Just think of this, when Blender first became Open Source it couldn’t even accurately render a truly reflective chrome sphere on a checkered plane without clumsy env. maps. Now you can do simulations, GLSL powered games, and realistic renderings all in one package.
Now how is the reaction from users using Autodesk, how about the CGI communities, are they trying all they can to down-play the potential of Blender to take away from profits from the big companies?
I personally think I’ll call conspiracy at CGTalk at least, there was a thread telling people how 3DCoat’s UI could be improved and nothing happened, I recently took the liberty to try to reach out to tell the community there that they can help fund the development of advanced Blender features various developers like Joeedh are working on and it wasn’t considered a specific software question, and it got deleted. Apparently that puts the impression the administration there is hostile towards anything that may result in a free open source program threatening their precious $$$ products and that they really don’t want Blender’s rapid feature development being known. It has been known there’s been a bias against open source software over there and I get the impression the bias is enforced too.
First, I don’t think a lot of people realize how fast Blender gets developed. Most people are used to a major update every couple of years, but Blender gets two or three major releases a year with new features and efficiency improvements. Alot of OSS software also has a stigma of not being updated much at all, so I think once someone tries Blender, they’ll just assume that it will always be that way and don’t think about it againuntil it gets shoved in their face one day.
That said, I think shoving it in their faces all the time is not a good idea. There are a few people who goto various forums who will dogmatically demand that Blender is super-powerful, super-awesome, the best thing since sliced bread and better than sex. My guess is that a lot of people heard that the first time, saw some work made with it, thought “hmm… i’ll try it” and then uninstalled it after being confused for a few minutes with the interface. So you end up with a couple zealots yelling about how amazing and orgasmic Blender is, but everyone else on the forum saying “the interface is cryptic and shitty” and the other people on the forum will just believe the majority.
I think the best thing to do with Blender, as far as getting commercial users to try it, would be to allow users the ability to install with a more commercial-like interface and control scheme as the default theme. This will work for the 2.50 and future releases. Just give them a panel and let then choose the “Classic” interface or some “Alternate” or “New” interface, and tell them that this alternate interface is designed with the Max/Maya veteran in mind. it doesn’t have to be the exact same interface as either of those, but have the same sort of functionality (left-click selects, right-click popup, etc).
And until that happens, I think people would do more to help blender to just stop trying to ‘sell’ it on forums and stuff. I think a lot more artists would use Gimp if people didn’t suggest it and claim that it’s as good as photoshop and all that crap. Blender is really great, and you can create stuff that’s on-par with anything Max and Maya can dish out, but learning the interface is a hill that a lot of pro’s simply can’t afford to climb. It’s hard to make money and keep a schedule when you have to re-adjust every habitual keystroke you make. 2.50 will address this issue directly, and I would greatly encourage the devs to include a ‘friendly’ version of the interface for those people.
I too have an observation to make on the interface. I hope it’s helpful.
The GL-based widgets are fab, both old and new ones do the job for me, and I did dig the non-overlapping idea. The controls are normally as precise as I need them to be. However, Blender appears to have been designed to follow the software’s internal logic more than the users’ thought process. I’ll reiterate my transparency example: the Z-transparency and Ray-transparency buttons are not even close. If none of them is chosen, alpha < 1 means you see the background. This of course reflects the inner choices made by the renderer, but it does make learning (and working) harder than, say, a Transparency pulldown where you can pick between “background”, “simple” and “raytraced”. And you probably would want the IOR, samples and gloss controls close by if raytraced is selected.
Of course, I’ve gotten used to the Blender way now and I definitely would take some time to adjust if things changed, but considering the reasons, I personally wouldn’t mind.
Well all i know is i tend to get joked with a lot about me using blender at my school, which is predominantly max and maya. This might have something to do with the fact that i might have been a bit overzealous with my pushing of blender or the fact that its a small school and pretty close nit and I tend to be the odd man out. Most times it’s innocent jokes but for the most part I sense for this group of users an unwillingness to change what they’ve learned and try a program that they see as not having as many tools and not being industry standard. But i recently found that im not the only user anymore, theres about 4 of us so its spreading!! For the most part I just think my crowd thinks that yeah its great that it can do what it does but they just seem to see it as just not quite good as max or maya. One day they’ll see!!! :ba:
All very well thought out and good points. Transparency is something I fought with for an hour or so when I first started.
I have to agree with sqyuggly_p. wait and give people something they are not afraid of using…they can make up their own minds the quicker they can pick it up and create something in a comfortable and speedy manner…so to speak…
In the end though it doesn’t matter…Blender is winning hands down…especially if you consider the ratio of (improvement/time) compared to the others…at this point if it is not caught up (everyone has their own opinion on this) it will be, and in less that 2 years will be more powerfull/on top…this is based on my personal thoughts, and the current rate of growth.
Don’t go around telling people they can help funding blender development! I think that is a HORRIBLE thing to do. Do you know what most of the people will hear?
“give me money, I ḿ trying to steal from you”.
Let the funding conversation happen INSIDE blender’s community.
I really don’t see any conspiracy.
What I see is that there are lots of people you earn their living from doing 3d and they invested in learning the tool they are using. Then, some people, most of them who don’t who appears teenagers to early 20s who don’t need to work for living, saying blender is awesome and they should try.
I don’t see (or at least didn’t see when they were from different companies) maya users telling other users at cgtalk to switch their application. Or any other 3d package, besides blender.
The bottom line is: Blender is JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF SOFTWARE. If we were talking about under a software development community perspective, it would be different. But were are not. We are talking about an artistic context.
Well, I see the same reactions. The usual mantra I read everytime: tried Blender several times, could not comprehend the UI, it’s horrible, etc. etc. Frankly, I could care less about what users of commercial apps think about Blender. Fast rewind a bit: when I was able to achieve an intermediate level of learning in Blender I realized not a few people could even achieve a beginner’s level. It seemed like a feat. I even wished Blender stay the way it is. lol. But since the dev team decided to do something about it, I wouldn’t mind making it more like commercial apps or at least resemble the standards such as left-click for selecting and right-click for context-sensitive popups as mentioned. Since it’s meant to be fully customizable, I must assume everything is possible when it comes to UI defaults. BTW, standards should include n-gon capability and other modeling enhancements (as well as rendering with GI) as a minimum. In short, total elimination of workarounds if you’re interested in attracting users of other 3d apps. Also, quit the conspiracy theory nonsense. Deep down most people want Blender to improve and succeed simply because it’s free.
By the way CD I’ve seen some of your posts on CG talk, your phrasing often shouts out “moderate me!”
On interaction: a year or more ago there was talk of mouse input being customisable (eg right click for context menus, left click select…) Broken ( a major UI influence amongst the devs) has pointed out before on the development mailing lists what silo is capable of in this area (if you’ve not used it, you can easily configure selection and view navigation to perform exactly like a whole bunch of apps, or create your own mutant hybrid) I’d guess that kind of ability is still a target!
It’s not been written yet, and I doubt the design is finalised, but it’s a pretty safe bet!
Ngons and GI have been pointed out as “missing” for what seems like forever… At least there’s progress being made in these areas! the lack of ngons probably delayed my bothering to learn blender by a couple of years… (Ironically when I did start learning blender i never planned to use it as a modeller … now I hardly use anything else!)
The only reactions I’ve noticed are fairly pragmatic ones. Usually “I’ll give it a try again, now that keyboard shortcuts are customizable” or “Hey, if it gets the job done, I’ll use it”. Or “Maya’s growth seems stunted, maybe I’ll give Blender a try”.
I haven’t heard anything overzealous, or bi-partisan from proprietary users.
As far as I’ve witnessed, the pros seem to use it as another tool to get the job done or as a toy. There’s no agenda against blender IMO, but it should stop autodesk and co rolling in their monopolies so it’s an overall good thing.
let’s not forget that we’re often dealing with professionals who, quite understandably, do not care one whit about blenders development. these pro users do not care if blender is free or open source or costs $4000 dollats - because they use tools that already get the job done, the way they’re used to it.
It’s unlikely that the majority of the pro users even have to pay for their own software - it’ll be bought on a volume license by a large company which makes software investment decisions based on quantifiable returns. And need I remind people that the startup cost for software compared to all the other costs involved on medium to large projects is a pittance. Conversely, the cost of retraining already skilled professionals to use a tool which at present does not offer the same capabilities of other tools will be expensive and therefore not desirable.
to sum up - I don’t think any of the other users are “responding” (and as one of those users I also concur :lol: ) at all. Their tools already get the job done.
Ultimatedly someone does have to buy the software even if it is not the artist. If enough people make the jump to blender and can ge the same results as other software then the industry standard will change.
This is where blender falls down, when it comes to the final results blender still cant compete with the other industry standard software. It is all very well saying that blender is capable of producing great works but when the only high quality renders and results (by industry standards) are coming form the guys who develop the program and 30 or 40 other gifted individuals then its still not going to suck in many more users.
I think that actually there are probably even more users that haven even tried blender since its Open Source (read free). How some free software can be as good as or close the software I have paid a lot of cash for? Especially if “no one” uses it professionally wise? Just a bunch of fanatics? So in my opinion walking around and shouting that Blender is better cause can do the same stuff as commercial apps and its free is not the best idea.Anyway any kind of shouting is not the best way of advertising our beloved software.
Probably the best way to promote it is to have a great collection of a very good pieces of work done by Blender. Like films, animations, models and etc…
But wait!! We have it already!! Yep thats it, we have it already and its growing each time faster. So now the only thing to do is just wait.
(Ok, not exactly, we should still work our asses off to produce high quality imaginary and animations.) But its has began already. I strongly believe that its just a matter of time when more and more people will use Blender. However not the “old” professionals but young talented people that start their adventure in the virtual world of 3d in Blender.
With its fast development its has been made very difficult for some person that start with Blender, later abandon it and move to the other software. Highly unlikely nowadays. :evilgrin:
Oh my god am I getting tired of these. Thank god the devs don’t have the same inferiority complex the community sometimes has. It really should just boil down to whether Blender has what you need to get things done. And if it doesn’t let the devs know what you would need. And I would think the biggest thing to drive them on would be the work produced with the tool they have spent so much time developing. And those kind of requests should hoepfully come up in their own threads not wrapped in a thread that largely says “hey professionals have this, we need it in Blender” or “XSI/MAYA/3DS have xyz feature, I need it”.
Maya/XSI/3DSMax have bigger dicks than us. Their users hate the UI. blah blah blah. Now can we move on and actually get work done?
EDIT: Wow, I have not had enough coffee or booze yet today.
I agree with dan_hin. The way I see it, it’s whatever gets the job done. Of course most people tend to think in terms of “well that costs more, therefore it must be better”. Not only this, but think about the fact that people have seen fine examples of what can be achieved in Max/Maya (Transformers, mainly). So I think the main thing is exposure. Blender just needs the right kind of exposure. Then, once other people can see what Blender is truly capable of, and find out that it’s free, just imagine how much the community is liable to grow. I also believe that we already have a major advantage because Blender is open source. If there is a bug, those who are skilled in programming can fix it themselves or users can offer scripts that may fix the problem, etc. Basically what I’m getting at is the fact that we don’t have to wait 2 years for an update or for a problem to be fixed. I’m sure you all saw how fast they were able to release version 2.49a. Not only this, but open source software is easier to customize and you don’t have to wait for the company to release a new version just for new features. Nor do you have to buy all of these expensive plugins. Scripts are able to take the place of that (City generator, MakeHuman, etc). It’s just an all around better deal, especially when you’ve got an active forum/community like this for support and help with problems.
Of course most people tend to think in terms of “well that costs more, therefore it must be better” Not only this, but think about the fact that people have seen fine examples of what can be achieved in Max/Maya.
There’s that, but the costs of professional training and licenses, desirability for support options. If it comes to exposure, Elephants and BBB have shown the CG community what Blender can do, which should have cleared the art quality standards issue as well.
IMO, what we’re facing here is simply resistance to change. Or, if you will, an empowered elite that doesn’t want to lose their privileged position to democratic tools and free spread of knowledge. It’s a hard battle. Blender has a slow market penetration and will continue to do so unless it becomes perfectly and absolutely clear that it ‘leads’ – that it offers not just a lower price tag but definite advantages in productivity or capabilities or both.
3D tools, like all of the tools in someone’s tool-chest, are just tools for the job. That’s it. That’s why you buy 'em (or, why you … legally … get them for free). If Blender didn’t “do it for 'ya,” you wouldn’t care about Blender, whether it was free or not.
Blender, today, does not have to “prove” anything to anybody. And yet, “simply stated, it’s not that simple.” 3D projects are very big and very expensive. Over time you build up large libraries of digital files, and you build up expertise in people’s heads. Now, spread that over the many dozens of subcontractors who might be working on the same project, and suddenly, change is “a very big deal.” It’s not a question of license costs, of “free or not-free,” but rather, a simple matter of practicality.
“Li’l ol’ me…” I see that too. It would be rather a (small) “big deal” for me to switch away from Blender. And yet I had to keep an older version of Blender around for the duration of a project, and I found myself fretting when the output of a later version, although arguably “better,” was “different.”