The day Oba woke up to the reality of Blender 2.5

Had a very enjoyable hobby-filled weekend the most notable highlight of which – from a technical standpoint – was finding that Blender has come on leaps and bounds since I last looked at it.

The Blender UI overhaul in 2.5 and the mass of documentation and resources that exist for the program these days, coupled with the awesomeness of the upcoming Cycles unbiased interactive renderer means the package deserves serious consideration as a replacement for the commercial 3D packages that have cut huge holes in my wallet this year and that I.. ahem… rarely use.

Blender 2.5 using a Cycles-integrated build

I’ve started working through a Blender Essentials course on Lynda.com that’s from 2009 (Blender 2.48). So far I’m a little embarrassed to admit that many of the neat features I’ve been impressed with from recent videos of Blender 2.5 were actually in the product 2 years ago. However, the superficial aspects are much better now and looking deeper, the rendering options available in late 2011 are streets ahead of what was available back then.

There are plenty of great training resources for Blender out on the interwebs for free. One of my favourites so far is CGCookie http://cgcookie.com/blender/. I’ve watched a few videos from the site on Vimeo and they were packed full of useful info. You can, of course, find videos on YouTube like this great crash course in the UI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecV6pkUNiss.

Blender Cycles render using HDRI from Modo SES1 kit

My subscriptions for 3DS Max and SoftImage are up for renewal in early 2012. I am going to start using Blender now and see if I can convince myself to drop Max and/or SoftImage before the subs are due. At the very least I’m hoping to drop SoftImage as subs will cost me nearly £1000 next year. Max will cost around £500.

Other news from the weekend

I explored DazStuio 4.0 (standard version) and integration with Modo.

DazStudio 4.0 genesis model rendered in Modo

FBX transfer didn’t work out well and the OBJ transfer lost all the textures so I went for an abstract look.

You don’t get much with DazStudio out of the box. You have to buy Daz assets to make it useful and if you’re looking to transfer items to a tool such as Modo or 3DS Max you’ll probably want the Pro version for $499.

It’s surprising how long it takes to pose models even with all the extra help that the DazStudio software provides. I hate to think how long it would take if you had to model, rig, pose and deform all the clothing by hand. For now, I’m going to avoid spending money on Daz assets until I have a use for them. Must admit though, I like the idea of having humanoid figures in abstract scenes… no doubt I’ll justify spending the money sooner rather than later.

 

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