Who said Blender was hard?

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  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    I have the next module or two on my hd someplace, still roughed out but it might be of interest to some. When I find it, if it looks like it might be helpful I'll put it up and post a notice.

  • Kharma said:

    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?

    You'll be just fine with the latest stable version.  The release candidate versions are for experienced users who give feedback to the developers for bugfixes.

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    Back at that time (ver 1.8) the manual was the way the Blender Institute made money for development. There was the 'if you find the product useful, please consider buying the book to support us' plea. It was even less intuitive then it is now for a new user and there were no Youtube videos and very few tutorials other then the official book to learn it from.

  • @Kharma
    For what it able to do it is very stable. I use it on Mac and Windows back and forth for the same projects. It occasionally crashes but few and far between. It saves as it goes but it wont prompt you to save when you exit, it will only tell you you didn't save "do you really want to quit" - The undo functionality is a bit odd to make sense of at first, save as you go. I keep two types of copies as I work, finished projects and incremental work with the modifiers still live (this makes no sense now, it may in a few hours of working on files) - files in Blender are generally small, so if you have space on your drive save, save, save.

    Blender was built to take advantage of older computers and hobbyists on a budget, while it supports workstation class stuff and tries to be as cutting edge as it can it will run on some ancient rigs provided you're not trying to push the boundaries of 3D animation and just get acclimated with modeling and animating, etc.

    The dev team is excellent on taking bug reports and making fixes that night. In two/three years using it I've reported one bug and it was fixed in a nightly build the next morning. 

    You can expect a new public release version every six weeks give or take. These are generally releases that contain new features and some bug fixes or tweaks. I don't recall a version being released without some new set of features.

    And if you use LuxRender it works with Blender (as does a dozen other engines) and there is no need to buy anything else to get it configured. I already had a background with Reality so when I plugged Lux into blender it started to make sense very quickly. 

     

    @Gedd
    good link, I too am not a fan of the video for everything and for a long time I would open that UI and immediately think "Am I sending men to Mars or something?"

     

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    Yes, I probably should have clarified stable version vs release candidate. I don't think to mention that because that is a general rule for any software. Blender is actually better then most software regarding rc vs official release but rc's are pretty much meant for people who just want to play with features that are still being worked on, i.e. experienced users.

    daveleitz said:
    Kharma said:

    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?

    You'll be just fine with the latest stable version.  The release candidate versions are for experienced users who give feedback to the developers for bugfixes.

     

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    edited September 2015
    And if you use LuxRender it works with Blender (as does a dozen other engines) and there is no need to buy anything else to get it configured. I already had a background with Reality so when I plugged Lux into blender it started to make sense very quickly. 

    Lux is relatively easy to get to work with Blender but personally I prefer the built in Cycles render engine. With Cycles, one can get every bit as good of a render as IRay, it just takes understanding and a bit of a different workflow. Unlike IRay, it doesn't enforce the PBR type of environment, rather one has to specifically set up materials and lighting to work within a PBR type of space without a lot of help or guidance. The result is, it takes a bit more work but offers much more flexibility, as one can still have all of the freedom of non photo realistic environments. Freestyle is a good example of this.

    Here is an interesting Demo Reel showing some of what Cycles can do.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • KharmaKharma Posts: 2,387

    Thanks for the input on the versions, I will go with the stable version. I want to see it for myself as I have read tons of reviews both pro and con about the degree of difficulty navigating the program. Every program has a learning curve that I either get right away or struggle with, so we will see how this one is :)

  • Gedd said:
    And if you use LuxRender it works with Blender (as does a dozen other engines) and there is no need to buy anything else to get it configured. I already had a background with Reality so when I plugged Lux into blender it started to make sense very quickly. 

    Lux is relatively easy to get to work with Blender but personally I prefer the built in Cycles render engine. With Cycles, one can get every bit as good of a render as IRay, it just takes understanding and a bit of a different workflow. Unlike IRay, it doesn't enforce the PBR type of environment, rather one has to specifically set up materials and lighting to work within a PBR type of space without a lot of help or guidance. The result is, it takes a bit more work but offers much more flexibility, as one can still have all of the freedom of non photo realistic environments. Freestyle is a good example of this.

    Here is an interesting Demo Reel showing some of what Cycles can do.

    Cycles appears to have more versatility that iray, you can do realistic and turn around and do complete cartoon looking things as well. I don't know enough of it to venture too far out of my LuxRender wheelhouse yet but I'm constantly exploring Blenders potential. I can quickly loose a weekend once I open that app up.

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    Here's an interesting tutorial by Andrew Price on creating realistic towels. The thing that makes this tutorial particularly interesting is that it demonstrates cloth simulation, weight painting with particle systems and the power of a node based texture environment all in one quick tutorial which produces a pretty nice result without near as much effort as one might imagine. It also serves as inspiration for why it's worth learning some of the more advanced techniques.

  • Gedd said:

    Here's an interesting tutorial by Andrew Price on creating realistic towels. The thing that makes this tutorial particularly interesting is that it demonstrates cloth simulation, weight painting with particle systems and the power of a node based texture environment all in one quick tutorial which produces a pretty nice result without near as much effort as one might imagine. It also serves as inspiration for why it's worth learning some of the more advanced techniques.

    I used that tutoral to make the bed sheets for this 

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/76271/related/5/3d-model/spring-room

     

  • Just an FYI not trying to derail anything but I understand that the next version of Poser's render engine is based on Blenders cycles renderer

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    I used that tutoral to make the bed sheets for this 

    http://www.sharecg.com/v/76271/related/5/3d-model/spring-room

    Very nice. :)

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 24,153
    Gedd said:
    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.)

    ...for one, I'd just like to be able to move around the workspace like I can in Hexagon and Carrara. Having to key in each movement of the work camera all the time is a real PITA particularly since my right hand is almost useless due to advancing arthritis.

    ...and "51 shortcuts" (hotkeys), Crikey I can barely handle five different passwords without getting something mixed up. Even in MS Office and FF, I only use a few of the main shortcuts. (copy/cut//paste, find, save, close, etc.)

    As I don't do scripting, the "customisation" aspect is absolutely lost on me. I can do the "drag n' drop" type that Daz allows for, but actually having to write code to do so?  Uh uh, doesn't fly. That is fine as an advanced technique, but not something to throw at someone who is just starting out.  Hotkey shortcuts are also a more "advanced feature" of most software as well. (even Daz, Carrara, and Hexagon have hotkey shortcuts, but "out of the box" their UIs are still pointer/menu driven) this is again where Blender loses me.

    It's also not a "Make Art" button I and others are looking for, but just a more elegant and cleaner UI. Some of us just think and work better from a more "visually intuitive" rather than "rote memorisation" based standpoint.  This is why there are painters and there are mathematicians.

    I agree that learning modelling is a difficult enough concept to deal with. Add to that a separate learning curve just for the UI alone (which is almost as daunting), and that is why people like me throw up our hands and walk away.  If it had the UI and tool fixes that Andrew proposed, I'd probably be on board then instead of pushing for an updated Hexagon.  I've seen incredible things done with Blender and admire the work that goes into them. Indeed it is a powerful programme on par with the pro grade software. However until the base UI gets a full makeover (which probably won't happen considering what I have been reading), I'll always be on the outside looking in.

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    A speed modeling example showing the power of shortcuts.

  • nicsttnicstt Posts: 5,861
    edited September 2015
    Kharma said:

    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?

    I tend to start using the latest/nightly build as soon as it offers new functionality I can use. For production purposes it could be a bad idea, but as you can have as many versions as you wish, it isn't a problem imo. Just place the downloaded unzipped file of the latest version, anywhere you like, create a link to the .exe at a convenient place (taskbar) and it's there when required. Occasionally there are stability issues with them, but it is fairly rare, and tbh, when creating 3d work (any work) you should be saving often.

    @Kyoto Kid

    The thing is, short cuts (like many things) can be learnt and moved to muscle memory or an approximation of at least. That means that as time progresses the more commonly used ones, soon become second nature, they do more to muscle memory. :) This allows for the creative process to take prescendence not the searching through menues and sub-menus; other's experience may differ, but becuase menues are visual, assigning them to muscle memory is much less likely. Learning to touch type as an example, happens becuase folks don't look at the keys, whereas menues are there plain to see.

    Post edited by nicstt on
  • 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.

    Thanks for the tutorial, saved for reference

    Funny, I have tried most modelers out there, Maya, Max, C4D, Rhino, Silo, Gmax, Wings, Milkshape, hexagon, etc, and never was able to get the hang of Blender and the UI and the first sentence in your tutorial is why "Blender is optimized for keyboard input", LOL

  • Blender works great with my Wacom Intuos tablet.  Being left handed, I feel like I'm a bit more precise with mesh editing and sculpting using the pen in my left hand than a mouse in my right hand.  Of course, I need to have the keyboard nearby for modifier keys like Ctrl, Alt, and Shift, that I press with my right hand.  I've got a gesture script add-on so that I can swipe with my pen on the surface, draw a circle, or draw a V shape, and it will trigger translate, rotate, or scale of the selected objects.  Rotating around my selection is as simple as pressing the rocker switch on my pen downward and moving the pen.  Selecting is as simple as pressing the rocker switch upward on my pen over an object or mesh component.  And moving my pen over a scene doesn't light everything up obscuring what I'm trying to do, unlike another program that I'm familiar with...

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    edited September 2015
    kyoto kid said:

    Having to key in each movement of the work camera all the time is a real PITA

    Not sure what you mean about having to key in movement of the work camera. One can create as many cameras as one wishes, drag them around, and there are many commands for moving the camera. Blender also has a fly mode for moving around the scene. I personally don't find the fly mode useful but some do. Point is, there are many ways of getting around in the scene as well as moving cameras. I believe the issue you may be running into is not being familiar with the various options available.

    kyoto kid said:

    ...and "51 shortcuts" (hotkeys

    I've tried explaining as well as I can that shortcut keys are an option not a necessity. Not sure how else to explain it. I may be wrong but it appears the issue is that somewhere the 'must use shortcut keys' got stuck and the other options aren't registering as options.

    kyoto kid said:

    As I don't do scripting, the "customisation...

    This wasn't meant as a solution directly for the casual user or straight up artist, rather it was meant as a stepping stone towards interfaces being designed by others who would have the interest/skill set that could then be used by other artists. That is, if these developments come to pass, perhaps we will see different interfaces that we could download that might better suit our particular workstyle. That is the hope anyways. For anyone familiar with skinning such as was used with Winamp, one doesn't have to know how to create a skin to use it.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    edited September 2015

    Yes, as mentioned, it was from a while ago, before the new tabs and pie menus. That statement was actually not mine originally but from one of the previous Blender manuals. The upside of that is that Blender still has the most optimized shortcut key interface out there for those who find it useful.

    Thanks for the tutorial, saved for reference

    Funny, I have tried most modelers out there, Maya, Max, C4D, Rhino, Silo, Gmax, Wings, Milkshape, hexagon, etc, and never was able to get the hang of Blender and the UI and the first sentence in your tutorial is why "Blender is optimized for keyboard input", LOL

     

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • RAMWolffRAMWolff Posts: 7,515

    How does one pan the scene?  I know that you can move allot of it using the middle mouse button to zoom in and out and then using the Ctrl and Alt keys gives you other options like side to side and up and down but not found a way to freely pan a scene in Blender. 

  • daveleitzdaveleitz Posts: 459
    edited September 2015
    RAMWolff said:

    How does one pan the scene?  I know that you can move allot of it using the middle mouse button to zoom in and out and then using the Ctrl and Alt keys gives you other options like side to side and up and down but not found a way to freely pan a scene in Blender. 

    Shift-middle mouse.

    Edit:  Also useful, in User Preferences under the Input tab, Continuous Grab makes panning easier to do without picking up and moving the mouse as much.

    Post edited by daveleitz on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 24,153

    ...well, I open the programme and find I am viewing though what I would call a "default camera" yet it does not respond to any pointer moves. All I can do is zoom in or out using the scroll wheel on a mouse (for most 2D/3D work I actually use an ergonomic trackball as it is easier on my hand and wrist).

    When I click on the "other" camera that I see in the workspace, I just get a smaller view.

    A Wacom is useless for me as I am right handed (the hand that is pretty much crippled) which is why I had to give up painting and drawing and turned to 2D/3D CG. I like to joke about writing "xxx mg." under my scrawl of a signature and taking it to a pharmacy to see what kind or prescription they'd give me

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    edited September 2015
    RAMWolff said:

    How does one pan the scene?  I know that you can move allot of it using the middle mouse button to zoom in and out and then using the Ctrl and Alt keys gives you other options like side to side and up and down but not found a way to freely pan a scene in Blender. 

    Not sure what you mean. side to side/ up-down are considered panning. Shift+middle mouse button is the shortcut key. I'm not sure how to do it without a shortcut key as my workflow is centered on using them. I believe basic navigation is an area that still does require shortcut keys, although there may be an addon that would give one other options. Here is a link to the manual page on navigation.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • RAMWolffRAMWolff Posts: 7,515

    In other modeling programs like Silo you can set up keys to hold say Ctrl + Alt + lft mouse button and you can FREELY pan the scene in any direction or in a circle if you want to.  That's what I mean by freely panning!

  •  

    RAMWolff said:

    In other modeling programs like Silo you can set up keys to hold say Ctrl + Alt + lft mouse button and you can FREELY pan the scene in any direction or in a circle if you want to.  That's what I mean by freely panning!

    Hi RAM.  I'm not sure if it's free panning, but you can do shift+f in Blender's scene and it will allow you to fly through your scenes.  Hold down shift to speed up and to get out of it simply left click.

  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 24,153
    edited September 2015

    ...in Hexagon you can just select the camera "tool" from the menu then click on the screen anywhere to freely move around, no other keys involved. Zoom always works with the scroll wheel. Carrara has a similar camera movement setup to Daz.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • Here is some inspiration for those are wanting to give Blender a try.  You can create scenes like this in Blender.

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    kyoto kid said:

    ...well, I open the programme and find I am viewing though what I would call a "default camera" yet it does not respond to any pointer moves.

    Ok, gotcha... see link above about navigating. For that you do have to use shortcut keys or create a camera to view the 'work camera' through so you can see/manipulate it. One other option is that we can always use the 'g' key (for grab) while the camera is selected in the outliner and then use standard keys for moving the camera around. Just remember to hit the 'enter' key when done moving it (the camera.)

    Moving around could use a tutorial in itself to fully cover all of the options. many people learn just a few of the available options and just use those, but understanding all of the different options can radically speed up one's workflow and comfort level, it just takes understanding all of the various options, and I haven't seen a good tutorial on this. If I get back to my tutorials, it's an area I would expect to co

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161
    edited September 2015
    RAMWolff said:

    In other modeling programs like Silo you can set up keys to hold say Ctrl + Alt + lft mouse button and you can FREELY pan the scene in any direction or in a circle if you want to.  That's what I mean by freely panning!

    Fly mode as was mentioned might be useful, but what you are mentioning sounds more like 'continuous grab' for the panning, and for circling, one can pan around a selected object (or selection of polys/verts) in Blender so I'm thinking that would do what you want there perhaps.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,161

    Nice image mal3imagery. :)

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