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Blender by the Numbers – 2019

The year 2019 has been pivotal for Blender’s growth. This article collects a selection of metrics, facts and figures about Blender with the goal of highlighting trends about the project. This data was originally presented during the “Blender by the Numbers” talk by Francesco Siddi at Blender Conference 2019. The data has been expanded until the end of 2019 for this article.

The blender.org Website

The blender.org website is the main platform of the Blender project, and by far the most popular website of the entire Blender community. One way to measure a website’s popularity is the Alexa rank,where the website number 1 is the most popular, and where blender.org ranks at 3000. This value is significantly better than for most other DCC softwares.

With over 300 simultaneous users visiting the site at all times, blender.org has seen over 90M unique visitors and over 500M page views since 2007.

The most viewed pages on the blender.org are its homepage, the download page, features and the recent Blender 2.8 page (over 2.5M views).

Blender Downloads Count

It’s hard to provide a precise number of Blender downloads for all platforms, especially since on Linux there are dedicated distribution systems. We keep track of downloads on blender.org (the main source of traffic), Steam and the Microsoft store.

Since 2005, the download count has tripled and is approaching an average of 1M downloads per month. It’s safe to say that during 2019 Blender was downloaded well over 10M times.

The Steam platform provides some unique insights regarding the amount of simultaneous users using Blender at any given moment, as well as the average usage time of Blender.

On Steam, users “play” with Blender for an average of 25 hours in total, with an average download rate of 100K/month. Blender has 55K followers on Steam.

The Microsoft Store has seen a 4x growth in terms of download rate, but its download volume is still 20x smaller than blender.org.

Demographics

Demographic data such as age and gender are quite personal, and Blender does not attempt to collect it from users. However, the data is available through some platforms (e.g. Microsoft Store, YouTube analytics). The largest group in Blender’s audience is 18 to 24 year old males.

This data has been compared against samples from other platforms (social media channels, YouTube analytics) and the metrics are very similar.

Social Media Following

Blender has a large social media following, with over 500K YouTube subscribers. The amount of subscribers has drastically increased in the past few years due to a combination of free training videos, live shows and a handful of unexpected viral videos. Blender’s YouTube channel is highly popular in the US, Brazil, Germany and India.

Further, Blender has 80K Facebook followers and 60K Twitter followers. Blender has a growing official presence also on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Blender Online Platforms

One of the driving values of the Blender project is independence. For this reason, through over 15 years of existence as Free Software project, Blender has operated a number of self-hosted web platforms to serve its community.

Blender URLs overview 2019

Exposing data about some of these websites helps us to paint a picture of the Blender community and spot past and ongoing trends.

Dev Talk

Devtalk is a platform dedicated to development-focused discussion. During the first development cycle of Blender 2.80, it was also used to collect user feedback on usability topics. Dev Talk has nearly 4000 users, 25 moderators and varying levels of engagement when it comes to published and consumed content.

The relevant figure is the over 456 hours spent by site administrators (most of the Blender development team) only reading content on the platform. This is equivalent to 4 hours per day, for half a year, for one person.

Blender ID

Blender ID is a unified login system that gives access to a large number of online services around Blender (Blender Cloud, Conference, Dev Fund, Open Data, Dev Talk, etc). In October 2019 it counted over 185K users.

Open Data

The very definition of data sharing is embodied by this platform. Launched with the goal of providing and collecting hardware performance through a benchmark in a transparent way, as of January 2020 the Open Data platform?hosts over 40K benchmark results, along with a very comprehensive list of hardware configurations.

Development Fund

The Blender Development Fund has experienced a dramatic growth since its 2.0 relaunch at the end of 2018. It counted over 3200 members at the end of 2019.

The majority (60%) of subscribers are choosing the Bronze membership, which counts for 15% of the funding. However, the largest chunk of funding (over 70%) is currently provided by corporate sponsors.

Development Portal

The Blender development portal, a self-hosted instance of Phabricator running at developer.blender.org is the place where Blender is made. The source code of every official Blender project is hosted there, along with design tasks, todos and bug reports. While the platform was adopted only in 2016, all Blender development history has been migrated to it, making it a treasure trove of information about the development process. The portal has over 40K user accounts (9K users signed up just during 2019) and hundreds of thousands of logged transactions.

Countless metrics can be extracted from this platform, but for now we want to focus on the ones that help to answer the question “How quickly do users get an issue fixed?”.

The following chart displays in red how long it took for a developer to resolve an issue since it was originally reported. For example: of the total 4234 issues reported in 2019, 51 (1%) were resolved within 15 minutes.

In a similar manner, the chart also displays the time it took for a Blender team member to provide a first reply.

With over 68% of reports receiving an answer within 24h and close to 50% or reports being fixed within a week, the Blender community can be proud of such efficiency.

Conclusions

Given the amount of downloads and Blender releases we can estimate between 1 to 3 million Blender users out there. But how big is the contributors community? Quite small in comparison, with a little over 30 full time Blender employees, hundreds of volunteers and people involved on a daily basis with the project (through community support, bug reporting and triaging, documentation, etc). Next to that, there are thousands of people who financially support Blender through the Blender Development Fund, donations, and through a Blender Cloud subscription.

The growth that Blender has experienced during 2019 is remarkable, almost doubled compared to 2018 in any metric. Such growth brings countless challenges, but is also a great achievement for the Blender community.

Special thanks to Sergey Sharybin and Sem Mulder for helping with the data collection and presentation.

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