Appreciation of Blender and Cycles

Hi all,

I am currently preparing a lecture and demos for a modeling and rendering workshop with Maya and Metal Ray for Bowling Green State University. I learned both before graduate school and used them during my studies till I found Blender and Yafray.

Coming back to Maya and Mental Ray is a blast. MR has so many functions it is mind blowing as I can understand them better today. But the dark side is OMG it is such a complex system to work with.

Blenders UI was often criticized in the past and I found myself that Cycles node network does not have as many options as MR however on the other side building a network is much faster with less clicks.

Maya has a similar interactive renderer as well and can use GI by using Finale Gathering and there I realized how
much faster and simpler Cycles approach actually is to evaluate a scene or design or material.

I think for high end animation Maya well is just it, but for my area of product modeling and rendering it is just overkill
and Cycles morphed into that what I only need and making scene set up lighting and material design a breeze.

Also having to deal with specularity and separate reflection values made me again appreciate the new material type Cycles is following.

Great job devs!

Where is that +1 botton when you need it?!

Just use mia_material_x for everything. :wink:

I am not sure if they use those materials actually - while they make things a lot easier.
It is just annoying how many things you have to turn on to get the same result like light shapes for area lights when using mib glossy shaders.

It is impressive however how many dedicated shaders Mental Ray has.

I like the Online Materials Library as a addon, its works well and handles OSL. The main problem i see is people like to use different dimensions to a object. Blender is not limited to the size so one persons color library might look some what different in another persons project. But if your following a tut most likely the project will look the same. Linking your own color texture library is easy. My cost Beer money.

It is actually nice to see how much Blender is similar working internally like Maya. I am not sure about other programs that much. Hypershade and the connection editor in Maya are like the Node Editor and RNA in Blender.

Maya ultimately offers an extreme amount of flexibility but with that a lot more clicks and that I much appreciate about the current version of Blender. I started teaching it with version 2.4x and it was a pain. Students revolted sometimes because well it was cumbersome. But with the current evolution of the software it feels like Maya light, extreme flexibility with an easier workflow serving the needs of what most need and with most I think about those who do not work in the big studios.

An online material library for Blender would be the last missing awesomeness and I feel that is still one of its shortcomings for new users or when managing projects - while not being super important, it still makes things more elegant and comfortable.