November 29, 2001
11:57 AM   Subscribe

For the last year or so, I've been messing around with a little app called Blender. Blender is a piece of 3d rendering and animation software that does quite a bit of what high priced renderers like 3D Studio Max and Ray Dream do [samples]. The difference is that Blender is free.[more...]
posted by eyeballkid (15 comments total)
Blender has its own online community that provides free tutorials. The most recent version includes a new game engine. It is extensible and scriptable with Python. The publisher, Not A Number, has also released a web publishing program [not free] that allows for Blender animations on the web through their browser plug-in. It is also cross-platform, with versions for *nix, Win and BeOS.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2001

I love this sort of stuff - wish I had the time to delve deeper into it. Thanks eyeball.
posted by kokogiak at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2001

I've been looking at The Blender Book at Barnes and Nobles for a few weeks now. Has anyone read this or have any other recommendations?
posted by ttrendel at 12:55 PM on November 29, 2001

I own a copy of The Blender Book. I find it ramps up really quickly and some of the exercises don't explain what each feature does. The examples involve a lot of "push this" and "drag this" without talking real specifics. I was using it last night (which is why I thought to post this link today) and got seriously lost in one of the animation tutorials. I've heard better things about the Official Manual, which is availible from the Blender store, but I've never actually used it, preferring instead to meander through some of the online tutorials and see others' little tricks.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:02 PM on November 29, 2001

Does blender use the POV renderer?
posted by signal at 1:19 PM on November 29, 2001

hey eyeballkid, thanks for re-starting my interest in blender.

i'm pretty much a newbie with it... tho i've downloaded it before and messed with it some, i know more about getting around in rhino and even lightwave than i do in blender -- and believe me, that's not a whole lot.

but i love the *free* of something as cool as blender... just wish i had more time to learn how to get around it's rather complicated gui to know what the hell i was doing!

you have any 3d work of yours online?
posted by blackholebrain at 1:52 PM on November 29, 2001

And it fits on a floppy. It's got a steep learning curve (most 3d apps do), but is definitely worth it.
posted by skyline at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2001

blender... how quaint. coming from the 3D animation world, i can add only 2 things to this thread.

1. Blender is probably the worst 3D app to learn on. the interface is unique (not a good thing, you want to learn skills that apply across a number of programs), and the renderer is, frankly, the worst since... anything.

2. Maya. Learn it, love it.
posted by phalkin at 2:09 PM on November 29, 2001

Ugh - Maya. Just try to justify $7,500.00 US for a really cool toy.

Blender may be difficult, but the price is exactly right. Another midlevel affordable 3d modeler/renderer is Rhino3d - something I've been playing with off and on for a few years now.
posted by kokogiak at 2:17 PM on November 29, 2001

Maya. 3dsmax. SI. Lightwave. learn one, love one - thats they way it really goes. Freebe and cheap stuff is as good as the real stuff - depending on what you use it for, of course. Blender has alway intrigued me, so does Hash and Bryce - especially hash's animation master, like zoinks scoob. For $299 you too can can be a Victor Navone and learn hash, animate, then get hired ("I wascontacted by Pixar Animation Studios and now I work there as a full-time animator - yes, sought after by pixar, very cool indeed).
posted by tomplus2 at 2:26 PM on November 29, 2001

Blender fascinates me, but despite many attempts the interface remains completely beyond my limited comprehension. I find this bizarre - after becoming a master of the cryptic key combinations that power UNIX text editors emacs and vim, I really thought that no user interface was beyond my reach.

I also played around with the Rhino beta when they first released it. Now that has an easy-to-learn interface. I don't know what real 3D artists think, but for a complete and utter novice, I had a pretty cool spaceship in under an hour.
posted by dlewis at 2:39 PM on November 29, 2001

Nothing new. POV-Ray has been around forever.

Unfortunately, it requires real spatial comprehension to figure out.
posted by zeb vance at 5:03 PM on November 29, 2001

POV-Ray is all code based and uses ray-tracing. Blender is a GUI and does not.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:02 PM on November 29, 2001

I can recomend the very cool OpenFX. Much easier interface than Blender. Open Source. Does proper ray tracing. Unfortunately development on it is somewhat stalled at the moment. No interface to POV-Ray, although I bet you could convert a few file formats and bring things together.

For POV-Ray, there is the Moray modeler, a nice shareware app that does a very good job of interfacing to POV-Ray and exposing a nice set of capabilities, including animation. The interface has some similarities to 3ds max.
posted by mutagen at 11:19 PM on November 29, 2001

I too must recommend Moray for those already familiar with POV-Ray. Many moons ago I used to have to work with graph paper and scale rule when writing POV's C-like syntax.

Moray provides a very navigable wireframe view of that imaginary place I used to layout on graph paper, and seamlessly couples with current versions of POV for easy, one-click renders.

Fully functional nag-ware version availabe via the Moray Hompage.
posted by johnnyace at 12:43 AM on November 30, 2001

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