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The State of Open Source 3D Modeling

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the first-mover-advantage dept.

Graphics 267

gmueckl writes "Since Blender was released as open source in 2002, it has basically owned the open source 3D modeling scene. Its development has seen a massive push by both the community and supporting organizations. However, the program has been showing its age all along and efforts to improve on it have either been blocked or have failed in the past (note the dates). Authors of new modules are forced to jump through hoops to get their work glued onto the basic core, which still dates from the early 90s and has gone almost unchanged since. There are many other active projects out there like Art of illusion, K-3D, and Moonlight|3D. Each of them offers a modern, much saner, more coherent, and more powerful basic architecture and could match Blender in a couple of months' time with some extra manpower. So how come these projects don't get the level of support they deserve? How come developers are still willing to put up with such an arcane code base?"

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The state of it ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011597)

How about "lame" ?

Re:The state of it ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011867)

what does a mp3 encoder have do with this?

-1 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011599)

How come developers are still willing to put up with such an arcane code base?"

You mean like... *nix?

because (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011601)

they're stupid...that's why everyone does everything

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Ximok (650049) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011603)

First Post! I would guess because most people have never heard of these projects.

Re:First Post (5, Informative)

badspyro (920162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012011)

I do computer games development, and I usually use 3DS MAX.

I have attempted to use K3D and blender, and still play about with them. Blender is a nice looking interface, but it is daunting and has a tall learning curve. It uses massively complicated menus and certainly to someone who was taught on 3DS MAX a difficult interface and no foreseeable improvement to MAX from the get go. K3D, however, I liked. It has a simple interface, and its tree set-up for objects is a good way to edit and change objects settings. The only problem that I could see with this program was that the interface looked old and felt cluttered even on the 21inch screen I was using. I would hope that developers could look at K3D more and develop it further, as I believe it has the potential to rival 3DS MAX, Maya and Blender

Thanks,
Badspyro

It's there, and it works (5, Insightful)

Blikkie (569039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011605)

As much as people may hate Blender, the main advantage of the program is that it is there, and that most things work. Some parts are even great. Personally I happen to like the poly-workflow, which is very fast. The main problem with blender for most users is that it takes a while to learn, but once it's learnt, it has a very effective workflow.

I think that the OP is very optimistic when he sais that it takes only a few months to port everything (and the kitchensink) to another app, that is just impossible, even with open code.

Re:It's there, and it works (3, Interesting)

Jonny0stars (1046644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011907)

I agree that the blender workspace is more productive and somewhat more artistic.
If you look at even commercial software such as Maya or 3ds max there is essentially very little difference other than the interface and i find 3ds max interface perplexing confused and illogical (looks like some one ate to many widgets and threw-up) blender was a semi steep learning curve but once you have the basics a bit guesswork you can make some alright looking models even without any experience.
But then again i like Povray better than any other 3d stuff out there.

Re:It's there, and it works (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012697)

Personally I like the way Rhinoceros 2.0 did things, seemed to work great but as the program is mostly meant for engineering, it's not very good for art.

Designing machine parts however...

Re:It's there, and it works (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012155)

I think that the OP is very optimistic when he sais that it takes only a few months to port everything (and the kitchensink) to another app, that is just impossible, even with open code.

It does sound like some Pollyanna that either hasn't coded or hasn't tried coding 3D software. 3D programming on that level is HARD.

Heck, I even tried making a 2D CAD program once. The basic math was relatively easy but the UI and object database handling is a bitch. 3D is is a lot worse in many respects, the main advantage that 3D has is that it's more glamorous but I don't know if that makes up for the difficulty.

Re:It's there, and it works (4, Insightful)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012413)

Right, learning Blender is no worse than learning Maya. Also, the interface is unique, but I wouldn't dare call it dated. Finally, I'll have to disagree with the jumping-through-hoops thing. A guy named Brecht has created a Sub Surface Scattering module, which will has been added to the 2.44 Release Candidates only 2 weeks after he began showing it off. - Avid user of Blender

Rewriting (3, Insightful)

Nick_taken (1090721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011607)

I dont think blender code is that arcane, i know Tom was doing some rewriting, they are aware that the core needs updates and they are doing it, it just needs time. Game engine was coded again with a different engine, render path it hink got updated too.

Re:Rewriting (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011695)

I don't think he does a good job of really explaining what's wrong with Blender. He points to k-3d which also dates from the early 90's, and mentions that back in 2003 a patch for XML support wasn't accepted. Maybe he really wants a 3-D app written in Java (like Art of Illusion) and XML?

Re:Rewriting (2, Insightful)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011921)

Blender is a design that was never intended to grow into what it is now. Remember that it was an inhouse developement of an animation studio so the whole application was designed to get the job done that was at hand. But when the program itself was commercialized it started to outgrow itself. This was never anticipated and Blender still suffers from that. The other applications that I pointed out have a solid design which is able to grow. Commercial applications like Maya, Softimage and Houdini have demonstrated that. Comparing blender to all of those on a design level makes blender stand out as the toy.

Re:Rewriting (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012649)

'it started to outgrow itself'

In what manner?

'Blender still suffers from that'

In what way does blender suffer?

'have a solid design which is able to grow'

In what way are the designs solid? What about the design of blender makes it less solid? Specifically what aspect of blender is unable to grow and what is the difference in these other applications that makes them able to grow?

'applications like Maya, Softimage and Houdini have demonstrated that'

In what manner?

'Comparing blender to all of those on a design level makes blender stand out as the toy.'

In what fashion?

Do you have any constructive criticism or is this entire post just a troll? Can you name any specific features, design constructs, or methods that are actually superior in these applications or do you just prefer in the interface in the commercial applications you learned in?

Re:Rewriting (2, Informative)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012195)

Yeah, all three examples of patches not being accepted had to do with XML, and it's entirely possible (and reasonable) to think that XML might not be the best format for Blender to output. Not to mention, just because the file format is still binary doesn't mean there's no progress.

Modeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011609)

I heard they're being sued so they aren't really focusing on their program.

Showing age? (5, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011623)

It's easy to pick on the XML bit (though I don't understand why XML is so awesome it has to be used), but that's a pretty small demerit compared to all the major feature enhancement Blender has attained over the past few years.

It's earned a fluid simulator. Particle effects have been dramatically improved, yafray integration was a huge improvement for rendering, materials can now be created with a node based system.. the list goes on and on. The feature enhancements that went into the latest point release is worth an essay all on their own:

http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/bl ender-243/ [blender.org]

Blender stays afloat because it's seeing active development and is already a mature platform. People are used to the interface (one that newbies hate, but veterans fall in love with), and it runs on all three of the major operating systems.

I don't think an aging codebase is a critical flaw. Too often people think redesigning the wheel is a panacea for repairing a kludgy system, without realizing that all code projects fall prey to this at some point in their life. Sure we could rewrite Blender.. but to what end? It'd take another 5 years to get where we are now.

Re:Showing age? (1)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012243)

I don't think an aging codebase is a critical flaw. Too often people think redesigning the wheel is a panacea for repairing a kludgy system, without realizing that all code projects fall prey to this at some point in their life.

Well, I have two remarks for you here. First, what do you do when the current design stands in the way of a new feature you want to add? Second, a lot of applications have shown that there are proven designs for 3D modelling and 3D animation that can sustain growth into much bigger applications than blender. Why not use that knowledge?

Level of support (5, Funny)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011627)

So how come these projects don't get the level of support they deserve?

Because the issue hasn't been posted to the front page of /. until now.

K-3D (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011661)

K-3D would probably get more attention if their website worked.

Re:It would help even more... (2, Informative)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011821)

...if the author included the correct URL: http://sourceforge.net/projects/k3d/ [sourceforge.net]

I looked at K3D for a bit...one of the most awesome features I saw was the record/playback used for tutorials. The K3D interface, at the time, also needed some work. However, over the last couple of years, I see it has come quite a ways as well. I think there's room for both- they both use different approaches, and will appeal to different kinds of users. K3D needs something to boost its profile - Blender had the Orange project, as well is the rich history that went with going commercial, and then eventually being released as an open-source project after collecting donations from users over a very short period of time.

Blender also had quite the community - where's the K3D community? Where is that being nurtured/grown?

Re:It would help even more... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012685)

'Blender also had quite the community - where's the K3D community? Where is that being nurtured/grown?'

From what I can see this question is posted by someone who wants to hijack the Blender community and have it adopt one of these other projects instead. Unfortunately, so far his posts have been vague and he hasn't mentioned one specific design aspect that is superior in these projects. Until he does it just sounds like he thinks everyone should make programs work the way he likes them.

Blender changes over time (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011663)

There have been huge changes to Blender over time. For example, the physics engine in the game engine was replaced with a much better one. The original poster is apparently wound up about some XML import/export thing, which is minor. You can write Blender import/export filters in Python, and many such filters exist.

Blender has some problems, but converting its files to an XML format isn't one of them.

Re:Blender changes over time (5, Informative)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011855)

No, but it touches on an aspect of Blender that I happend to be familiar with at the time: the crufty file loading and saving code. All that XML stuff would have helped to sanitize that part of the code. The basic idea behind Blender's file format is not bad, but with all the changes that were made to Blender's data structures the strong ties between the file format and data structures led to long lists of hacks that were introduced to keep the program compatible with older versions. I picked that example for two reasons: it's documented and easy to get into. Many other issues are only discussed in IRC so there is no real record of them.

Another problem is Blenders old user interface code. It dates back quite some time and it surely has been updated time and again. But because it is a library that does everything by itself on top of OpenGL and thin wrappers around the actual windowing system it did not get proper support for multiple screens yet although this has been called for some time now. User interface translations are a similar topic which has been tried time and again and still isn't fully accomplished. Back in the days when Blender ran on SGI workstations the decision for an own UI toolkit made sense. But times change.

Blender filters stay the same over time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012171)

"You can write Blender import/export filters in Python, and many such filters exist."

Were's the export filter for Painkiller [painkillergame.com] ? There's one for the other popular 3D packages.

blender is here to stay. (2, Interesting)

msh104 (620136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011665)

I dont't see any open source competitor for blender any time soon.
blender already has quite a lot of features, not to mention game engine and other tools.
plug the fact that it's light weight, fast and cross platform. (while maintaining the same UI everywhere.)
blender may have some old cruft every here and there.
but it doesn't really bother me.

so what do these are "not yet here" apps offer me?

Re:blender is here to stay. (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012433)

so what do these are "not yet here" apps offer me?

Actually working on 64-bit platforms is nice. Reference [blender.org]

Also, I think it's a personal problem, but I haven't been able to get Blender to even work on my system. All the controls show up, but the actual modelling area is blank. No grid, no objects, just dull gray nothing. And it seg faults when I try to add an object. Maybe it's just a precaution since I wouldn't be able to save correctly anyway.

Personally I like K-3D better, although I haven't been able to configure it to use 3Delight correctly.

Re:blender is here to stay. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012451)

Its also one of the oldest, and most used ( i would imagine anyway ).

Ive been a fan of it since back when you still had to buy a license. ( and yes, i did buy one even though you could get one in 20 seconds they deserved the donation )

Doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011677)

Well instead of trying to match Blender, maybe it would be a good idea for them do do everything right that Blender does wrong.

But it doesn't matter anyway. Basically, the hype and bullshit surrounding the 3d modeling app market is already so saturated and misinformed, it makes a SNES vs. Genesis debate in the cafeteria in the 6th grade look like a congressional fact finding comittee. Almost anyone involved in 3d modeling as a hobby develops their own ideas about what is good and what is bad for their way of working. Most of the time, Open Source modeling apps fall in the "bad" column.

It's obvious (5, Funny)

dublinclontarf (777338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011681)

Blender's UI is the Emacs of the 3D Modelling world, it's got a steep learning curve but when you get it(in the three or so years it'll take), boy will you be marginally productive.

Re:It's obvious (5, Insightful)

runningduck (810975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011845)

Blender's UI is the Emacs of the 3D Modelling world, it's got a steep learning curve but when you get it(in the three or so years it'll take), boy will you be marginally productive.

Actually it is the Vi of the 3D Modeling world; it has small footprint and a marginally steep learning curve, but when you get it (in three or so weeks) you will be amazed at what you can accomplish with relatively little effort.

Re:It's obvious (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011911)

i agree. once you master the basic navigation, creation and editing functions down, it's amazingly efficient.

Re:It's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012603)

oh gawd, and now it starts...

emacs vs vi by proxy

Re:It's obvious (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011923)

And in the end, you'll still prefer vi.

Re:It's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011927)

Thing with blender is that the learning curve is only steep initially. Which is to say, you can barely do anything at all, the first time you try it. But, if you take an evening or a weekend to get down with the basics, you are back in the learn-as-you-go land, and pretty soon you'll find your self doing pretty advanced things very fast.
Very fast.

Re:It's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012637)

If blender was the emacs of the 3d modelling world, you'd be able to have more than one toplevel frame (i.e. OS window), each containing different (or the same!) inner panes (i.e. blender nonoverlapping inner "windows") like emacs can (M-x new-frame), and like emacs they'd even be able to be on different X displays (like emacs M-x make-frame-on-display ) So Blender is NOT the emacs of the 3d modelling world (yes I know you were making a joke at the end), but I wish it was.

Blender is maturing, not shwing its age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011725)

Blender now has sculpting tools, a very modern feature not even available on many expensive 3D programs.

I think more people use Wings3D than Blender as an open source 3d modeling program.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011755)

I wonder whether, if you read the current blender development mailing lists, you would still think this.

GO SARKO!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011793)

Now get to work, you lazy, bougnoule-loving, socialist frog titsuckers!

Aging codebase == stable codebase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011833)

The article is a rant without reason.

If the poster's idea of a logical argument for an improvement is "Let's use XML" without further justification, then he has earned the equally logical response of "No".

It takes a lot more than a desire to use the latest fad to make a reasoned argument. Every project has a few corners of cruft, and just because they remain doesn't make the whole project bad. In fact, an aging codebase usually indicates stability in a project that is still being maintained, as Blender is.

Sounds like sour grapes to me, and ill-founded sour grapes at that.

Blender and stupid hot keys (-1, Flamebait)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011837)

You have to learn stupid keyboard keys to use it.

That is a hurdle to even to try and learn it.

Typical opensource. Very flawed.

I would rather have started with a good alternative to the pros-StudioMax & Maya by creating a control board that has a good GUI(Oh no,perish the thought!).

Another flawed open source project.

If any programmers have time then add a good user interface to Blender just like the pro software.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011899)

Left hand on keyboard, right hand on mouse. If you know they keys for the most used commands, you get incredibly fast for the basic manipulations.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

andyfrommk (1021405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011949)

If you lack the will to learn blenders interface and are not willing to pay for a pro' package you are going to lack the will to create anything good,

££££'s Maya or £££'s 3DMax will not give you motivation.

let the piss-taking commence [uklinux.net]

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (2, Insightful)

IoN_PuLse (788965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011959)

I would disagree, you can't sit a grandma down and have her learn 3DS max in a few minutes, nor can you with Maya either. It's just a different interface. With each release more keyboard-only commands are now mapped to menu entries. If you watch "pro" users of 3DS max and Maya you'll notice they use keyboard shortcuts like crazy.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (4, Insightful)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011979)

Any modeler/artist worth their salt is using mostly key shortcuts - at least to enable a tool. It's simply too inefficient to use the mouse to perform an action. With there being more and more modeling tools than ever before, it can simply be too cluttered to have everything on screen, which means navigating through various tabs/menus/etc. In modo** and Maya, I'm enabling every tool I use with a click of a key, a mouse gesture, etc. That said, if Blender wants to appeal to more newbie hobbyists, it should have a decent GUI that'll let them get started. (Disclaimer, I haven't used Blender in years, so I'm saying this on what you said about the need to learn keyboard shortcuts)

**I'd like to see a freeware/OSS project take the approach Luxology is taking with modo. First, they baked out the modeler end of the app in the first release. Then in the second major release we got a render engine and texturing/painting tools (and of course refinements and improvements to the modeling end of things). Presumably, in the third major release we'll get animation (and other improvements to modeling and texturing and rendering). I personally like this approach because instead of stretching yourself too thin focusing on everything at once, you start off by getting the basics of each "component" right. This seems to be a result of their Nexus core, which from what I gather is a developmental platform, where they can "bake" out various versions of the program.

Blender and graphics tablets. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012347)

"Any modeler/artist worth their salt is using mostly key shortcuts - at least to enable a tool. It's simply too inefficient to use the mouse to perform an action. With there being more and more modeling tools than ever before, it can simply be too cluttered to have everything on screen, which means navigating through various tabs/menus/etc."

Anyone serious about their profession has multimonitor setup* with a graphics tablet with common items around the perimiter.

*Some even have the Wacom monitor slash graphics tablet in one. Comes in handy when painting on models.

Re:Blender and graphics tablets. (2, Interesting)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012505)

Tablets are (IMO) a must for sculpting and texturing, but I don't like them for hard surface style modeling. I'm more comfortable using a keyboard for hotkeys than the programmable buttons on the Wacoms. I also have a wider range of keys available for assigning shortcuts to via the keyboard as opposed to the programmable buttons on the Wacoms. I also like to keep my hands on the keyboard because I tend to keep things very organized, and that requires naming/typing (material names, layer names) things. Not to mention I'm often inputing specific values (moving someting .222 units over, etc). Some people prefer modeling with their tablets, but I don't know anyone who relies solely on their tablet for everything. Usually, the tablet just replaces the mouse, not the mouse AND keyboard.

As far as multiple monitors, I generally work almost exclusively on a single widescreen monitor, sometimes moving preview render windows over to the secondary monitor. Modeling IMO benefits more from a single, larger monitor than two seperate displays - especially when I can get rid of tool tabs (by using hotkeys) and enlarge the 3D viewport.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011981)

you need to learn the "stupid" keyboard shortcut in any graphic app to get reasonably effecient. take any application open source or commercial, and you'll see that they all have keyboard equivelants to menu items. believe it or not blenders many shortcuts are fairly well organized.

yeah it's a hurdle, but if you want to be good at anything, you need to clear a few hurdles.

why is it flawed? because it takes effort to learn? come on...

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012113)

you need to learn the "stupid" keyboard shortcut in any graphic app to get reasonably effecient. take any application open source or commercial, and you'll see that they all have keyboard equivelants to menu items. believe it or not blenders many shortcuts are fairly well organized.

yeah it's a hurdle, but if you want to be good at anything, you need to clear a few hurdles.

why is it flawed? because it takes effort to learn? come on...
You and I seem to think a like - and in fact you made a key point (your last sentence) I forgot to mention. Any time spent learning those "stupid keyboard shortcuts" is going to be time well spent - it'll save time in the long run. Much quicker to hit "P" to fill a poly than, for example, having to search for "Generic Poly Modeling Tab" and then finding the "Create/Fill/etc Poly" button. Also, I don't know how it is in other industries, but being an artist, I value efficiency. The quicker and more efficiently I can model the better. It helps to "stay in the zone". Rather than fidgeting around looking for tabs, buttons, etc, I can get straight away to realising my ideas.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012221)

here here! i concur. "staying in the zone" is important when the creativity is flowing. any obstruction can potentially dry up/alter the "stream of conscienceness" way that creativity can manifest itself. like a concert pianist not having to look at their hands, shortcuts are a path towards pofessionalism in the world of computer graphic arts(2d or 3d). my wife is a graphic artist with 12+ years using illutrator and photoshop, and it's always amazing to watch her work. she uses maybe 50% of the keyboard shortcuts available, but using the shortcuts allows her to move fluidly thru her work. it would take me 3-5X the time to do the same work she does, since i don't know where the keyboard equivalents are. interesting you mention modo in one of your other comments, it reminded me that my .blend is based on jimmacs modo color scheme...

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012437)

The first thing I did in modo was in fact to look at the keyboard shortcuts, and learn them, as well as modifying/creating my own. Actually, the first time I use any new app for the first time is to generate a cohesive set of shortcuts - that work the same across all apps (as possible). That is, the same keys in modo to extend an edge, bevel, slice a poly, etc, are the same keys for Maya and Silo, etc.

When I first started 3D, I was using trueSpace, and I *NEVER* used shortcuts the entire time I used it (except the standard save, open, etc keys). It took me forever to do the simplest things, and I never really progressed as an artist. I think it's because I was too busy fidgeting with the UI to do what I wanted. As soon as I moved to LW, I started using keyboard shortcuts and my productivity skyrocketed. Then when I moved onto Maya and modo, I took it even further and began creating my own keyboard shortcuts, shelves, marking menus, pie menus, and layouts, my productivity increased again. As such, I'm now much more comfortable, efficient, and willing to play around a lot more. The biggest difference however is I feel like it's more of a creative endevour than a technical one. That is to say, it's much more natural to work, and keep the "stream of conscienceness" flowing. Instead of constantly breaking the flow, I'm seamlessly moving from one tool to another, all to achieve the end result. Before it seemed every action was it's own step with it's own end goal, breaking the flow.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012035)

ahem .... blender had all the annoying hot keys back when it was a pay-to-use app ... it was just as annoying back then, and it had nothing to do with Open Source, it has to do with being blender ... but enough people liked it and used it and depended on it that when its owners decided they had better things to do its users all chipped in and freed it ...

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012069)

You're assuming that a strange and different interface is flawed.

Typical whiner.

Re:Blender and stupid hot keys (2, Insightful)

Nick_taken (1090721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012103)

If you use software as a tool in your work, engineering, modeling, etc, you know shortcuts are necessary, even gaming needs shortcuts to be efficient, your not gonna win on a multiplayer starcraft game using only your mouse.

-1 Blatant plug :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19011849)

Aparently the poster is a developer at moonlight3d and blender http://www.moonlight3d.eu/cms/index.php?page=news [moonlight3d.eu] http://projects.blender.org/users/gmueckl/ [blender.org] Somebody in the blender community must have pissed him off, but I am too lazy to search for his name on the blender mailing lists.

you question isn't so much a question... (3, Insightful)

capsteve (4595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011863)

your question isn't so much a question as much as it is whinging... maya and lightwave and studiomax are also showing their age based on a mature code base, but consistency in the user experience, incorporating improvements into the base application without jepordizing usability are stilll very important. and just as these applications have improved over the years, so has blender. i haven't seen alot of improvements with AOI...

Blender probably "owns" the open source 3D graphical modeling scene because it's the most complete, full fledged, and the most mature of all the applications out there, with the exception of POVray. aside from blender(combined with yafray), the only other apps i use(and would consider recommending) would be wings3d(currently testing sunflow). typically i'll start with wings, import into blender, and use yafray for rendering. this combo seems to work well, wings is superior to blender in certain types of modelling. i don't think the other apps you mentioned play well with other apps, maybe that's the problem...

i've tried many of the OSS 3D apps out there(including AOI, have not tried k3d or moonlight thou) and the problem was often that the user interface was clumsy, the code was only available on one platform(i.e. moray), or the project was not mature enough for real work.

blender is'nt the easiest 3d app to work with, but then again 3d modelling in and of itself is not an easy task. since this discussion is about 3d modellers, it's important that an artist is able to navigate, switch tools, and move around an application in as smooth and fluid like as possible. it might seem like an oxymoron, but it is possible to do this in wings and blender(i never thought it would be). blender especially is a steep curve application, but once you get to know the most basic commands of edge/vector/face selection, creation and editing of primitives and vertices, things start moving quite well. there is a lot of thought that went into both blender and wings UI to make them easy to use. can you say that about k3d/aoi/moonlight?

you complain about the underlying architecture, but it's not the code that a user is interfacing with, and the interface is what is driving a highly graphical app like blender. it helps when architecture and UI are both well conceived.

does that answer your question(s)?

Re:you question isn't so much a question... (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012135)

N.B. Pov-ray isn't actually open source. It's open-ish source in that one can download the source and create modified versions, but only under strict terms. Not a bad model for what they want to do though.

Re:you question isn't so much a question... (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012543)

i stand corrected regarding the licensing issue, you are correct it is open-ish(pov license) with regards to downloading of app/source, re-distribution, modification, etc. it's not open source cause it's not using an osi recognized license(povray is pre gpl), however it is written and distributed in the spirit of open source. that being said, i mentioned pov as an example of another(non-commercial) 3d modeller.

Wings3d is written in Erlang (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012453)

Wings3d is written in Erlang, correct?

Re:Wings3d is written in Erlang (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012493)

Wings3d is written in Erlang, correct?

Yes. Does it matter?

It's a pain. (3, Insightful)

sbaker (47485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011865)

Blender isn't well thought out - it's evolved. The user interface is still pretty terrible. Python scripting totally sucks - the interfaces change with every release (often in ways that break existing script), are very poorly documented and yet never seem to keep up with the functionality in the core package. The code base is a terrible mess. People I know who have wished to write significant additions to blender's core have found their work rejected.

But the problem is that it's just barely good enough - such that developers simply don't feel it worth the (not inconsiderable) effort to do something truly world-class to replace it. Artists eventually learn it's weirdnesses.

If blender mysteriously vanished overnight, we'd be in a terrible state for the next year - but what would emerge as a result would be a hundred times better.

Tricky.

Re:It's a pain. (5, Informative)

Briggs_Bl (1098445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012039)

Your correct in saying that a lot of things are a mess, however as a develoer, I can't agree with your asessment of our feelings about the state of the codebase. Right now we are currently working on several large-scale refactors of core portions of Blender's code-base. This isn't something that happens overnight though. We certainly want things to get better, but it has to be the right thing and the right time and for the right reasons. Otherwise we might end up with something worse than what we have now.

Cheers

Re:It's a pain. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012047)

I thought the same thing about the interface, until I learned to use it.

One of blender's shortcomings is that there are a number of ways to model with it and the most efficient, I have found, is not the standard "extrude it from a box", and only a few tutorials cover the more different methods (like drawing outlines as a 2d plane and moving them into their 3d positions).

Judging by the fact you don't seem to know the interface, I can't help but think you are just parroting things you heard form annoyed people on other points. Maybe their code was rejected because it was bad, broke things higher up, didn't cover everything the current code does, etc. Maybe the scripts brake because they were badly programmed.

While I have never tried to reprogram it's core, I can say I have used scripts, not updated, across many versions.

Re:It's a pain. (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012219)

One of blender's shortcomings is that there are a number of ways to model with it and the most efficient, I have found, is not the standard "extrude it from a box", and only a few tutorials cover the more different methods (like drawing outlines as a 2d plane and moving them into their 3d positions).
You've just described every single modeling app out there. However, sometimes the "extrude from box" is the most efficient. It all depends on what you're modeling, what you're modeling for (animation-ready models can have different requirements from "static" models), and of course, the artist at the keyboard and mouse.

As for tutorials, if you're looking for modeling tutorials, look at tutorials written for other apps. The one thing about modeling tutorials is that they can basically apply to any application, despite being written for a different one. The tool names may be different, but the concepts are the same. There's MANY non "extrude from box" tutorials out there.

What about Sauerbraten? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011869)

Yeah, it's not exactly a 3D modeling app, but you can pick it up with no prior experience and throw together a map of a building in an hour or so.

How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (3, Insightful)

chocobanana (974767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011891)

Well, all I can say is that Blender rocks. It has its unique UI, which is fine for me, but maybe instead of thinking about core code, how about making UI derivatives without messing with the functions? As I said, I like the UI but others may not. But what I think that is missing from the open-source scene is something so crucial, I can't do but wonder why it doesn't exist: an OPEN-SOURCE PARAMETRIC 3D MODELLER! Please!!!!! I'm an Industrial Designer and I'm obliged to have Microsuffer Winblowz just because of one single type of program. I wish I could go all OSS, but this is my main brake. So I ask you, Slashdotters! Who's willing to help and start a OSS Parametric Modelling program? (like Solidworks, Alibre, Pro/Engineer, etc.) Thank you for your attention!

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (1)

vladilinsky (1071536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011975)

This would be so useful, I will second the call for a open source 3D Parametric Modeling program.

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012007)

this what your looking for?
Open CASCADE
http://www.opencascade.org/ [opencascade.org]
-ps it is a bitch to use and has a crappy ui.

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (1)

rocketship (1046126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012277)

I third that. The FOSS community is sorely lacking a professional-quality 3d modeller/drafting software. Blender is fantastic IMHO, but for anybody involved in design and fabrication, there's just no way you could glue on enough functionality to make it replace something like Rhino. I'm surprised we aren't even close to a solution for this - with Blender, Inkscape, GIMP/Cinepaint, etc, I have almost everything else filled, but I have to go back to Autocad to get work done! BTW, the best feature of Blender by far is its backwards-forwards compatibility: old versions of Blender can open files created in newer versions. This is behaviour that needs to be adopted by all software developers, not just FOSS! So, I would venture the beginnings of a features list: 1. good vector output (printing and file export) 2. good 3d/2d import-export 3. solid modelling 4. NURBS modelling 5. polygon modelling 6. good fabrication functionality: unfolding/unrolling/sectioning/etc 7. scripting/plug-in framework for extensibility 8. lightweight

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012363)

BRL-CAD?

http://www.brlcad.org/ [brlcad.org]

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (1)

chocobanana (974767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012545)

Open-Cascade might be a good start, though it's just a kernel. BRL-CAD... Don't even try to compare that to proprietary software like the ones mentioned above. We need something solid ;) to do real work on. What we need exactly is something that is comparable to proprietary software the same way that Openoffice, GIMP, Scribus and even Blender already are. Unfortunately I'm not a programmer nor do I wish to be one, so I can't start a project like this. But I would gladly support the project by testing it, giving ideas, participate in artwork, UI design and of course, use it!

Re:How about the state of 3D Parametric Modelling? (1)

Daychilde (744181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012673)

"Microsuffer Winblowz"

And... that's about where I lost all respect for any opinion you might express.

I'm a Windows dude, but I also use Linux where it serves my needs better (LAMP server). I don't personally use Mac, but I have one that I keep meaning to plug in so I can toy with upon occasion.

But I don't feel a need to disrespect computer choices that others make.

You want to run Linux for your desktop machine? Fine with me. Does it serve your needs? Great! I won't refer to it as "Linsux".

Do I support everything Microsoft does? Hardly.

But I don't feel the need to call them names, either.

All you do by doing so is to show your own immaturity.

And with that attitude and immaturity - even if you were serious with your proposal to start yet another project... I wouldn't place much hope for its success.

Mod Troll (0, Troll)

PenGun (794213) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011939)

kdawson -1 troll

Very True (2, Informative)

neosiv (320921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011955)

This is a fairly timely post for me. A few weeks ago I was interested in creating some fairly simple 3D objects, the first piece of software I tried was Blender 3D. After about a night's work of playing around with Blender I still couldn't get it to do what I wanted it to. A few days later, I came across Art of Illusion, and within an hour I was able to create what I wanted. It may be that Blender may be better for the more experienced user but Art of Illusion was a lot more intuitive and productive for the casual user.

Re:Very True (0)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012147)

You probably also would have had more luck with a pen than with oil paints (unless you're already a painter). This says more about you and what kind of modeler you want to be than about how good a program Blender is.

could match in a couple of months' time? (4, Insightful)

kscguru (551278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19011967)

Disclaimer: I haven't actually looked at any of these codebases. BUT - this jumped out:

Each of them offers a modern, much saner, more coherent, and more powerful basic architecture and could match Blender in a couple of months' time with some extra manpower.
Here is the problem. Actually, there are several problems all tied up here.
  • Each of them: great, there are three projects offering equivalent functionality, each hoping to supplant the current favorite? And which, pray thee, should an experienced developer contribute to? "Any of them"? --- bzzt, wrong answer. You're asking somebody to contribute when there is a 2 in 3 chance the contribution will be dead code when one of these emerges as a favorite? A born-into-money aristorcrat who doesn't have to make his own living can do that; the rest of us have more limited time and can't. Hint: companies pay product managers quite a bit to keep developers from doing wasted work, partly to avoid overhead but partly because wasting a developer's work is the fastest way to kill any enthusiasm. Picking one option (even if it's wrong) is better than indecisiveness. And if you truly think multiple options are the best, then find a way for them to coexist (pluggable rendering cores) instead of killing each other off.
  • modern, much saner, more coherent, and more powerful: all of these are in the eye of the beholder. But here's an opportunity to defend yourself: if these new architectures are that much more powerful, it must be possible to implement the blender architecture with them. Which happens to be a sane migration path, instead of the throw-away-anything-old not-invented-here approach of an entirely new project. Blender is open source: fork it and insert the new architecture, instead of griping about how somebody else should do something better. (I know full well this isn't as simple as I'm making it out to sound. But you know full well these new architectures aren't unambiguously better than the old.)
  • could match Blender in a couple of months' time: such a confident development-time prediction! Anyone with predictions that solid should be administrator of a project already! Now that I'm done being sarcastic, "a couple of months" is totally unrealistic. Every additional developer needs ~1 month to get up to speed on a new codebase (and understand what Blender does), another X months to implement the new functionality to match Blender, and 2X months to work the bugs out of the new functionality. Wine has been a few months from being usable for general apps for years; Gnome has been a few months and a few developers from being able to replace Windows for years; Windows has been a few months from being bug-free for a decade.
I don't mean to degrade the whole idea of finding something better than Blender. It's a fantastic goal, advances the state-of-the-art, and all sorts of other good things. I do dispute the misrepresentation of the ease with which it can be done: if it were even a tenth that easy, it would already be done.

Developers are willing to put up with the arcane code base because (1) it works, (2) it's Good Enough, which means anything newer has to overcome the training / usability barriers associated with switching, and (3) the newer options are not unambiguously "better". Remember: if app Bar (Blender) is already the standard, app Foo (these alternatives) not only has to be better for someone just starting, but also has to be better for an experienced user of Bar.

Re:could match in a couple of months' time? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012253)

Remember: if app Bar (Blender) is already the standard, app Foo (these alternatives) not only has to be better for someone just starting, but also has to be better for an experienced user of Bar.

Heh, this sounds like a major blog piece waiting to be written. Because open source can't be undercut in terms of price, and it already provides access to modifiable source code with the implicit command of "instead of just criticizing, why don't you contribute to our CVS respository?", once the first FOSS app has established itself in a given space as the big project the bar is that much higher for any competitor.

Re:could match in a couple of months' time? (1)

Daychilde (744181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012695)

"Wine has been a few months from being usable for general apps for years; Gnome has been a few months and a few developers from being able to replace Windows for years; Windows has been a few months from being bug-free for a decade."

Friend, wiser words are rarely spoken. :-)

re: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012049)

Their main problem is the interface, which they are attempting to fix IIRC.
Just do the modeling with Wings 3D, or whatever you happen to like, and do the rest with Blender. It's a very capable piece of software.
And many artists use many applications to do their work, for example, they could use Modo for modeling, Lightwave for rendering, etc. So it would be perfectly normal if you use Wings for the modeling, some other application for animation, Blender for rendering, etc. This way, you are using the parts you think are better, or you are more comfortable with, from each application.

Re: (3, Informative)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012291)

Indeed. I use modo and Silo for modeling hard surfaced objects, and rendering in modo or Maya (via Mental Ray). Then there's sculpting specific apps like Mudbox and ZBrush (which also does texturing).

You'll rarely, if ever, find a studio using one program. Certainely none of the bigger ones, and I don't even know of any smaller studios that rely on one piece of software for all their needs. For the hobbyist though, this isn't always a viable option due to the costs associated with some of the software.

Modeling especially, seems to be segmented. Model a base mesh in modo/Silo, bring it into ZBrush/Mudbox for sculpting, rebuilding topology in modo or Silo again, and then bringing it all together into Maya/XSI/3DS/LW/etc.

If you want to learn Blender.. (4, Informative)

mpn14tech (716482) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012065)

Blender has a rather unintuitive interface and most of the documentation is not that great. Fortunately I came across this excellent tutorial [cdschools.org] . The file is a pdf. It took me about a month of evenings and weekends, but once I was through the tutorial I was quite comfortable with the interface. It is really amazing what you can do with Blender once you get over the learning curve.

There's hope for Inkscape (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012073)

Inkscape is making moves toward 3d. Just being able to produce a wireframe in Inkscape would take much of the pain out of using Blender. http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/Googles_Su mmer_Of_Code#3D_Tool [inkscape.org] IMHO Blender and the deranged robot of the same name have a lot in common.

My daughter just attended a seminar where the UI expert posited the three Es. Ease of use, ease of remembering and something else that translated as power. The way the presenter described it, you couldn't have all three. Bullroar. A good program is one that I can use intuitively. If I am going to use the program a lot, there are shortcuts available. For instance, my students can get something to work with menus and the mouse. I can do the same thing two or three times as fast from the keyboard. I guess the thing is that a decent program has more than one possible UI.

Wings 3D (2, Interesting)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012183)

If you want a nice natural intuitive modeler, look no further than Wings 3d:

Wings3D [wings3d.com]

It has some strange dependencies, but you might be able to find a precompiled version for your platform. (It's in Gentoo's portage for example).

Wings 3D-Wraparound protection. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012273)

Wings is nice but it bogs down on high-poly models.

Re:Wings 3D-Wraparound protection. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012699)

In my experience, wings' performance is closely linked to your gfx card - are you sure your card isn't bogging down on high poly models? I've used wings on an Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 with some pretty damn high poly counts as a test, and well, it sure was faster than on my geforce fx 5900.

choice (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012247)

So it's not cool to have no choice? I thought we were against choice? Doesn't everyone want either KDE or Gnome to die?

Blender LOOKS better. (1)

tomaasz (5800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012261)

Call me shallow but Blender has a very nice website and that's why it gets more attention. The other three programs mentioned have crappy ones. Also I'm the last one to denounce Java but "Art of Illusion" is apparently in Java and the interface is not pretty. It's not even a matter of a native vs. non-native UI, because Blender doesn't use native widgets either. It just looks better.

Does anyone actually use Blender? (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012329)

I used to think so, but when a friend of mine recently tried...

He is a graphics designer by trade and has Windows at home (he hates Macs, but has to deal with them, because every single designer shop in Germany uses them). He wanted to build something in 3D and tried to install the Windows version. It wouldn't even install due to some Python related problem (Python seems to be for the plugins, but why would it break the basic install anyways?). I tried to help him over the phone and he installed different versions of Python to no avail.

Then I advised him to try the previous version and it didn't work either. There was very little documentation on the web. He uses Windows XP and has nothing out of the ordinary running and uses standard hardware.

I guess not many people tried even installing the Windows version much less use it.

Good thing I use Debian. For most important stuff I need there are responsible maintainers that check the packages bevore uploading and respond to bug reports...

Different apps ftw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012357)

I mainly use maya for almost all my 3d work, however sometimes I'll jump into 3dsmax. Often times I'll also model in Silo. (http://www.nevercenter.com/) Its a great program and its very cheap. Wings is also a good one. I have tried numerous times to learn Blender, and I just can't stand that nasty UI. And then I though, why bother? Why am I wasting my time learning some crappy program when I could be using the better ones I already owned? I really wanted to use Blender, because it never hurts to know how to use another app. But this was just not worth learning, not worth pouring my time into learning it. Suffice to say, I don't use blender anymore.

Module Authors (1)

quadelirus (694946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012365)

I love blender, but I do agree with the bit about people jumping through hoops to make any changes to it. I rewrote one of the import scripts because it only handled a tiny subset of the specifications for the file format it was supposed to import and I needed it to import more diverse forms of OFF files for my work. I posted my changes with example files for review and didn't hear back for months. When I finally did hear back they wanted me to create more example files to show them what the point of my changes were (which I felt I had pretty clearly displayed). I decided to forget about trying to get the changes into blender because I don't have the time to spend on convincing other people that it works. The code works perfectly for me (I use it almost every day) and the blender folks have access to it if they ever decide to take the time to sit down and review it but the whole process was pretty discouraging to me.

FragMotion (1, Redundant)

llZENll (545605) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012371)

www.fragmotion.com

Description
fragMOTION is a powerful 3D modeller specifically intended for the creation and animation of characters. fragMOTION is intuitive and easy to use and contains many features that are only found in top of the line modellers. And if that's not enough for you, the event driven scripting system makes it a breeze for you to add your own features.
Notable Features

        * Load and edit multiple motions in the same workspace.
        * Merge any supported model file and extract only the desired portions of that file.
        * Paint textures directly on the surface of a model.
        * No set limit to the number of faces contained in a model.
        * Create sprite images from 3D content.
        * Keyframe editor that allows you to copy, paste and delete keyframes with ease.
        * Animate your character using Inverse Kinematics.
        * Support for up to 4 weighting values per vertex.
        * Selective subdivision of faces.
        * Unwrap arbitrary geometry into a plane and save the image into a texture.
        * View attached objects such as weapons and equipment.
        * Create your own plugins using LUA script or C++.
        * Customizable user interface allows you to edit the menus and toolbar. You can even create your own menu items or toolbuttons to run user-defined scripts.
        * Convenient splitter window allows you to customize the layout of your workspace.
        * Keyboard shortcuts that allow you to use tools without constantly switching modes.
        * Set background images into the viewer as a frame of reference.
        * Create user-defined classes with their own appearance, properties, methods and events.
        * Modify existing classes by adding user-defined properties, methods or events.
        * Create skeletons with up to 255 bones.
        * Full undo/redo.
        * And many more...

Projects need a commanding focus (1)

QX-Mat (460729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012387)

Open source projects that succeed usually have a single purpose, and fill a niche. Because Blender does absolutely everything I can think of (it forgets to put sugar in my tea, tho), it's become complex. Complexity often shadows functionality - as things get more complex, they must be redesigned to make them functional. (imo, Gnome got it wrong and started to remove definable functionality rather than redesign input)...

There's a reason everyone takes Human centric computing modules now - they're useful!

If some of these other products started focusing on niche markets that are useful to its users - say, for example, game developers - they'd start to make an impact.

Take http://www.zootfly.com/tect.html [zootfly.com] for instance. Zootfly seem to have encompassed everything I need right now in a design and modelling tool - because its focused directly at computer games. To non-game developers, say animation modellers, it might not offer quite what they need, but at least it will lay a foundation for them to build on, or at least the community to react and copy.

Its funny - there's a trend-

Good Open Source code gets redesigned. Good Open Source code becomes a useful product. Becomes Successful. Expands and adds features. Becomes overwhelming. Is less functional at specific tasks than before/standalone projects. Some may say the linux Kernel is taking that path - but it's a lucky project, system-nucleolus-level implementation is very specific, and one can't avoid contributing to the kernel when adding low level features.

Look at ZBrush. It costs nearly £400? That's a lot of money for essentially a glorified 3D painting package. Sharp3D, an open source ZBrush-like tool (that I've yet to make work), is similar in respect, but needs more attention. Blender has texture baking and painting functions, but I don't know how to use blender, I just want something textured now, while I prototype. Blender's complete set of functionality is scaring me away!

I'd use Rhino3D (shareware) over blender at the moment, simply because I find it's stuck to its NURBS goal, and not gone to far off the niche mark.

Matt

Re:Projects need a commanding focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19012687)

I like Sharp3D, which I thought originally was an open source copy if Amorphium, the two look a lot alike. However, the developer last I heard was wanting to make it a component og f guess what--Blender, so progress has stopped on it. Most of the trouble people having in getting it running is the version of GTK it works with doesn't always play nice with Gimp and vice-versa. I got it running on an XP box, but never could in 2000.

For most of my 3D stuff (hobbyist) I use Vue D'Esprit, it's the only 3D program I found where a rank amateur can sit down and start making stuff that looks good.

Why is it always just the UI? (4, Informative)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012409)

This is to all those people who claim that you just have to learn to use Blenders user interface: My question really was initially not that much about the user interface, but the user interface really is at the core of the problem, but not in the way you probably expect.

The alternative applications that I have pointed out are really designed for a job. They adhere to basic MVC patterns and whatever else you would expect from such a big application. These patterns really are a big advantage when it comes down to coding stuff. Blender on the other hand has a "user interface driven design", as Ton once said. And this term fits well: the user interface - and I almost literally mean the buttons on screen and whatever event handling that is attached to it - are the only glue that keeps everything together. So when you talk about the user interface you also talk about Blender's internals. There is not much of an abstraction between the user interface and the data that is manipulated. So the bottom line is that any change to Blender's user interface is a change to Blender's design.

Specialized subjects are harder for OS projects (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012435)

IMHO, the problem is that specialized subjects (unless it's something directly related to systems software) are harder to get going in open source projects. Some domains, like computer algebra, operations research, visualization, etc., demand a domain knowledge that is not widely available. Being able to program in C/C++/C# or Java, etc., is not enough. A lot of programmers in the OS world know Unix. But knowing Unix does nothing for your, e.g., workflow, spreadsheet, or number-crunching software (scientific computing, BTW, is one very specialized area where you find good open source software, because it fulfills the needs of academics). Chances are, if you are specialized to that degree, you already have ties, or plan to have, with certain software houses or academic institutions. Or perhaps, you want to compete in the market with your own business (and this might have something to do with certain license choices, in particular the GPL).

In fact, if you look at it, there are quite a few domain-specific softwares that are lagging behind when compared to their proprietary counterparts.

Cooperation in some open source domains might also lag behind because of the lack of imagination of many OS tools. Look at the proprietary tools for Java, for instance and what they can achieve in terms of colaboration. I'm not a Java programmer, but to my knowledge there isn't anything like that in the OS world.

Licenses might have have something to do with it, also. I don't see why one specialist would want to contribute to another specialist's project, when there's even the possibility that this one releases the other's code contribution under a dual license (one proprietary, the other GPL). The solution is to reinvent the wheel and roll your own.

Professional roots (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012475)

Dont forget that Blender came from professional roots. NeoGeo actually USED this software for their work, back when it was purely internal.

Most everyone else is coming from a hobbiest viewpoint. and are most always doomed to stay there, if they manage to survive at all.

Re:Professional roots (1)

chriss (26574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012655)

The company that produced Blender was NaN Technologies (Not a Number, from the error message [wikipedia.org] ). Neo Geo [wikipedia.org] was a game console based on arcade games in the 90s.

Blender will remain on top... (5, Informative)

UglyMike (639031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19012477)

Kdawson submitted some anti-Blender tirade written by gmueckl. Fair enough, the guy has a right to his opinion.
I want to check it out so I go to the never-changing site of AoI and look at the gallery. Well, maybe they keep their best stuff somewhere else....That stuff has been there forever.
Next I go to K-3D, fondly remembering the build-in tutorials in the 'old' K-3D, the one before the never-ending refactor. Site doesn't load.
Head over to Moonlight3D. Hey, I remember that from about 10 year ago! Sad story: guys write Moonlight (closed source) Later they come up with Moonlight Atelier. Loads better but still closed source. (Linuxgraphics.fr had a nice Moonlight section) They open source the old code base, lose interest in Atelier and that's it. End of story. OK, so some guys decide to try to revive the old codebase, did some hacks and changes. Project died. This seems to be the legacy. Go look at news. Hey! Who's that posting there? It's our old friend gmueckl! So the anti-Blender tirade looks like a serious bout of jealousy to me...
If that is the competition Blender has, I suspect it'll be on top for quite a bit longer.... Just compare development pace, feature set, support (2 modern Blender books with a third one on order), roadmap.
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