Is blender the right tool for...


I just signed up on this cozy forum becaues I could not find concrete answers elsewhere.

Basically, I have been doing editing, motion graphics and animation with the Adobe CS5 softwares like Premiere Pro, After Effects and Flash. Recently I have decided to widen my skills with 3D modeling and animation. I know it is a big topic, but I am a generalist freelancer and in many cases have to do the project alone from start to end, hence need to know as many usefull tools as I can.

So the question is, will Blender be a suficient tool to do simple 3D animations of mainly 3D text and pre-made 3D models to incorporate some 3D into my projects?
The reason why I ask is because I have some friends who do 3D work fulltime and they said that I souldn’t waste time with Blender and go straight to Cinema4D or 3DsMax.

What do you say?

(Please only comment if you actually have real life experience with Blender)

So the question is, will Blender be a suficient tool to do simple 3D animations of mainly 3D text and pre-made 3D models to incorporate some 3D into my projects?
Since it’s possible to create full 3d animations with complex characters in blender, I don’t see any problem doing what you wish to achieve.

Did your friends state a reason why blender would be a waste of time? I’m asking because what you want to accomplish is possible in every 3d software, and they’re telling you not to use free software, and pointing you to software you need to pay for.

blender is an amazing tool and I’ve used it for a long time as my main 3d content creation package.

for simple text animations blender is ok… but it sounds like you want to do more motion graphics type stuff in 3d. Cinema 4d has made this a speciality and is the leading package in the field (when using its “mograph” module.)

Very complicated looking animations with text can be produced, tweaked, and varied in minutes and often you can control it all with a single animated variable. to get the same results in blender is very possible but much much much more convoluted. If motiongraphics was my bread and butter I’d be using cinema4d…

3ds max has no real advantage over blender in this area so personally I wouldn’t recommend it but it’s just user preference. Max really has blender beaten when it comes to commercial plug ins and particles which have been languishing in a partial rewrite limbo for the last few years in blender…

Personally I do more illustration, animation, modelling and rendering and find blender suits me perfectly, but I also have the pleasure of working with many motiongraphics professionals and it’s really clear seeing how they work why cinema4d leads this field.

Edit: Sago’s right. for character work blender is very capable and has the advantage of being free and opensource

Blender can be problematic if you have to work with people that use other 3d softwares and don’t know anything to blender abilities and limitations.
But if you do the project alone from start to end; you have no need to learn 3dsmax or cinema 4D.

Your friends are probably not aware of recent improvments in blender .
Two examples of what can be done in blender.
Since one year:

Since one month :

I use Blender professionally, mainly in the area of 3d character animation/rendering. I’ve also worked with Maya and XSI. I find Blender to be quite competitive for most typical use-cases. Each package has its strong suits, of course.

For motion graphics I imagine Blender would be able to handle anything you can throw at it. But as Michael W notes, its not an ideal tool for that and the workflow would likely be awkward. You may want to look into Cinema 4d instead if that is your intended use-case. You could also give both a try and see what works best for what you want to do.

Thank you for all your replies!
Sorry for not making it clear that I want to use it for motion graphics mainly.

From what you guys have said, I understood that cinema3D is a better choice for motion graphics work.
Blender is tempting because of its free nature, and before investing 1200 pounds into Cinema4D Brodcast I want to be sure that it is worth it as money doesn’t just grow on trees.

Anyway, thanks for the insight, I guess I will have to go with C4D then.

Here are some typography tutorials to give you an idea of Blender’s capabilities in that area. He also put up a good one on camera trackingand compositing which might be useful for your line of work. Blender can export cameras and things to After Effects also. It does smoke, water, has a particle system that you can do light streaks and things with and all that stuff.

The major hurdle with Blender usually isn’t in its raw capability but that it has a rather steep learning curve because it breaks a lot of interactivity conventions.

Edit: Also here’s a list of other tutorial areas:

I say download trial versions them all 3DMAX , Maya ,Softimage ,Blender,Lightwave and cinema 3D , give it a shot ! See what you like :slight_smile:

Thanks xrg for the tutorial links. Before throwing £1200 for C4D Brodcast, I will definitely spend a few days trying out blender and watching tutorials. I know it is impossible to even start comprehending the capabilities of a software package just by messing around wiht it for a few days, I think I will get at least some insight of what it is about.

3D is a very new world to me. I have been using After Effects which does have a 3D-like space and alows you to composite images, particles and other elements in a 3D space, however it does not support true 3D content creation.

Anyway, even if Blender might not suit my specific motion graphics needs, it does seem like a decent piece of software, especially for open source. After seeing some blender work on youtube just now, I don’t understand why so many 3D artists I know swear that Blender is not capable and efficient to be used in real life production senario.

I did download some demo versions, and all of the applications look complex and powerful. However it is not economical to learn all of them to the extent when I could actually appreciate and understand each of their capabilities and strenghts. Would take too much time. Thats why I am asking in the forums, to get insight from people who actually know how this softwares work and differences between them.

I’d suggest go for C4D Broadcast and add Blender to your pipeline for things like motion tracking or simulations.

I come from an After Effects background (CS3) where I consistently ran into the ‘2.5D limitation’. Since I discovered Blender my AE-usage has completely faded over time.

Btw: There is a lot of motion graphics coming to my Blender Tutorial site, starting with:

Nice tutorial!

I have been playing around with blender using cgcookie tutorials for a few hours now, and I like it so far. I guess I will spend more time then a few days, maybe a month, on blender, and see how it goes, because I am in no hurry as far as 3D is concerned.
If blender will satisfy my needs I will stick with it, if not, I will go for C4DB.

Guys, you are really helpfull!
Thank you!

I wish I had started out with Blender 2.5+ and set my 3D UI bar according to that. I don’t think any fancy menu contraption beats a consistent system of keyboard shortcuts. That being said, activating the Dynamic Space Bar addon won’t make your life harder:)
Also - Blender is great when you already have comp skills going in. Even if you produce assets for AE comps, you can leverage your knowledge tons of ways by clever compositing in the output phase.
Happy blending!