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Switching to Blender, what should I expect?

Discussion in 'External Tools' started by FlyingRobot, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Hi all,

    I was long time XSI user, recently started learning Modo. Now after the murder of XSI by ADSK, I'm really skeptical of learning another DCC and face this again in the future. Because the market is volatile and the big corporations will kill any software if they turn unprofitable in the last quarter.

    So, started weighing my options, and money too. I want to start learning again and trying to ensure this would be the main DCC I'd use for rest of my life.

    The things within my financial reach are Modo, Maya LT, Houdini Apprentice (and perhaps Houdini basic) and Blender.

    I've simply lost faith in ADSK and MayaLT to me is nothing but indie trap. They would gather up indies with this and later migrate them to Maya by killing this. And I hate subscriptions.

    Modo is nice till now, even without vertex normals and proper fbx pipeline. But I was kinda shocked when they merged with Foundry. Is it good for the users, haven't seen any sign to ensure that. And at the back of the mind, it plays that Foundry doesn't operate at the level of indies. They play with the big boys and will not hesitate to raise the price of Modo and try to pitch it against ADSK suites. It's just a matter of time until they do that. Again, I may be over scared by ADSK.

    Houdini is an interesting outlaw, and their recent venture of Houdini Engine actually holds many promises. It works with Apprentice. Then again, if it decides to switch that off, like they did with Torque, I'll have to upgrade to Houdini and that'd be real pricey because I'll still have to get a software for poly modeling. As houdini is not very keen at that. If I do modeling and animations in another software, keeping Houdini just for generating procedural assets doesn't makes lot of sense anyway.

    So, relucatantly, I looked at Blender again, I've tried this software before. Couldn't get my head around it's workspace. But with the latest release, it appeared much more friendly to me. I think it has just crossed my tolerence threshold. So, I'm ready to learn this with a serious note, from CGCookie, CMIVFX etc.

    I know many of you are using Blender professionally. Can you please share, what to expect and what should I check as training and addons for game development? Also, any tips on where Blender is PITA ? Should I have to keep a companion software? I'm thinking of using quixel suite/algorthmic suite alongside it.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestion.
     
  2. c-Row

    c-Row

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    I can only comment on the UI since that's what kept me from delving deeper into Blender the last time I tried to use it, and those aren't nice comments.
     
  3. Photon-Blasting-Service

    Photon-Blasting-Service

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    Cons:
    Terrible UI
    Sometimes annoying community of open-source advocates
    Does everything differently than the rest of the world, including simple things like picking with a mouse

    Pros:
    New UI is on the way
    Incredibly powerful tools once you get past the terrible interface
    Free
    Frequent updates
    Works well with other tools including Unity
    Advanced features like sculpting, 3d paint, re-topo, etc
    Tons of free scripts available

    Lots of great tutorials at CGCookie. Other videos on Youtube can be good but there's a lot of terrible videos by teenagers that make it look like Blender is just a hobbyist program. Stick with the CGCookie or other professional quality vids.

    The UI sucks. I hate it. But if you stick with it and learn to do things the Blender way, you will be rewarded. It's a really solid program with tons of great features. I used Max for seven years, Maya for five years, and a lot of other programs. I'm happy with Blender for myself.
     
  4. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    When was the last time, did you tried 2.7?
     
  5. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Thanks, I'm freaked out with the UI too. I know it will take a leap of faith.

    Do you suggest using Blender Input Preset or Maya/Max Preset?
     
  6. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Editing Vertex Normals can come really handy in Modeling for games. How do you live without that?
     
  7. Sir-Tiddlesworth

    Sir-Tiddlesworth

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    Why does everyone seem to hate the Blender UI?
    Every time I look at Maya's UI, it makes me want to burn it with fire.
     
  8. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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    This.

    I think it mostly is because people are used to different things. Personally, I cannot work in any 3D software except Blender, because I'm so used to it and everything else feels so confusing and bloated.

    Once you learn the shortcut keys, I find blender workflow to be extremely delightful and efficient.

    The UI was remade in 2.5 too, so it is a lot cleaner and nicer nowadays. (Blender is v 2.7 now.)

    The spacebar-menu is absolutely awesome for beginners to find the functionality they're searching for too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  9. Fredd886

    Fredd886

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    First time I did try out Blender I remember I had that scary feeling when everything was different and it kinda kept me away for some time but I did come back to learn it and it toke some time but all I can say it is really worth it as it is a great software and free.

    Btw it is sad who ADSK killed XSI :(
     
  10. mzprox

    mzprox

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    I also don't understand why most people say Blender ui is terrible.. it's not worse or better than Maya's..and the strength of Blender's workflow is the usage of hotkeys, there are many intuitive combos there.
    And as it was said there are many free script available.. many of them is shipping with each blender release just needs to be activated in the prefrences.. I don't quite understand why they are not activated in the first place, but there must be a reason (F2, Loop-tools, extra objects, dynamic space-bar, import images as planes just to name a few)
     
  11. TylerPerry

    TylerPerry

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    0/10 Y should be up.
     
  12. Photon-Blasting-Service

    Photon-Blasting-Service

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    I always stick with the presets that the software ships with. This is a habit from working on large teams and sometimes needing to use someone else's computer. I want to know the defaults for everything. Also true for discussing shortcuts, etc. on the internet.
     
  13. Stardog

    Stardog

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    Blender is perfect for working in Unity. It imports the .blend files directly, including animations.

    I learned to use it 6 months ago within a day or two. I had tried it previously and found the UI impossible to work with, but the new version is actually very easy. Rigging/animating/unwrapping is also a breeze. The Rigify Addon kinda/almost/sorta supports Mecanim without any modification.

    Tips:
    • Right-click all of the toolbars > Flip To Top. This will make it function like most other software. Save your layout with the File menu (ctrl-u).
    • Spacebar lets you search for almost any operation Blender can do.
    • Right-click is for selecting things.
    • The window icons in the top-left decide the type of window. You can create new windows by dragging the diagonal lines in the top-right.

    Here's my base startup layout.
     

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  14. the_motionblur

    the_motionblur

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    I can absolutely recommend modo!

    I bought 601 1.5 years ago. It was at a 50% special price so I didn't think much when buying it because I wanted to get into it anyways and people recommended it all over the place as a modeler. So when the character tools hit, I just bought it. It's very reasonably priced so I though: "What the hell...? Why not."

    The first few days I nearly regretted my decission because it was so terribly differend and weird in some places coming from Cinema 4D. So I left it for over half a year - nearly untouched. When some day I needed a few export features I simply didn't have in Cinema. So I tried getting into modo again. I watched Richard Yot's Youtube Tips (very helpful) and I bought Wes McDermot's Books "Real World Modo" and "Creating 3D game art for the iPhone with unity" [and modo]. And then I simply forced myself to stick to it. And I use it nearly exclusively, now. For over a year. And I love it.

    So what I'm saying is two things, here:
    1. Wherever you come from - a switch to a different software will hurt in the beginning and feel wrong but you have to stick to it and adapt to the software. Not the other way round. (Though modo is really very customizable)
    2. Modo is a very good piece of software. And hey... did you know it has Mesh Fusion, now? :)

    If it's in your price range: By all means - check the demo and give it a try. You might like it.
     
  15. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    I'm already using Modo. It's a wonderful software, especially modeling, UV, texturing. Looking forward to see the animation section to get a little more mature. I'm actually divided between Modo and Blender.

    The thing is, I'm unable to get a decent animation pipeline out from Modo to Unity and so, I tried Blender, and Wow! It worked right away. I thought... I'm paying for Modo and ignoring Blender (presumably) and this little one packs more bang. I was surprised.

    I think you can live with that, right?
     
  16. Tiles

    Tiles

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    Because it is not good maybe? Because they are right to hate it? Just a guess ... :)

    The Blender UI terrible because there are too many inconsistencies. Same things are solved in a different way for equal tools. The graphical UI is unbelievable space wasting, that's where all the scrolling and tabbing comes from. The graphical UI is bad arranged and much too cluttered. You have to dig too much in sub menus for tools that should be at top level. There are still quite a few tools that have still no menu entry. But are just accessible by hotkeys. Never heard of a menu where you can switch between edge, vertice and face mode, and where you can even add hotkeys for that? Guess why ... . Or the almighty "what do you want to do today" quiz when you want to delete a selected element. And so on. Overall the graphical UI is full of quirks, it is slow and cumbersome to use compared to other 3d packages.

    You can make the Ui much better and faster. Blender staff decided to fix just "low hanging fruits" though. Not the real problems.

    Fixing low hanging fruits means solutions like instead scrolling to death we have now tabbing to death. And we have another one of those exceptions from the rule, another inconsistency. At the left you can find tabs. At the right it is scrolling as usual, tabfree ...

    It might surprise you, but other 3d packages have also hotkeys. This often repeated statement that hotkeys in Blender are oh so nice is a bad excuse for a bad graphical UI. A hotkey only UI is a UI nightmare. How many hotkeys can you really remember? There are 300 + tools in Blender, growing.

    The fastest workflow is the mix of a good graphical UI and hotkeys. Where the user can decide where he needs hotkeys to speed up things and where not.

    Changing hotkeys in Blender is a nightmare at its own though. Quite a few tools have different names in the workspace and the hotkey manager. Happy searching. Reported as a bug, and declined. And even when you manage to change your hotkeys, chances are big that your custom hotkeys stops working with the next update. I report that one regularly since several versions. And you will most probably also run into the situation that you use a hotkey that is already in use for another tool anyways because the hotkey manager doesn't tell you about conflicts.

    The pure hotkey orientation leaded in Blender to the absurd situation that you need hotkey combos for basic and often used stuff like set origin where you need both hands and a foot too. ctrl+alt+shift+c . And so even the devs cannot simply change the hotkeys to better combos, because the Blender UI is hotkey bound by tradition. And when you change a single hotkey officially, then you get slaps from the community.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  17. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Is there a way to make a custom palette with the tools you use frequently?
     
  18. Stardog

    Stardog

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    I'm no Blender defender, but some of this isn't true.

    The edge/vertex/face mode buttons are right next to the Object/Edit/Sculpt/etc button when you're in Edit mode.

    Object > Transform > Origin to...

    The only thing I don't like about Blender and other software is that doing some simple cuts is not as easy as with Sketchup, such as cutting a window into a wall.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  19. Tiles

    Tiles

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    Yes it is :)

    I talk about the menu that comes up when you are in edit mode and press ctrl+tab. Then a floating menu comes up where you can choose between the vertex, edge and face mode. The nice thing: here you can define hotkeys for vertice, edge and face mode. See, you didn't know it? ;)

    As told, there is more stuff like that where the menu entry is missing. But i have already forgotten it again. F6 may be worth a mentioning here, this goes also in this hidden tools category ...

    And for the second issue, i talk about the hotkey, not the graphical menu. And that one is this insane combo with four keys at the same time.


    By the way i am no Blender hater really. It is part of my pipeline. I use it regularly. That's why i know its weaknesses. And i have used more than one 3D package before. That's why i can compare :)
     
  20. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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  21. Tiles

    Tiles

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    You still haven't understood it :)

    There is a hidden menu that can be opened with ctrl+tab in the edit mode.
     

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  22. shaderop

    shaderop

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    So was I! All way back when they had the foundation edition. I even had a website dedicated to XSI (link) and a few plug-ins that are still in circulation. And I totally understand where you're coming from regarding the alternatives.

    My tl;dr take on Blender
    Not nearly as scary as it looks. Decent at sculpting, good at modeling, and excellent at character animation. In fact, the out-of-the-box character animation experience is better than both XSI/Softmage and Maya in my opinion.


    The long version

    A bit of background
    I'm not a pro 3D modeler or animator, but I have dabbled in both disciplines enough to know how to model a character and animate it. I started out with modo back in the 30X days, but I didn't particularly like it for various reasons, not least among which is the shader tree thingy and the very clicky interface.

    I switched to XSI and was instantly hooked. I think it has the best ease of use to capabilities ratio of any 3D app out there. It had its annoying quirks, but it also had the most potential.

    I stayed with XSI after the acquisition, hoping to switch careers from programming to VFX. In the meanwhile I took an animation course at iAnimate, in which I learned to use Maya and the excellent rigs that iAnimate provided.

    After I gave up on switching to VFX as an artist, I dabbled in Houdini for a while hoping to make the switch as a technical director.

    There was also that unfortunate incident where I purchased Lightwave 3D when they first announced the CORE version right around the Autodesk acquisition.

    After a while I became disenchanted with the whole field. I went back to being a web developer.

    But that didn't last long. I started learning Unity on the side, collaborated with an artist I met here on the collaboration forum on a game, and now I'm at a point where I'm able to get a freelance programming gig for Unity every once in a while. It's also about the same time that I decided that, fsck Autodesk, I'm going to try and learn Blender for real this time. Now I'm at a point where I have managed to model, paint, rig, and animate a character in Blender and import it into Unity.

    My take on the alternatives
    Modo
    I don't particularly like the workflow. Animation tools are improving but it still has ways to go. Too many clicks to get anything done. Limited to nonexistent customization ability through scripts and plug-in. As a former XSI user, I find the last two points particularly unappealing.

    Maya
    Expensive-ish. Owned by Autodesk. Limited usability without a ton of plug-ins and shelf scripts. Good luck rigging on your own without investing in something like The Setup Machine. But it is the de facto standard and the undisputed king of the hill. To me it feels like XSI's misshapen, disfigured, grotesque older brother.

    Houdini
    A technical director's wet dream. Can practically do anything and everything, but at the expense of either artist's time or processing time. Too cumbersome for none-procedural modeling, texturing, or animation. Expensive.

    Blender
    The interface and the workflow is the biggest hurdle to most people, and that certainly was the case for me. But I bought a tutorial and simply stuck with it. And it only took me two days to get used to the shortcuts, and a couple of weeks more to feel at home.

    My main interests are character animation and basic modeling for props and environments. Blender has a few features in those areas that I wish XSI and Maya had back when I used them, like:
    • Rigify, produces excellent character rigs with minimum effort. I would say it's definitely comparable to The Setup Machine or Gears for XSI, both of which are paid, third-party products.
    • Paste pose flipped: A godsend when mirroring animations. I
    • Sculpting and texture painting are surprisingly good, and I find not having to jump to another program to be an invaluable time saver. Though sculpting performance slows down significantly as details are increased.
    And here are what I consider the top cons:
    • I miss normalized animation graph display like in Maya, although I believe that was supposed to be added in 2.7.
    • Rigify defaults to quaternion rotations on some joints. It can be changed to Euler, but it is a hassle, and I wasn't able to wrap my head around manipulating the animation graphs in quaternion mode.
    • Try as I may, the shortcuts still trip me up sometimes.
    • Documentation in general is a bit lacking.
    • There aren't many jobs for Blender artists as far as I know. But I don't care about that myself.
    • The fanboys. God almighty, the fanboys. Avoid all official and unofficial Blender forums at all costs or risk drowning in your own vomit.
    Bottom Line
    Switching to Blender is very doable. If this ex-XSI user can do it, then you can do it. Bite the bullet and get used to the default Blender keyboard mapping, grab a copy of the Blender Inside Out training course from the Blender foundation store, and splurge on a month of Blender Cookie subscription if you feel like it. Work through the former and devour everything you can from the latter and you'll be good to go.
     
  23. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Thanks for the detailed post shaderop. The old XSI site have some nice tools in it. :)

    Yes, I'm planning to delve into Blender using BlenderCookie and the vid tut. Trying to find absolute showstoppers before that. Vertex normals are going to be a problem for sure. Even Modo doesn't have it, I use a free third party script. There's something weird happening with this vertex normals implementation in Blender. As Modo and Blender both are in python. An implementation of it in Modo should carry into Blender. But, the development seems to hit a brick wall.

    And as far as I know there's no other free tool which can modify vertex normals. Then, this is going to an issue, as sometimes models look really ugly without a tweak of the normals.
     
  24. Tiles

    Tiles

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    One thing to keep in mind when considering Blender is that there's rarely a commercial plugin working in Blender. Blender is open source. And commercial developers gets scared away by that. There are slowly some exceptions appearing, like the VRay or Octane plugin. But there is still no Forester, no state of the art fluid simulation. Which can become a pipeline and quality question then. In Blender you are mainly bound to what is already available in the software.

    The animation system is also a bit aged and limited nowadays. Especially to create a working IK rig can be a real pain sometimes. It's the only bones system that i know where you need to pose the mesh first so that the rig works. Normally it's the other way around. You rig your mesh to pose it ...
     
  25. shaderop

    shaderop

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    I'm no expert modeling game assets, but the only time that I needed to tweak the normals on an object was in the case of hard edges. Blender has the split edges modifier for that, and I remember it working fine for me.

    The only concern I had at the time was that extra edges will affect rendering performance in Unity. But there was a thread somewhere that pointed the fact the Unity will actually split the edges on vertices with multiple normals. So the performance hit was going to happen in any case.
     
  26. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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    You keep changing what you mean. You original statement:

    isn't true, so I and Stardog pointed that out.

    But yes, ctrl + tab is indeed shortcut for altering selection mode.
     
  27. Beardbotnik

    Beardbotnik

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    That example isn't very good. I'm able to bake textures without having to export any uv maps or reimport them. In fact, I've never had to do anything like that. While can't edit normals directly they have been working on some tools for it and they are improving the baking process by adding some basic cage support soon, not very controllable but still it's a start. That and cycles render baking will be amazing for lightmap baking and baking other textures.

    The set up for texture painting can be clunky. But that is going to be much easier with Blender 2.71 but it's already implemented in test builds.

    The interface itself isn't that bad honestly and I like the add-on set up they have. The act of modeling isn't really different from other software when it comes down to the basics. In fact I used to be a 3ds max user, then a maya user, but I find Blender 2.5 and up to be a good middle ground between the 2 interface wise. It's very Maya like but it has the modifier stack stuff of 3ds max.

    On a side note to other replies in the thread,

    It's by no means perfect but it's nothing close to being horrible either.

    Also for finding tools, you can use the advanced space bar, or even the basic space bar to find tools and it will show the hotkey if it has one. And if there is a tool that would normally be harder to reach or doesnt have a hotkey you can keep it in the search and it becomes a quick access tool if you need repeated use.

    Edit: And in response to Tiles comment about rigging When I set up a character for animation and IK I didn't have to do any posing before I rigged, it was the same thing I had to do when using maya, just place the bones, parent the mesh to the bones and then clean up the automatic weights using the weight painting tool and then assign the IK, FK and any custom controllers afterward to the skeleton.


    Now don't get me wrong, using just Blender may make it hard to find jobs professionally since the companies tend to use set software for workflows and custom tools to improve the pipeline, but if you are an indie developer I find it to be more than fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  28. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Didn't know that I need a fluid sim for games development. Besides that Blender's Lattice Boltzmann fluids are quite good if yo know how to use them.
    Something Maya LT, or Modo does not offer.

    Err what??
     
  29. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Coming from XSI, I'm not really a fanboy of plugins. But XSI was properly balanced and didn't actually need a lot of plugins like Max.

    This can be another problem area then. I'd be requiring nice and clean rigs for export. Most probably I'll be using Rigify. In XSI I used to work with a heavily modified version of the rig that ships with it. I need fast autorigging, but the system must support multi limbed rigs.

    Do you know any modular rigging tool for Blender.

    Nice info, But it seems like edge split would be a very destructive workflow. I guess animated meshes will be really tricky to modify that way.
     
  30. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Doing rigs with IK solvers and constraints is pretty straight forward in Blender. Not quite as fancy as the full Maya version. But less limited than Maya LT, or Modo.
    Rigify is good for a automated rig, but I don't know if it's good for exporting that to a game engine.


    There is a edge split modifier in Blender, that works non-destructive. But that is not required with the new fbx exporter. You can also shade parts of a mesh flat/soft (w Key) and export that. Works similar to 3DS Max' smooth groups and is also non-destructive.

    Vertex normals editing for Blender is in the works btw.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  31. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    Thanks for the info. Smooth groups are a nice workaround.

    Also, I think I'd learn and stick around Blender's default input preset. Seems to have a point in that 'right click to select'.

    https://vimeo.com/76335056
     
  32. SunnySunshine

    SunnySunshine

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    Awesome. That is one of the key things holding Blender back as a game assets creation tool imo.
     
  33. Cygon4

    Cygon4

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    Learning Curve
    In the past, I've bounced off Blender once or twice because it was so overwhelming. But so were 3ds Max and Maya. Around the Blender 2.50 release (when they revamped the UI) I decided "now or never" and bought one of the CG Cookie courses ($50 for several hours of video). That was two years ago.

    The moment things started to work out for me was when I had picked up some basic keyboard shortcuts:
    G (grab) - move selection (and GX to move on global X axis, GXX to move on local X axis, same with the other axes)
    R (rotate) - rotate selection (RX, RXX...)
    S (scale) - scale selection (SX, SXX...)
    E (extrude) - extrude selection (EX...)
    X (delete)
    B (box selection) - select stuff with left mouse button, deselect stuff with middle mouse button
    A (all) - select all (or unselect all if everything is selected)​

    Armed with that I was able to work on some models and figure out the rest when I needed it.

    UI
    In my opinion Blender 2.5 and later have a very well organized UI where everything is easy to find and well thought out.

    If I try to work with an Autodesk product these days, I get the impression that their answer to every new feature is to "cram it in the corner" - and panels of panels of rollouts of groups. Which is exactly the issue that pre-2.5 Blender versions had - panels of floating panels filled with buttons. But artists accept that same crap from Autodesk for some reason.

    Features
    I'm pretty impressed with the features and with how well they fit together.

    I can create libraries, link between them (eg. I can create one .blend file with just a skeleton, another with walking animations, another containing the actual model rigged to the skeleton - and Unity imports this just fine).

    I can sculpt my model at any time, then return to modeling, then sculpt some more. This is pretty sweet for smoothing things, artificially aging things and to increase the mesh resolution when I notice issues with the sculpt.

    I can create "Actions" (animation clips) in Blender and chain them together, use IK and spline IK or even physics to animate parts of my character and build paired animations involving multiple skeletons (eg. one character lifting another up) easily.

    Problems
    The biggest issue I have with Blender is importing animated models from other formats. There's a well-working FBX importer which gets the vertices, bones and vertex weights across, but for the animation clips, I'm forced to use BVH or Collada and obscure applications. The higher-level rigging (IK, bone limits) is also invariably lost.

    Nothing else, really.
     
  34. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    I think you are pointing at this importer, right?
    http://blenderfbx.render.jp/

    Importing FBX animations and especially tweaking them is a major issue, even with the ADSK suites. In Modo too.
     
  35. Beardbotnik

    Beardbotnik

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    Chariots: Are you sure? I've never had to export and import any UV layouts. I simply unwrap my mesh, select the info to be baked and then the object with the UVs I want to bake to and it works right away. I've been able to do this since Blender 2.5.

    Granted I personally prefer to bake with Xnormal. I still use Blender to bake gradients, base colors and matcaps for base textures.
     
  36. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Not sure what you mean here. But I never had to export, or import a UV map (whatever that means) to bake stuff in Blender.

    Nonetheless, Blender's baking is a weak point at the moment. No cage, no blockers, no GI baking etc. The good news is, that a developer already working on proper Cycles baking with all bells and whistles. You can already download test builds of these features.
     
  37. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    May 5, 2012
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    Normal map baking, AO and cavity etc. I think XNormal is there to save the day (for now). But what about lightmaps. Blender can bake lightmaps, right? And from a good renderer. Cycles?

    Also, what about baking color from one UV to another UV?
     
  38. Beardbotnik

    Beardbotnik

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    Jul 27, 2013
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    I actually had good results from baking 1 UV to another, I never tried baking from 2 UV channels of the same mesh but I have duplicated a mesh and baked it to a new set up UVs and it worked fine. And yeah Blender can bake lightmaps which is why I'm excited for the Cycles baking. setting up a second UV channel in Blender is pretty easy too which is what you will be using in Unity for lightmap stuff.

    If you set up your workflow right it can be a quite painless task when it comes down to it.
     
  39. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Yeah that what I meant with no GI baking at the moment. Currently, you can only bake with Blender's old rendering engine which does not support global illumination. But someone is working on baking with Cycles. There are already working builds. I would suggest to take a look here for further infos.

    Right now you're better off with Xnormal. But let's be honest, even most Autodesk users take advantage of this neat little software.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  40. mzprox

    mzprox

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    Dec 15, 2012
    Posts:
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    I can also bake w/o problem in blender.. no need to export import uv layout.. however almost everyone uses xnormal novadays so usually I use that too. (there is a Blender plugin btw which makes xnormal work from inside blender, though if I am making several tries to get the result i like it's easier to export the obj.

    On vertex normal editing.. I saw several tutorials on many different software pipeline (Blender, Zbrush, Maya, Max) and none of those ever used vertex normal editing. I used google search and the only useage I found is for foliage modeling.... so just how important is it really?
     
  41. Dantus

    Dantus

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    Oct 21, 2009
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    5,667
    A quick comment about Rigify, as it was mentioned earlier.
    Rigify is not compatible with Mecanim out of the box. There are lots of sources available that pretend to make it compatible, but all of the ones I have seen so far are destroying the Rigify rig which destroy the whole workflow.
    Though, there is a solution non-destrictive solution which needs a few additional steps.
    After the Rigify rig was generated, make all the DEF_ bones non deformable. Instead make the relevant ORG_ bones deformable. There is at least one foot bone that comes to my mind which is placed outside of the skeleton. Pretty easy to identify. The weight painting certainly needs to be made with those deformable ORG_ bones. After those steps, you can animate in Blender with Rigify and export the animations to Unity and use Mecanim.
    If you don't like all the WGT objects in Unity, use Rigify to Unity to get rid of them. If you delete the WGT bones in Blender, you will again end up with a destructive workflow.
     
    AnomalusUndrdog likes this.
  42. nipoco

    nipoco

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    Lol funny:D
    You're right. Some people fight tooth and nail for Blender. It's ridiculous sometimes, but not as worse as you describe it IMO.
    They are the minority and you can easily ignore them.
     
  43. FlyingRobot

    FlyingRobot

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    May 5, 2012
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    Thats extremely helpful. I should try that now.

    I can't find Max like smoothing groups in Blender. Edge Split modifier applied on sharp edges (of course you have to select the sharp edges) seems to be a workable solution. XSI works like this too (it has vertex normal tweaking of course).

    Well, tweaking vertex normal is really helpful. Just export the monkey as it is from Blender to Unity and you will see all the dark patches everywhere. You need to fix that with tweaking the normal or dividing the face by sharp edges.
     
  44. Dantus

    Dantus

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    That minority can be very pedantic and loud :D
     
  45. Dantus

    Dantus

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    Let me know if it worked. It is very likely that I missed one or the other important step.
     
  46. shaderop

    shaderop

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    You know, I did exactly the same a while back, i.e. use the ORG bones for deformation. What you describe is pretty spot on, but I found that I also needed to exclude the following bones:

    • ORG-palm.01.L
    • ORG-palm.01.R
    • ORG-palm.02.L
    • ORG-palm.02.R
    • ORG-palm.03.L
    • ORG-palm.03.R
    • ORG-palm.04.L
    • ORG-palm.04.R
    • 'ORG-heel.02.L
    • ORG-heel.02.R
    • ORG-heel.L
    • ORG-heel.R

    That would make the rig fully Mecanim compatible.
     
  47. Dantus

    Dantus

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    Cool, thanks for the information!
     
  48. hd_

    hd_

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    Jan 23, 2014
    Posts:
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    An add on that I frequently use is the texture atlas addon (it comes with Blender, disabled by default I believe). There are also convenience addons you can find on the blender artists forum for maya and max users migrating to Blender, which changes keybinds / add some context menus (although this may make it harder to follow tutorials).

    I would also recommend taking a little bit of time re-organising your layout, changing theme and start up scenes to something more comfortable. One thing I like is having my toolshelf and properties both on the right side (press f5 while mouse is over tool shelf), and having my default scene started in the 'maximised' state on the 3d viewport (ctrl + up) to remove clutter.

    If you have a good amount of RAM, you should enable 'Global Undo' in the 'Editing' tab of 'User Preferences', just to make sure your undo's are legit (you don't want to learn that the wrong way). Save frequently and use version control to make sure you have reliable back ups.

    edit:

    One last thing, stick with official releases. Much less grief involved.

    edit:

    Also, alt+f11 = full screen goodness.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  49. Mr.T

    Mr.T

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Posts:
    546
    Heh, Blender is the Hobbyists/Small Indies' tool of choice and for this category it is perfect.

    Everything from modelling to Texturing to animation doable fairly easily. 3d modelling for the masses. Thats what it is.

    On the other hand if your are some sort of fancy elite Game Developer with some money to spend, Blender is not what you are probably looking for.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  50. Kinos141

    Kinos141

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Posts:
    969
    I'm not a fan of Blender, but it does have the MakeHuman export that allows you to export a rigged and IK'ed model for posing and animation.
    I used it a long time ago and it's dope sheet editor is really nice. I wish it had more drag and drop features to it. I find it quite annoying to setup textures with it.