Episode 34

Jason van Gumster on Animation, Design, and Open Source


January 3rd, 2023

34 mins 54 secs

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About this Episode


Jason van Gumster


Richard Littauer | Victory Brown | Django Skorupa

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers. On this episode, Richard, Victory, and Django have a great guest joining them. Today, we have Jason van Gumster, who’s the Blender Consulting Lead at Orange Turbine. He’s also run a small animation studio, written Blender For Dummies, co-authored GIMP Bible, and nearly everything he produces are all made using free and open source tools from applications all the way down to his choice of operating system. Jason dives into the Blender community, what it is, and why it holds a special place in his heart. We’ll also learn specific ways open source is necessary to his work, and he shares advice for new designers who have little experience and are trying to get into open source programs, as well as what he’s most excited about in the design community that’s happening right now. Download this episode now to find out more cool stuff!

[00:02:42] Jason tells us the story of why he produces anti-counterfeiting technology.

[00:03:51] We learn Jason's experience with currency design

[00:04:30] Jason fills our minds with the Blender community and why it holds such a special place in his heart, and he explains how fits into the continuum with the Blender community where there’s designers who are also coders.

[00:08:04] Richard wonders how Jason squares away automating things in the design process while also enabling the creative juices to flow.

[00:10:45] We hear how Jason decides where the monotony ends, where the art begins, and how he’s forgotten how to be bored.

[00:12:19] Jason dives into why open source is so necessary to his work and why it’s necessary that lender be open source.

[00:14:48] Going back to the open source tools Jason uses for creative development, Victory wonders if there are others he’s tried besides Blender.

[00:16:39] We hear some great advice on how to begin the process if you are a designer who hasn’t been using open source programs, you don’t have much experience, and you’re trying to break out of the closed source ecosystem.

[00:18:42] Django wonders what Jason’s response is to the person who hears the word open source and what they really hear is the phrase, “No money.” What would he say to a creative who’s very closed to the idea of open?

[00:19:56] Jason tells us how he helps out the communities for the tools he’s using to go and get his money as an independent designer/worker. He also tells us more about the ASWF that focuses on open source tools that are useful in animation and visual effects.

[00:23:12] We learn about conversations Jason’s had with toolmakers because they’re interested in operability, a workshop he did with Blender, and his thoughts on people in game studios.

[00:27:02] We find out if open source communities naturally retain their talent more than churn just design house.

[00:28:54] What is Jason most excited about in the design community that’s happening right now?

[00:30:06] Find out where you can follow Jason on the web.


[00:03:13] “Currency Designers are actually UI Designers. It’s the oldest user Interface in existence.”

[00:10:50] “On some level, I have forgotten how to be bored. But I recognize monotonous repetition. I describe a lot of things in terms of taste and if it tastes weird to do or tastes annoying to do, or I don’t like the flavor of that behavior, then that’s something that I want to automate away.”

[00:18:57] “You show up, [use OSS], be awesome, and then when someone asks you what you did it with, that’s when you drop the bomb.”

[00:22:02] “Money helps, but really, it’s manpower. A 3D studio has technical people who are capable of doing code and development and there’s no reason why they can’t make changes and push them upstream.”

[00:28:08] “People come for the help, people come for the price, but they stay because they got helped, and they stayed because they were included, and their thoughts were appreciated.”

[00:29:12] “Everything is design, and it permeates though just about everything we do, but that also gives us a bit of hubris.”


  • [00:31:02] Django’s spotlight is MyPaint.
  • [00:31:32] Victory’s spotlight is all the open source design tools.
  • [00:31:55] Richard’s spotlight is Colin’s Bear Animation.
  • [00:32:42] Jason’s spotlight is the entire Blender community.