Blender's Imporvement

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

Moderators: jesterKing, stiv

Post Reply
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2002 12:48 am

Blender's Imporvement

Post by TEKOBYTE » Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:34 pm

Hi Everyone!

Right now I am leaning C++, so
I will be trying to implement some
of these features, eventually. (trying...)

I am review several 3d books for
the new 3d/vfx community, elementi motus.
In Latin, that means motion's beginning...
Anyway, to the point about hte books:

They are not software specific, but they
do use Maya for the examples. I have
downloaded Maya PLE just to see what the
industry standard is like, and I was thouroughly
unimpressed. The interface was clutted, illogical,
and it needed a fast computer to run it even
remotely well.

Blender is so much better than Maya in that
respect. Blender is even better than Lightwave
as far as that goes. The one thing Blender really
lacks in all the minute features of Lightwave and

Maybe features is not exactly the right word. Perhaps
options. On a whole, I have very few things I dislike
about Blender's features. In Maya and Lightwave,
especially Maya, there seem to be quite a few different
ways to do exactly the same thing. Blender really lacks

For example, say you want to push some vertices
in on a sphere, to make a dent. In Blender, you
would select the vertices, turn on proportional editing,
change views, and grab them in. In Maya, or Lightwave,
you could select a push an pull tool, and it would be more
like clay, than polygons. There is nothing wrong with
either option, but it would be nice to be able to choose...

Another example:
In Maya, there are quite a few ways of smoothly
deforming an opject. Lattices, Vertex Clusters, Wrap
deformers, and Wire deformers. In Blender, you mainly
have only lattices, which I think, are a pain.

Lattices in Maya are the same as in Blender.

A Vertex cluster is a type of deformer where you
select vertices, put the in a group, and when you
translate (grab) that group, it moves, and also
moves the vertices are it, anywhere from 100%, to
0%. That is similar to selecting multiple vertices, and
using the proportional editing to grab them all.

Wrap deforemers use a low poly object as a sort of
"custom lattice" for an object. So, let's say you have
a model of an arm that is high res. You would then
make a copy of it, and reduce the numbers of vertices
in that new duplicated copy. Then the low res version
could become a wrap for the high res one. Basically,
as I said, a custom lattice. I don't know of anything
in Bl;ender like this one.

And the wire deformer is my personal favorite.
With this tool, you can create a curve, and use that
curve to modify certain vertices smoothly. True, for
this one you could use armatures in Blender.
But, what you can't do in Blender is take an armature,
and use it to modify a lattice, that is in turn, mpodifying
a mesh. That, I think, would be very nice.

I also think Blender needs more ways of modelling thing.
Maya has polygons, NURBS, metaballs, curved surfaces,
and more. Blender has polygons, NURBS, and meta balls.
I really, think Blender needs curved surfaces. They are a
very nice way of modelling certain things. Animation Master,
and Shade use curved surfaces as their primary modelling
pipeline. I am reviewing Shade (,
and the curved surfaces are definitely an adjustment, but
a very nice may to model certain things.

Solids would also be nice...

While not necessary, being able to change the grid units
would be usefull. I am about to start working on a fairly
technical animation for a local "sewer options" group.
(don't ask, really... :wink: ) I am thinking about modelling
in a cad program, and then bringing it in via dxf. I would prefer
to do it all in Blender, but I don't have much of a choice...

And, better UV mapping is, in my opinion, a must for Blender.
How about a built in, smart unwrapping funtion?

And, then, if you could move the UV map around on the model
in realtime, that would be great. (actually, you can already in Blender,
can't you?)

Animation is Blender is decent, but not great.

I have one idea for lighting. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to apply
a texture to a light, and have it not only be seen on the object
the light is pointing at, but is the volumetrics? That way, you
could have "dust swirls" in the volumetrics.

Rendering... Hmm. I am deciding if I should say anything or not.
Ok, I will. Better export to other renderers would be nice. I think
that since YafRay already has such a large Blender userbase, built
in YafRay support would be e great way to add raytracing to Blender
without getting rid of the great scanline renderer.

It seems like when NaN was still around, every new feater replaceed
an old one. (s-mesh got replaced by subsurfs, etc)
Features should not get replaced, but add to existing ones.
There could just be a 2nd edit button pannel or something.

And finally, the sequence editor. Why not make it its own program?
That would be great, I think, and then implement the plugins
that you can already download, as part of it. It defnitely needs
sound support too...

So, in short, Blender could use alot of options. More ways to do
tha same thing... A few more features would be great too.

Anyway, that you all for your time.

Derek Mounce |

Posts: 289
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 2:38 am

Post by z3r0_d » Fri Apr 18, 2003 5:59 am

no offense, but your post seems like a lot of others by saying
blender should have feature foo from app bar

I agree that blender needs improvement, but first I have a couple of things to say

you can change where gridlines are in a button window
change your 3d view in question to a button window
choose view buttons (seems default for me?)
change the Grid paramater

I have heard animation master's method reffered to as spline modeling, and seen many a person complain about how the resulting object pinches on deformation. It seems where I go people prefer subsurfs because they have more control over deformation.

blender has lattices too (don't know how they compare to maya), control shift a allows you to apply it to the mesh

armature modifying lattice modifying mesh? sounds complex, and unintuitive to me.

... but hey
if you can do any of the things you want in blender we will all be better off
(or we will be able to get a first hand account of why it isn't a good idea)

more nonscencical noncence from z3r0_d

Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 11:58 pm

Post by cmccad » Fri Apr 18, 2003 6:49 pm

armature modifying lattice modifying mesh? sounds complex, and unintuitive to me.
I think I see what TEKOBYTE is saying about this.

The idea follows the same reasoning behind sub surfaces: viewer verteces controlling a greater number of vertices. So you could have a lattice with, say, 12 vertices controlling a detailed mesh with 500 vertices. Fewer details for the animator to track = good thing. Another advantage is that the denser mesh (that the lattice controls) can be blanked and the lo-poly version animated, increasing the speed of playback.

The way this differs from subdivided surfaces is that the lattice can look like anything - it doesn't have to have any relation to whatever it controls. So, a mesh lattice could control a NURBS or (I suppose) metaballs. (or a NURBS lattice could control a mesh, though why you'd want to... :? )


----- begin edit -----
I just realized, this is how the "wire deformers" Maya uses are implemented. From my above ramblings, you probably wouldn't want to use a NURBS surface for a lattice, but how about a NURBS spline? Attach an IK chain to the spline somehow (armature?), and you have spline IK which controls a mesh.

Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2002 12:48 am

Post by TEKOBYTE » Fri Apr 18, 2003 9:06 pm


I guess I must not have expressed
what I meant well enough...

Maybe my post is very similar to
others saying Blender needs more
features. Blender does. And, as I
said, Blender also needs more options.

Alot of the people who use Blender do
not need these advanced features that
I am talking about, becasue they only
do rather simple things, not requiring
such explicit control. Other Blender users
do need that control, and those options.

Curved Surfaces may not be the way
to go for everyone, but it would be
nice to have the option, don't you think?

I think that everyone who has tryed to
UV something in Blender, has to admit
that it needs better UV unwrapping.

As soon as I feel confident enough in
C++, I will implement some of the things
I was talking about.


Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 11:04 pm


Post by cekuhnen » Sat Apr 19, 2003 3:04 am


i think everybody here is right.

blender offers a nice set of tools like poly nurbs subdiv but most times each is only a rudimentar implemention.

subdiv are nice but without the possebility of setting the tension of individual points extra geometry needs to included to create hard and soft edges in one model.

nurbs need trimsurface and blending.

the polygone tools need some select edge tool scale move along normal

in addition to the scale an expand tool
and in addition to the lattice shear and wrap tools like spline deformation disruption spline ik

since the renderengine gets linked to external renderer like reyes based one i think there is not much to do since these are the best engines you can get for free.

but even with out this tools good stuff could be done in blender but just with more efford.


Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2002 1:12 am

Re: Blender's Imporvement

Post by beatabix » Sat Apr 19, 2003 10:15 am

TEKOBYTE wrote:For example, say you want to push some vertices
in on a sphere, to make a dent. In Blender, you
would select the vertices, turn on proportional editing,
change views, and grab them in. In Maya, or Lightwave,
you could select a push an pull tool, and it would be more
like clay, than polygons. There is nothing wrong with
either option, but it would be nice to be able to choose...
you know, before i post anything saying "blender should have this feature", i always do a little check to see if the feature already exists. granted, it's not always possible to find the info needed, but as you seem to be missing out on some of the sweetest features of blender's modeling interface, i thought i'd enlighten you...

to push/pull vertices based on their normal direction, press [alt]+[S] to activate shrink/fatten.

to scale or rotate anything around the position of the 3D cursor press [.] (see the change in the icons on the button bar of the active 3D window?). then position the cursor and scale/rotate to your heart's content.

to achieve a vertex slide operation (shrink edge without changing angle), press [.], select destination vertex, then [shift]+[S] >> cursor to selection, then select the vertex you want to move, press [S], and watch as one vertex magically slides towards the other.

Post Reply