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Rayek
07-18-2006, 07:26 AM
I must say, this is quite amazing for a 'free' program:

http://www.blender.org/cms/Blender_2_42.727.0.html

Due to the production of 'Elephants Dream' al lot of pro-stuff has been added. The array modifier looks like great fun (who needs mograph ;-) ). Render pipeline, render nodes, material nodes, built-in non-linear video editor, high dynamic range graphics with pro-support, fluid dynamics, armatures, etc.: where does it end?

It may not be as intuitive to use as Lightwave and C4d, but I'd feel a bit squeezy if I were one the 'big boys' in the 3d-industry, if only pound for feature-wise.

By the way, have a look at:
http://www.elephantsdream.org/download/

A great initiative that has improved Blender's production value no end.

They're even offering all production files as a free download for us to inspect and learn from!

I've used blender several times last year, and with this new version, this may only happen more often.
One wonders...

R.

Exception
07-18-2006, 07:42 AM
Crikey, check this video out of the array tool in action!

http://download.blender.org/demo/movies/arraydemo.mp4

Pavlov
07-18-2006, 07:58 AM
Embarassing, isnt it ?
Our particle system is stuck to brute force cloning (not even instancing, just cloning).
Welldone tools, imho blender should solve issues with the interface but i's a smartly developed tool.

Paolo

Exception
07-18-2006, 08:03 AM
Well, you know, opensource does have the future, I am afraid, which is an interesting development.
Yay for firefox!

Lightwolf
07-18-2006, 08:03 AM
Oh yeah, array is really nice... and an easy concept. I guess if we ever get to see true instances in LW, something like that will be quite easy to develop.

Cheers,
Mike

Rayek
07-18-2006, 08:05 AM
I know, I saw that array video too... super looking stuff. Blender imports lwo-files very well, by the way. Have you seen the 'vector blur' effect? Very nice.

What amazes me most, is that this is a mere .01 update! I wonder what a .5 or even 1.0 update would offer us? A free coffee maker?

R.

ShawnStovall
07-18-2006, 08:58 AM
It might have a lot of nice, free, features but it is one of the hardest to learn programs.

newtekker04
07-18-2006, 09:26 AM
According to the v9 FAQ, instancing is coming in 9.x. I'm assuming this is a major change we're all looking forward to.

Captain Obvious
07-18-2006, 09:31 AM
Blender is cool. I just need to find the time to get my hands dirty with it.

mrunion
07-18-2006, 09:35 AM
It might have a lot of nice, free, features but it is one of the hardest to learn programs.

Not really. Try it. It's is actually intuitive when you get into it. I do agree that there are some things that could use improvement -- but you shoulda tried it when Blender was at 1.8x!!

This is a LW forum and I am NOT "comparing" the software -- I LOVE BOTH! (I put my money in the hat to "free Blender" a couple of years ago, just as many others did!)

Blender is a GREAT tool. It IS moving forward. So is LW. But for me personally, I like BOTH and it doesn;t cost extra to use Blender, 'cause it's FREE!! :D

Note: Check out the Hair Video Tuorial for some truly amazing stuff!!

tyrot
07-18-2006, 10:06 AM
Oh yeah, array is really nice... and an easy concept. I guess if we ever get to see true instances in LW, something like that will be quite easy to develop.

Cheers,
Mike

dear lightwolf

for making a real instance plugins what you guys need? I mean you need some sort of sdk changes (or Hooks :) i dont know what i m saying) Because instance feature is so so so important.

What i was thinking when you working with modeler, we send the object to Layout and Clone the item in layout, when you change the object (or layer) in modeler every cloned copy in layout also changing accordingly.

Can you guys find some workaround overthere. If there is some sort of instance connection between Modeler and Layout via hub may be you guys figure out something...


Or just like Pictrix PP_or DP clone in modeler is it possible to achive same thing in Layout. Is there a possibility to use Modeler as a Background Layer of Layout (just like in PP_clone plugin modeler). I really do not know what i m saying..

THanks in advance..

BEST

Martin Adams
07-18-2006, 12:51 PM
Note: Check out the Hair Video Tuorial for some truly amazing stuff!!

I take it you mean this one:
http://www.mentalwarp.com/~fred/divers/HairTutorial.avi (source (http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/PartXIII/Particle_Hair))

I personally love blender, but rarely use it. It was the app that I used that got me properly into 3D. So I think NewTek can indirectly thank Blender for me being a customer :D

I do plan to explore Blender more and find a way to fit it with my LW pipeline. I'm very pleased they added fluid dynamics of which I managed to create this (http://www.fuzzystudio.com/files/MugFluidTestPour.mov). When I get a bit of time, I plan to find a way to build a scene in LW, then add fluid using Blender.

mrunion
07-18-2006, 02:02 PM
Martin Adams:

Yup, that's the one!

I think Jeremy Hardin (sp?) has done some Blender/LW fluids already using Blenders 2.41 version. A search might confirm this, but I'm at work and can't really search right now -- no time.

jeremyhardin
07-18-2006, 02:08 PM
yeah, i did some of that. i've been waiting for this update. might muck about with it if I get a moment, since moving collision obstacles are now supported. sweetness indeed.

Anti-Distinctly
07-18-2006, 02:11 PM
Martin Adams:

Yup, that's the one!

I think Jeremy Hardin (sp?) has done some Blender/LW fluids already using Blenders 2.41 version. A search might confirm this, but I'm at work and can't really search right now -- no time.

Yeah, he did.It's what made me look at Blender again & I'm quite blown away. The interface is awesome & feature list extensive. Coupled with Yafray I'm sure it can do great things.
The only thing I can't get to grips with is surfacing and texturing. Seems very awkward to me. The nodal stuff may help, but as of now there are not enough nodes to make life easy (I think).
There are also nodes to do compositing. I just read up a tutorial about keying out a bluescreen in Blender.

RedBull
07-18-2006, 02:24 PM
Yeah Blenders aggressive development cycle is amazing..
It feels like LW5.x where every update is chocked with features, that i've never seen before, almost like it's on the cusp or cutting edge of design and implementation.

None of the commercial applications can manage to keep up with this kind of feature set and revision schedule, the amount of features in 2.40 to 2.42.... Is just excellent....

Camera/Viewport navigation, and non standard UI and Keyboard shortcuts
are Blenders biggest problem and make it frustating to work with.
If these are fixed, look out..... Blender Interface is more customizable than LW''s currently.

Better Simon Harvey who wrote the FFT Ocean Simulator for Blender as proposed a PLUGIN system for Blender. (very similar to our .p system)
What this means is programmers will be able to update Blender daily,
rather then waiting for approval or inclusion into the core and source of blender. This will increase the development and speed of Blender yet again.

I would love to see a .lws import/export....
Better would be a Collada Import/Export, which would be compatible with XSI, Maya, and Blender...

I love the new preview windows in 2.42, it's a pity that like LW, it's only single threaded. (next version will be multithreaded)

Anti-Distinctly
07-18-2006, 02:53 PM
Camera/Viewport navigation, and non standard UI and Keyboard shortcuts
are Blenders biggest problem and make it frustating to work with.
If these are fixed, look out..... Blender Interface is more customizable than LW''s currently.

I hear ya. I find just setting up a shot a bit of a nightmare currenly. I asume I just don't know what I'm doing, but it doesnt seem that you can look through the camera lens and navigate the camera.
I love Blenders interface, so versatile. Once day I do hope NT adopt the vX interface proposed by thingy (Matt?) on these forums. It looks awesome.


I would love to see a .lws import/export....
Better would be a Collada Import/Export, which would be compatible with XSI, Maya, and Blender...

I love the new preview windows in 2.42, it's a pity that like LW, it's only single threaded. (next version will be multithreaded)

Yafray is multi threaded, though in my recent tests with the relase it wasnt launching multiple threads. And yeah, it doesnt work with the preview window, thats Blenders internal renderer.

Also, a note about the GI in yafray. Seems quite speedy to me (the depth setting is the light bounces correct?) With a depth of 3 a 800x600 frame, quite complex getometry (no refraction & a little reflection) rendered in minutes.

Bog
07-18-2006, 03:11 PM
NewTek need to tell us when they're releasing FPrime for Blender!

(Sorry, couldn't resist).

That does look very sweet, and the open-sourcey "doing it because it's cool" aspect is really nice - though for me, Blender suffers from the same drawback as, oh random example, The Gimp - very powerful software, with an interface that makes lots of sense if you're a programmer (or if you're mind works along similarly logical lines).

LW's interface is more than worth the money to me - then add in it's overall huge number of features, and it's a no-brainer which I'm going to be spending my time with.

It's interesting to look at the overlaps and omissions of various 3D toolsets, mind :)

Anti-Distinctly
07-18-2006, 03:24 PM
[snip]...Blender suffers from the same drawback as, oh random example, The Gimp - very powerful software, with an interface that makes lots of sense if you're a programmer (or if you're mind works along similarly logical lines)...[snip]

Don't I know it. I was amazed by The Gimp's features. Then I tried to use it. Oh dear.
I still really like Blender's UI. Alot. The windows that can show anything combined with the ability to split windows to any arrangement you like, then save as a preset is wonderful.


It's interesting to look at the overlaps and omissions of various 3D toolsets, mind :)

Yeah, I looked at the UV mapping features in Blender which seemed quite nice. Seams and LSCM. Then that Japanese plugin for UV mapping came along -haven't quite got a decent chance to use it yet, but it people's reactions are telling me it's very good.

RedBull
07-18-2006, 03:48 PM
I hear ya. I find just setting up a shot a bit of a nightmare currenly. I asume I just don't know what I'm doing, but it doesnt seem that you can look through the camera lens and navigate the camera.

Yafray is multi threaded, though in my recent tests with the relase it wasnt launching multiple threads. And yeah, it doesnt work with the preview window, thats Blenders internal renderer.

Also, a note about the GI in yafray. Seems quite speedy to me (the depth setting is the light bounces correct?) With a depth of 3 a 800x600 frame, quite complex getometry (no refraction & a little reflection) rendered in minutes.

Yeah i don't think you can do that camera thing, you can navigate the perspective view, and then snap that to camera view. But yeah it needs some work.

Yafray is multithreaded (new version 0.09) as is Blenders internal renderer,
but the new preview renderer is not currently multithreaded...
Similar to LW, Viper is not multithreaded, but the Renderer is.
And yes Blenders GI, internally and Yafray's GI is definately faster than LW9.


"NewTek need to tell us when they're releasing FPrime for Blender!

Nah unlike Newtek, when Blender make an announcement there is no marekting double speak designed to disappoint their customers. ;)
Besides Blenders preview renderer is 10x better than Viper currently
and far closer to Mental Rays region tool.... 2.43 is meant to add multithreading to the preview, something Viper has not recieved since it's inception. And unlike Viper, The previewer previews everything, not just context sensitive single light or single texture. :)

Anti-Distinctly
07-18-2006, 04:13 PM
That would be, because viper is completely rubbish.

Edit: not to be too harsh, it's useful for HVs, but not for surfacing imo.
RedBull, does Blender have a surface baker? I'm thinking maybe GI done in yafray, baked and applied to the diffuse or something. But getting the scenes to match would be a ***** I'd imagine,

RedBull
07-18-2006, 04:59 PM
That would be, because viper is completely rubbish.

Edit: not to be too harsh, it's useful for HVs, but not for surfacing imo.
RedBull, does Blender have a surface baker? I'm thinking maybe GI done in yafray, baked and applied to the diffuse or something. But getting the scenes to match would be a ***** I'd imagine,

Viper was excellent at the time of it's inclusion, it just never grew as everything else/one did. Things like G2 and FPrime obviously have surpassed Viper. MR's region tool in XSI is also great.

Having said that i use Viper ALL the time, for any volumetric plugins.
And anything that can save rendertimes is a huge workflow advantage.
I could not use Taiki for example without Viper.

But anyway i'm not sure about the surface baker (i believe so) but don't quote me on it. I only use specific Blender things and i'm only dabbling.
As i said it needs a few navigation enhancements before i could use it before kicking and screaming at my PC. I think of Blender as a plugin for LW and XSI in most regards. But some of their newer implentations and ideas are starting to make XSI look a bit silly.... :)

You have to understand that only popular open source projects like Blender can develop at such a rapid pace.
It's not feasible for Autodesk, Avid or Newtek to move as fast as projects like Blender.

Anti-Distinctly
07-19-2006, 01:39 AM
[snip]...But some of their newer implentations and ideas are starting to make XSI look a bit silly.... :)

Really? Wow. XSI is supposed to be the bee's knees - which I'm sure it is actually, but I guess its shortcomings with respect to Blender is due to...

You have to understand that only popular open source projects like Blender can develop at such a rapid pace.
It's not feasible for Autodesk, Avid or Newtek to move as fast as projects like Blender.

Its great that if someone wants a feature and has the skill to implement it then, bang, its in the next point release. The key word there being 'skill' I think. I'm totally amazed at how people manage to have the knowledge and skill to implement some of this stuff (fluids for example).

Exception
07-19-2006, 01:50 AM
So this transmissiveness... and total internal reflection... do we have something like that in Lightwave, cos it certainly looks very... VERY useful...

Matt
07-19-2006, 04:08 AM
I always get tempted to look at Blender when a new release comes out. I download and install it, have a play for ten minutes, can't make it do anything, quit and uninstall it!

I have a test for 3D programs. If I can't create a simple box on the floor, mess with the textures a little, light the scene, turn on GI and render it WITHOUT needed to look at the manual, then it gets a thumbs down for usability from me.

3D programs can and SHOULD be intuitive enough to be able to simple stuff, Blender I'm afraid isn't.

Yet ANOTHER program with bags of potential strangled by an overly complicated interface.

When will programmers learn!

:rolleyes:

DarkLight
07-19-2006, 04:12 AM
Tried blender and just can't get on with the interface at all. It is open source though and i wonder how hard it would be to port some of the features into lightwave. I'll have to download the code and have a look.

Exception
07-19-2006, 04:13 AM
haha, hum, i couldn;t make a box in Lw when i first tried it.
it was very frustrating... cos I had to learn it for my job back then. Obviously I opened layout, not modeler. How was I supposed to know?
:)

Anti-Distinctly
07-19-2006, 05:36 AM
Tried blender and just can't get on with the interface at all. It is open source though and i wonder how hard it would be to port some of the features into lightwave. I'll have to download the code and have a look.

Fluids please :D

@Matt (and others): I discovered what things do by looking at the tooltips (hover your cursor over a button or something). There are a load of videos that can help you along on the blender site and by a guy called greybeard or something. Also do a google video search for 'Blender tips', there's a useful video from WhiteBoy. You'll get the basics in no time, but yes, some things I still find very awkward - I still havent managed to apply a texture to anything yet :)

mrunion
07-19-2006, 06:26 AM
Anti-D:

Though I do not use Blender as much as I used to, the camera DOES allow what they call "fly through" or "flight mode" -- something like that. I forget the hot-key (somthing like CTRL+F or something).

I'll see if I can dig it up.

mrunion
07-19-2006, 06:42 AM
Anit-D:

OK, the cmaera thing is SHIFT+F. You can "fly through" any view, but if you are in Camera View (Numpad '0' key is the shortcut) and you press SHIFT+F you can "fly" around your scene. When you get the camera where you like it press the LMB. Press RMB (or ESC) to "cancel" the movement.

There are also a brief set of "help" instructions at the bottom of the screen in fly through mode, but what I do is point the mouse where I want to go and use the mouse wheel to go forward and backwards. I then press LMB when I get the camera where I want it.

gjjackson
07-19-2006, 07:27 AM
It is open source though and i wonder how hard it would be to port some of the features into lightwave. I'll have to download the code and have a look.

This is something I certainly have wondered. Since it IS open source I would think that would create possibilites, especially if a programmer needed some ideas on getting started at least. About all I've had time to learn is VB and some Forth years ago. I don't have time to Learn C, C++, even though I Do have Visual C and dot Net. If there were a way to code this is VB I could maybe do some. I Have looked at the source and can't get a handle on it at all.

Anti-Distinctly
07-19-2006, 08:04 AM
@mrunion: Thanks dude. I'll give that a try :)

Ambival
07-19-2006, 12:55 PM
Yes, been doing that the last couple of days as well. Wouldn't mind doing an LCSM (?) unwrapper for Mac.

Defiance
07-24-2006, 09:24 PM
Of course, if you copy the source code you need to release your code under the GPL as well.

I've been using Blender for UV maps lately and it's very useful. I haven't tried the free UV unwrap plugin because I have no idea how long that's going to be supported or remain free, so Blender seems like a good option to me. I'm also thinking of using it for fluids, and hair (which ought to be better than Saslite). Who knows, eventually I might start using it for things I usually use LW for, if only because it's available for Linux and I'm through with Microsoft once my latest computer needs to be replaced. It's a great tool for a hobbyist who's not doing this as a job.

DarkLight
07-25-2006, 02:15 AM
Of course, if you copy the source code you need to release your code under the GPL as well.

I thought GPL allowed you to use the code in any way you wanted, although i would be happy to release any code i use from blender.

I have started to look at the fluid sim code and it should be possible to use this in lightwave. Will see if i can start doing something in the next week or so.

Exception
07-25-2006, 03:44 AM
Awesome!
Looking forward to it!

Perhaps we can get that internal reflection function happening in LW too?

Anti-Distinctly
07-25-2006, 03:58 AM
Of course, if you copy the source code you need to release your code under the GPL as well.

I've been using Blender for UV maps lately and it's very useful. I haven't tried the free UV unwrap plugin because I have no idea how long that's going to be supported or remain free, so Blender seems like a good option to me. I'm also thinking of using it for fluids, and hair (which ought to be better than Saslite). Who knows, eventually I might start using it for things I usually use LW for, if only because it's available for Linux and I'm through with Microsoft once my latest computer needs to be replaced. It's a great tool for a hobbyist who's not doing this as a job.

I did try the UV mapping thing, but unfortunately, the import option makes all your surfaces a different object, which can be a pain simply to navigate when you have large complex objects. The hair does seem very good and it would be great to have something that nice in LW. And fluids.

Matt
07-25-2006, 04:45 AM
I just love the idea of bringing something from open source to LW, cheeky, but nice!

;)

lilrayray77
07-25-2006, 07:20 AM
Is the hair in blender still particles? I remember using blender a while ago (before 2.42 that is) and the only way to make hair was with particles. Is this still the case, or is there an actual hair system?

mrunion
07-25-2006, 08:05 AM
lilrayray77: Hair is still "static particles" to an extent. But unlike the "old" Blender where they couldn't be animated, the new hair can. Hair can be affected dynamically (I am told), styled, etc. -- mostly in REAL TIME too! Check the hair demo movie posted previously in this thread.

As for GPL, it is my understanding that the code is free, and anything derived from the code MUST include the source code IF it is requested. Derivative works CAN be sold, but if the source code is requested it must be provided. A very small fee CAN be charged (like for the CD and shipping), but usually the source code is free.

It's really a good tradeoff IMHO. Write a plugin release it for free/small charge/huge amounts of cash and if anyone wants the srouce, send it to them. Of course if you're coming up with the next greatest Real Flow or something it might hamper you -- but maybe not!

Karmacop
07-25-2006, 09:13 AM
As for GPL, it is my understanding that the code is free, and anything derived from the code MUST include the source code IF it is requested. Derivative works CAN be sold, but if the source code is requested it must be provided. A very small fee CAN be charged (like for the CD and shipping), but usually the source code is free.
Yes, that's basically it. Anything that uses GPL code must be released under the GPL too. You can sell what you make, but anyone that buys what you make is allowed to get a copy of the code at no charge (except for shipping) and can release their own derived software and charge nothing for it.

Damian Dowling
07-25-2006, 09:41 AM
Yes, that's basically it. Anything that uses GPL code must be released under the GPL too. You can sell what you make, but anyone that buys what you make is allowed to get a copy of the code at no charge (except for shipping) and can release their own derived software and charge nothing for it.

There is an exception to that. If there is GPL code you want to use, just place the code it in a dynamically loaded library. As long as your program doesn't statically link to the library you only have to release the source to the library and NOT your program.

I know of a few commerical apps that work this way.

Defiance
07-25-2006, 09:35 PM
I did try the UV mapping thing, but unfortunately, the import option makes all your surfaces a different object, which can be a pain simply to navigate when you have large complex objects. The hair does seem very good and it would be great to have something that nice in LW. And fluids.

I was UVing some one surface objects (simple creatures), so I didn't run into that.

I've heard that the fluids can be exported as an object sequence but it'll lack motion blur in LW. It can export velocity vector passes, so it's possible to composite blur later. I haven't tried it. Maybe it'll let me revisit an old image idea I had that involved an exploding snowglobe ... which I couldn't do because I couldn't make the water look like it was flowing out properly.


As for GPL, it is my understanding that the code is free, and anything derived from the code MUST include the source code IF it is requested. Derivative works CAN be sold, but if the source code is requested it must be provided. A very small fee CAN be charged (like for the CD and shipping), but usually the source code is free.

It's probably easier to provide the source code at the same time as the distribution of the compiled code. Easier to maintain that way.

Amadeus0
07-26-2006, 08:40 PM
There is an exception to that. If there is GPL code you want to use, just place the code it in a dynamically loaded library. As long as your program doesn't statically link to the library you only have to release the source to the library and NOT your program.

I know of a few commerical apps that work this way.

What you describe is the LGPL, which allows dynamic linking. The GPL has no such provision.

joeedh
08-04-2006, 03:41 PM
NewTek need to tell us when they're releasing FPrime for Blender!

(Sorry, couldn't resist).

That does look very sweet, and the open-sourcey "doing it because it's cool" aspect is really nice - though for me, Blender suffers from the same drawback as, oh random example, The Gimp - very powerful software, with an interface that makes lots of sense if you're a programmer (or if you're mind works along similarly logical lines).

Eek! This isn't the case at all; designing and fixing the UI is and has been a priority for the blender devs, it's just such a massive job (due to how blender was originally written) that it's been taking a while.

And, btw, I think that Blender has a much better UI then Gimp; I agree with you, Gimp's UI really sucks. Blender's UI was designed for artists to work as quickly as possible; that makes it very difficult to learn, even for programmers. Once you learn it, you go very fast; making it more friendly to new people is however something that'll be happening in the future (though keeping that from making experienced user's life miserable can be difficult :) ).

Joe

joeedh
08-04-2006, 03:44 PM
Camera navigation isn't exactly standard across all programs.

For working while looking out of the camera, pressing R twice will enter a free-trackball rotation thing (sorry, too tired to find the proper term). Pressing G will pan the camera, too. Pressing G, then Z twice will activate zoom.

For out of camera, middle mouse button (or pressing ALT-leftclick) will track/orbit. Pressing middle mouse/alt-lclick plus ctrl will zoom; press middle mouse with shift will pan.


Yeah Blenders aggressive development cycle is amazing..
It feels like LW5.x where every update is chocked with features, that i've never seen before, almost like it's on the cusp or cutting edge of design and implementation.

None of the commercial applications can manage to keep up with this kind of feature set and revision schedule, the amount of features in 2.40 to 2.42.... Is just excellent....

Camera/Viewport navigation, and non standard UI and Keyboard shortcuts
are Blenders biggest problem and make it frustating to work with.
If these are fixed, look out..... Blender Interface is more customizable than LW''s currently.

Better Simon Harvey who wrote the FFT Ocean Simulator for Blender as proposed a PLUGIN system for Blender. (very similar to our .p system)
What this means is programmers will be able to update Blender daily,
rather then waiting for approval or inclusion into the core and source of blender. This will increase the development and speed of Blender yet again.

I would love to see a .lws import/export....
Better would be a Collada Import/Export, which would be compatible with XSI, Maya, and Blender...

I love the new preview windows in 2.42, it's a pity that like LW, it's only single threaded. (next version will be multithreaded)

joeedh
08-04-2006, 03:55 PM
I always get tempted to look at Blender when a new release comes out. I download and install it, have a play for ten minutes, can't make it do anything, quit and uninstall it!

I have a test for 3D programs. If I can't create a simple box on the floor, mess with the textures a little, light the scene, turn on GI and render it WITHOUT needed to look at the manual, then it gets a thumbs down for usability from me.

3D programs can and SHOULD be intuitive enough to be able to simple stuff, Blender I'm afraid isn't.

Yet ANOTHER program with bags of potential strangled by an overly complicated interface.

When will programmers learn!

:rolleyes:


That's a ridiculous and stupid statement. People think that Blender is another written-by-programmers-for-fun; this is not the case, and I frankyl find it offensive. People don't program blender because they like programming, they do it because they're artists. <edit snip>. Blender has always been centered around usability

Blender was designed as part of an animation studio, to allow artists to work incredibly quickly. This aspect of the design has survivied; blender still has the fastest workflow around. Note: Blender is very usable, and has a very intuitive design. The problem is that it's very difficult to learn.

The problem is that speedups in workflow tend to sacrifice all the newbie point-and-click features most apps have to help new users get off the ground. Let's be frank: blender has a *simpler* interface then, say, Maya. It just has less pretty little icons shouting "Click me!".

And lastly: the blender devs have been adding these point-click newbie features. However, due to problems with the code it's a fairly big job to add such things, and is still an ongoing process.

Joe

Defiance
08-04-2006, 05:26 PM
Eek! This isn't the case at all; designing and fixing the UI is and has been a priority for the blender devs, it's just such a massive job (due to how blender was originally written) that it's been taking a while.

And, btw, I think that Blender has a much better UI then Gimp; I agree with you, Gimp's UI really sucks. Blender's UI was designed for artists to work as quickly as possible; that makes it very difficult to learn, even for programmers. Once you learn it, you go very fast; making it more friendly to new people is however something that'll be happening in the future (though keeping that from making experienced user's life miserable can be difficult :) ).


The GIMP developers are pretty much against any sort of UI suggestions. All of the reasons they generally give for not doing this or that are ideological reasons, not practical reasons. I use the GIMP all the time but I find it futile to suggest anything on the developer list.

Blender has a strange interface to me, but I completely understand why it is like that. They've got real reasons for implementing their UI and it'll just take some time to learn.

Lightwolf
08-04-2006, 05:41 PM
dear lightwolf

for making a real instance plugins what you guys need?
I missed that one, sorry.
Well, Jay roth mentioned that LW 9.x will have instances somewhere later on. If plugins could create them and control them, it should be quite easy to make arrays of instances and animate them by following a master object (which is animated by the user).

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
08-04-2006, 05:45 PM
I thought GPL allowed you to use the code in any way you wanted, although i would be happy to release any code i use from blender.
That is the LGPL, and even that has some constraints. You have ot make your code public if you base it on GPL code.

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
08-04-2006, 05:51 PM
Note: Blender is very usable, and has a very intuitive design. The problem is that it's very difficult to learn.
I agree: Usability by experienced users and a streamlined workflow are in mose cases hard to learn, but for a reason.
I'd rather have non-standard keys and menues, even a non-standard GUI, if it makes me perform my tasks faster after learning the ropes. After all, we are still much more adaptable than the machines are.
As a prime example I always like to mention the whining (me included) when LW 8.x changed some of the shortcuts to conform with the "OS".
And app should foremost be consistent within itself and related to the tools and workflow it provides.

Cheers,
Mike
P.S. And no, paintbrushes in real life aren't intuitive either ;)

stevecullum
08-04-2006, 06:24 PM
I have started to look at the fluid sim code and it should be possible to use this in lightwave. Will see if i can start doing something in the next week or so.


Finished yet...?..lol...:D

Would love to see fluid sim in Lightwave!

Karmacop
08-05-2006, 01:34 AM
Note: Blender is very usable, and has a very intuitive design. The problem is that it's very difficult to learn.

intuitive: immediate apprehension or cognition without reasoning or inferring

So what you're saying is wrong. The interface is hard to learn so it's not intuitive. I'm sure the interface is great once you know how to use it, I've seen great things done with it, but learning the interface is hard from just looking at it; this indicates the interface isn't good.

Titus
08-05-2006, 01:48 AM
As far as my limited knowledge in interface theory is, there are at least two types of interfaces. The one you can learn in the process while you're using it, and the other you need a manual to understand before using the program. Blender falls in the second category, but with the appropiate manual or tutorial you can work with Blender in a matter of minutes, I know this because I give Blender courses from time to time.

if you want to see a really unintuitive and strange interface, try Loq Airu (http://www.quelsolaar.com/loq_airou/screen_shotts.html).

joeedh
08-05-2006, 07:17 AM
intuitive: immediate apprehension or cognition without reasoning or inferring

So what you're saying is wrong. The interface is hard to learn so it's not intuitive. I'm sure the interface is great once you know how to use it, I've seen great things done with it, but learning the interface is hard from just looking at it; this indicates the interface isn't good.

You misunderstood me. Blender is very intuitive, after you learn it, and in fact makes a great deal more sense then most other applications.

"intuitive: immediate apprehension or cognition without reasoning or inferring"

This is true in blender's case; once you learn the UI you don't really have to think about what you're doing. you find yourself working lightning-fast, almost without thought. So when people say blender has an intuitive workflow, it's sortof like saying that pie menus have intuitive workflows: after you learn them, it's a lot easier then "normal" UIs, but they arn't always the most obvious thing.

joeedh
P.S.: Any anyway, there isn't really a set of unified UI standards for 3D packages.

Lightwolf
08-05-2006, 10:17 AM
Hehe, the UI topic is fun... Watch a command line wizard and you'll see a completely different approach to user interfaces (written text) that are even harder to learn, but so much more powerful. ;)

Cheers,
Mike

mrunion
08-05-2006, 11:24 AM
Opinions follow -- tread lightly if your feelings are hurt easily!!

What's wrong with GIMP's interface? I must be stupid, 'cause I can't see what's wrong with it! (I acutally AM a programmer though, graphics is just a hobby!) Heck, guys, print out the shortcut keys from one of the many templates and look at a few keystokes. You can't convince me that when you first used Lightwave and wanted to work with parenting/targeting you "intuitively" knew to click the object, open it's properties and hit 'm'.

To each his own, though. But you get out of something what you put into it...

Puguglybonehead
08-06-2006, 11:30 PM
Well, I tried out Blender a couple of years ago for a few weeks. The interface is wacky, but it really does make for fast workflow (at least for modeling and texturing). If a bonehead like me can pick it up, then it can't be that unfriendly. ;D The thing that bothered me was that raytracing, at that time, was not built-in, nor were many other things that users of other apps take for granted. It looks to have improved a great deal recently. It's well-thought-of enough to be used as a pre-viz app on a few motion pictures. That particle-based hair system looks promising. I wonder if Newtek will look into something like that? :hey:

I guess being known as the open-source 3D app carries with it this sort of stigma like, "If it doesn't cost anything then how much good can it be?" Compared to commercial apps, it's still pretty weak on features. I still think the renderer gives kind of doughey results, even using Yafray. It won't replace Lightwave for me, but it adds some extra things to play with. That game engine, for one, is something I would like to learn more about.

Defiance
08-08-2006, 09:39 PM
I don't think you can call Blender's features weak. As far as I know, Lightwave doesn't have built-in fluids or hair (Saslite does not count any more than the free trial for AOL disk counts as internet access) or an NLE or a nodes-based compositor or UV unwrapping tools or sculpting tools, etc, etc. You can call it unrefined but the features are definitely there. Heck, Blender has a feature set closer to the $17,000 Houdini then Lightwave does. Not that I can tell you if they're any good, but at least on paper it looks good (so does Lightwave's features - like hair and fur). The only stigma that open source carries is the same thing that makes people say that Linux is a joke (even though all the big studios use it and big 3D apps aren't just available for Linux, they're developed ON Linux even if they have Windows versions).

Phil
08-09-2006, 04:06 AM
Part of the problem with blender is the icons. How on earth am I supposed to know what the radioactive symbol is indicating? They are also tiny. It might be better to have text buttons.

Yafray integration seems buggy. I can switch the renderer to Yafray, hit render and get nothing but a very busy CPU. No interaction possible and a trip to task manager to kill the yafray process was needed. I tried on various of the test scenes, with no luck.

Blender hides panels off screen in bizarre ways. Only a clicking error discovered the hidden settings panel that was hiding off the top of the screen. That's ridiculous. It did help me fix the next problem.

The default mode for selection is right click? That's nuts. No other program on the planet uses right click for anything other than context menus and secondary actions. Right click is distinctly odd and caused me a lot of irritation until the aforementioned accident.

The OpenGL speed is wonderful. I was really impressed that scenes which (still) choke Layout seem to pose no problems to Blender. Even with the new OpenGL in Layout 9.0.

Surfacing is a mystery to me. No idea how to make it work. I looked, pushed buttons and threw my hands up. *shrug* Maya, XSI and LW were all workable without heading for the manual. Blender, for me, isn't.

The video tutorials also take an age to download. I'm surprised that there is no bittorrent link for them, so for all of this I was running blind.

Now I've been using LW since version 4 on PC. At that time, it really was easy to pick up without checking the manual. I don't remember doing any of the tutorials. The same has largely been true for most of the the following releases. Maya and XSI are similarly straightforward, for the most part.

3ds max, for me, is a problem, mainly due to those cryptic icons *shudder* I think blender suffers the same problem IMHO. Bin the icons, put proper descriptive text buttons in there and make left click selection the default. That's much more 'intuitive' and has minimal workflow impact for established users. Sticking learning resources on a bittorrent tracker would also help :)

omeone
08-09-2006, 07:01 AM
Have a look at this thing:

http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/IMAGES/Q.78pat.jpeg

Intuitive interface? no....

but ~150 years, countless attempts and no one has improved or replaced it.

Some interfaces don't reveal their strengths until you really know them, weaknesses are exposed at this stage too.

Anyway, never tried Blender properly meself, but I definitly will next chance I get ;)

Phil
08-09-2006, 07:46 AM
It's reasonably intuitive because you press 'Q' to get 'Q'. It's easy to use because the letter is not hidden behind a radioactive symbol and the keys are also large, not requiring pin-point accuracy with your input device (finger).

LW is similar in terms of its implementation concepts. Text and large buttons.

Blender....isn't. It's really the only major complaint that I have with the program :) It's obviously capable and well maintained....just needs some UI polish.

omeone
08-09-2006, 07:55 AM
except you would get a 'q' and then there is no way telling you how to get a 'Q' if you wanted one... ;)
not to mention you have to hunt is down the first time you used it... and the second time... and the third... and then when you finally remeber it, you have moved to Germany and some fecker has swapped the z and y!!

Matt
08-09-2006, 08:15 AM
Blender has always been centered around usability

Note: Blender is very usable, and has a very intuitive design. The problem is that it's very difficult to learn
Joe

Well Joe, to say you thought my post was out of order, you've just proved my point with your reply.

You've also contradicted yourself, if Blender is so intuitive, why is it difficult to learn?

If a program is difficult to learn, then I'm sorry, but it has either poor workflow and / or UI design, simple as that.

Liber777
08-09-2006, 08:21 AM
http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/IMAGES/Q.78pat.jpeg

...but ~150 years, countless attempts and no one has improved or replaced it.


It has been improved (Dvorak keyboard, etc.) but the improved keyboards have never caught on. The QWERTY keyboard was actually designed to slow the typist down, because it was too easy to type faster than the typewriter mechanism could handle without getting jammed. I remember reading some time ago that some study had shown that even a keyboard with the letters layed out A-Z was faster to new typists than QWERTY...! (:

BeeVee
08-09-2006, 08:30 AM
Ah but there's a second reason it's laid out the way it is... Back when there were travelling typewriter salesmen they needed to be able to type an impressively long word without having to hunt and peck... What's the longest word you can write in English only using the top row? ;)

B

Liber777
08-09-2006, 08:37 AM
What's the longest word you can write in English only using the top row? ;)

B

TYPEWRITER...!?

I never noticed that before!

Is there another word?

~Stivan

Lightwolf
08-09-2006, 08:37 AM
If a program is difficult to learn, then I'm sorry, but it has either poor workflow and / or UI design, simple as that.
Hm, not really. Hide the LW menus completely and you'll end up in a similar work environment. And I know a lot of people that actually work like that, in a very productive manner.
It would still have a great workflow (especially using some of the older shortcuts), but would be **** to learn ;)
The only difference is that LW gives you the pointers as to what is what with the menus, Blender doesn't.

edit: LW itself doesn't have a great UI design either, and I've heard loads of cursing from newbies until they "got" it. Wouldn't miss it after that because the workflow is great.

Cheers,
Mike

Bog
08-09-2006, 08:41 AM
Also the QWERTY layout was devised to slow typists down, as initially the mechanical linkages of early typewriters couldn't handly very rapid speeds - they'd break, or jam.

Not really a good example...

Phil
08-09-2006, 10:29 AM
except you would get a 'q' and then there is no way telling you how to get a 'Q' if you wanted one... ;)
not to mention you have to hunt is down the first time you used it... and the second time... and the third... and then when you finally remeber it, you have moved to Germany and some fecker has swapped the z and y!!

Strange you should mention that :D I'm also struggling with the way that they have accommodated the umlauted characters by squashing all those regular symbols into a AltGr addition to other keys on the keyboard *sigh*

Heh. At least the weather is (usually, but not so much this year) better than in the UK. Everything is also much cheaper ;)

Phil
08-09-2006, 10:33 AM
Hm, not really. Hide the LW menus completely and you'll end up in a similar work environment. And I know a lot of people that actually work like that, in a very productive manner.

Except that isn't the default configuration of LW. Arguably, the production layout in 9.0 works better than the setup for any previous version of LW after the UI became customisable.

omeone
08-09-2006, 10:58 AM
It has been improved (Dvorak keyboard, etc.) Proven untrue! Good typists type fast, bad typist type slow, but it was the same speeds for both machines (unless you listened to Dvorak, of course ;) )
Same claim that was made about 999 other items that never actually did replace that keyboard.


Also the QWERTY layout was devised to slow typists downUrban Myth!
Its not just the layout of the keys that comprises the typewriter... but anyway my point wasnt really about typewriters... really :)

I was one of those newbies Lightwolf was talking about, in fact, I still think the LW GUI is utter...ly not great... and at the same time I love it for it's 'personality'.

Interfaces are just a means to the tools, you need learn them like a language or a musical instrument, whether they are hard or not. Once you're fluent in that language, it just becomes automatic.

Yeah Phil, I really miss those prices... and the early blossom on the chestnut trees... and.. and...

Anti-Distinctly
08-09-2006, 11:32 AM
Are people referring to Blenders interface & workflow as the same thing? I always thought that they were different.
I love Blenders interface. Customisable, neat & it just feels good.
I hate texturing in Blender as the workflow in that regard is terrible IMO.

Anyhew, as for people not knowing what the buttons do, fair enough. But just hover your cursor over them for a while and a tooltip should appear. Once you know what they are you don't need to hover your cursor, it's fine.

Bog
08-09-2006, 11:57 AM
Urban Myth!

You thaying I made a mythtake? I've just had a swift google for the Origins of QWERTY and now I have an empty can and worms all over my desk. I'm going to step briskly away from that whole commentary!

Lightwolf
08-09-2006, 01:11 PM
Except that isn't the default configuration of LW. Arguably, the production layout in 9.0 works better than the setup for any previous version of LW after the UI became customisable.
Yup. And I still think that changing some shortcuts from straight letters (i.e. cut, copy paste in modeler) to ctrl- combos made the workflow worse (while _maybe_ making it easier to access for newbies). It surely slowed me down..

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
08-09-2006, 01:16 PM
I was one of those newbies Lightwolf was talking about, in fact, I still think the LW GUI is utter...ly not great... and at the same time I love it for it's 'personality'.
Actually, you're probably not ;) I was refering to stuff like: Oh, in app XYZ you do it this way, why doesn't it work in LW?
I agree though, the personality is quite important.
Another example, video editing. I've used both discreet edit* (RIP - sniff) and Adobe Premiere extensively. Being a shortcut freak, I could edit in edit* at a blazing speed, much faster than I can on Premiere even if I try to. Learning Premiere is a lot easier though (doesn't impress clients as much though ;) ).
On the other hand, my collegue, who is more of a mouse pusher, never got the hang of edit* at all...

Cheers,
Mike

omeone
08-09-2006, 03:00 PM
Yep, replace XYZ with MicroStation

I had customised multibutton mouse chords with key qualifiers*. Mmmm. I've never modelled easier and faster, learning LW was bewildering (although it was more than just interface I had trouble understanding).

*Would you believe they have dropped future support for that??

Matt
08-10-2006, 06:32 AM
Hm, not really. Hide the LW menus completely and you'll end up in a similar work environment. And I know a lot of people that actually work like that, in a very productive manner.
It would still have a great workflow (especially using some of the older shortcuts), but would be **** to learn ;)
The only difference is that LW gives you the pointers as to what is what with the menus, Blender doesn't.

edit: LW itself doesn't have a great UI design either, and I've heard loads of cursing from newbies until they "got" it. Wouldn't miss it after that because the workflow is great.

Cheers,
Mike

But people who hide all the menus and use shortcuts are usually accomplished users.

I'm talking about the default interface.

Yes, once you 'click' with an application things become easy, ScreamerNet was like that for me.

But had it had a better interface / workflow I would have got to that stage quicker.

Interfaces that 'make sense' aid the learning curve, that's all I'm saying.

Lightwolf
08-10-2006, 06:55 AM
Interfaces that 'make sense' aid the learning curve, that's all I'm saying.
I'm not arguing here at all. I'm saying that unintuitive UIs (in the sense of requiring time to learn them) are in the end often more efficient and provide a smoother/quicker/more logical workflow.

Getting both together is the hard part ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Karmacop
08-10-2006, 09:32 AM
Have a look at this thing:

http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/IMAGES/Q.78pat.jpeg

Intuitive interface? no....

but ~150 years, countless attempts and no one has improved or replaced it.
That's what you think. It's actually a really intuitive interface; you press the button for that letter and that letter gets printed. It hasn't been replaced and probably wont be for a long time, if you want to type somethign it's the best interface there is, the only things that will surpass them are voice input or maybe something that reads your mind, and those things still aren't very good even though they have been worked on for a long time ... the voice thing anyway :p Also, even though you don't think there have been improvements, there has been. There have been lots of studies to find the best spacing for keys, how far they should move down, how much pressure they need to be pressed etc. Just because you think it hasn't changed doesn't mean it hasn't.


The QWERTY keyboard was actually designed to slow the typist down, because it was too easy to type faster than the typewriter mechanism could handle without getting jammed.
It wasn't designed to slow typists down, that's a myth, it was designed so that it wouldn't get jammed. There are still arguments about which is faster and I don't think any study has ever shown conclusive proof as to which is fastest.

omeone
08-10-2006, 10:50 AM
That's what you think.




33 333 33 3333 3333 3333333 33333
333 333 33 33333333 33333333 333333333 3333333
33 333 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 333
33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33
33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 3333
33 33 33 33 33 33 32 33 33 33 333333
33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33333
33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 333
333 3333 33 33 33 33 33 33 33 33
333 333 33 33 33 33 33 33 333 333
333 333 33333333 33333333 333333333 3333333
333 333 3333 3333 3333333 33333

;)

paulrus
08-10-2006, 12:59 PM
So what you guys are saying is that the standard QWERTY keyboard ACTUALLY should look like this instead of what we all use now:

http://daskeyboard.com/images/face-profile.jpg

Lightwolf
08-10-2006, 01:34 PM
So what you guys are saying is that the standard QWERTY keyboard ACTUALLY should look like this instead of what we all use now:

Lol, well, as long as there isn't the following text printed on every key:
"Please press this key to print the letter #. Thank you very much. Have a nice day. Press F1 to continue" :p

Cheers,
Mike

duke
08-22-2006, 07:39 PM
So why don't people take Blender seriously? Because it's free?

Captain Obvious
08-22-2006, 08:07 PM
It has been improved (Dvorak keyboard, etc.) but the improved keyboards have never caught on. The QWERTY keyboard was actually designed to slow the typist down, because it was too easy to type faster than the typewriter mechanism could handle without getting jammed. I remember reading some time ago that some study had shown that even a keyboard with the letters layed out A-Z was faster to new typists than QWERTY...! (:
That is just a myth of which there is no real proof, as far as I know. There have been studies showing that Dvorak is indeed more efficient, but other studies still that show that it isn't. So there's nothing conclusive.