Jan 17, 2008

Blender - the UI from hell

For the uninitiated, Blender is *the* open-source 3D software that is quickly catching on in the CGI industry. It was initially developed as an in-house tool that was released under the GNU General Public License when the studio went bust. It is currently being developed and updated by the Blender Foundation: a coordinated user community that contributes in improving and developing new features for the program. They have even released an animated short named "Elephants dream" (titled the Orange Project), created entirely using Blender with other open-source softwares; a second movie project titled "Peach" is in the making as well as a game project called "Apricot".

For a free software, it is amazingly choke full of features. This was one of the reason I downloaded it the other day and see if I can blend it into our pipeline (pun intended). I was looking for something that Lightwave 3D lacked in it's current incarnation, namely advance UV mapping tools, fluid dynamics, sculpting tools and so on. Heck, it even comes with a built in game engine and a node-based compositor.


I knew Blender was notorious for it's difficult user interface; now I know why. In the past I was able to pick up a new software and become productive in a matter of days (OK, not that proficient, but enough to handle the tasks at hand). Yet with blender, I honestly had no idea where to start. Granted, I haven't got the chance to go through the tutorials and manual, but in my experience it really shouldn't be so difficult.

Maybe I'm too old for this, or maybe it'll just take more time than I anticipated. I believe Blender is still a promising alternative for production quality softwares, if not better, in certain aspects. Best of all, it is totally free!

Now, if I can just get past the damn interface....

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