Teaching Adobe to Blend

Oct 17th 2022

Let’s talk about adobe. Or more correctly, let’s talk about Adobe, the company responsible for a whole suite of graphics applications used by artists and designers all over the world. And let’s specifically talk about Adobe as it relates to Blender.

Why does Adobe care about Blender? I'm glad you asked. They certainly care enough to be a Corporate Gold sponsor of the Blender Development Fund. But why? Doesn't Adobe only do stuff with 2D graphics? No. Not really. Even when all of Adobe's tools were primarily in the 2D space, they were still being used by 3D artists for everything from texture painting to post processing. And with the integration of Allegorithmic and the Substance software suite a few years ago, their interest in 3D has only grown.

In fact, there are quite a few very talented 3D artists on staff at Adobe doing really great work. Here's the thing, though. All of these great artists were trained on and primarily used commercial 3D software by companies like Autodesk, Maxon, and SideFX. In contrast, a large proportion of Adobe customers are Blender users. Wisely, the good folks at Adobe understood that in order to best serve and support their customers, they're going to have to become a lot more comfortable with Blender.

That's where we came in.

Sure, Adobe could have pointed its artists at a bunch of YouTube tutorials or even a membership at CG Cookie. In fact, they'd tried doing exactly that. Unfortunately, artists are busy folks with lengthy to-do lists that don't usually include training. Because videos and walkthroughs can be watched later, they almost always are. A dedicated workshop, on the other hand, is scheduled and fixed to a moment in time. Also, there's an actual person there to answer directed questions that are relevant to the artists' specific needs.

That kind of workflow-specific training is absolutely in the Orange Turbine wheelhouse. We built and presented a series of multi-day workshops to introduce these experienced 3D artists and developers to Blender and give them a taste of what it's capable of. Why multiple days? Quite frankly, Blender can do a lot of stuff. There's a considerable amount of information to take in, even for someone well-versed in working with 3D computer graphics. It's best to have workshop sessions that have a directed focus for a shorter span of time.

Using that approach, we were able to cover a whole range of topics beyond just an introductory survey of features: Modeling workflow. Materials and Rendering. Importing Blender data into Adobe software applications like Substance 3D Painter, Substance 3D Stager, and Aero. Understanding data flow in Blender. Using Blender's Python API.

By the end of it all, workshop participants had a much clearer understanding of how to work with Blender. More importantly, they are now equipped to give their customers the support they need. Now, when someone using Adobe software asks, "How do I get this to work with Blender?" they have the tools and experience to help.


Jason van Gumster