I use Blender for graphics for website development. I have used various forms of 3d software for years and have become familar with many 3d software systems. The thing that attracted me to Blender was it's speed. I have never had any issues with it's renderer like some folks have had. And although some Blender features are not always clearly documented I have been able to access and successfully use most of Blenders features that I need.
Comparatively taking a look at Blender and other major professional 3d apps can tell you why most 3d Pros wouldnít use Blender as a main 3d development tool. This is easy to do now that most high level 3d apps have free versions that are available for download. Yes it is clear that these apps are more mature that Blender. But in many areas of use Blender can match the final output of the other apps.
Here is where we start to see the major differences. How a person in one app approaches producing a professional media design in Blender and how it is done in a major top level 3d app. In a big brand app the interface and tools are designed to accommodate an average 3d artist differently than in Blender. The artist can easily consult documents that clearly explain any feature that they are not accustomed to using if the artist had migrated from another app. Say and artist migrates from a lesser 3d pro app like Max, Lightwave, Truespace or Carrara to a more industrial 3d app like Maya, Houdini or Softimage. The apps docs would easily guide them through the transformation and the skilled professional could get up and running on a project in little time.
In Blender often this transformation from another app often confuses the best minds. And the process for doing a basic function like setting up lights to do professional 3d lighting for a basic scene render is not as well documented as in the previously mentioned apps. You cannot just select a light in Blender tweak its properties and arrange them in a scene based on standard 3d app practices. If you do you will not get the same desired results as you would instantly in a Maya or Softimage. Most of these apps use ratracing technologies that make achieving the desired lighting shadows easy. In Blender you can get similar results but you have to calculate the lighting properties. I like to look at Blender as being a more manual form 3d production. Blender is not as oriented to allowing the user to get immediate results for basic 3d software functions. I have always wondered why since now we have taken Blender into Opensource we have not taken a look at this approach to the way we do work with Blender.
Is this an issue that involves a mindset of users who donít mind tweaking 3d properties as their may have only used 3d apps like Pov-Ray in the past? Is it a ďtake it or leave itĒ mindset that based on looking at the free aspects of Blender and approaching each aspect of software function with a willingness on the users part to do puzzle solving to get something to work?
I am a fairly average 3d software user that has experience in both worlds now of 3d software, the Opensource sectors and the the retail apps. I have even at times on forums like CGtalk.com helps other artist from various software backgrounds to use Blender. When a person figures out how to use Blender, itís stability, results and production methods are dynamic. And with the added Python scripting nothing is impossible.
But the use level still is a thorn in Blenders invitation to other 3d artist from raytracing backgrounds. We may be losing a lot of great professional 3d artist because of documentation issues. The most powerful feature in Blender has to be its documentation. The more accessible Blenders features become based on documentation that leads a user to immediate results for the basic functions that they do in other apps, the more 3d professionals will join the Blender ranks. Itís all about using Blender in the end that makes it so valuable.
In fact if professional people can learn to approach Blender with their work quickly we can guarantee that Blender will be used in major studios. I learned the other day that many Hollywood studios are looking to Linux like they never have before. Blender could be one of the apps that fills the bill. Letís all work on gathering more minions to our Blender ranks through better documentation. A good 3d pro is a terrible thing to waste, Öon the other 3d apps.
Not really, I have been keeping my eye on Lightwave 8 news.
I have a feeling that one day many users from apps like Lightwave may be attracted to Blender. You know with Blenders external rendering gateways and game engine and such.
Let the gathering begin! HuHahahahahahahaha!
ďAnd they gathered onto them 1 million strong men and women to do their bidding.Ē