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Blender 2.57 Released — and It's Easy To Use!

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the will-believe-it-when-elephants-dream dept.

GUI 221

An anonymous reader writes "Past Blender releases, as capable as they were, had learning curves somewhere between straight up and down and 90 degrees. The release of Blender 2.57 changes all that. No longer are simple features 'non discoverable.' It has more or less a completely redesigned user interface that is clean, sensible and newbie friendly (hey, I'm using it!). It has a handy tab interface for Actions/Properties such as Render, Scene, World and Object etc. Plus, it's fast and CPU friendly. I'm running the official Blender standalone binary on Fedora 14, with 2GB RAM , Radeon X1300 (free drivers) and a cheap CPU Intel duel e2200. No more more slow GUI, no more 100% unexplained CPU, just great stuff. Kudos to all who made this possible."

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Fantastic News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823422)

I've been eagerly awaiting the UI update for awhile now. It's a serious improvement, and my thanks to everyone that keeps the Blender project useful and up-to-date!

Now if only we could get those same folks to take a look at the GIMP!

Re:Fantastic News (3, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823628)

Actually, I heard that the new Gimp [gimpusers.com] is actually going to make the whole thing one window. Maybe I'll be able to use it without losing the stupid toolbox, or having to close the layers window just to see the darn image.

Re:Fantastic News (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823690)

Gimp is an excellent example of old school window use -- where you do not blow up windows full screen, but work with overlapping windows. It allows you to work on multiple pictures at once, copying between them, without the toolbox, layer window or similar ever taking up more space. Even to/from other applications.
But to use it efficiently, you have to forget everything that Windows and Ubuntu has tried to teach you for the last decade; that you should only view a single window at a time, and that smaller windows raise on focus.

Return to the X way, and it makes perfect sense, unlike Photoshop, which takes over the screen, and then presents its windows within the master window.

Re:Fantastic News (2)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823716)

The problem is that it's utterly unusable on Windows. Heck, when I load it I have to minimize all my other windows just to bring it to the front. Cross compatibility is much more important than appealing to people who use uncommon window focus settings.

Re:Fantastic News (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823912)

I disagree. Breaking usability for nix users is backwards.

Re:Fantastic News (2)

Elviswind (1959800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824170)

I've never understood what benefit having a full screen main window with all the toolbars, layer and color browsers, and property windows automatically docked to the edges of the screen imparts. I admit that I don't use any image editing software on a regular basis, but is it that confusing to use a piece of software if it doesn't have a full screen title bar and gray background behind the WIP? In my opinion, GIMP's current UI encourages the arrangement of all the ancillary windows in whatever works best for the task at hand.

The last time I used Photoshop extensively was in high school about 15 years ago. And if I remember correctly, on Mac at least, it didn't have a full screen main window; it was very similar to recent releases of GIMP. When did that change and was Photoshop suddenly better because of it?

Tool palettes that don't auto-hide on blur (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824428)

is it that confusing to use a piece of software if it doesn't have a full screen title bar and gray background behind the WIP?

On classic Mac apps with floating tool palettes, the tool palettes would hide when the user clicks to focus away from the application and reappear when the user focuses back. It's confusing to use an SDI app with floating tool palettes if the palettes don't automatically hide and unhide in this way and even more confusing if the palettes don't raise themselves above inactive apps' windows.

Re:Tool palettes that don't auto-hide on blur (1)

Elviswind (1959800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824586)

That's a fair complaint. At least on my Linux install, and I believe in Windows as well, the extra windows in GIMP don't automatically minimize or hide when focus is removed from the main window. It's never bothered me, but I can see how it could lead to inefficient clutter when you really need to get something accomplished in as short a time as possible. I'm wondering if this is a limitation of the operating systems rather than the application. I notice that with all windows minimized, clicking on the main application icon in the task bar (tint2 in my case) brings back all the extra windows, but clicking on the extra windows does not.

Re:Fantastic News (2)

styrotech (136124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824196)

Return to the X way, and it makes perfect sense, unlike Photoshop, which takes over the screen, and then presents its windows within the master window.

Isn't the Mac Photoshop multi window just like the GIMP? Or am I remembering that wrong?

Re:Fantastic News (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824392)

Isn't the Mac Photoshop multi window just like the GIMP? Or am I remembering that wrong?

Sort of, more or less. That is to say there is some similarity. You can have floating palettes all over the place ala GIMP but you can snap them together and / or put them in an 'application frame' that Windowizes the experience.

Re:Fantastic News (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825148)

The gimp has let you snap them together also, only way i ever use it anymore. Doesn't have the "application frame" though.

Re:Fantastic News (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824718)

The only thing I hate about Gimp is that the stupid toolbox and layers windows are always on top of my images. I can close the layers window and then re-open it when I want it, but I can't even close the toolbox window or it shuts down the whole application. And it's a shitty way to handle it anyway. If I could have the image windows on top of the toolbox/layers, and then just alt-tab to the toolbox or select it from the panel, I'd have no problem with Gimp at all. As it stands, it frustrates the hell out of me. I'll use it when I'm doing some simple stuff, but any time I need to do a lot of work I end up running Photoshop under Wine, instead.

Re:Fantastic News (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825026)

The only thing I hate about Gimp is that the stupid toolbox and layers windows are always on top of my images.

By default, the image window opens to the right of the toolbox, so unless you belong to the school who automatically maximize the windows, I don't see this as a problem?

And, besides, you can change this behavior, permanently:
Edit -> Preferences
Window Management
Change "Hint for the toolbox" from "Utility window" to "Normal window".

Re:Fantastic News (2)

wrook (134116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825248)

Yes. Focus follow mouse. The whole "one window" thing stems from people who refuse to use focus follows mouse as far as I can tell.

What's ridiculous about the situation is the blind religious insistence that my *application* should implement a window manager. And a *tiling* window manager at that!

One of the things that this whole issue has pointed out to me is that window managers are broken. I like focus follows mouse, but obviously it isn't for everyone. So we need a window manager that allows you to group your windows by application and tile them how you like inside a single window. We could even add hints to X that allows the application to specify how it thinks the windows in the app should be tiled. But putting it in the application is the *wrong* place to do it. If we do that then every app will have a different way to implement the tiling.

But I like focus follows mouse so I've never gotten around to implementing a better window manager. I probably should do it just to stop people from sticking things all in one big bloody window...

Re:Fantastic News (1)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823984)

Oh dear. The thing I love about the GIMP is going to die.

Re:Fantastic News (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824380)

Good news, it's an option.

Re:Fantastic News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824488)

Zed: Bring out the Gimp.
Maynard: But the Gimp’s sleeping.
Zed: Well, I guess you’re gonna have to go wake him up now, won’t you?

Re:Fantastic News (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823660)

No.... Shit. (no, not flaming you, honest... I'm frickin' impressed).
O.O

I thought they'd *never* tame that beast. I'm hoping the real thing stands up to the screenies.
(it reminds me a *lot* of what DAZ|Studio used to look like back in 1.0-1.5, which IMHO is a damned good thing).

It's easy to use...but... (4, Funny)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823424)

Well... it may be easy to use, but does it blend? ...oh, wait...nevermind

Re:It's easy to use...but... (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825312)

The website apparently does :-/

I'll believe it when I see it... (3, Funny)

identity0 (77976) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823430)

"Easy to use"? Last time I used Blender, it was so unfriendly and hard that I thought it should have the "L" taken out of the name...

Re:I'll believe it when I see it... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823538)

The new UI is so much better it's almost unbelievable. Go check it out, I think you'll agree.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it... (3, Interesting)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824590)

I thought the same about 3D max but less so about Maya(which was the first 3D modelling program i ever tried)

3D modelling programs are so feature rich, any gui will seem counter intiutive in some degree.

Its really about practice, i spent maybe 3 months toying with blender and i felt i had a pretty good feel for it.
But when i first started it looked like a complete mess...then again i had the same feeling regarding 3Dmax...the difference was my encounter with 3D max wasnt very rigorous.

But really....if you know the graphics theory, know shader and light theory, that goes a long way, most people experimenting with 3D does not...and hence are bound to find the GUI unintuitive.

Re: All 3D programs hard to use? Not hardly. (2)

tangent (3677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825370)

I've put serious learning time in on at least 5 different general-purpose 3D graphics packages, including Blender. Blender is, hands-down, the hardest to learn and use of any I've tried. It even beat out a hoary old beast from the late 90's I had to use for a course, which was chosen purely because it was ancient and therefore cheap.

There are those that use the excuse, "It's professional grade, and pros don't cry about difficult to use tools." Well, sorry, but that only flies when there are no alternatives. If there's only one tool that does Thing X and the tool sucks, well, a pro will grit his teeth and use it anyway. That's not the case in 3D modeling / animation / rendering software. We have an embarrassment of choices, and they span a wide range of cost, power, and ease of use. Unless "freeeeee" is your only important criterion, there are usually better options than Blender, at least as of 2.4x.

I will certainly be playing with this new 2.5 version. Maybe they're right. Maybe they've completely fixed it all, and I can get off the Cinema4D, modo and SketchUp upgrade treadmills.

FISTY PROSE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823432)

had to try

Re:FISTY PROSE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824314)

No you didn't.

lol nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823442)

;)

You're A Newbie (5, Insightful)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823450)

Perhaps it really is now "easy to use". I doubt it. Many moons ago I downloaded Blender to give it a shot. I installed it, messed about for a while and was totally lost. Nothing made sense in it; I could barely figure out what I was supposed to be looking at or how to draw the simplest object. I gave up cursing the UI as completely impossible and arcane.

Some time later I decided to try it again. This time I didn't even try to figure it out, I just read the Complete Newbie tutorial and did exactly what it told me to do. All of a sudden Blender made sense and seemed quick and easy to use.

So, my recommendation is not to treat Blender like other packages, where you can figure it out by clicking around for a few minutes. You're a newbie. Do the tutorial. It will definitely save you a lot of annoyance.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823500)

It's been redesigned to look like 3ds Max or maya. For those that started learning 3d graphics using blender this version is actually a step back.

And we'll have to re-learn everything, because nobody feels like making a fork just to change the interface.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823592)

As I'm playing around with it, it seems that everything is still there and works the same. Key bindings seem the same, etc. It's just had everything reorganized in an infinitely more comprehensible way, from what I can tell.

Re:You're A Newbie (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823682)

It's been redesigned to look like 3ds Max or maya.

I was thinking Modo... and I hope to hell it has Modo's kind of customizable UI - that would be extremely sweet (because then I can make it match the other tools in the workflow...)

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824414)

It doesn't really look like Modo 501. I tried the betas of Blender 2.5, still couldn't wrap my head around it very well. I'm starting on Modo and it seems pretty straightforward and reasonable. I like Maya but can't stand Autodesk and don't really want to drop 3.5 grand.

Blender sure does make Maya over priced for anything other than balls to the wall professional use.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

mapuche (41699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823600)

Mod parent up.

Re:You're A Newbie (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823642)

Right, niche markets demand niche applications. Some tasks just aren't 'easy' by nature and if you dumb down your GUI ( and perhaps features ) to accommodate the average user, you alienate your true market.

I have always felt that production 3D work has been one of those markets.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824206)

There are some very good and powerful UI's for some applications even in niche markets. These were done by developers that "get it" and are very powerful while being easy to use (or at least easy to learn).

Most application UI's suck ass and they don't need too, it's just that the programmers don't know what they are doing. You have been brainwashed into thinking it's normal.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824334)

Right, niche markets demand niche applications. Some tasks just aren't 'easy' by nature and if you dumb down your GUI ( and perhaps features ) to accommodate the average user, you alienate your true market.

I have always felt that production 3D work has been one of those markets.

Easy != dumbing down. See XSI.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824768)

Steep learning curve is one thing - but if v2.4 was actually RC1.0 you'd be on drugs to think it was a good UI.

It was great software encumbered with a crappy UI. Christ, even Caligari made more sense.

I'll give it another shot now.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824886)

"Dumbing down" is what you do when you can't make an interface good, but desperately need to make it usable. I've seen plenty of good interfaces that are discoverable for a newbie, but all the advanced features you could want are intact and not hidden away. Lord knows pro's even need help sometimes, we can't remember everything and usually it's something critically important. A newbie will lose interest and go do something else, we've got workt to do.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824940)

in other words, if you aren't smart enough to figure out how to make it easy, make difficulty a virture.

I think your argument is BS; if it is difficult to use either they have done a poor job, or they didn't have money to automate stuff

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823684)

Until Blender works like Wings3D [wings3d.com] (ie. Mirai/Nendo [izware.com] ) then it won't be easy to use.

Mirai did it long ago and nobody has seemed to catch on. It's by far the best 3D modelling interface ever designed and has been quietly used for the grunt work in many big-budget films like LoTR and such.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823900)

I've heard this before about the old UI.

People told me how incomprehensible it was, but once they learned it, how incredibly thoughtfully laid out the UI was.

I hope that the new UI still has that spirit. FYI, if you are interested in 3D and want a tool that is really easy to use, try Google Sketchup.
It's pretty awesome.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824518)

That's what I found with it. It took me about an hour to get the idea, and then I was away. I later moved on to Maya. What the hell were they thinking with Maya???

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823976)

Yeah but this reinventing the wheel attitude is what has held Blender back all these years. I found Lightwave and even Maya fairly easy to use. XSI is the easiest yet except you have to learn a ton of non-standard keyboard shortcuts. Personally I'd rather spend thousands on professional packages than waste my time with the worst UI in the business even though it's free.

As to how it's easy to use now, I've heard that as often as I've heard release dates for Duken Nuke em Forever. I was assured several years ago the next release was going to have a total retool of the UI. Oddly it looked exactly the same. Apparently the menus were different but they hadn't touched that godawful first window that scares everyone off. I have a benchmark for how user friendly a 3D software is. How fast can I model a sphere and do a bounce animation without looking at documentation? Maya took me 15 minutes mostly because it took me a few minutes to figure out you have to hit "S" to set a key frame. XSI took me less than 5 minutes. I never managed to figure out how to model a 3D sphere even in Blender.

I hope they finally fixed it but I'd bet money it's still not very user friendly.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824300)

I never managed to figure out how to model a 3D sphere even in Blender.

Then you didn't try very hard. All you need to know is that pressing space opens the main menu, after that the basic stuff is pretty much self explanatory:

Space: Add->Mesh->UVSphere
Space: Object->Insert keyframe
Left/Right to go to the next frame
Space: View->Playback Animation or Render->Anim

That wasn't to difficult, was it? There are certainly areas where Blender gets complicated, getting materials look right is tricky, getting an overview what all the dozens buttons for the renderer do is certainly not obvious and some advanced features can be nearly impossible to find without a tutorial, but the basic stuff is really not difficult at all.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824806)

A lot of people immediately say "But Blender's interface is too complex! Nothing is obvious!"

Well, I learned the basics of 3D on Blender, and last year I did an introductory course on Maya. The interesting thing about Maya was that I spent a lot of time asking "Why the hell did they do it this way? That makes no sense!" Then there's the matter of the plugins. For some reason, the system keeps turning them off, randomly. "Why can't I export to OBJ? Oh, the plugin is off. Hey, what the hell? Why's Mental Ray off now, too?"

One of the most annoying things was that during an early tutorial, on dragging faces around, I followed the tutorial and it worked. Then, I practiced it for a bit, and discovered that if you did it a certain way, not only did it not scale all the faces you chose, it added some distortion and screwed around with the UVs for no good reason. I had 10 people trying to work out what was going on, and how to fix it. Still have no idea what went wrong.

What it comes down to is that Blender is fantastic for free, but Maya isn't really $7000 better than Blender.

Re:You're A Newbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825150)

Thanks for the quick tip. I installed Blender only yesterday to do a quick 3d model and was befuddled with the interface. I am used to AutoCAD and Maya...but you can't beat the price. Before I install 2.57 I will wait for some new tutorials that reference the new interface and keep plugging with the old interface and tutorials.

Re:You're A Newbie (2)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824290)

That almost exactly what happened to me. The first time I used blender, I was horribly mystified by everything in it, and I ended up making a lot of things that were utterly horrible to look at, from any angle. Later, I discovered all of the free tutes out there and I followed a few of them, and even ended up developing a couple of (very simple) models for an open source game I was playing at the time. The tutes did a great job of helping me learn my way around the app, and I was seriously surprised at how little I actually needed the mouse to develop pretty decent looking models. I don't think there was anything wrong with the GUI before, but the problem was with the lack of access to those tutes from the application itself, or at least a lack of obvious access. I haven't tried 2.57 yet, but I'm willing to bet that even with the GUI enhancements, it's still worth your while to check out the tutes, once they're all updated for the new interface.

Re:You're A Newbie (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824528)

I think the same goes for things like GIMP. If you just try clicking around, you will probably get totally lost. However, if you just read some tutorials, and google for answers when you get stuck, you'll find it's not that hard to use. People assume that just because they can't figure something out by clicking around, that the UI is bad.

Re:You're A Newbie (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825398)

People assume that just because they can't figure something out by clicking around, that the UI is bad.

Yeah, I would say a UI is bad if I need to read a manual to use it.

Challenge for Blender experts UV maps (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824604)

given an OBJ file with an existing UV map how exactly would i with the new Blender actually paint on the OBJ??

lets say you have test.obj and test.png to work with

Re:Challenge for Blender experts UV maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825042)

File > Import OBJ
Assuming your OBJ is made to work, and you have 'import textures' checked, it'll load the PNG with it

Then you just switch into texture paint mode, if you can draw on it your image is imported, else you'll need to go into edit mode, select all the verts with 'a'

You'll need to then go into the UV/Image editor, select all the UVs with 'a', Image > [New image, or load image], then switch back into texture paint mode

Enjoy drawing on the model!

Re:You're A Newbie (0, Troll)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824812)

It's an open source project you shouldn't expect it to be usable, the point is in developing it, not using it.

Re:You're A Newbie (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824928)

I see you, troll!

Re:You're A Newbie (3, Informative)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825438)

Yeah, can't jump straight into it, you have to follow some structured tutorial (e.g. Lynda.com). But it's free, imports most popular formats and replicates most functionalities you'd find in a $600-3000 commercial package. I even made a donation.

Shoot and Blend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823456)

Yeah, "a cheap CPU Intel duel e2200".

But I thought it was an Intel/AMD duel?

Not quite (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823558)

a cheap CPU Intel duel e2200"

What that really is: two cores at 20 paces.

No, it is not! (1)

mapuche (41699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823568)

It has changed a lot, but remains unintuitive. There's a lot of online documentation but a newcomer needs a crash course to use it.

Re:No, it is not! (4, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823786)

That's pretty much the case with any real 3D/CG application - even the allegedly easy Kai Krause built apps of yore (Bryce, Poser, RayDream/Cararra) required more than just a little bit of time and effort to grok the controls (let alone the concepts behind them).

Turn a complete newbie loose on Modo, Maya (*shiver*), Lightwave, or 3DS Max... or even a totally NURBs-happy app like Rhino. I guarantee you that 60% of those newbies will give it up in disgust in less than a few cumulative hours, and at least 20% more will give up on it after creating (and perhaps animating) a few crude meshes. It simply takes some work to know what's going on in a CG app. The closest I can remember any CG app being newbie-friendly? It was MakeHuman [makehuman.org] , but in that app's case it was (and still is IMHO) pretty limited in what it could do offhand.

Hell, I've been dinking around with CG apps for 10 years now, and I'm still learning things when it comes to maximizing what even my most favorite and oft-used tools can do.

Re:No, it is not! (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824138)

I'm with you, even the easiest of these requires a good amount of reading, watching tutorials, reading more, fooling with the program, and watching more and reading more. My main gripe with so many of these programs, is the function to lock yourself to an axis, design something only in that axis, then extrude it into 3d space, is so hard to locate that I give up before i find it. i cant count how many times i've tried this in programs, only to discover that some arbitrary thing has caused what i defined to move back and forth in another axis, creating some strange 'MC esher meets Dr. Seus' esqe abomination.

Re:No, it is not! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824202)

My main gripe with so many of these programs, is the function to lock yourself to an axis,

To move something along one axis, try gx, gy, or gz. To scale along one axis, try sx, sy, or sz. Granted, these are for Blender 2.49 because I'm still waiting for a PPA of 2.57 for Ubuntu 10.10 to pop up.

Re:No, it is not! (1)

Miffe (592354) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824710)

It's works the same way in 2.5.

Re:No, it is not! (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825192)

Wait, to constrain x, y, and z in blender you have to actually type the x, y, and z keys? And take your eyes off the viewports?

Re:No, it is not! (2)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825186)

Hell, I've been dinking around with CG apps for 10 years now, and I'm still learning things when it comes to maximizing what even my most favorite and oft-used tools can do.

Shit, I wrote a chapter for an edition of Inside 3ds Max, and I hit the helpfile at least a couple times a week and IRC/discussion forums for help daily.

Re:No, it is not! (3, Interesting)

mini me (132455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825266)

I started playing with Blender a couple of weeks ago. Being a software developer, I actually wanted to spend some time improving my skills working with 3D graphics. But what fun is that without some cool models to play with?

I started by downloading Blender 2.4 but couldn't figure out where to start. I was about to give up but the shiny 2.5 beta was calling my name. I thought I'd give it a try.

I went from virtually no 3D design experience to creating my first model [imgur.com] over the course of a couple of days of periodic tinkering. It is far from perfect and I have learned a lot more since I created it, but for my first try I am very proud of it and I think it speaks to the ease of the new interface for beginners.

Re:No, it is not! (1, Flamebait)

seibai (1805884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825282)

To be perfectly fair, I was proficient on a couple of 3D modeling / animation suites (SoftImage, FormZ), and I'd used several others (Lightwave, Lightscape, even PovRay) when I tried Blender. It was far and away the least inuitive and most buggy piece of software I'd ever used (this is saying a lot when compared to SoftImage). Blender is not "hard for newbs" Blender is baroque, ridiculous, and flaky. It's actually far more difficult to work effectively in it, and it's sufficiently divergent from everything else that becoming proficient at it would likely make you worse at anything else.

Not just a gui (5, Informative)

alcarinque (1534085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823572)

It was not only a re-design of the gui, that's just a sub product. They have redone all the underlying api to improve animation capabilities and facilitate extensions and adding of new features. Check the release log http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-257/ [blender.org]

It is easier to use, not easy to use (2)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823612)

I think the original poster over states things, while certainly a lot easier to use and learn. There is still definitely a learning curve and a few counter intuitive hotkey and mouse button choices.

Re:It is easier to use, not easy to use (2)

vgerclover (1186893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35823852)

Is it easier to learn than 3D Studio Max? Is it better suited for common workflows in the long run?

That an app is hard to use is not a problem. That an app is harder to use than it needs to be is.

Re:It is easier to use, not easy to use (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824508)

3D is just hard. If the program has any depth at all, there are a huge number of functions, details and methods that need to be covered. Most of the newer 3D programs include several different ways of interacting with an object - mesh manipulation, NURBS, sculpting, several ways to texture or paint the object, different aspects of animating, then placing things in a scene, integrating it with video / still / whatever output. Lots and lots of things.

Then you have restrictions generating from decades of previous programs - users that are used to manipulating things in particular ways, limitations of data containers, limitations in the ability to transfer data back and forth in a work flow.

Not to mention that working in 3D gets complicated fast. Not too many spherical cows in CG land.

Blender != hard (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35823734)

Blender is not that hard to use, it just has a lot of features so there is a lot to learn. If you want a more intuitive way to work with 3D, might I suggest play dough?

Anonymous newbies posting release announcements? (5, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824068)

What's with the recent phenomenon of anonymous supposed newbies posting release announcements for software, claiming it's easy to use and posting all sorts of information about how well it runs on their systems? Why doesn't someone with some real knowledge post the release announcement? Should I personally be announcing the 2012 General Motors line-up?

PPA for Ubuntu? (3)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824150)

Has anyone made a PPA of this for Ubuntu 10.10? Or should I wait for 11.04 before looking for a PPA?

Re:PPA for Ubuntu? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824884)

I downloaded the x64 archive and it ran out of the box. Not optimal, I know, but it worked flawlessly.

In the meantime I've uninstalled the old blender using the package manager to avoid confusion.

Re:PPA for Ubuntu? (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825276)

https://launchpad.net/~cheleb/+archive/blender-svn [launchpad.net]

That's a PPA for Blender SVN (which I've been using since like Blender 2.5 Alpha 1, and Blender's generally been 100% usable).
If you just want the release package, pick one from that PPA's previous builds, here [launchpad.net] . (Make sure you pick the right architecture, version, and target Ubuntu version.)

What a rubbish Meta Article Post. (5, Informative)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824156)

1st of all: Blenders UI has been OpenGL accelerated from day one. It has allways been one of the fastest GUIs in existance. Way faster and more responsive than any other 3D Tool UI anyway. The GP is talking bullshit on this one.

2nd: Blender has never [slashdot.org] been [slashdot.org] particularly difficult to use for any 3D Kit with a simular set of features. In fact, it's UI design (non-overlapping, customizable, document/task based configuration, etc.) has served as a benchmark for quite a few recent creative tool UIs in the industry (Modo 3D, latest CS releases by Adobe, etc.)

3rd: The UI has been updated, yes. But it's more an evolution than a complete redo, from a user standpoint anyway imho. Simply because Blenders UI has allready been pretty good for quite some time now. ... Allthough the arcitecture actually is a complete redo. Python driven, new Icons and new panels. However "OMG I'M USING IT! IT FINALLY WORKS!" is way overboard, exaggerated nonsense. Blender has been a kick-ass pro-level 3D Tool for approx. 7 years now. And yes, that also goes for its usability. Anybody not familiar with other professional 3D Toolkits and the learning whoes associated with this field, please stay out of this on this issue. Thanks.

4th: There is no mention of the new tools and features, which are actually worth mentioning. F.E. a particle system that rivals that of Lightwave (the industry leader in this field) with particle path editing and other goodies, Smoke and Volumetrics rendering, NLA with an extra new NLA UI, etc. This has Blender closing in on competing programms even further and will shake up the industry once again. ... Can't wait till they finally get full Renderman compatibility. That will kick some serious shit. ... Anyway, Kudos to the Blender team for this great release.

As for the GP: Mostly Rubbish or stuff that no one wants to hear. "OMG I'm running Blender on XYZ with 2 Gigs of RAM. UNBELIEVALBE!" ... Idiot.

Re:What a rubbish Meta Article Post. (3, Interesting)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824274)

There is no mention of the new tools and features, which are actually worth mentioning. F.E. a particle system that rivals that of Lightwave (the industry leader in this field) with particle path editing and other goodies

Lightwave is not an industry leader for particles. I'd put them 5th or 6th. Rought order would be Houdini, Maya, XSI, 3DSMax, Lightwave, Blender, Cinema4D.

Re:What a rubbish Meta Article Post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824664)

Lightwave particle system is nowhere near "industry leader." It's "usable" by today's standards.

Houdini is definitely on top.

Re:What a rubbish Meta Article Post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824674)

1st of all: Blenders UI has been OpenGL accelerated from day one. It has allways been one of the fastest GUIs in existance. Way faster and more responsive than any other 3D Tool UI anyway. The GP is talking bullshit on this one.

Driver bugs, driver bugs.. Certain OpenGL operations (select) were quite slow with ATI drivers some time ago.

For naysayers/Maya users, this is good, trust me (3, Interesting)

sabernet (751826) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824176)

I tried the beta, the UI is(or rather 'can be') very Maya-ish. They actually have a 'Maya' mode. All in all, the ability to jump in has greatly improved.

Just a disclaimer, I royally HATED the old UI and was sick of people jumping down people's throats for saying how utterly inaccessible it was. Yet now I have to say they did a really good job. Windows can be broken off or split, everything and the kitchen sink isn't all crammed into the lower half of the screen and the shortcuts actually can be set up to make sense..

I donno man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824208)

It's quite hard to use this new version on 5:4. not to mention it's still buggy even with the simple Buttons bar suddenly getting stuck at a large size, working around by having to make a new window layout.
perhaps if beta-testers weren't such whiny yesmen this would've been something.

p.s. 2.49 forever. 2.5 is made for those Maya/3dsmax whiny pro retards that refuse to learn the great Blender workflow that is now shattered.

Great... (3, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824234)

As a "novice" Blender user (by "Novice" I mean I have only been working with it for a couple of years) - I will say Blender is the most complicated program I have every used in my life. I have always attributed it complexity, and counterintuitiveness to its unfathomable complexity and clusterf*ckery of features and options. As I'm glad to see a bit of an overhaul to make things easier - I am completely dreading having to re-learn it all. I guess on the flipside, I don't really know it all - hopefully it will be easier to learn this time around!

Re:Great... (4, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824772)

Blender is easy.

3d art applications are just hard in general. There are tons of options, 3d is hard to grok for newbies.

Newbies can easily get blender since it's open source and free, thus there are many newbies like you running going "OMG blender hard." As someone who cut his teeth on 3ds max, I found Blender hard for the first hour (adjustment period) and it was all downhill from there.

Re:Great... (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825112)

I will say Blender is the most complicated program I have every used in my life.

Have you used Maya, Lightwave, or 3DStudio Max? I mean my Samsung Galaxy S is the most complicated phone I have ever used in my life, but then all I've had before are feature free Nokias.

3D authoring simply comes with a stupidly vertical learning curve.

Unrelated to article butt... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824304)

If something has a "steep" learning curve, you learn it quickly.

The X axis is _almost_ always time in graphs so a steep learning curve = quick to learn.

If it is hard to learn, it has a long slow learning curve. :)

Effort on Y and mastery on X (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824444)

When I hear "steep learning curve" as it is used colloquially, I think of effort on Y and mastery on X, just like economics graphs put price on Y and quantity on X.

Blender is a how-not-to GUI case (2)

the agent man (784483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824502)

I would be happy if the new version is going to fix the mindbogglingly confusing GUI that Blender has. The version migration from 2.56?? to 2.57 is not exactly very suggestive for fundamental user interface improvements. If it actually would be then somebody really missed out on a great opportunity to create a, say, 3.0 release? People use Blender in spite, not because, of its user interface. Amazing!

Re:Blender is a how-not-to GUI case (2)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824698)

According to the page that was linked to [blender.org] , 2.5x does have a redesigned GUI. They use an unconventional version number scheme where 2.50-2.52 were alpha versions and 2.53-2.56 were beta, which explains why such a major change seems to have appeared with a minor version number update - it didn't, but you probably never used the 2.50-2.56 versions.

Re:Blender is a how-not-to GUI case (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825118)

I disagree, one of the best pieces of advice I read was, keep one hand on the mouse and one on the keyboard. A few good tutorials later (I remember the first involved modelling and texturing a castle), the alien Blender interface seemed so streamlined compared to the lengthy menu navigation in Gmax, which I was also testing out.

who cares about ease of use? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35824788)

At the level of complexity expected from Blender, who cares if it's easy to use? The important question is if there's documentation, if it's easy to integrate with other tools (their COLLADA support is lacking), and if it's easy to develop into a pipeline. In the real world, you might not use the "render" action all the time, so who cares if it's right there in front of you?

Re:who cares about ease of use? (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825202)

Aside from Motionbuilder, and (under the hood) SketchUp, are there ANY applications where COLLADA support isn't lacking?

User friendly interface ? Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824818)

The interface is still horrible. They should learn from Microsoft how to do user friendly interface. Just try to import someone else theme. It's beyond ridiculous.

JAM

Need Ubuntu package ASAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35824842)

In case any of the Ubuntu people are reading this, please get a package made ASAP.

And while we're on the subject, SBCL 1.0.40.0 is no longer the latest version. Why am I still not seeing v1.0.47.0 in Ubuntu package manager? Get cracking!

Try the built in Python interpreter (1)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825004)

I'm amazed no one has talked about this. It wasn't in the previous versions (2.49s).

It's really useful to test and develop different scripts that will save your life. Specially to make your custom import output scripts.

The overall UI change might look hard to old users but it's not that big of a hassle to accommodate and it actually looks more user friendly and still very customizable.

Re:Try the built in Python interpreter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825138)

Blender has always had built-in python. What's different about it now?

I would check the actual page, but it's been slashdotted.

queue blender.org to get slashdotted... (1)

itismike (582070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825100)

and ACTION!:

500 - Internal Server Error

Re:queue blender.org to get slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825294)

And that's how you know it's good. (:

Make easy things easy and complex things possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35825104)

I don't get it. I have never found Blender difficult to use. Did it eschew conventions of windows programs? Maybe. But EVERY 3d application has a learning curve, and I didn't find the curve on Blender any more difficult than other applications. And face it, many of the tasks you can use blender for cannot be distilled down beyond a certain level.

I like the new python API, but (1)

Palpatine_li (1547707) | more than 3 years ago | (#35825384)

where can I find a real documentation?
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