Blender Media Viewer by Blender Studio

The Blender Studio developed a new app template basically transforming Blender into a media viewer.
AWESOME! Thought I’d share the news here too.

You can find the blog post by Paul Golter on the Blender Studio blog here:

Honestly, this is more than exciting, this could potentially develop into a big thing, especially on Linux there isn’t really a good media viewer (that can display exrs, psds, and so on).

I’ll give a few hours of testing before I will post some feedback here.
Did someone else try it yet, what do you think?

Cheers, Manuel

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That looks great. It appears that I am too stupid to figure out how to download it, though.
The guy in the video hovers over the “clone” button but when I click that button a menu pops up and the only thing I can do is close that menu again.

So, how do you download this thing?

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I felt the same when I tried to download it. Even though it says that you can either download or clone I only see the clone button which gives you the git address.
I ended up installing git on my computer so I can download through that. I packaged it up here if you want to save yourself the hassle of doing the same:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/10JevY8hMCqYVxAt2b11BFX4mbmQ0FbEy/view?usp=sharing
(Please use the official source if you don’t trust random internet links though :slight_smile: )

You can then install it like any other addon.
At least on Windows that is, on Linux that didn’t work for some reason so I had to follow the process described on readme.md site (https://developer.blender.org/diffusion/BSTS/browse/master/blender-media-viewer/README.md?as=remarkup).

Hope this helps.

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I am very skeptical. I think Blender tries to do too many things and suffers as a consequence. The developers have megalomaniac ideas about how Blender can become a media player, an image editor, a video editor, and so on, and think that all that’s needed is just to tick off some “has this feature” boxes. But reality is such that every time this is tried, it becomes so incredibly clumsy and cumbersome that using dedicated app for the task is almost always faster, easier and more productive.

Blender is technically an image editor, but to make a quick sketch, people will much rather open even MSpaint because how cumbersome the Blender setup is, before you can start painting.

Blender is technically a code editor, but people much rather write even the most basic scripts in something like VSCode, because of how cumbersome and feature lacking the text editor is.

Blender is technically a Video Editor, but anyone even remotely serious about video editing will use Resolve, Premiere or KDEnlive if they want to produce something of quality.

Blender is technically a compositing package, yet almost anyone who wants to make even slightly complex composition will reach for Nuke, Fusion or AE.

So I am pretty sure this will end up being a gimmick, as people will always find it much more comfortable to double click a video file and see VLC window pop up, instead of messing with very wonky Blender UI just to play back a video file.

I honestly wish that Blender would axe the video sequencer, separate grease pencil into it’s own dedicated 2D animation software which can import and render 3D geo, rethink compositor to become more of a dedicated node based image postprocessing stack, rethink text editor to become OneNote style notepad for quick todo lists, and focus on making a good 3D software rather than below average “everything software”.

I mean it’s a bit embarrasing that Blender has features like Texture Painting but the implementation is so clunky and weak that we have to reach outside of Blender for tools like substance painter for even most basic of texture painting tasks. At the same time, we are getting adobe premiere style features in our 3D package :expressionless:

I think the fact that overwhelming majority of people stopped thinking about and noticing the application templates less than a month after they were released speaks for itself.

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I use Compositor and VSE in nearly every commercial project.
While they are obviously not the best tools in their field their deep integration makes them perfect for small projects that need to be finished on a tight budget and do not require high end quality.

The quality they deliver is “good enough” and it is very easy to automate a lot of the process, making them a real time/money saver.

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This is probably the first time I ever hear this. I never heard anyone say good things about VSE, other than it being a tool to join multiple image sequences into one video file, but that’s about it.

Same with compositor. I did not say I’d get rid of it, but I’d conceptualize it more like postprocessing node based stack, rather than pretending to be something of a nuke alternative. More along the lines of something similar to new Vray VFB :slight_smile:

I totally get what you’re saying and you have a point!
BUT I think application templates are a step in the right direction and could potentially solve some of those issues. With stripping away all the unnecessary features it can potentially simplify the UI and make it usable for a more streamlined way of working.
At least in theory. There is still a long way to go.
Stripping away features only gets you so far, it also needs specific preferences, keymaps, and tailored features.

I kinda lost hope for Blender compositor too, it’s just way too far behind in everything and without a complete rewrite they won’t ever catch up to Nuke. It works for simple projects but for anything more complex it’s just a pain in the butt. I sadly know from experience.

But I can totally see Blender Media Viewer succeed in becoming a good media viewer option for the CG crowd in the future. There are quite a few things for it to improve but it’s far from impossible and the bar to the top is at a reachable distance (because frankly, that bar is pretty low).

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Well, I think most people do not try it out long enough to figure out if this suits their workflow.

I actually thought the same. At one point, I needed just a quick tool that would allow me to quickly turn a photo into tileable PBR texture. I really tried hard to embrace this application template philosophy.

I created a shader editor node tree which took image texture as an input, and generated PBR texture set as output. I wanted to expose various parameters for tweaking the produced PBR maps and parameters of the node group that cover up tiling seams.

I created this beautiful super clean interface for it. It looked something like this:


And the only UI clutter was supposed to be the right sidebar with scripted panel exposing the controls (on the screenshot, there’s just Item panel as a placeholder for that).

But then the reality hit. As I was exposing more and more parameters in the panel just so that I could avoid ever having to open any other editor than the 3D view, I realized I am doing most of the work just to work around having to interact with the complexity of Blender’s UI. At some point, it turned out to be easier to just write a python script with simple TKinter UI which uses PIL/Pillow image processing library.

It took less work in the end and turned out to be faster/more productive.

I mean it would be nice if this succeeded, but I am still afraid that in couple of months, everyone will forget about this, because just double clicking a video file icon in your OS file browser and immediately seeing the file playing back, while seeing all the metadata just by merely selecting the file and looking at the panel on the right is just far more comfortable than opening the heavy Blender machinery :slight_smile:

I think the application template system is an amazing concept … not without its problems but a solid idea nonetheless. To make custom UI for application templates won’t be very easy nor comfortable, sure, but while it does suffer a bit from Blenders complexity it can also benefit a lot from all the features that are already there.

The fact that there aren’t so many good media viewers out there might be an indication that it’s not really a very profitable market for a product nor very easy to do.
Blender Media Viewer is already halfway there. Not perfect, but it kinda works already. This as a base, plus additional dev love, could potentially make a very good option in a year or two.

I get all the nagging about Blenders development, I am guilty of that too, but I think this is a very exciting development and the best example of Blenders application template system yet.
I really hope they develop and push this further.

I wish you were right :slight_smile: As I wrote, I am just skeptical. That doesn’t mean I am certain it won’t work out. It’s just that so far, ideas along these lines weren’t very successful.

Would be cool to have some colorspace options and a Gama/gain slider. I could imagine previewing alembic cached animations could separate it quite well from djv and comparable sequence players. :slight_smile:

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After testing it for a bit I have to say I quite like it, it’s very promising, but it’s lacking quite a few features and it has a bit too much weirdness to be usable for me in production at this moment.

The weird:

  1. It’s weird being able to drag a video file around with LMB. At the same time images are locked (as they should be?). A video file can not only be moved but also rotated and scaled when using the shortcuts (g, r, s). Don’t really know why anyone would want this behavior/feature.
  2. F11 opens the render window … which obviously is useless for the media viewer.
  3. When started up directly through either command line or through a shortcut it opens in fullscreen, can there be a setting for that?
  4. Is there a way to scale the UI, right now it’s way too big for my taste.
  5. It’s way too easy to accidentally create a garbage path with Blenders default behavior to create all folders necessary to match a mistyped or miscopied path in the address/path field - this is very dangerous in a production environment with hundreds of people.
    This feature needs to be turned off by default and only possible to be opt-in through a preference setting.

The missing:

  1. Custom media viewer preferences. People still need the possibility to customize.
  2. For any media viewer bookmarks should be mandatory
  3. Context menu for selected media (copy, paste, open in Blender/Photoshop/Explorer, …)
  4. Navigatibility should always have priority over other tasks. Right now it’s very laggy when it tries to make the thumbnails of media with a big file-size and you can’t quickly go out of the folder or change display type anymore.
    This is more a general Blender problem like with those tiny useless 16px material previews in the material selection list that can stall Blender for several minutes when using hi-res images in some materials. UI and navigation should always feel snappy.
  5. Caching settings! For videos and also already generated thumbnails (avoid regenerating them over and over)
  6. ICIO Support with settings to change the color space of the media
  7. Basic image viewing manipulation controls (exposure, gamma, saturation, flip) accessible through shortcuts
  8. Fully functional annotation system
  9. A way to inspect metadata
  10. A color picker (to see float values of exrs for example)
  11. More supported file formats (3D geo, camera raw, …)

Still really excited for the media viewer, thanks a bunch Blender Devs! Can’t wait to see how this develops.

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I think this is what @rawalanche is saying.
Blender is keeping more and more of these.
Then, it will become harder and harder to finish/polish any of these.

i also use use and the compositor in nearly every commercial project !

The new Media Viewer looks like a fascinating and very useful development.

The so called negatives you describe are what a great many would see as Blenders best strengths.

At it’s heart and core Blender is a community driven self contained digital media production platform. It is not just a stand alone 3D app. It is very much it’s own thing with it’s own development path and goals. The user community is also very large and very diverse in how they use the software.

I use the VSE all the time. It is vital to my work right now. It would be terrible for a great many of us if Blender dropped that. It’s also just great in general to have handy access to an editor like that while working on animation or composite shots.

I have a long history working in the mainstream industry with very many of the most common apps and workflows and also now use Blender extensively and value it’s unique strengths. It’s most recently allowed me the freedom these last couple of years to set up a mini production pipeline in a small basement studio in collaboration with an established exhibition artist where we are creating large scale public art projections and installations. Blender is the core and backbone of the whole thing. I don’t have the time to be juggling between multiple apps and workflows when working as a one man band like this.

The advantage of Blender being so versatile is simply having all of these features under the same hood and all interlinked and sharing the same tools and interface. An example would be where the compositor is so interlinked into the 3D render. Once this workflow is fully grapsed it offers so much potential.

This a fantastic workflow advantage especially in a small studio or individual artist capacity where one or two people are needing to multi task. In terms of the VSE we have made large complex feature length edits of an hour and a half in it and it has never let us down. Part of what I love about it is it’s simplicity. You can just pick it up and go. I am also making huge complex composites with the compositor right now as I write in 4 K for a large projection display for a show in the new year. It works well and does the job.

The Blender community is very diverse. Hence so is the project and software.

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This so true. You can save so much time because you dont have to reach that high of a quality in 3d because you can just fake it in post. Except that post isnt really post because it so tightly integrated. It is fantastic.
To a lesser degree this is true for the vse.

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The compositor is so slow. Everytime I make a change the ui locked up for a solid 3 seconds.

Doesn’t even have a native vignette node.