Join Date: May 2002
First I would just like to say thank you for the videos, they're extremely applicable to all 3d software and all companies should take on board what you have presented.
As for your actual question though, its a big one, so pardon my wall of text. In order for users to switch to blender, there must be a reason for them to put in the significant investment of time required, and if you want the short version, this is blender's sticking point, there isnt anything compelling enough for most people to do this. The smartest thing would be to look at recent software which has succeeded and analyse what it is they've done.
Ease of use: One way blender could gain more share is to be easier than the competition, I think its safe to say that this is how c4d over the past 13 years has eaten into autodesk's market share. It certainly didnt do it by being more powerful and there has always been cheaper software, but at the time c4d was significantly simpler to get into than most of the others and so gained a strong foothold. From there once it had a userbase, it could then start piling on the features and the power, but without that first reason it would never have gained traction.
Be better at something: Modo would be the best example here. Luxology recognised that making an entire all-singing 3d app would take a hell of a long time, so started off by doing one thing great, modelling. Again, once they had enough users onboard with this initial hook, they could start expanding to offer animation, rendering and so on; so they're now on their merry way.
Be more powerful: Well really this is covered by numerous apps, Maya and Houdini spring to mind. Theyre not easy, theyre not cheap, but they go the furthest.
The above is the first of blender's problems. It cant claim to be any of those. It isnt easy to use by any metric, I think one of your first points in the first video demonstrated this perfectly, you cant select things by clicking on them. Such a simple, basic and tragic hurdle placed in front of every person that has ever tried the software, but its an immediate warning for what else the user would have in store. Or put another way, if you walked into a supermarket and were met by the smell of decaying fish and the sight of rotten veg, would you venture further into the store?
Nor does it win on either of the other points, its animation, modelling and rendering are ok, but theyre not good enough to draw people away from what theyre using. So the question must be asked, what reason is there for any established 3D user to move over to blender? The best it can offer is a cheaper price, but the cost of 3D software as compared to what it will allow you to earn is not of any great concern. Users are paying what for their 3d software per year, £400? Will blender make me more than £400 more productive? No, if anything I would only lose jobs because I dont have the app the other company is using.
Blender largely suffers the same fate as Gimp, it is neither faster to achieve any particular goal than photoshop, nor is it more powerful in any regard, so the question remains, why would anyone switch to it?
Take other popular opensource software, firefox succeeded because the competition was slow, clunky and had stagnated all development so it was ripe for something else to take over, Blender has no such opportunity, between maya, max, softimage, c4d, modo lw and such, the market has a high amount of competition and a rapid pace of development
The only thing blender has right now as a hook is that its free, but for any established company, thats not realistic as they would have to spend a week teaching them to get them up to speed, thats £1500 in lost productivity whilst they learn, £1000 for the training course so youre looking at £2500 as a minimum to switch someone over, thats what? 7 years worth of commercial software updates? At best. Blender either needs to be the easiest app so they can start hooking new users just entering the 3D market; then slowly build up a userbase over time, or they need a killer feature thats so amazing that established 3D users will jump ship for it, C4D's mograph tools spring to mind.
So long as blender meanders along with every feature never exceeding the level of 'its ok' or 'its acceptable', nothing will change. Pick something and do it really bloody well, thats my advice.