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CodaKiller

I hate blender...

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I've been using it for about a year now, I've made a few models in it and I've wrote an exporter plugin but I keep forgetting the hot keys, it's really frustrating when I have to spend 10-15 minutes just to figure out how to do a simple function. I've made a post awhile ago about modeling software and I've never been given a good alternative, it seems like most people are using pirated versions on 3DS Max even though no one will ever admit to it, I really want a good free alternative but there does not seem to be any... I'm hoping someone could point me to some alternatives though I don't have my hopes very high...

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Yes I think of myself as being computer savvy and it still took me a while to even figure out how to save or render anything in Blender first time I used it LOL!
I thought newer versions were supposed to be more user friendly though?
Well there's TrueSpace but like anything good Microsoft has like FSX they killed yeah that's Microsoft for you.
I think you can still grab a free copy though.

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As far as modeling and animating goes, blender can do the job as well as any commercial app can do. Now the problems comes at the time of exporting your stuff to cal3d which is the only library available to put what you did in blender into a game. since .37 the exporter got broken and was never fixed. I tried but the blender api kept changing drastically to an extent I gave up tryring.

Get someone to write an exporter for you and you'll fine. That person isn't going to be me. I've lost the will.

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Blender is not a good tool. It's just so incredibly cumbersome to use that it negates any positive quality it might possess. If time is money, you'll end up paying more trying to learn the backwards interface in Blender than if you just buy a commercial alternative.

I don't really think it's a matter of opinion. In the case of Blender the interface goes against every convention and best practices in UI design. It's just plain wrong.

For creating a model for Second life, sure. You can endure the interface for something basic like that. But for a real production there's just no way you can use Blender. You'll end up shooting yourself in the foot.

If you're looking for features versus cost, then Blender is the cheapest.
If you're looking for productivity, then Blender shouldn't even appear on your radar.

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Many artists are my studio like Silo 3D (www.Nevercenter.com), it's fairly inexpensive (less than $160 US) but only does modeling, no animation. Although it doesn't do everything, it does modeling very very well.

If you're looking for a package which contains all the jazz (modeling, animation, rendering, etc...) you're probably going to have a difficult time finding a decent one for less than $1500 (unless you can find an older copy of XSI) or maybe Lightwave ($1000, www.newtek.com).

This is one area of the open-source/software industry that is really lacking competition. There are programs like Wings3D, Anim8r?, Deled?, AC3D, but honestly none in my opinion are as a good as Blender in terms of features.

The biggest problem with Blender is the UI/keyboard shortcuts, but after practice it becomes second nature. IF you want a quick solution to make your UI look more normal (like other 3d apps), press CTRL+Right. Should set up a side bar, animation timeline like 3dsmax (when I showed this to the artists at my studio, their jaws dropped a little). Good luck with everything.

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Houdini has a $100 version.(supports export to Torque among others.)
Get student editions of max xsi or maya if you can they will be in the same couple hundred dollar ball park.

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Bitting the bullet and paying for a commercial 3d digital content creation application, from my perspective, is only productive if you already know how to use that application at a competent level, for someone oblivious to any 3D DCC app the effort would be about the same.

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I like ZBrush a lot but as far as I can tell it doesn't support animation (and all I do is play around in it anyway. Pricey toy but I love it :D)

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My advice: wait for Blender 2.5. Hitting spacebar now pulls up the quick search box, which you can use to search for tools and other stuff (which have all been unified as "Operators") and the UI is leaps and bounds better than 2.4x. And rendering and other CPU-intensive tasks no longer lock up the UI. Check out the vid.

Edit: and you can access online documentation for any button just by right-clicking it. Fully awesome.

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I'm trying to learn modeling using XSI SoftImage ModTool. XNA Game Studio premium members (= $99) get the Pro version for free (the download link is on the XNA partners page, though I'm not sure if it's only displayed to developers with a premium membership).

I also bought MilkShape 3D for $25 or something. It's a great tool, my only grudge with it is that it doesn't let you set up your own bones (you can import an existing set of bones, though), so animation wise, it's pretty limited.

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I dont get this attitude towards Blender, though it seems prevalent on the internet. I suspect the reason is because it's different from the user interfaces of more popular applications. In my opinion as someone who has only ever used Blender, it has a fantastic user interface that allows for a very speedy workflow.

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Quote:
Original post by kirsis
I dont get this attitude towards Blender, though it seems prevalent on the internet. I suspect the reason is because it's different from the user interfaces of more popular applications. In my opinion as someone who has only ever used Blender, it has a fantastic user interface that allows for a very speedy workflow.


Unless you forget a hot key...

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Quote:
Original post by Cygon
I also bought MilkShape 3D for $25 or something. It's a great tool, my only grudge with it is that it doesn't let you set up your own bones (you can import an existing set of bones, though), so animation wise, it's pretty limited.


I've been using MS3D more years than I can remember, for low poly model work (<64k tris), it's basically a Half-life / Half-life2 character editor. The biggest issue with MS3D was that it didn't used to support multiple bone weights per-vertex ... this was added to the format specs, and the editor a while ago. You can also set bone/joint orientations, build skeletal hierarchies, set animation/joint keyframes, visualize vertex weights, zero joints, adjust frame counts, and speeds, etc.

So I don't see how it's limited at all w/features, just in terms of speed/ease of use, but that hurdle can be overcome with years of work, same with any tool. Once you get used to working at the vertex level you can do interesting things, especially if using high res shapes imported from other software as a base [ in addition to the extended primitive plugin that comes with MS3D ], and it imports/exports ~70 model file formats.

What I do for complex 'next-gen' character models which are created for my games - is have my contract artists export them from MAX to the HL2 .smd format [ reference/rig .smd and animation .smd ] so I can then import into MS3D flawlessly, if you go this route you'll be able to easily use MS3D for everything in your games/projects. Especially if you use the native .ms3d model loading/rendering code freely available on their website.

Milkshape3D SDK v184

Only real issue w/MS3D technically would be the 64,000 triangle limit - but for small levels or single game models I've never really had an issue. I also use MS3D for modeling building's interiors, and things like that so I've actually split them into two model files [ soooo hackish, but in years I've only had to do it once ].

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Quote:
Original post by et1337
My advice: wait for Blender 2.5. Hitting spacebar now pulls up the quick search box, which you can use to search for tools and other stuff (which have all been unified as "Operators") and the UI is leaps and bounds better than 2.4x. And rendering and other CPU-intensive tasks no longer lock up the UI. Check out the vid.

Edit: and you can access online documentation for any button just by right-clicking it. Fully awesome.


So when is 2.5 coming out, I can't help but notice it seems like the 2.4 branch is getting more and more buggy lately.

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I've been using blender for about 10 years, and as with every 3d app out there its complicated, i know on the site somewhere there is a shortcut map for all the keys.

with the upcoming 2.5 release you can map the functions and operators to what ever keys you want.
i think the beta for 2.5 is coming out pretty soon with in the next few weeks

as for being a terrible 3d app, i think it is just misunderstood and different and for some reason people don't like things they aren't familiar with.
besides its open source if you don't like how something is done in blender go fix it =p

as an alternative to blender i like light wave or modo both of them are great apps
still on the expensive side though

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Yes, Blender is a functional 3D tool. You can learn to become productive with its odd interface just as much as you can become fluent in Chinese, if you're willing to spend the time and effort.

As someone who has spent a lot of his career with GUI design I look at Blender as a perfect example of how not to do it. I mean Blender is littered with hidden menus and commands that is only useful to those who already know of them.

A search function helps, but it's merely a band aid on a much bigger issue (and how do find that search function again?). Keyboard shortcuts can be very useful, but Blender relies on them like it's the year 1989. I'd like to believe we've come a lot further in terms of graphical interfaces since the days of Lotus 123.

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I think that the biggest problem with Blender is that the UI was designed by programmers, and it very obviously shows. If they would just get a UI design team working on it they would probably have an awesome tool. They don't even have to give up their "precious" keyboard shortcuts.

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In my option Blendes GUI is fine. Can you blame c++ because you cant write a game to intuition? Powerful tools require learning.
Blenders GUI is not intuitive but designed well and allows efficient workflow. Some tools are available only via keyboard shortcuts, what if you forget a shortcut? What if you forget about std::cout? Well you look into the Documentation. A 3D artist who uses Blender every day wont forget the hotkeys.
Learning 3D modeling requires a lot of time, one can spent a couple of days learning Blender's GUI. I'm under the impression that many people here are not very patient and try to learn on their own in a try and fail method without having ever looked into the documentation. Get a teacher, try some video tutorials or at least read the documentations.

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Haven't used Blender a lot yet. The first time I tried to (about four years ago,) the complicated and unintuitive UI drove me away.

The second time around (present time), I found a lot of helpful tutorials and after a couple of weeks I could do some basic stuff... Still a lot to learn, though, but I think the power Blender has and of course its price ($0) are well worth the try... Just need some free time...

I also use Carrara since ages ago (not on a professional level). I've always liked its user interface. Very simple to do things there... Unfortunately it doesn't have the power of Blender (no soft body, liquids, etc...)

[Edited by - Twilight on March 31, 2010 8:23:02 PM]

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Blender's interface is a bit cumbersome at first, but provides for a fairly efficient workflow (even more so in 2.5). After about an hour I could model fairly well in it. Now the advanced stuff like lighting, rendering, animation, video compositing, etc take a while to learn, but so does any piece of reasonably complex software.

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If you plan to take the plunge and invest in a commercial tool, you should get to know it first. If you happen to be a student, Autodesk offers free 1 year non-commercial licenses to 3D Max (Windows) and Maya (Windows/Mac), which should be plenty of time to get a feel for them.

If you want to take a look at the 2.5 series of Blender, you can grab a beta build from graphicall.org. While the 'official' betas tend to be pretty stable, be warned that most of the exporters haven't yet been ported to the new plugin API.

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I used blender for a while and realy couldnt figure anything out. Then I found out about Truespace being free and I tried it.

Truspace realy clicked!

for animation you could check out Character FX (but when I tried i it only gave me about 40 keyframes)

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