I am rather angry at Blender right now.

You know what? Make that exceedingly pissed off. Gather 'round and hear my story.


I have been fighting with Blender for what must be about two years now. At first, I was making progress. But it took me a whole damned year just to learn how to use armatures to animate a mesh properly, and then only with help from the internet. Now, all the work I’ve done seems to be slipping away.

I’m trying to use Vector Blur-- nothing. Can’t make a damn thing happen, no matter what I try. Displace is equally fruitless. I want to displace-map an image with a texture (as per GIMP) and and animate it to produce a simulated flame. It’s not working. Nothing’s working. All this business about Z-values and speed values and whatnot just goes over my head. I have no clue what any of it means and no amount of reading in the Blender documentation seems to be able to answer my questions in any useful way.

Even my modelling skills are going to pot. I’m trying to create some new character meshes, and it just doesn’t happen. I can’t stand it when I have to use lots of vertices. Maybe it’s my OCD just preventing me from performing a normal task, but if I have to handle more than a certain number of verts for a shape it makes me panic. But without more verts, nothing I make looks good. I can’t design the shapes I want, and that’s making me mad.

Next up, I had wanted to learn to use UV mapping to make better textured models. It’s frickin’ impossible. I can’t move a single face without it disconnecting from the main group and it just won’t obey me. I thought may those “UV Island” options might help that, but I still can’t figure out how to use them. So that’s out too, and the only other option for applying an image to a single face is to make it a separate material entirely.

What’s more, now that I’ve finally got a decent idea of how to do character rigging-- which is one thing I actually have going for me-- I’ve found it to be such a horribly painful, exacting and tedious job that I can’t convince myself to do it. The amount of time and work and strain I’m putting into just one character rig is not worth the result.

And another thing. You know 2.5? IT DOESN’T WORK. AT ALL. I can’t make it do anything no matter which version of Python I install or what buttons I press or whatever. It just doesn’t work. And what makes me doubly angry is that every time I stumble on a tutorial on how to solve one of my problems, it doesn’t work in 2.49b. And everyone harps on about how awesome 2.5 is and how it renders lightning fast and has all sorts of cool features and blah blah blah. It hurts, I tell you.

And another thing after that! Every time I ask a question on a forum-- any forum-- somebody replies with a link to a tutorial! For God’s sake! I asked a question! I wanted someone to actually answer it, not shunt me off to an esoteric site featuring boring half-hour videos of someone mumbling to themselves while doing a bunch of stuff I can’t figure out even by looking at it five times, after which I will have beautiful finished renders rubbed in my face!

I want to use Blender. I want to make animation. But I can’t, and everything, including myself, seems to be stacked against me.


I apologize if this comes across as accusatory or spiteful-- even if it really is. I’m not calling anyone out, but I’m just mad as hell after spending so much time trying to do something and getting no results, and knowing at least some of it is my own fault. I don’t think anyone else even feels like this, but I just had to get that out.

Hey, thanks for brightening my day, sunshine!

There is not much I can say without givving you more sh1t than you are allready giving yourself!

I would suggest that you chill, take a break and enjoy life. Find something in life that intrests you and is physical, something that can be related to CGI and Blender if possible!

Stopmotion Animation

Learn some real life skills, that way when you are learning something in CGI/Blender you have something to relate it too!

Just take a break, 2.5 is still unstable and is gona frustrate you if you are easily frustrated. If you struggle to follow a video tutorial, that normaly means its geared above your current ability. Just chill and ask on the forum for a more basic explenation. aslong as you are chilled and not hostile or rude someone will answear you!

Hope that helps!

Thanks, MCHammond. I suppose I do need to relax a bit; and admittedly I’ve got a lot of other things going on that are trying my patience. Still, almost two years is a long time to spend using Blender on a regular basis and still be unable to show quality results-- especially when everyone else who’s used it for only a little over a month shows stuff so much better than me.

Right now, I’m trying to learn Inkscape so I can make some basic sketches of my ideas, after which I can try to realize them in Blender. I just wish the work were easier, both to understand and to perform, so I didn’t have to fight so hard to make what I want.

I do own a camera, but it requires a USB connection to my PC and the cord is only about a meter long. I can’t even get it out of my room (and while it does take batteries, I don’t own any good ones and don’t have transportation to go out and buy any).

three questions

  1. do you post any work in either work in progress or focused critiques?
  2. If you see a piece of art work not your own, are you able to critique it. Knowing how to critique helps you spot your own mistakes in your own.
  3. Have you taken any time to RTFM?

“1. do you post any work in either work in progress or focused critiques?”
I’ve posted a few, but didn’t get the kind of feedback and information I wanted. When I ask a question, it’s almost always answered vaguely. I don’t want to know some broad technique for comparing my mesh to a real-life object. I want to know where to put the bloody vertices.

“2. If you see a piece of art work not your own, are you able to critique it. Knowing how to critique helps you spot your own mistakes in your own.”
Yes. I do this often while browsing the gallery here. But, again, it doesn’t do me much good to be able to find my mistakes if I don’t know how to correct them-- or indeed, how to avoid them in the first place.

“3. Have you taken any time to RTFM?”
I have, in fact, RTd just about the entire FM, with an emphasis on those chapters most evidently relevant to my projects. It still didn’t help. For instance, while trying to learn about how particles and material alpha interact, I found nothing useful. But this was the crux of several effects I was experimenting with and had plans for. Instead, I had to use billboards instead of halos, and it didn’t look nearly as good. I just want some straight answers on how to make what I want happen.

I know what your problem is. You are using Blender on Linux.

Hmm, 3d isn’t for everyone and blender can be overcomplicated for stuff… the trouble is that doing everything even for a still requires a lot of knowledge about a lot of stuff. This can be a real issue if self taught!

there’s the general approach and techniques of the trade which pretty much transfer to whatever software is used, then there’s the details and specific workflows that are unique to each software…

many tutorials focus on one of teh above without the other which can make it difficult to make teh connection I guess.

it’s not clear where your issue lies, but it sounds like you struggle a bit with blender’s implementation.

maybe you should try some smaller projects or some other software for a bit…
sculptris has a nice minimal interface, lots of capability and just lets you focus on creating… (models and textures) without teh distractions of armatures, animation, uv mapping etc…

(though to take things further you’ll end up in a complicated mire of retopologising, texture baking etc…)

perhaps organic modelling isn’t your thing?
maybe try sketchup for a bit? it’s easy to learn…

maybe bryce/poser or whatever (though they’re not free)…

Two years is quite a long time to keep patient. I agree. Most of the time, when getting to use some new tools, i get desperate after two months already. Yet, things always cleared up to me in the third month, at the latest.

  1. I start to create things at my little level (not trying to start with Pixar’s skills stuff).
  2. I can fall into tears, sometimes, in front of my helpless monitor, but the next day i try to understand some more thing in order to go on.
  3. Critics may be good to evolve… Yet, one has not to get burned down in flames by them. Do what you like to do the way you do it. Appreciate every step you do.
  4. Every application has its own bunch of frustrations in its bags.
  5. Keep it simple and you will be astonished of how that “simplicity” grows along with your creativity.

I hope you’ll be fine with beeing creativ, wichever way to express it you chose.

Thank you, everyone. I appreciate all of your advice. I agree, I should probably do some other things and experiment with other programs-- but having invested so much time and energy into Blender it’d be hard to make myself move to something else.

Actually, I’m having a lot of software/hardware problems lately. My eight-year-old Dell Dimension 8200 is starting to show signs of wear, such as a malfunctioning CD drive and increasingly slow performance. I’ve got all of my important files backed up on flash drives, but I’m not really looking forward to having it self-destruct on me.

Another thing that’s bugging me is that I’ve got Gateway PC not half the age of this one, with double the RAM, 1.5x the CPU and -five times- the hard drive space, which runs like a dream after a System Restore… and it can’t use the internet. It just refuses to acknowledge my cable modem. I’ve been fighting with it for a week, to no avail. If I could just remember how to install hardware drivers manually, I might have a chance.

I used a dubious copy of Sony Vegas for video editing for many months and got very used to it, but finally, I decided it was time to clean up my act and get rid of all that stuff, and try to find legal, open-source replacements. I never did. All I came up with was VideoPad, and it just doesn’t do what I want. Simply not enough control. Even Windows bloody Movie Maker is starting to look good.

I’m tempted to start looking for alternatives to Blender, but to be frank, I don’t think I’ll find one anywhere near as good. I just need to cut through the crap and the jargon and the meaningless buttons and options and whatnot to get to the functions I really want to use, and then learn to use them well. All I want to do is animate, to make films, however short and crude.

Try other 3d apps (Blender may not be your thing), if the problems persist, then you should try something else than 3d graphics. 3d is not for everyone, it does frustrate me more than I like to admit.

I’ve posted my fare share of frustrations on this forum.

I think it’s your approach to the program that is wrong. Do you actually understand what you are doing or working with? What I mean is…

About 5 years ago I tried to model a dragon. I pushed and pulled ALL and EVERY single vertice of thousands into place. :o I constantly flipped my view to get the vertices reasonably aligned. It took me a few weeks to figure out something is wrong. I’m doing it the difficult way.

My brother (and this is VERY funny) thought years ago that every piece of digital artwork you see was created pixel by pixel. And I do mean pixel by pixel. So, after subjucating himself to the daunting task of creating artwork on PC he realised that he does’nt have to build a rocket to go the moon.

Blender, like any other 3D package takes time and patience. But if you take a straight road to get to the finish line you are going to run into a few trees along the way, get a blody nose and feel like a half arsed talented creator. Right?

Scratch EVERYTHING you think you know and take a about week to build yourself up again. Start with the basics, take note of what you know and understand and what you usually impliment but has no idea why it works (thats important). Then build some small but fun projects. No animations or bangs and whistles. Just good modeling, renderings and textures. I’ve done hundreds of those, for my job at least. Sometimes it got quite boring and frustrating doing the same thing over and over but I have build a solid foundation from basics for myself to move along into deeper waters.

If I went too quickly from modeling to animation to rendering etc without at least forming a good solid (not a master) foundation in each, I would be where you are, overloaded and frustrated because everything seems unconncected (I’m geussing the problem here). Remember, part of being a animator is understand the mesh you are working with. And vica versa.

And also. Take more note of reality. I mean your physical reality. You’d be surprised how much the real world actually helps your thought processes and understanding.

Now, take a deep breath… and let’s start at the beginning:

Blender’s interface is composed of…

This is just my way of thinking but if you want to master something like modeling than there is no better place to do it than w.i.p. You only joined this forum in July of this year so I assume you have not been posting much here. Get in the trenches and start posting sure you can at times post five or six times without a reply but just soldier on. You want to get good at modeling than model away and post. Working in isolation is a sure fire way of not making any progress. But if you say you have posted work than I am off to hunt for it I want to see just what it is you are doing.

Your beginnings will be humble but that doesn’t mean you end has to be. Just to inspire you as to where consistent hard work no matter how much you might suck in the beginning will take you.

So did i at first and so do i now.
Obviously, i’ve about no skills at all though making my 3D experiments since over 15 years.
Yet i always took the few i could grab and did as you write “make films however short and crude”… And, see, my latest short has been selected for public projection (link in the signature).
Blenderes are demanding people and their critical glance is not easily deceived… Maybe none, in the public, will really like it… who knows? But, in spite of it all, its my baby! I managed it and that pulls me to go on.

You remind me of young guitar players who want to be the next Michael Romeo right now. It’s just not possible for everyone. Stop whining. If it takes longer for you to learn, then that’s what it takes.

i read your original post, slow down your brain before responding to my statements. Before you start tho… i too dislike 10minute + tutorials. They never seem to get to the meat of what i was looking for. Short tutorials are the best, that way the Tutorial description will not be vague, and i wont have to sit through a whole heap of stuff i already know.

Q - where to put vertices to make certain shapes?
A1 - this depends on the kind of accuracy that you wish to achieve. One thing is certain: An accurate model can take hours/days/weeks, it depends on how many subtle shapes/ parts that are (visibly) present in the object. Once you have practiced on enough mundane objects like teaspoons/forks/chess pieces/cable modems you start to get a feel for placing verts.
A2 - Use reference images, if they don’t exist then draw your own first or take pictures. This gives a solid
idea of where vertices are needed. Think first of an object as a collection of slices. Each slice has a collection of points, that when connected, will describe the contour. Parts of the contour with straight stretches require less vertices than places that are more erratic.
A3 - Resist using subsurface modifier for as long as possible. You will appreciate it more when you do use it.

You mention that sometimes the sheer amount of verts is overwhelming, keep track of the amount that tends to push you into that zone. If must use one mesh for the whole object, there is the hide option, start using it.

  • productivity will increase without constant internet availability. -
  • sometimes you have to sit through that excruciatingly bad tutorial to get to the meat, but when you do. take a note of timestamp. Taking notes along the way is a good idea anyway.

get a grip.

Just something I remember (from reading zeffi’s post).

Some big cahoona 3D designer mentioned that using tutorials can be detrimental to your development as a artist. If you want to model a beaver and you look around the internet for a tutorial you might just find something. But…

If you do that for every model you want to do you will never grow out of being a amateur. It will stump you because by not doing it yourself you fail to understand . By failing you are in fact learning a LOT more than you know.

A astronaut can take you by the hand and let you fly a space shuttle. But you will never understand what you are really doing untill you start putting your mind to it. If the *** hits the fan you have no logic consistancies between your previous actions to help you take intuitive steps to fix the current problem.

Too many tutorials make robots out of us…

So don’t dispair. All the frstrations and dead ends actually meant a lot more than you realise now. It’s happend to me a few times with 3D apps. First with Maya and then Blender. The time and frustrations I put into Maya were never lost. They helped me to quickly realize a lot of things in Blender. But with Blender I’ve hit quite a few new dead ends.

So maybe your second time around will be a lot better. As I said. Start again like you have never used the program. You already know a lot. You just need to file away some of the rough sections :slight_smile:

Best of Luck!

I’m a bit frustrated with Maya atm :stuck_out_tongue: Every now and then I’m taking a break and going back to blender just to calm down and reassure myself that I can model :stuck_out_tongue:

@Gustav: You make an excellent point, and this has been my stance for some time. I don’t so much need someone to hold my hand all the way through as I need someone to lay down the bare facts; when I run across a problem, I much prefer to have raw technical information that will let me resolve the problem on my own than simply go through someone else’s motions.

@Zeffii: Right now, I am only interested in object and character models with the most essential features for motion and expression. I’m not interested in tons of exact nooks and crannies for high mesh-based realism-- textures can handle some of that detail for me, if I even want it. To that end, I am trying to keep the number of vertices low, not because I can’t handle them all at once but because it makes the mesh too complex to think about in terms of full-body motion, especially when planning vertex groups for bones. As you said, I should probably not think too heavily about animation so soon, and yet it seems to me more practical to learn it the way I’ll eventually be doing than learn it one way and then re-learn it another way later on.

I’m actually thinking of using subsurf less as well, for a number of reason, mainly rendering speed.

Hey your bitching about blender ?, I learnt the long long long way ! I started with blender 2.4x & failed, then tried lightwave & failed, then I moved on to maya & failed, then I moved on to 3ds max & totally failed on this one & finally blender 2.53 I passed, well calculating the time I took like 4 years. I finally understand 3d, because of all those tutorial I got off the net & found a proper philosopy & theory that made me understand it all.