I think a lot of the stigma is just in peoples’ heads these days. Even the quoted paragraph above shows that whoever wrote it didn’t really understand what Blender can do. Every comment above makes it sound like a toy (i.e. “cool physics engine” despite it being Bullet, the same engine used in many professional packages, and referring to Cycles simply as “a built-in ray tracer” even as it inches closer to competing with Arnold, one of the biggest names in CG at the moment.) Having used most other large packages extensively I can say two things about Blender:
1.) Once you know your way around the shortcuts, Blender is “best-in-class” for modeling. Especially with b-mesh and now a proper bevel tool. To get the same functionality in other packages you have to buy expensive addons and plugins. Short of something huge, I will never use another package for modeling as long as I can avoid it. BSurfaces for retopology is just icing on the cake.
2.) UV tools are, again, “best-in-class”. Having them mentioned as a new feature is pretty foolish, considering that when Blender IS used professionally, it’s more often than not for its outstanding UV tools. When I interned at EA they were all using Blender for UVing. That’s a big deal.
The only things that i wish Blender had were better hair collision (or any hair collision), a muscle system, a system like ICE in SoftImage, and a particle mesher. I also wouldn’t mind increased interoperability with other packages like RealFlow, Naiad, and others. Aside from that, I can’t think of a single thing off of the top of my head that I can’t do in Blender that I could in another package. I even find myself using ZBrush less often since DynaTopo has become more stable.
Now, I’m not here to say Blender is perfect. It’s not. But neither is any other tool. Blender is a VERY powerful piece of kit that doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it deserves.
How can we fix this? Honestly, for some people, we never will. Blender will forever be viewed as a toy because some refuse to believe that something free can compete with something expensive. And in some ways, they’re right. Blender will never be able to offer the official support of the big names. But I think it more than makes up for it with its community.
We need to be more vigilant about spreading the word on professional work done in Blender. We need artists who blossom out of the ‘amateur art’ stage and let people know that, yes, good work can be done in Blender just as easily as in commercial packages. But we also need people who aren’t morally opposed to software that you pay for. Some software IS better than Blender in many ways. The same goes for people who refuse to admit that Photoshop is better than GIMP. You not only make the yourself look foolish, but it reflects just as badly on our community as someone in the Autodesk community who says “Blender will never be worth anything”.
Mookie, you’re a great example of an artist who makes stunning pieces of work in Blender. What are your feelings on the matter, and what have your experiences been with other artists when Blender comes up?