fabio russo
Fabio Russo is developing the "Advanced Array Modifier" and "Image Layers" for Blender

Interview: Fabio Russo, Creator of Image Layers

Fabio Russo is the developer behind the image layers in Blender Crowdfunding Campaign. He is also working on an advanced array modifier. BlenderDiplom talks with him about his experiences with crowdfunding.


If you'd like image and texture editing in Blender to be more Gimp- or PS-like utilizing layers, then you might want to check out Fabio Russo's current Crowdfunding Campaign to help him implement that handy feature. And if you'd like advanced features for the array modifier like added randomness and further C4D-inspired features, then you should check out his project Advanced Array Modifier. If you'd like to know more about the person behind those projects and his experiences with crowdfunding, read on!


BD: How did you get into Blender?

FR: After the movie Cars I went home and looked for programs so I could have fun with 3D. During the movie I was nothing short of enthralled from the scene where they run through the mountains. Every time I saw that scene I was amazed. And from there I started my way through the world of 3D. I tried out a few programs but all of them were a little complicated. Then I came across Blender. Even though it visually seemed a little confusing, it had a certain logical sense. And the fact that I'm a programmer and can peek at the code made me completely fall in love with that program.


BD: When did you start the advanced array modifier?

FR: One day when I was working with arrays for a small render. I realized it was a little poor, it could not add randomness to things. From there I began to study the code of Blender. I started with small features such as the randomness of the array. And then I researched what other programs offered for arrays and I thought about what was appropriate to be implemented in Blender. There is still much work to do. When BMesh got integrated with Blender I decided to pause and resume the project when I had some familiarity with this new feature.



BD: Image layers is your second project – for that you decided to start a fundraiser.

FR: I was inspired by other projects which raise funds for development on Blender and the fact of not having a steady job gave me a brain wave. But the main reason was that I would be more motivated to complete the project and not disappoint the people who believed in me even if they do not know me.


BD: How did you determine how much each feature/milestone would cost?

FR: That was not easy at all. I took more or less a week to fully develop the project and understand what was needed in Blender inherent to layers. With respect to the budget of each phase, I also compared it with other fundraising projects, and then I judged on points to be developed. Based on what had to be developed I pulled down a sum which in my opinion is representative for each phase. Then from there I created the bar and then it all started.


BD: How well has funding and development been going until now?

FR: Right now I think I have made good use of the funds received. Every day I can devote 5-6 hours to take this project forward. Right now the thing I'm working on is the integration of multiple layers in Blender. I thought it was fairly easy to do at first, but I encountered some problems. Above all, I still have problems to integrate the layers into a texture.


BD: Why did you choose direct payment and not one of the platforms like IndieGoGo or ChipIn?

FR: I'm always inspired by other projects and I saw that everyone was using PayPal. Knowing little about PayPal, I started to inform myself. And I came to the conclusion that it was safe enough for what I do and also gave some protection even to the donors. In the sense that I can return the money to the donor, if needed.



BD: The advanced array modifier had not been in trunk when you started the fundraiser for image layers. The coders for other fundraisers already had completed projects before they started the campaigns - do you think that this is holding potential donors back in your case?

FR: I think not. AMA was just a project to study the code of Blender a little. It's not finished, not even in trunk yet, but as soon as I finish the two exams at university, I will resume work on AMA. I'm really fond of that project.


BD: What are you doing to keep the interest in your project up?

FR: I hope to complete each phase as soon as possible and I believe that these features will improve a good bit of the paint department. The users of the paint system will find out they get the features they want.


BD: What are the chances that image layers make it into trunk in your opinion?

FR: When the project is complete, I will speak with the proper authorities so that we can make sure it fits in the trunk.


BD: Thank you for the interview and may your projects prosper!

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