linux render cluster in an IKEA cabinet

Started by inkydigit, November 20, 2008, 11:22:39 am

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November 23, 2008, 10:05:07 am #15 Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 10:09:33 am by efflux
I'm going to write some kind of tutorials for Blender at some stage. I can see Blender is a problem to start on and that is because of poor documentation for new users. I found it difficult to start with because of this but it wasn't the app. You'll read some "getting started" guide but still be wondering about things because they left stuff out.

However I see no bad logic in how Blender actually works. For example take a new Modo user. First thing they will find is that they can't navigate the model without using icon controls or reading the manual to find the mouse + keyboard commands. Blender rotates around the model with middle mouse button. Control+MMB zooms in and out and Shift+MMB moves horizontal and vertical. You can find these without reading any manual. Try finding the correct commands in Modo for the very first thing you will want to do! Also, why do all these apps have little icons for creating boxes spheres etc, an icon for every tool - so much it is sometimes on separate tabs like Modo. That is ludicrous. Space bar in Blender brings up menus with every basic action including creating your initial shapes. Do we need an icon to tell people what extrude does. No, it is ridiculous and creates an extremely messy UI but I think it has other side effects - it stops people from using key commands. Tools can still be on a menu without buttons everywhere and the menu can tell you the command. To me this is a logical way to design an app that keeps a simple UI and allows you to learn a key command. Key commands are much faster than having a heavy UI that will have to be so heavy you end up navigating different tabs for operations.

Key commands have to be learned of course. Eventually computers with have visual feedback of some sort like the ipod touch screens then the button you press has a label telling you what it does. In that case it would all become easier. It depends on how this gets implemented though. It's not so easy as an ipod because touching our screen will not really be very cool. What we need is a separate pad with buttons like a keyboard. Until computers change in this respect, you ave to use key commands to get the fastest work flow.

One thing that is not good in Blender is the layout of material and texture controls. This is due to the problems of the boxes all being the same size to fit horizontal. It is not so easy to set up materials and there is no preview of your saved materials. One thing to add to this though is that Blender is a very powerful procedural texturer. It has tons of fractals.

two main things fall short in Blender compared to other apps. It's renderer needs to be better. For example it needs some kind of GI but you do have the option of using other integrated renderers. The other thing is that it doesn't have micro poly displacement. If you need the actual mesh to be displaced you have to bump up subdivision on whatever object at render time.


November 23, 2008, 10:39:36 am #16 Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 10:52:45 am by efflux
Here is a Blender screenshot of the gen3 tree thing I posted on another thread. You just adjust the UI as you go along for whatever project - it is that easy. Notice how the render appears in another pane not another separate window but you can do it both ways if you want. This is actually the image editor. You can bring images into here, have your render here and then edit, paint and composite stuff here and link it to an outside editor such as Gimp. I removed the header since I was just looking at render results in this pane. You can select a small area to render if you wish. You even have a little "real time" render box which can be dragged around the 3D view.

Maya, 3D Max, XSI etc etc. No thanks! They are DISASTER UIs.


November 23, 2008, 08:28:37 pm #17 Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 09:00:21 pm by efflux
I just looked into this. Very interesting.

When Blender got it's present UI it was totally different and superior to any other app. Of course according to the people who were locked into multi $1000 software it was no good. A year later Modo appears with very similar UI designs. Brad Peebler "marketing guy" for Luxology claims that they looked at UIs from other apps but in no uncertain terms Blender was not one of them yet Blender at the time was the app with the revolutionary UI. This is pure BS.


Quote from: efflux on November 23, 2008, 10:05:07 am
I'm going to write some kind of tutorials for Blender at some stage.

If you plan to do so to convert me, please spare yourself a useless task. More than one year ago I decided to stop wasting money and time on that pile of crap called Blender.

Currently I am happily using Hexagon 2.5, SketchUp 6 and Wings3D and I plan to thoroughly check trueSpace 7.6 during Christmas holidays.

Should come the day in which I will feel that I am ready to go beyond those apps, my sight is already pointed towards Lightwave and/or Modo... just to show you how deep, wide and unbridgeable is the chasm between penguinistas tastes and everybodies' else...



I'd like to see those tutorials...

Just one person abandoning the software isn't reason enough for me. My brother uses it daily to create his Myst ages, and I'm still impressed by his work with this app.


November 24, 2008, 02:32:09 pm #20 Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 02:36:50 pm by efflux

Wings 3D is a cool app I'll definitely agree on that. It is very simple and easy to use. It requires a bit of learning but once done Wings is cool to use.

A also have Hexagon which was good but buggy. I never upgraded it. Maybe it's better now.

One thing about Blender is that the features are not just push button get results. To give you an example it has an array modifier. I've been wondering how to use this to array trees. This tool is quite simple at the moment. So you wonder how to do more complex things with it rather than just array in one direction. So you find that the arrays can be arranged at vertices on another polygon or curve. I also think you can array stuff using particles but haven't tested yet. The power is there, you have to find it.

As for Blender's UI which get regularly slated. This is how it works at base level.

You have panels, all resizable and arranged in any way you want. How do you achieve this. Hover the mouse over the joins. That's it!!! You make your workspace whatever you like. Right mouse click gives you options to split the window etc depending on the context of how that window links with another. You can also remove the window header from this mouse click - the part that contains all the contextual menus and controls that you may want to hide. This header also has a list of all available window types but a key command can choose that anyway so often you need nothing but the content of that window. Also, if you choose to join windows you can move the mouse over each window and an arrow appears showing you which window will take over the space of another.

That's it, the basics of the Blender windowing system. This could not be any easier! Modo fan boys can go on about how Blender supposedly copied Modo (impossible) but they can not give you a description of a few lines on how to deal with Modo's windows.


November 24, 2008, 03:08:32 pm #21 Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 03:11:34 pm by efflux
The next version of Blender is going to have a very very useful feature in it's UI. Any parameter in the UI that has been key framed for animation will indicate that it has been key framed. Modo currently has this. Trouble is, Modo has virtually no animation features yet compared to Blender at least for character animation.


The problem with push buttons get results applications is that the power is diminished. This is why TG2 is so vastly superior to the previous version. You have lots of control in the nodes.

In Blender fur is generated with the particles system. You can choose a particles system for fur but you don't simply click a button and get fur. That way the particles system can be very creatively used for numerous things. Also, Blenders procedural texturing is very powerful. For example in Modo (I'm comparing Modo a lot because it is the most similar app) you have a few simple options like "cell" but cell is voronoi fractal. Why the hell not call it that and give the user all the parameters for adjusting that fractal properly.