Blender

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. 3D modelling is a large and growing field. You’ve got packages that do
    modelling, sculpting (making models that look less geometrical), rendering,
    animation (including forward and inverse kinematics), particles, physics
    simulation, compositing, game engines ... And these packages are expensive,
    typically with four-figure price tags, unless you get crippled “student†or
    “noncommercial use†versions.

    And then there’s Blender. Just one Free Software package manages to cover
    most of the major bases, and actually scores quite well at a lot of them,
    too. And just to keep it interesting, the Blender Foundation (which oversees
    software development) sponsors annual projects to produce commercial-quality
    short animated films, and uses these to shakedown new features that get
    added to the Blender code. So you know this software is industrial-strength.

    When I first tried to look at it several years ago, I adopted my usual
    tactic of undirected messing about to see how far I could get. Which wasn’t
    very far. So I gave up.

    More recently, I found that there are whole bunch of tutorials all over the
    Web covering just about every aspect of Blender’s functionality. I started
    with a forty-minute video that went over the basic user interface, workspace
    layout, common hotkeys ... and suddenly everything started to make sense.
    This is a deep package, with a seemingly endless list of capabilities that I
    keep discovering. Yet at every stage I am able to make use of what I’ve
    found, and produce results that, while they may be old hat to the seasoned
    pros, still look neat to a n00b like me.

    Yes, there are some user-interface quirks—like having to keep switching
    between two different sets of mini-windows to manage material settings. And
    features that show signs of having been developed separately and not
    integrated—why is the “cloth†simulator separate from the “soft-bodyâ€
    simulator, and why is only the latter able to be influenced by “fieldsâ€
    (e.g. a wind source), but not the former?

    The upcoming version 2.5 is supposed to resolve some of the quirks. In the
    meantime, the current 2.49b version is an amazing amount of fun.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 6, 2010
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2010-08-06, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    > 3D modelling is a large and growing field. You?ve got packages that do
    > modelling, sculpting (making models that look less geometrical), rendering,
    > animation (including forward and inverse kinematics), particles, physics
    > simulation, compositing, game engines ... And these packages are expensive,
    > typically with four-figure price tags, unless you get crippled ?student? or
    > ?noncommercial use? versions.
    >
    > And then there?s Blender. Just one Free Software package manages to cover
    > most of the major bases, and actually scores quite well at a lot of them,
    > too. And just to keep it interesting, the Blender Foundation (which oversees
    > software development) sponsors annual projects to produce commercial-quality
    > short animated films, and uses these to shakedown new features that get
    > added to the Blender code. So you know this software is industrial-strength.


    Blender started its life as a commerical product, was not that sucessful and
    was withdrawn. A small group of people asked the company what they would
    sell the code for. 100,000 euros was the answer. The group asked for
    donations so they source code could be bought and set free under the GPL.

    The rest is history. To me this is a fine example of people putting up the
    money to get a foundation from which the community can all have to use and
    improve.

    Commerically the product flopped. It was sold for scrap, from the commerical
    point of view.


    >
    > When I first tried to look at it several years ago, I adopted my usual
    > tactic of undirected messing about to see how far I could get. Which wasn?t
    > very far. So I gave up.


    Blender has a learning curve so steep that a cliff face looks flat. I too
    have given up several times. And yet I have put it in the challenge basket.

    >
    > More recently, I found that there are whole bunch of tutorials all over the
    > Web covering just about every aspect of Blender?s functionality. I started
    > with a forty-minute video that went over the basic user interface, workspace
    > layout, common hotkeys ... and suddenly everything started to make sense.
    > This is a deep package, with a seemingly endless list of capabilities that I
    > keep discovering. Yet at every stage I am able to make use of what I?ve
    > found, and produce results that, while they may be old hat to the seasoned
    > pros, still look neat to a n00b like me.
    >
    > Yes, there are some user-interface quirks?like having to keep switching
    > between two different sets of mini-windows to manage material settings. And
    > features that show signs of having been developed separately and not
    > integrated?why is the ?cloth? simulator separate from the ?soft-body?
    > simulator, and why is only the latter able to be influenced by ?fields?
    > (e.g. a wind source), but not the former?
    >
    > The upcoming version 2.5 is supposed to resolve some of the quirks. In the
    > meantime, the current 2.49b version is an amazing amount of fun.
     
    Gordon, Aug 6, 2010
    #2
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  3. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2010-08-06, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    > 3D modelling is a large and growing field. You?ve got packages that do
    > modelling, sculpting (making models that look less geometrical), rendering,
    > animation (including forward and inverse kinematics), particles, physics
    > simulation, compositing, game engines ... And these packages are expensive,
    > typically with four-figure price tags, unless you get crippled ?student? or
    > ?noncommercial use? versions.
    >
    > And then there?s Blender. Just one Free Software package manages to cover
    > most of the major bases, and actually scores quite well at a lot of them,
    > too. And just to keep it interesting, the Blender Foundation (which oversees
    > software development) sponsors annual projects to produce commercial-quality
    > short animated films, and uses these to shakedown new features that get
    > added to the Blender code. So you know this software is industrial-strength.
    >
    > When I first tried to look at it several years ago, I adopted my usual
    > tactic of undirected messing about to see how far I could get. Which wasn?t
    > very far. So I gave up.
    >
    > More recently, I found that there are whole bunch of tutorials all over the
    > Web covering just about every aspect of Blender?s functionality. I started
    > with a forty-minute video that went over the basic user interface, workspace
    > layout, common hotkeys ... and suddenly everything started to make sense.
    > This is a deep package, with a seemingly endless list of capabilities that I
    > keep discovering. Yet at every stage I am able to make use of what I?ve
    > found, and produce results that, while they may be old hat to the seasoned
    > pros, still look neat to a n00b like me.
    >
    > Yes, there are some user-interface quirks?like having to keep switching
    > between two different sets of mini-windows to manage material settings. And
    > features that show signs of having been developed separately and not
    > integrated?why is the ?cloth? simulator separate from the ?soft-body?
    > simulator, and why is only the latter able to be influenced by ?fields?
    > (e.g. a wind source), but not the former?
    >
    > The upcoming version 2.5 is supposed to resolve some of the quirks. In the
    > meantime, the current 2.49b version is an amazing amount of fun.
     
    Gordon, Aug 6, 2010
    #3
  4. In message <>, Gordon wrote:

    > Commerically the product flopped. It was sold for scrap, from the
    > commerical point of view.


    Not quite. The original guy behind the company that created it, Ton
    Roosendaal, is still very much masterminding its continuing development. It
    was his determination that kept it alive, and has seen it thrive. Looks like
    the Blender Foundation has found a sustainable model to keep going as well.

    > Blender has a learning curve so steep that a cliff face looks flat.


    I honestly wouldn’t say that. And not, I gather, in comparison with other 3D
    packages. The easy-to-use ones only let you do basic things.

    I did try to get into OpenGL programming as well a few years ago, but lost
    interest mainly because it was too tedious to write code to create models
    and scenes from scratch. Having such a powerful interactive modelling
    package has reawakened my interest. Also the fact that it has an extensive
    Python scripting API that gives access to all its document objects should
    make for some interesting possibilities...
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 6, 2010
    #4
  5. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gunnar Gren Guest

    2010-08-06 Gordon <>:
    >
    > free under the GPL.


    GPL is not to set software free, free to download yes, but not free.
    If I make additions to GPL software it's my porogative to include
    it or not IF I distribute it, since I always have the copyright.
     
    Gunnar Gren, Aug 7, 2010
    #5
  6. In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:

    > 2010-08-06 Gordon <>:
    >>
    >> free under the GPL.

    >
    > GPL is not to set software free, free to download yes, but not free.


    Free of restrictions. Free as in “freedomâ€. How much more “free†do you
    want?

    > If I make additions to GPL software it's my porogative to include
    > it or not IF I distribute it, since I always have the copyright.


    The GPL doesn’t take that away from you.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 7, 2010
    #6
  7. In message <i3j99t$fpi$>, EMB wrote:

    > On 6/08/2010 3:29 p.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> In the meantime, the current 2.49b version is an amazing amount of fun.

    >
    > My 16 year old son (who is doing amazing things with it) concurs.


    Has he got to grips with the Node Editor yet? I’ve just added an expansion
    <http://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro/Texture_Nodes&stable=0>
    to that section in the “Blender 3D: Noob To Pro†WikiBook
    <http://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro&stable=0>.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 7, 2010
    #7
  8. In message <i3kma2$mqt$>, EMB wrote:

    > He already has access to a copy of Solidworks.


    I noticed you said “has access to a copy†rather than “has a copyâ€. :)
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 8, 2010
    #8
  9. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gunnar Gren Guest

    2010-08-07 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    > In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >
    >> 2010-08-06 Gordon <>:
    >>>
    >>> free under the GPL.

    >>
    >> GPL is not to set software free, free to download yes, but not free.

    >
    > Free of restrictions.


    It's not.

    >
    >> If I make additions to GPL software it's my porogative to include
    >> it or not IF I distribute it, since I always have the copyright.

    >
    > The GPL doesn???t take that away from you.


    GPL forces me to include changes when distributing. That's why I
    prefer BSD licenses.
     
    Gunnar Gren, Aug 8, 2010
    #9
  10. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Sun, 08 Aug 2010 01:56:20 +0000, Gunnar Gren wrote:

    > 2010-08-07 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    >> In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >>
    >>> 2010-08-06 Gordon <>:
    >>>>
    >>>> free under the GPL.
    >>>
    >>> GPL is not to set software free, free to download yes, but not free.

    >>
    >> Free of restrictions.

    >
    > It's not.
    >
    >
    >>> If I make additions to GPL software it's my porogative to include it
    >>> or not IF I distribute it, since I always have the copyright.

    >>
    >> The GPL doesn???t take that away from you.

    >
    > GPL forces me to include changes when distributing. That's why I prefer
    > BSD licenses.


    And this is exactly why I think the GPL v3 is so very good - it protects
    the code from someone else releasing it under a different, less
    protective, license.


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
     
    Sweetpea, Aug 8, 2010
    #10
  11. In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:

    > GPL forces me to include changes when distributing.


    You don’t have to distribute your changed version. Or the unchanged
    original, for that matter.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 8, 2010
    #11
  12. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 8, 12:00 pm, "impossible" <> wrote:
    > "EMB" <> wrote in message
    > >> I'll bet when he grows up he'll want you to buy him a tool rather than a
    > >> toy -- something like Autocad.


    I'm sure when he grows up, he can buy it himself if he decides it's
    worth it.

    > > He already has access to a copy of Solidworks.

    >
    > That'll work!


    Really? Only if he's bizarrely trying to use Blender for CAD work -
    just because they're all "three dee" doesn't make them the same thing.
    Shouldn't you be smugly suggesting apps like 3ds Max or Maya instead?

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Aug 8, 2010
    #12
  13. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 9, 6:45 am, "impossible" <> wrote:
    > "AD." <> wrote in message
    > > just because they're all "three dee" doesn't make them the same thing.
    > > Shouldn't you be smugly suggesting apps like 3ds Max or Maya instead?

    >
    > This is obviously a smart kid. I'm sure he'll reach that same conclusion in
    > his own good time. But thanks for the suggestions! After Blender has ceased
    > to be amusing, yes, it will be time for professional grade applications like
    > 3Ds Max and Maya.


    So you're more than happy to make recommendations for extremely
    expensive professional tools despite admitting you know nothing about
    this stuff? No matter what your opinion about the conclusions he will
    or won't reach, it's obvious he'd already know much more about these
    packages than you do.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Aug 8, 2010
    #13
  14. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 9, 10:40 am, "impossible" <> wrote:
    > That's what so great about having software produced by proven winners like
    > Autodesk and Dassault. You can count on professional-grade quality with
    > every release.


    Spoken from personal experience using these things professionally
    right?

    > Choosing between the tools is a matter of preference. But you
    > can't go wrong with any of them.


    Wrong - you can (and you did) get it wrong if you pick a CAD app for
    advanced CGI work or a CGI app for any CAD work.

    Even Blender (let alone Maya etc) would be a much better choice for
    character animation than AutoCAD or Solidworks. And likewise you'd be
    nuts to use Maya or 3ds Max for engineering design or draughting
    instead of AutoCAD or Solidworks.

    Why do you think Autodesk has so many different types of 3D apps to
    choose from?

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Aug 9, 2010
    #14
  15. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gunnar Gren Guest

    2010-08-08 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    > In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >
    >> GPL forces me to include changes when distributing.

    >
    > You don???t have to distribute your changed version. Or the unchanged
    > original, for that matter.


    God dag yxskaft!
     
    Gunnar Gren, Aug 9, 2010
    #15
  16. In message
    <>, AD.
    wrote:

    > Why do you think Autodesk has so many different types of 3D apps to
    > choose from?


    Actually, it’s because it bought them, rather than developed them.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 9, 2010
    #16
  17. In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:

    > 2010-08-08 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    >
    >> In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >>
    >>> GPL forces me to include changes when distributing.

    >>
    >> You don’t have to distribute your changed version. Or the unchanged
    >> original, for that matter.

    >
    > God dag yxskaft!


    In what sense? You were the one saying the GPL was forcing you to include
    your changes when distributing.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 9, 2010
    #17
  18. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gunnar Gren Guest

    2010-08-09 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    > In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >
    >> 2010-08-08 Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand>:
    >>
    >>> In message <>, Gunnar Gren wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> GPL forces me to include changes when distributing.
    >>>
    >>> You don???t have to distribute your changed version. Or the unchanged
    >>> original, for that matter.

    >>
    >> God dag yxskaft!

    >
    > In what sense?


    Every one of them.
     
    Gunnar Gren, Aug 9, 2010
    #18
  19. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 10, 11:28 am, "impossible" <> wrote:
    > "AD." <> wrote in message
    > > Spoken from personal experience using these things professionally
    > > right?

    >
    > That's right.


    Well it sure doesn't sound like it.

    > > Wrong - you can (and you did) get it wrong if you pick a CAD app for
    > > advanced CGI work or a CGI app for any CAD work.

    >
    > <yawn> Autodesk makes Autocad, 3DS Max, Maya.....Sorry, no giveaways like
    > Blander catering to the ego and ideology of its developers. Just
    > professional-grade tools for professionals. Probably not for you.


    Huh? what's that got to do with the statement you replied to?

    You were the one reflexively touting CAD apps as something to use for
    CGI work instead of a CGI app as if you didn't know what the
    difference was.

    If you did know anything, you would've known that AutoCAD doesn't
    overlap Blender and you could've avoided looking stupid by suggesting
    something like 3ds Max to begin with.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Aug 10, 2010
    #19
  20. In message <i3jdoi$1rs$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > I’ve just added an expansion ...


    And another one on material nodes
    <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro/Material_Nodes>.

    When you say “nodesâ€, people immediately think “compositingâ€. And while
    that’s the sexy usage, and one area where Blender is at the forefront of 3D
    apps, there are other uses for the Node Editor as well...
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 13, 2010
    #20
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