If you're not aware already, we publish 100% free high quality 3D assets with no strings attached.
The main purpose of the merge is to enable more freedom over how we use donated funds. Currently, each of the 3 Havens are run completely separately and do not share funds, which results in an imbalance of content.
HDRI Haven is the oldest and therefore has the most assets available right now, which draws it lots of attention, so more people donate to it, which allows it to create more HDRIs... drawing more attention and restarting the cycle.
We feel that HDRI Haven is beginning to reach a point of diminishing returns, where we have so many great HDRIs already that its starting to feel like an inefficient use of funds creating HDRIs alone, while the other 2 Havens have even greater potential but lack the ability to reach it.
By merging the 3 Havens together, we can (with feedback from our supporters) more easily allocate funds in order to best benefit the industry.
This also allows us to spend less time on administration work, doing it only once for a single project instead of fighting to keep things separate. Less time on administration means more time creating assets.
More detailed reasoning and discussions can be found on the announcement post.
On the surface, not much.
Our mission remains exactly the same: To provide free (CC0) high quality assets to the 3D industry with the help of your support, all while making our operations as transparent and open as possible based on your feedback.
There will be a new website with all the same assets we already have, plus some new ones.
The three existing websites will simply redirect to their appropriate sections on the new site.
The Patreon account will have some new tiers, but all existing patrons can continue to support us at the same level and (for the most part) receive the same rewards.
Greg Zaal continues to head the project, creating the web platform itself, some HDRIs, and ensuring consistent quality across all asset types.
Rob Tuytel continues to produce PBR texture sets and will curate any additional textures from other artists.
Dimitrios Savva joins the team to work on texture scans.
End of April 2021 is our current plan.
The new website will take a significant amount of work, as it needs to support all three types of assets simultaneously and be a lot more scalable than our existing infrastructure.
We also don't want to launch a new site without any new content, so it'll take some time to create a bunch of new assets to make things more exciting.
You can of course support us financially on Patreon (in future the HDRI Haven patreon account will be renamed to Poly Haven) or through PayPal, which will also allow you to join our private community and help us figure out what to work on.
If youre not in a position or arent interested in supporting us financially, thats totally OK, the purpose of our existence is to help you and not the other way around. It still helps us a ton if you spread the word about us, maybe mention us when you share your renders online (though this is not required at all).
If your company or organization wants to support us in exchange for recognition and deeper involvement in what we work on, please contact us.
If you still have some questions, feel free to join us on Discord, we're happy to chat and appreciate any feedback you've got!