So somehow 2022 is almost over, and again it’s been an amazing year for us with consistent growth any way you look at it 🙂
Let’s take a look back at the last 12 months by the numbers:
Quality-wise, we’ve made great strides in improving our internal review processes to ensure consistent technical standards and top-quality work from each other and our regular contractors.
Quantity-wise, the number of assets we publish has also grown significantly this year (by 227!):
In comparison to our whole lifespan (since October 2017), it’s noticeably more consistent and balanced:
And when looking at the relative demand for each asset type (the number of downloads vs. the number of assets of that type available – i.e. average downloads per HDRI/texture/model) there is a growing interest in textures and 3D models compared to HDRIs that we’re most well-known for:
A growing asset library (both in quantity and quality) tends to result in a growing user base too (by about 35% since this time last year):
We’re currently serving around 126 TB per month to about 2.7 million users:
Despite the growing user base, Patreon donations haven’t grown all that much this year:
Then again, it hasn’t gone down either! Patreon continues to form a stable and reliable income for us which allows us to depend on these funds and make long-term decisions. It is the rock that this project is built upon 🙂
It’s too soon to tell how the add-on sales will work out long-term – there’s always an initial spike from a product release, which decays unpredictably over time – and what the effect of the Blender Extensions Platform will have on us when that’s ready, but it’s certainly worth using these new funds to help us grow further in the years to come.
Speaking of years to come…
Plans for 2023
To facilitate exploring new asset types collaboratively – such as photometric-stereo fabric and wood scans, atlases, imperfections, and repeatable photogrammetry workflows – we’re going to rent out an office/studio space and move a little away from the whole “independent artists working remotely” vibe we have going currently.
We’re still leaving the door open for working remotely when possible, and for some of us in other cities/countries working in-person is not an option anyway, but we’d like to explore the potential of being physically together for a year or two at least.
Joining us in the new studio will be two new full-time artists:
- A content manager to help us expand outside our Blender-bubble a bit, and support our team by taking over some of admin work involved in uploading content.
- What we’re calling an “Asset Engineer” – a technical artist to work on more content and explore automation processes.
We’re currently in the process of looking for local South Africans for these roles to work with us in the new studio.
Later in 2023 when we’re settled in the office and accustomed to our new comrades, we plan to start traveling on “excursions” to various locations to scan and capture different biomes and environments, for the purpose of assembling themed asset packs.
We’ll share more once we have a timeline in place 🙂
Shed Project Progress
Speaking of the Shed project – all of the community assets have been uploaded and scheduled on our site (if you’re not a patron, you can still see upcoming content on the site by changing this setting), and James is well underway working on the environment.
A Winter Trip
Rob went on another little trip to scan some environment content, this time in -9°C!
Pixel Shift Tests
Finally, as a little taste of what we’re planning to work on next year, here are some tests I did with our new camera, a Sony A7R IV, and its 240 megapixel sensor shift mode, which can shoot a 19k image without moving the camera which should be invaluable for atlases and photometric-stereo content next year: