Why does Blender feels like its still in an ALPHA state ?

Hey guys…

              First of all, I want to tell that I started 3D with Blender without prior knowledge of other 3D apps. I started with 2.49 version and since then I've very actively followed the development to the present state, though not being quite active in blenderartist community. And during this time, I got to try other 3D apps mostly Maya, 3DS Max and a little Cinema 4D. I had use 3DS Max and later Maya in my studies as taught by the schools and institutes here. During this time, Ive noticed a general reluctance in people about picking up blender as their toolset, even if its free and so easily available. And Ive noticed among people including my friends and teachers that most of this reluctance roots from the apparently unfinished looking image of blender.
              I really prefer the open source solutions to the commercial one as Ive been into linux for many years, and hence my inclination towards Blender. I live in india and there are many people here interested in 3D careers, and Blender as it's free really can make a great impact on the users here, only if there was some relaxed release cycle that would give more time for users to know the software, and also to the developers to polish and expand core functionality. Times have really changed and Blender has received large recognition among the professionals and newbies alike. So wouldnt it be good if BF focused more on stabilising and polishing blender as it is and build from there? It would have a great impact on blender's preference as a primary toolset. Development doesn't have to halt, its just the time relaxation on the implementation that's needed. Ive used Blender for around 3 years now and still I feel like Im using an unfinished piece of software that may or may not perform the way it does now the next time a new release comes. I feel this is the major issue that's really hampering the user base expansion. Been in india for around 4-5 years, I can very positively say that blender can have a largest user community here provided it provides users a sense of a stable and polished working environment.
              Just few things that I wanted to share...

That’s because in some areas it is in alpha. Other areas are rock-solid and are fine. I use Blender for at least 8 hours a day in my work. I don’t use GIMP for the tricky stuff, instead I use Photoshop. I don’t use Scribus for complex DTP, I use InDesign. If I - and - many others - use Blender as their primary 3D tool, you might want to consider that it might be your knowledge of Blender that is hampering you, not the tool.

There are some newcomers and casual users who want Blender to be a Sketchup. That’s not going to happen - Blender is a chainsaw to Sketchup’s nail-file. Chain saws are tricky to use until you get used to them.

Does it have rough edges? Definitely, but I don’t really notice that anymore. Is it an alpha tool? For the noob, perhaps. For the pros, well, we manage just fine, thank you very much.

Ton in particular has been focusing a lot on polish and usability. As have others. A lot of the clumsy stuff in regards to alpha transparency looks like it got cleaned up for 2.66 for example. As far as I know, all the longterm targets are revamping core things. Depsgraph, Viewport drawing code, things of that nature. Still a way to go, but there is definitely focus on it.

For the noob, perhaps. For the pros, well, we manage just fine, thank you very much.

Well, Im talking about the so-called NOOBS, if by noobs you mean users starting to use blender. Well, once you are a pro, it wouldnt much be of an issue, but for the users who are trying to learn a piece of software, its really very hard if the software is changing so fast that when you finally learn a thing or two, you realise the way it worked has changed in the new release and doesn’t work as it used to. Well doesn’t seem much of an issue for PROS but not only pros use blender. There are people who would be just starting. And I don’t mean blender should be like sketchup, it all comes down to what solution do we exactly need. People picking blender are likely aware that it is a full fledged 3d suite and so wouldnt expect it to be like sketchup. Maya, max or others dont seem easy as a pie either but that’s not the point, but atleast users who are learning those software would be well assured that things they learned wouldnt just be obsolete in a relatively short amount of time. I dont mean flexibility and adaptability on the part of user is not needed. It’s essential in 3D world. But we can’t really change the tools of choice on the go as it takes a lot of time and patience to learn a 3D software. It takes years to learn maya or max or blender but would someone be willing to give time learning them if they realised the software itself is changing too fast to get hold of ? That’s all the issue i see. And maybe not so biggie for the pros, but expanding the userbase is what I’m talking about, that includes considering the newbies or noobs as you say.

You shouldn’t be asking a loaded question like “Why does Blender feel like it is in ALPHA state?”, because that’s just a false premise.
It doesn’t feel like that to me at all, especially compared to the other 3D toolkits, which tend to crash a lot more by now. (At least in my experience)
Also, bugs in Blender get fixed very quickly, unless they are quite involved or hard to reproduce. Ask any Autodesk user how long it takes them to fix things…

Of course, Blender is rough around the edges in many places and a lot of features are unfinished/unpolished. Would you prefer these features to not be included just so blender “feels” less “alpha”? This is a consequence of development reality, it’s a lot easier to find volunteers to do cool new stuff, it’s much harder to have them do maintenance and polishing.

Blender also just doesn’t have developers to command from one area to another, so all the proposals to shift development focus are pointless, for now.

Then of course there’s the reputation of Blender, which doesn’t change too easily. Blender used to be much worse, so a lot of people still hold that opinion. It’s just inertia at work here.

I live in india and there are many people here interested in 3D careers, and Blender as it’s free really can make a great impact on the users here

If you’re looking for a career, you should learn the industry standard, which just so happens to be mostly Autodesk software. They offer all their software for free to students or unemployed people.

yes, blender is an alpha state bad program :frowning:
why? why we have this alpha state program?

very sad
blender is an alpha state program :frowning:
blender is bad :frowning:

If you’re looking for a career, you should learn the industry standard, which just so happens to be mostly Autodesk software. They offer all their software for free to students or unemployed people.

Im really aware of that. Maybe I didnt state it as clearly but by growing interest in blender, I meant people are starting to actually see as a proper alternative to commercial products, but the problem is when they do try to learn, they leave it after a while and pick others. Obviously we have to know an industry standard app to break into the industry but even for the people who are willing to start their own workshops and companies, they prefer to pick others than blender, even considering the cost benefits. And Im not basing this just on hearsay, but on opinions of people during my study and where Im currently working.

This is a consequence of development reality, it’s a lot easier to find volunteers to do cool new stuff, it’s much harder to have them do maintenance and polishing.

Well, agree fully to that, but those consequences are having a great impact on blender’s popularity, and not positively i should say.

Also, bugs in Blender get fixed very quickly, unless they are quite involved or hard to reproduce. Ask any Autodesk user how long it takes them to fix things…

Yeah, aware of that too, but i think bug fixing can be continued as it is now, but regarding the implementation of features, a slight time relaxation would certainly help.

Ton proposed to start thinking of roadmap for Blender 2.7x and 2.8x:

For a 2.7x series we could focus on a number of steps to tackle all depsgraph related woes in Blender. It’s not just a simple under-the-hood fix of an isolated piece of code, it has relationships with everything in Blender, the animation system, physics, ways we draw objects, render, etc. A reminder, old notes from early this year: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Us...Depsgraph_2012

Doing it as “2.7x” means we can also drop some compatibility (like particles, point caches, proxy, ways how physics work). All this ending up in a 2.8x series that’s kept more stable and compatible again (like 2.6x after 2.5x).

Another candidate for refactor in 2.7x days could be the Blender Game Engine. If we recode Blender to be much faster in drawing, threaded, with advanced & better drawing methods (compositing even), it would be a shame if the GE wouldn’t benefit from it too. We could check on sharing code better.

While revamping of 2.7x then goes on, we can still work on maintaining the 2.6x versions (with bimonthly releases, we have almost a year to go still .

Brecht pointed out that we should attempt to structure this in smaller refactor steps. Fix one part completely, and keep rest working. That way each of the 2.7x versions might be fully usable still. Whether that’s possible depends on a lot of unknowns still. It’s Ton’s impression that we better do it good from scratch - get everything prepared to work with the new specs from the first release 2.70 on (even when it means only few things are ready).

Food for thought, we have time for it! Nice project for 2013

Sounds like the way to go…

I don’t know about the wage cost relation in places like India, but for a lot of shops in the West the license cost benefit is almost completely irrelevant. People should pick Blender because it is open source software, not because it bears no licensing fee. The reason that OSS works so well in certain other areas, is that the people who use it are also developers. Traditionally in the CG industry this hasn’t been the case and I don’t really see that changing.

Well, agree fully to that, but those consequences are having a great impact on blender’s popularity, and not positively i should say.

Again, I don’t see that changing. If people don’t want to deal with Blender for this reason (and I totally understand this) then Blender just isn’t for them. It’s not that we could just choose to have this work differently.

Yeah, aware of that too, but i think bug fixing can be continued as it is now, but regarding the implementation of features, a slight time relaxation would certainly help.

I ask you again, would you rather not have new features in Blender sooner? I don’t see any actual benefit to that. It’s certainly not the case that very early and buggy code enters Blender, right now. There are in-development features (Cycles, OSL, DynTopo…) that are just unfinished/unpolished but are nonetheless very useful already.

blender in alpha state compare with 3dsmax? Is it a joke?

http://www.blendernation.com/2013/02/05/studio-pitchi-poy-moves-to-blender/#utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Blendernation+%28BlenderNation%29

I guess maybe these people have no problem with using Blender in alpha state :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
All kidding aside, I understand what you mean, but I say we need to trust in Blender Foundation and in Blender developers and users to keep going. I try to learn something new every day, and I can’t keep up it seems - but I just keep learning.

Happy blending!

Sounds like you listen to what a large group of your peers think in order to form your opinion. You should use it more and decide for yourself. Not trying to be harsh, but if I listened to what others think, I’d be bailing hay or something instead of doing what I love.

I’ve used just about all the “Big Boys”: Maya, 3DSMax, Lightwave, etc. and I’ve been using Blender for the last few years, so I think I have a good idea about what’s going on in the world of 3D software. Blender is far from feeling like it’s in an alpha state to me. The more I use it, the better it gets. It’s fast, stable, and does whatever I want it to.

It’s easy to get caught up in the whole “everyone uses Max, so it must be good” thinking, which is totally wrong. Adobe Illustrator is considered an industry standard because it has no competition and everyone uses it, but it’s not the best vector program.

If you think that Blender isn’t good or popular, you haven’t been paying attention to the industry as a whole. I’ve seen it cross so many boundaries, like the Poser community, the games community (just try and take it away from the XNA Lara people), and colleges and universities use it to teach engineering and architecture students.

I think that just because it’s free a lot of people think that it can’t be that good. Trust me, this is wrong thinking. I’ve been using Lightwave for 15 years, and while it’s getting better with each new release and is a top-notch professional program, it can’t hold a candle to some of the features that Blender has. I’ve used Maya to rig characters, but Blender can pump out a great rig in a fraction of the time. Max has some of the best modeling tools, but Blender runs circles around it in terms of modeling speed and efficiency.

This is all just my opinion, but I have to defend Blender because it’s saved my bacon on more that one occasion and I hate to hear people hammer it just because it doesn’t work like they expect.

I ask you again, would you rather not have new features in Blender sooner?

Well, not the way they are implemented right now. I would want the features implemented in the stable release, when their core functionality is done and can be used for some work without having to say that something is still in the development and cant be used reliably, or is generally not suggested to use. I ask if its mentioned to use them at your own risks, then why to include such options in the public releases? surely separate builds can be made for testing purposes but not by any reason unfinished tools should be included in the official releases, which people are supposed to use as a stable release not experimental…As cycles is under development, only those features in cycles that are well tested should be included in the trunk, not the things that are susceptible to break. And as other features are done testing, then with subsequent releases they can be merged. To have experimental and unfinished features in public releases will only make users liable to accidentally break something that may not be so encouraging. Separate builds for testing can be released for users who want to assist in the testing and bug fixing, but for users who want to use it for their work or profession, that might just be the thing for not picking blender.

In the global, Blender feels alpha because there are many steps between alpha and beta that open source projects often neglect to do - these are the less engineering-centric tasks that are ignored either because developers don’t know about them or because they actively disdain them. Some might get left out because the project lacks manpower, although I find this is often used as a catch-all excuse.

EDIT: to forestall the inevitable, yes blender is a damn sight better than other open source projects in this regard.

blender in alpha state compare with 3dsmax? Is it a joke?

Well, if a piece of software has some features that aren’t complete or have some dependencies that are still not met, but those features are still included in a release, then either that release is a testing release, or the software is still in an alpha state…or am i missing something?

http://www.blendernation.com/2013/02...enderNation)

http://www.blendernation.com/2013/01…-feature-film/

I guess maybe these people have no problem with using Blender in alpha state :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Im really aware what can be accomplished in Blender, and by no means I said blender lacks features and so it feels like in an alpha state, but I think alpha state of development has more to it than just lack of features. I meant in public release, nothing that are susceptible to break should be included, apart from the bugs that are going to stem. When they are polished and tested, merge them. Obviously, in open source community, user testing plays a great role, so in the spirit of that, separate testing builds can be released.

I think you need to give examples of what you are referencing - liek are you talking about Cycles, or are you talking about the addons packed with Blender, or what else… because right now, the picture is fuzzy as to what you mean. Feature complete as far as I can tell is what is offered for download as BF official package, and Buildbot and Graphicall are all bleeding edge testing versions. I have seen some problems when addons I had already enabled were broken, they had a tendency to cause my keymap to not work. But once I turned everything off and started enabling one at a time, I figured out which ones were the offenders and realized they weren’t necessary.

To have experimental and unfinished features in public releases will only make users liable to accidentally break something that may not be so encouraging. Separate builds for testing can be released for users who want to assist in the testing and bug fixing, but for users who want to use it for their work or profession, that might just be the thing for not picking blender.

Note that while Blender is available in “stable” version on Blender.org, between 2 Blender “stable” release you can get, near daily, up to date (with the source code) Blender releases on :
http://builder.blender.org/download/ (for regular build directly compilled from source code)
http://www.graphicall.org/ (for builds often compilled with different options and sometime experimental features)
Featuring every newly introduced features (and changes, and fixes) since the last stable release.

So new experimental features does not appear out of nowhere in a stable release.
Users can test them for a month or two before they appear in the stable release and report bugs to the devs so they can get fixed.

But for reporting bugs do it there :
http://projects.blender.org/tracker/?group_id=9&atid=498

Is the best way move to get them hopefully fixed for the next stable release, reporting them on this forum is not usefull , same as hoping to see them fixed if none report them on the tracker.

This would mean that pretty much all software that’s not trivial is in alpha state.

Really this kind of discussion is meaningless without concrete examples. If you say that some areas don’t feel finished, as a developer I’d agree but really cannot help you becacuse I don’t know what your problem is.

Don’t foget that blender is a commuity project, we develop blender together.
If you feel things aren’t as good as the should be, make it your goal to improve it.

If you’re complaining about the fact that OSS comes with no guarantees then you are right. If you know a feature that does not work like you want it to work don’t use it. Use 2.49 like some users still use 2009 or lower Max versions. Blender doesn’t work like Max or Maya or other commercial software because OSS is a different business model. You don’t sell licenses because you don’t offer any guarantees ( officially anyway ). Truth is even if you would offer guarantees like in commercial software you wouldn’t actually be able to guarantee anything so it’s all pointless. The best you can do is conform to a STANDARD for SAFETY ( I think that is what you are referring to ) and this might not be as easy to implement in an OSS environment where you can’t hold anyone responsible. I mean what would it mean for someone to sue Autodesk for software crashes ? I don’t think that anyone has done it so far … or am I wrong ? :smiley: