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Blender 2.5 Alpha Brings Major Changes

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  • Blender 2.5 Alpha Brings Major Changes

    Phoronix: Blender 2.5 Alpha Brings Major Changes

    For those interested in 3D modeling and graphics, you will want to check out the first alpha release of Blender 2.5. Blender 2.5 is bringing major changes to this free software 3D graphics application...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=Nzc0MQ

  • #2
    Boo, I don't see the Freestyle engine mentioned on there.

    Looking forward to the next Durian project, though!

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    • #3
      Great, I've been looking forward to these overhauls for some time now. If I can convince my 3D drivers to work, I'll need to take a look at it.

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      • #4
        Guys, this is big. This is really really big.

        The UI has been totally revamped and has moved from "ugh, this is the worst UI I've ever seen" to "3d Studio should be jealous of this". Despite being an alpha-0 release, I've had surprisingly few problems with this - rendering is faster than ever, object manipulations work fine, Unicode paths *finally* render correctly, fonts are antialiased out of the box... I haven't been this excited for an open-source project since the birth of Firefox!

        I've subscribed myself to the RSS feed I'm really really looking forward to alpha-1.

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        • #5
          Unlike some open source arts graphics stuff Blender always had some features and advantages over proprietary 3D suites.

          Namely the ability to crank out models very fast. The UI for blender, while ugly-looking, was extremely effective at making mesh modelling fast. A person very experienced in Blender could crank out new models faster using Blender then any other 3D application out there. Using it is like playing Quake games; with one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard pressing keyboard combos and all that. You don't go through and search through icons or menu items.. it was all about memorizing keyboard commands and key combos, which is _exactly_ what you need for a professional graphics application.

          Any decent, powerful GUI application, can be controlled in that manner.

          Now other Linux graphics suites are not really like that... Like Gimp or Cinelerra just are kinda odd without really substantial advantages to the UI.


          Now this meant that Blender had a steep learning curve and it was very odd to use compared to other things. Also it suffered in terms of parts of the animation, composition, and other features compared to other 3D applications.

          I think that working with actual artists in creating these animation shorts and video games is helping the developers out massively and they have overhauled huge parts of the application, improving things and adding important features.

          The thing that fascinated me about Blender is it's substantial gaming engine.

          A person can use Blender and Python to crank out high performance 3D games fairly quickly. Google and go look at Youtube and you can find lots of examples of people playing around. All sorts of heavy duty special effects and advanced physics features are available. Also the fact that it runs on almost any Linux system regardless of the drivers is a huge plus.. most gaming engines expect people to be using proprietary Nvidia drivers.

          This 2.5 is suppose to revamp things massively and I am really looking forward to the new scripting language and game engine improvements.
          Last edited by drag; 11-26-2009, 09:26 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by drag View Post
            Now other Linux graphics suites are not really like that... Like Gimp or Cinelerra just are kinda odd without really substantial advantages to the UI.
            This is not totally true. While I have not experience with Cinelerra, Gimp is the first graphics tool I've used and I find it's GUI very practical.
            For example you can have the folder with the pictures open and just drag them on Gimp to open them without click on the folder first to bring it front and then drag them. This and some other features because of it's gui make my job faster.
            Last edited by Apopas; 11-26-2009, 10:37 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by drag View Post
              Now this meant that Blender had a steep learning curve and it was very odd to use compared to other things. Also it suffered in terms of parts of the animation, composition, and other features compared to other 3D applications.
              It only has a steep learning curve because of the absolutely horrible documentation, I don't see this situation improving with the re-write.

              Instead of hiring a full-time coder, the Blender Foundation should have hired a technical writer to document everything properly.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
                It only has a steep learning curve because of the absolutely horrible documentation, I don't see this situation improving with the re-write.

                Instead of hiring a full-time coder, the Blender Foundation should have hired a technical writer to document everything properly.
                If you need documentation in order to use basic functions, then the UI is broken. :P (Personally, I find the Blender tutorials excellent, but I can see what you mean.)

                The main issue is that Blender evolved from a keyboard-only background, with the mouse-driven UI being tacked on without coherence or any respect to HIGs of the various platforms. Even with 2.49, keyboard shortcuts remain the best (only) way to use Blender efficiently.

                Blender 2.50 shows a change in direction. The mouse-driven UI interacts with keyboard shortcuts organically (instead of merely refecting shortcuts 1-1). The various panels are intuitive and customizable. Font rendering is vastly improved and while the UI still doesn't integrate with the underlying platform, it actually feels right.

                Check the tutorials that show how to move from 2.49 to 2.50. The side-by-side pictures indicate the difference in direction nicely - and 2.50 comes out as better designed, every single time. It's an exciting and welcome change.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by drag
                  Now other Linux graphics suites are not really like that... Like Gimp or Cinelerra just are kinda odd without really substantial advantages to the UI.
                  Originally posted by Apopas
                  This is not totally true. While I have not experience with Cinelerra, Gimp is the first graphics tool I've used and I find it's GUI very practical.
                  For example you can have the folder with the pictures open and just drag them on Gimp to open them without click on the folder first to bring it front and then drag them. This and some other features because of it's gui make my job faster.
                  You are the odd one out. The amount of articles and comments all over the web where people complain about the Gimp interface don't come out of thin air. No, it doesn't have anything to do with people used to Photoshop, there are objective criteria to design UIs. When most folks see a problem with the way a program works, chances are that actually there is a problem. The Gimp UI has been problematic since ever (that's from 1999), forcing people to come up with hacks like Gimpshop to keep things sane, or calling for forks after failed attempts at improving its usability. They even created a tool to understand what was wrong with The Gimp UI, as well as an interface brainstorm. I invite you to take a look at the evaluation notes of that process, I guess you'll feel quite alone among all those guys who somehow don't get Gimp's UI.

                  Now compare all that with what was being said 4 years ago about inkscape. Personally, it took me no effort learn Inkscape or Xara to come up with modest things (but useful to me), and I can't say I know The Gimp despite having used it for as long as Inkscape to do some simple tasks.

                  As for Cinelerra, it looked hideous when I tried it out of curiosity a couple of years ago or so...

                  Originally posted by drag
                  A person can use Blender and Python to crank out high performance 3D games fairly quickly. Google and go look at Youtube and you can find lots of examples of people playing around. All sorts of heavy duty special effects and advanced physics features are available.
                  Truth is that it's impressive that nowadays everybody can come up with something that looks like the especial effects of Terminator 2 for free. If they actually manage to make it easier for the masses to learn it will be incredible.

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                  • #10
                    I wonder if Blender can finally handle benchmarking in an autonomous mode now...
                    Michael Larabel
                    http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                      If you need documentation in order to use basic functions, then the UI is broken. :P (Personally, I find the Blender tutorials excellent, but I can see what you mean.)
                      Which ones? The "official" tutorials, the BSoD tutorials, the Noob to Pro tutorials, or the various tutorials thrown about the web like so much chaff on various freelance artist's sites and blogs?

                      Also remember that the BF has a habit of releasing new features with nothing but developers notes explaining the feature. The 3d texture painting mode is a perfect example of that. A technical writer writing a freely downloadable pdf (with a book that could be purchased to cover costs) would solve that problem.

                      The new UI is a massive step forward from a former in-house tool but without solid documentation anyone just starting out in 3d will have just as much trouble as with 2.4x.

                      @ Michael - file a feature request

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
                        Which ones? The "official" tutorials, the BSoD tutorials, the Noob to Pro tutorials, or the various tutorials thrown about the web like so much chaff on various freelance artist's sites and blogs?
                        You forgot the commercial books on blender. So much for the lack of documentation. :P

                        Seriously, I've yet to find a feature that I couldn't find a tutorial for. Granted, I'm no professional 3d modeler, but there's certainly no lack of good tutorials on blender. There are tutorials even for 2.50 alpha-freaking-0!

                        I'm not sure why you'd want a dedicated technical writer duplicating all this work, when you can simply spend 5 minutes on google or buy a book written by a professional.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've been following Blender since before it became Free Software,and I compiled 2.5 from SVN for a while so this isn't really news for me, but I'm glad to see this gets some attention - as it should! Blender 2.6 (the "final" stable version out hopefully around Siggraph10) will be a dream come true

                          The learning-curve can be steep (like learning GNU/Linux) but there's definitely a reward at the end. Now in 2.5 things are already much more logical and "easier", but it's still Blender. Keyboard shortcuts are essential to learn for ALL applications you seriously use, including GIMP. I don't follow the irritation over The GIMP's UI since I can work fast in it using shortcuts and GUI. These are complex tools and most people complaining don't need or use 90% of the capabilities, yet they want to click a button and "create" a Pixar short without knowing anything about 3D/2D...


                          Originally posted by Michael View Post
                          I wonder if Blender can finally handle benchmarking in an autonomous mode now...
                          I think the Blender developers have a lot of other important things to work on first, but try to contact Cambell Barton (ideasman42 on the BA forum) who currently works on the Durian project. Here's a thread he started:

                          http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=165866

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                          • #14
                            The problem with the Gimp GUI is that the GUI is unintuitive and difficult to manage (multiple windows, no context-sensitivity, confusing icons and menus). The learning curve is pretty steep, but once mastered it becomes a surprisingly capable and efficient application. Unfortunately, many people get turned off after the initial contact (same as with Blender).

                            The other issue with Gimp is the dissonance between user expectations and its supported workflow. One common complaint is, "how do I draw a simple circle with Gimp?" Go ahead, fire a new window and try this - just a simple circle, like mspaint. Most newcomers will give up here (Gimp sucks), turn to google or try all tools one by one (Gimp is hard!) Personally, I believe Blender is better in this regard and doesn't suffer from this issue.

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                            • #15
                              @BlackStar

                              I partially don't agree. Mostly like I said these apps are very complex, which for highend use is good. Maybe it's easier to create a circle in Photoshop but how many people buy an app for $600 to do simple things? Because GIMP is more comparable to PS than MS Paint and many people don't need more than the latter, being the reason Canonical want to remove The GIMP from the default install. That is not GIMP's fault, no matter the UI. Same story with Blender, which is more like Max/Maya than Sketchup. If people can't/won't grasp the concept you can't blame the software.

                              Yes, both Blender and GIMP have "non-standard" interfaces but once learned they are powerful and flexible. Just because many know 3D Studio Max and it therefore somehow has a de-facto interface, doesn't make it easier for people to use the potential it gives. It's just that people have a higher incentive to learn a complex app when they've shelved out thousand of $$ for it, and "free can't be good = not worth the time"...

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