Who said Blender was hard?

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  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162

    Blender Manual Yes, Blender does have a manual. ;)

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162

    CG Geek Blender Tutorials These are some more advanced Blender tutorials. They are not meant to put anyone off who's at a more beginning level (they can be intimidating) but rather to show how powerful Blender actually is. Most people who don't use Blender regularly realize how much it can do. These tutorials only show a portion of what it can do as it has features like video/animation editing and many other advanced features not touched on here, but this is enough to give some perspective as to it's strength as a 3D tool.

  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 11,455

    Some day I hope to have the time and energy to learn Blender basics. It SOUNDS like it's really cool.

    But I am particularly terrible at rote stuff, rather than intuitive interfaces, and Blender frankly makes me angry every time I try to use it.

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162

    Well the thing is, the interface is somewhat intuitive, once one gets a lot of the concepts down. it's just not intuitive for a new user. I still hope to put together a tutorial series which would make it much easier to use/learn but it got put off for a couple reasons. One, to do it to the level I would want to, I realized it was a bigger project then I first planned, and two, there was a lot of talk about redoing the interface so it made sense to see how that would shake out. The redesign ended up not being quite so much, at least not up till now. Anyways, stay tuned... I may get some tutorials put together yet.

  • RAMWolffRAMWolff Posts: 7,521

    Note I read about the Ivy Generator says it's included with Blender after version r38855.  I really like the idea of the UV Squares py.  That's really cool!  

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    If you like that, check out the grease pencil one. ;)

    Blender also has a cloud generator but it takes a lot of resources. I used it in the attached image.

    Node Wrangler, Sapling Generator and I believe F2 are also included now. The next build has a number of interesting additions also, such as initial support for Pixar OpenSubdiv.

    While on the topic, how many know that Blender supports physics, cloth, and wind? A quick import of mesh with clothes posed into Blender followed with a cloth sim might be just the thing to get the look you are trying for. Combine that with wind effect... ;)

    Toon-House.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 414K
    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • j cadej cade Posts: 1,326

    See, I find blender completely intuitive, now zbrush on the other hand... Why can't I just import a mesh normally without weird spinning.

    The whole Hotkey thing is overstated, I've been using it for, what, 5 years now and I probably use 10 of 'em. I can't think of anything that has a hotkey that you can't also get to from the left tab or menus. (and I've actually set up DAZ to have the blender viewport controls now I've gotten so used to them.)

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    It's true you don't need to use hotkeys, especially after the tabbed interface update, but I still find using the hotkeys much faster then leaving the main window to find some tab/section to click on. Since the keys are optimized for the left hand and I can use my Wacom in my right (I'm right handed) I find I can get a cadence going while modeling and even unwrapping, etc...

    With the new pie menus, many people may find they prefer those to hotkeys and still get many of the same speed improvements they would by using hotkeys.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    j cade said:
    I've actually set up DAZ to have the blender viewport controls now I've gotten so used to them.

    I need to do this. I find DAZ viewport manipulation clumsy now and it can be frustrating when I can whip around in Blender so much easier.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 24,178

    ...letsee, memory lapses (for real) and dyslexia don't work well with memorising a lot of keyboard shortcuts especially ones that require more than two keys. Why is the Blender community so adverse to a more elegant pointer driven UI like other graphics software uses?

    . Another pitfall. everything seems to have gone to bloody videos these days (even for a list a simple as this) instead of a PDFs anymore.  I don't do well with video tutorials as my retention with them is extremely poor due to the aforementioned memory lapses

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 5,866

    I didn't like 2.49; the new UI was brilliant. Using hot keys is a vast improvement on workflow, and helps prevent RSI and the like.

  • zug22zug22 Posts: 62

    I cannot agree that "blenders Interface is crap".  3D modelling is a complex thing, there are no simple ways to do it well. If you want simple get  something else  - maybe sketchup..I have used Blender since 2.49 and it took a long time to learn but it was worth it: yes, you can mouse around if you want to but hotkeys are the only way to model fast.  Also, practice: keep working at it and you will remember the hotkeys better. That applies to all software really - and there is the core issue I think: 3D modelling takes a certain kind of mind and determination to learn it . I don't know all of Blender,  I only use some of the features - there is always more to learn.

    For free software, Blender is amazing. Compared to other software you will pay thousands for, it is better in some ways and equal in many.

  • bradrgbradrg Posts: 446

    I think Andrew Price nails it on what they need to do to improve Blender's UI. I must admit that the new interface is 1000x better than the old though- before you couldn't even find half the functions unless you knew the hot keys. 

    I agree with zug22 ^^^ I left the paid version of Lightwave for free Blender and haven't looked back. It's an amazing program and just gets better with every release

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    kyoto kid said:

    ...letsee, memory lapses (for real) and dyslexia don't work well with memorising a lot of keyboard shortcuts especially ones that require more than two keys. Why is the Blender community so adverse to a more elegant pointer driven UI like other graphics software uses?with video tutorials as my retention with them is extremely poor due to the aforementioned memory lapses

    Blender does have a well developed graphical interface. The Blender developer community redesigned the interface to include tabs and pie menus that both address issues for people who prefer menu systems over shortcuts. I simply reiterate the shortcut method because it is probably the best developed shortcut system I have seen in any program and for many (not all) if one gets over the initial resistence to using shortcuts we get an amazing speedup in 'speed modeling' something one cannot do with the same efficiency using menu systems for the most part (pie menus being an exception.)

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162

    There is a gotcha btw that has occurred with the redesign. Some of the value ranges have been redesigned for a more standardized system, so one doesn't end up putting in 0-1 values in one area and 0-10,000,000 in another quite so much. This means that older tutorials may show using values that no longer are applicable in the newer versions of Blender. The number of tutorials that come out regularly on Blender means this isn't as much of an issue as one might think, but it's worth knowing in case we run into it so we know what's going on.

  • Gedd said:

    11 Awesome Blender Addons Blender actually has some tools not available in other content creation packages and best of all they are often free. For instance, check out the Ivy Generator if you haven't seen it already.

    Um actually you can get Ivy Generator for free and use things you make in it in Bryce. I know that's no 'included in it' but it's still pretty cool.  I've always wanted to be able to use Blender, and the more I try - the more I can do little tiny bits in it... but it's NOT easy to learn. Unless they recently changed it completely to really user friendly.

    But Blender is a very powerful program.

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    Yes, little disjointed thought process on my part there. Ivy generator is a nice standalone tool that will work similar to the Blender ivy generator program and has been available for quite a while. I was more thinking of other plugins such as the cloud generator when I mentioned the not often available. And yes I know that there are paid versions available for some of the Autodesk products, but they are an additional expense on top of an already expensive product. Some add-ons like 'Align UV Squares,' and 'Align to Grease Pencil' I haven't seen in other packages.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 11,455

    What I find annoying is that there are standards and practices in lots of other software that don't apply to Blender (though Blender is hardly the only culprit). Look at opening and saving files. I've never seen that setup before.

    Moving the camera... unlike most other GUIs. Why can't I click drag? What's going ON?

    While I don't have Kyoto Kids' memory issues, I loathe video tutorials. Among other things, most are terribly done, are way longer than the information they contain, and they then function incredibly poorly as a reference. I can't do a search on a video to find the reference to gels or IK or whatever.

    I had the same problem with Maya, way back, trying to use the trial version. I've also run into the issue with 2d stuff, like Campaign Cartographer (designed by engineers with a passionate loathing for sensible UI) vs. Fractal Mapper (which is, apparently, more limited in function but WAAAAAY easier to use)

     

  • At some point I recall reading along the lines of Blender is not the kind of application you can sit in front of and figure it out, it will not make any sense until you have at the very least a few hours of tutorials to explain what it is your looking at - and that was it.  I was trying to do a Daz Studio and play with it for a few days until I got lost and had to ask, and it is not the kind of software you can do that with. As a result I was just overwhelmed with the UI and could not figure out why I would try Blender, quit in disgust and try something else. If you're trying to learn Blender without some type of training it can't be done.

    Knowing what I know now the Blender UI is in many ways What it needs to be (for now) and while Andrew Price had some revolutionary and great ideas I'm no longer in complete disagreement with the developers who decided to keep their layout for the reasons they did. Blender is a beast of an application with a lot of functionality and once you start to get the UI you begin to see it was very thought out, along with that it's incredibly flexible, but it has to be; Blender has the capability of many of the major 3D apps that specialize in very specific tasks: Modeling, Animation, UVMapping, Sculpting, Weight Paining, Particle rendering, Physics based modeling and it does all of these incredibly well with a versicle set of tools some on the surface (some on the towers) some deeper inside the UI or with their own sub set of tools that are part of a keyboard sequence that open a litany of possible options. I think if they pulled back on some of that apparent clutter of complexity the variety of tools might have to be sacrificed and I like having new options to explore.

  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 11,455

    Strat: Maybe, but the idea that the file UI has to work the way it does, I roll to disbelieve.

    (I'm also not sold on the idea that having a camera widget to rotate around is antithetical to the program's goals, but I'm at least open to the idea that that might be true)

     

  • Strat: Maybe, but the idea that the file UI has to work the way it does, I roll to disbelieve.

    (I'm also not sold on the idea that having a camera widget to rotate around is antithetical to the program's goals, but I'm at least open to the idea that that might be true)

     

    it's not perfect and there is always room for improvement, I can play devils advocate just as easley and say
    The interface is the way it is because the old guard does not want to see Blender loose it's mystique and become "trendy"
    while there may be some truth to this (and at times I don't doubt it) I'm finding the more I use the UI the way it is it's not as bad as I thought it was and when Price offered his solution last year I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and how could I disagree, but I far more in the camp of "now I get it!" than I was back then - that being said I would love to see a "blender light" or "blender starter" for the still apparent groups of users who would love to try blender but are still put off by the UI, that hasn't gone away and obliviously it's for a good reason.

    If anything I wish Studio had a blender navigation option, but I HATED that navigation when I started using in Blender.

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    One of the redesign goals was to expose the interface through scripting more so that people could do much more of a customized 'roll your own' interface on top of Blender. There are configuration options now, but to be able to truly modify the environment to be task specific without any extra features along with added custom panels, etc... that addressed specific workflows and user levels would solve a lot of the issues people have with the interface. This task, exposing the interface to the scripting engine (python) to this level requires quite a bit of rewrite however as much of the functionality is currently closely tied to the interface and needs to be separated out. With all of the other areas the Blender developers are working on, it has to be done on a when can basis. This based on my own time spent researching this area of the Blender development and interacting with some of the various participants (developers, etc...)

    Optimally, it would be nice if one could design their own interface using a combination of scripting and drag/drop type of metaphor (similar to automated web page generators) but I'm afraid that is a ways off.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • KharmaKharma Posts: 2,388

    If I wanted to try out blender just to see how it works which version is recommended as there are several versions available.  Is it best to go with the newest version?

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    Generally yes. Besides new features, there are many bug fixes in any new version.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 11,455

    Gedd, yeah, that's the generally engineering/CAD school of UI design. 'Well, just learn how everything works really deeply, and then code your own interface.'

    Heh.

    Again, don't get me wrong, I fully believe it would probably be worth my time to learn how to use Blender. It's just a massive investment that me, and a lot of people, can't manage.

     

  • KharmaKharma Posts: 2,388

    Obviously I have no other version to compare to so whichever one it will be totally new, but I did notice on the website it says you can d/l the newest version or the last stable version...do any of you who use it have the newest version and are there any issues?  for those who have tried various versions which do you use now and did you have a favorite version?

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,162
    edited September 2015

    For anyone who hasn't seen it (was posted earlier in this thread) I started a Blender tutorial but dropped it after the first module, Introduction to the Interface, for reasons mentioned above. It may be helpful for some getting started. It's a bit older now but most of the information still applies. One of the things that has changed is the tabbed interface and pie menus are there and some might prefer this to shortcut keys.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Oso3DOso3D Posts: 11,455

    Bookmarked, Gedd, thanks.

    (YAY NOT A VIDEO!)

     

  • Gedd said:

    For anyone who hasn't seen it (was posted earlier in this thread) I started a Blender tutorial but dropped it after the first module, Introduction to the Interface, for reasons mentioned above. It may be helpful for some getting started. It's a bit older now but most of the information still applies. One of the things that has changed is the tabbed interface and pie menus are there and some might prefer this to shortcut keys.

    Thank You and I am also glad that it is not a video hate video tutorials with a passion

  • I remember buying Blender 1.8 on CD along with a little instruction book nearly 15 years ago.  Five years ago, I finally forced myself to learn Blender (and more importantly the concepts at the heart of CG) using 2.49 & 2.5.  I agree with StatDragon's comment above that Blender's interface is what it needs to be.  It is a product made by enthusiasts to do work, not cater to a consumer base that expects one button solutions to things that they don't really understand.  Blender developers have done a marvelous job designing the interface for speed and flexibility.  I understand what it means to feel lost in the Blender UI.  I understand the mental resistence to concepts like right-click selection in the 3d viewport.  But it does make sense when you work on a project and hardly have to think about what you're doing anymore, because it just flows.

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