitors websites and rip their text and images to use to in their design. Needless to say that job didn’t last long… It’s there every day, the seedy underbelly of the CG industry.

  2. Just putting the info out there man. I think it’s BS and hopefully I’ve shed some light on this and they’ll not get anymore clients. If you’re providing support for said materials and you’re selling your services, rather than selling the product, totally different ballgame. But this. This is just straight bs. :[ And welcome to the Open Source community! Once you come in, you won’t want to go back. ;)

    I had a few clients who wanted straight rips of competitors websites or templates, as well. I told em to either contact whoever made their competitors site or buy the template, but I’d have nothing to do with it. Quit one job because I couldn’t stand what went on behind closed doors anymore. I won’t forsake my morals for a job. Ever. :bloody:

  3. I can understand your rage about this Illusion Mage thing. I’m pretty gutted about it as well. But to be honest, not because of the fact that he’s doing it but because or the way he’s doing it. He suggest that he created Illusion Mage himself, he infringes on copyrights etc, etc. And if you search very carefully (like you did) you’ll find the disclaimer page where he does offer a source code but the wrong one. Illusion Mage is Blender 2.49. The source code he links to is 2.50alpha.
    You write “Repackaging Open Source projects and selling them without doing anything is ethically wrong and it’s bull.” Now this is not true. In itself it is under the GPL license allowed to repackage and sell software as long as you’re completely open and honest about it. To quote Ton Roosendaal, chairman of the Blender Foundation:
    “With the success of projects, and publishing all the exciting Blender releases, we’re now being challenged by third parties who like to ride the waves and do business with Blender.

    There’s nothing wrong with that. In its very nature, GNU GPL is about freedom, the freedom not only to use and modify the sources, but also to distribute and resell our releases under another brand name.”

    You can read the rest of what he thinks about Illusion Mage and 3DMagix on

  4. Thanks for both the link and your thoughts on the subject. I suppose I should clarify what it is I think is bull. I don’t care if someone took a script I wrote and made it better with significant changes and sold it. Or if they took blender and improved it and sold it. But no one is making it better. They’re simply repackaging it, which IS ethically wrong. As far as the quote goes, he does state that it is ok but he also implies he isn’t happy with it and isn’t going to do anything legally. He also states the best remedy for the situation is doing exactly this; Shedding light on the situation. And I’ve gotten some traffic from this post with the keywords illusion mage so that means I’m stealing his traffic which is all I really care about – making it harder for him to continue to rip folks off.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. I appreciate another voice in the conversation!

  5. He isn’t happy with the way this dumbo is doing his marketing/business. This guy is concealing a lot, makes false sugestions, he uses images that are copyrighted without proper attribution (and most likely without ever asking permission) most of which weren’t even created in Blender to start with.

    But Ton insists that in itself there is nothing wrong with rebranding and selling. GPL is al about freedom.

    Quote from the GPL license itself:
    “When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
    this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.”

    I downloaded the IM version through bit-torrent (Yes, someone made it available through that channnel) to check the version he used. And you know what? He complied to the GNU GPL in that sense. All the original licenses were there. So legally there is very little Ton can do. Nor can our scumbag do anything against the person who put his version online.

    Whát he is doing is perfectly alright. The wáy he’s doing it sucks big time.
    To quote a popular song from the sixties/seventies: It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

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