Blender & 3dstudio max workflow.

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

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JoOngle
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Blender & 3dstudio max workflow.

Post by JoOngle » Fri Feb 13, 2004 11:48 pm

Hi there,

I'm a 3dstudio max licensee (legal!) and have been so for many
many years, however....I've been following the Blender society
secretly in the background for years - and not-so-secretly
pushing it to all my "students" and beginners to 3d in various
forums, even made a forum in an official 3dstudio max forum :)

I ended up writing a user-guide for Blender beginners in Danish,
and then something weird happened to me..

Blender started to grow on me, so much so that when I go back
to do my normal chores in 3d-studio max
(see my work at www.hamsterking.com to get an Idéa who I am)
I can hardly return to 3dstudio max because Blender strikes
me as a simply BETTER tool to work in.

Why is that you might ask...You're one of those lucky bastards
that could afford a $4000 dollar 3d package, why do you
want to use Free-blender?

Lucky or HAVE to...I bought 3dstudio max 4 for many years ago
when Blender in is whee-days where rarely usable to any
professional work (and I'm talking photorealistic work here)
so I kinda had to take up a HUGE loan.

I'm already educated as a professional 2D-animator
drawing cartoons for a living (well..harder than you might
think these days..especially when you live in a little country)
but I kind'a hoped I could use 3dstudio max to make my
debut movie, but max kept crashing on me when ever
I got the scenes BIG. Especially Character studio, scaling
a character in real time where a sure road to crash-hell.
Files often got corrupted, and working with Fall-off effects
also got the program crashing.

Blender got bigger and bigger thanks to the efforts
like Ton and ALL of you! And it certainly grabbed
my attention. My fellow professionals thought I where
nuts the way I babbled and jabbered about Blender 3D
all the time, I don't see them laughing quite as loud
today, but hey - everyone can learn :)

The workflow of Blender is GREAT, WAY easier
and WAY less time-consuming than 3dstudio max.
I know this because I'm using both software packages
all the time.

Eg. when I go to model in max my usual box-modelling
ways...I have to add an Edit mesh modifier or convert
it to an editable mesh first, the shortcuts are impractical
and eg. in poly mode...you can't even change all the
short cuts to fit one's habits. One have to "drag" the
transform tool around in order to do anything, or press
a transform-icon just to do some rotating or scaling.
The same with selecting windows...One have to CLICK
in EACH windows just to activate it (another time-consuming
extra thing that is totally unessesary!)

I can't go back to 3dstudio max...Blender has raised my
personal work-flow standards. Take it from me if you
are in doubt of using blender. It's an AMAZING modelling
tool.

Sure there are things I'd love to see in Blender such as:

- A proper Bevel tool that bevels selected edges instead of everything.
- A chamfer Edge and Chamfer Vertex tool for easy filleting.
- An auto-UV mapping tool (use mesh as UV) and thats creating it's
own texture space so one can project or paint textures/bump/layers
directly onto the character/object
- A uvw map-relaxe tool for an uv map exporter/importer tool.
- Faster Photons in Yafray. (now it's the worlds record breaking slowest, but nice looking)
- Armatures can REMEMBER animation moves! (load and playback and re-use animations!)
- Armatures also have "bulge"/muscle options / flex when touching the surface of a colliding mesh-surface)
- Hair/Fur that draws hair/fur on a surface facing the camera, simulating splines...but much faster using textures / alpha layers. Using a spline guide to lay hair.

Other than that - Blender is truly amazing, and personally I don't
have the slightes doubth that It will grow to be the best 3d-package
in the world if you guys keep coding like you do.

I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!!!! You ROCK!

I've paid for a package costing over 4000 dollars to a
company that could not Care less about my wishes as an artist.

But YOU listen to everyone's wishes, you work hard and honest.
You deserve the funding from EU, and you deserve everyone's
support.

Now there's hope for artists struggling to make a living,
Blender and Yafray gave me hope when I wanted to give
up because I could not afford the 2000 dollars upgrade
to get caustics / photons and more effects, I got that with
Blender and Yafray thanks to you people!!!!

I just wanted you to know how I feel about it.

Greetings
/Tommy Helgevold
2D/3D Animator
www.hamsterking.com

mr_rob
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Location: US of A
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Post by mr_rob » Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:24 am

Opinion: The sky is blue.
Fact: BLENDER IS THE BEST EVER!

[Gets up and does the Blender dance]

JA-forreal
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:45 pm

Post by JA-forreal » Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:28 am

Hi JoOngle. I know how you feel. Seeing that you are a very talented 3d and 2d artist, I can see that the right software for you puts workflow at top importance. You could care less about who made the software or about cost as long as it helps you get the job done. I have used other apps before I settled with Blender as my main 3d app. Blender just worked better with my store brought PC hardware than the other apps. It was like Blender was the best tool that rendered exactly what I wanted to render with no problems.

I found that for me Max seemed overly complex for basic things like character animation and Box modeling. In Blender I jumped right in and got up and going in minutes after I got down the tool functions. I have never worked as fast on a 3d project in any other 3d app as I have in Blender. Lightening Fast. To the “experienced” Blender user lighting setup is a breeze. Camera control is so simple. Rendering is no trouble at all. The Material structure in Blender is so functional. Anything you can imagine can be done or faked.

I find that most Blender beginners that have trouble using Blender are not used to self educational processes. Some may even want instant 3d interface compliance and are not to happy with the manual adjustments that Blenders users have to do to get work done.

We need more educators on the Blender scene who have successfully trained Blender to students. Your experience in this area is very important. Thanks for posting. Your experiences will be a great contribution to the Blender community.

JoOngle
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Post by JoOngle » Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:33 pm

@Ja-forreal

Thanks for your kind words :)

It's not so much Max beeing too complex, actually Max is very easy to
use, and have a LOT of tools - but in my opinion it's somewhat more
cumbersome to work with as you have to eg. click in each viewport
to work with the objects, and many extra things that add to the
time-table. Of course - when I model with both programs I tend to
lean towards the quickest and most efficient program too, that
would be BLENDER :D

Here's a test I did. I modelled a highpoly head in Blender, copied
3 of them in 3dstudio max and 3dstudio max Lagged-like-crazy.

Blender could with EASE take 9 of the heads...still working smoothly.
Max crashes a lot when using procedureals and character-studio,
and when the scenes gets complex - even though I've got the
latest computer technology.

So the choice isn't that difficult for me - Blender gets the work
done FASTER...and no agony with annoying "joy-killing" crashes!

/JoOngle

macouno
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Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:37 am

Post by macouno » Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:56 pm

I agree... tried 3dsmax & maya, but blender for some reason is much much better where workflow is concerned. Though it is not quite there yet in all features.

O and reusing animations for armatures? Don't you mean actions combined with action constraints? Program the action then call it back with a constraint sort of? Do a search on elysiun.com there's something about it there.

JoOngle
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Post by JoOngle » Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:01 pm

@Macouno,

No, I mean when building a Biped character (armatures) It should
have a "play" function and "save moves" instead of just saving the
entire scene.

It should be possible to re-use an animation in another creature
(very VERY important for an animator such as myself as I'm used
to building up a library of animations...some of whom can be reused
later on)

/JoOngle

sten
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 7:47 pm

Post by sten » Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:25 pm

hi JoOngle!
I am your Swedish neighbour ;)

to re-use armatures, just Append into the .blend file where the current Armature you need/want, to do it, do this: Shift+F1 and locate the .blend file, click on it and browse through to find your Armature, and then it will be placed in that Layer it was created in...

I hope it works for you :)

JA-forreal
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:45 pm

Post by JA-forreal » Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:19 pm

JoOngle wrote:@Ja-forreal

Thanks for your kind words :)

It's not so much Max beeing too complex, actually Max is very easy to
use, and have a LOT of tools - but in my opinion it's somewhat more
cumbersome to work with as you have to eg. click in each viewport
to work with the objects, and many extra things that add to the
time-table. Of course - when I model with both programs I tend to
lean towards the quickest and most efficient program too, that
would be BLENDER :D

Here's a test I did. I modelled a highpoly head in Blender, copied
3 of them in 3dstudio max and 3dstudio max Lagged-like-crazy.

Blender could with EASE take 9 of the heads...still working smoothly.
Max crashes a lot when using procedureals and character-studio,
and when the scenes gets complex - even though I've got the
latest computer technology.

So the choice isn't that difficult for me - Blender gets the work
done FASTER...and no agony with annoying "joy-killing" crashes!

/JoOngle
Max is a fairly easy to use for advanced 3d work. I personally found some of its tools redundant. Blender's workflow is excellent. However it takes some time to get used to. A novice Blender user or even advanced user may have problems if they don't understand all of the concepts of Blenders 3d workflow. I have seen some good Blender artist leave Blender and use other apps because of this situation. We need better documentation for Blender as we move along with this opensource project. And there is a need for more advanced Blender users to be more active in the Blender community to aid users with problems that are not already documented.

If a new Blender feature is implemented we need to clearly have some brief form of documents that explain its use in detail. Maybe we could have a group of Beta testers and document writers who keep up with the CVS releases and Tuhopuu releases. Maybe this could be called a “feature tracker” program?

When someone asks for help with Blender on a 3d forum that I am a member of, I try to offer help by responding to their request if I can. Blender’s strength of use will only increase if the Blender users are well informed of how Blender operates.

I feel that Blender will continue to be a very good 3d software solution even if we continue on in the process that brought us to this point. But Blender can only progress even more if we work to improve the updated documentation on current ever changing Blender features.

Blend on!
Last edited by JA-forreal on Sat Feb 14, 2004 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JoOngle
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Post by JoOngle » Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:18 pm

Hi there friendly neighbour :)

Thanks for the hot tip Ztonzy, I'll keep that in mind. But I'd still like
to have a "playback/save/load/re-skin" function. I know that most
problems can be solved by the "backdoor" solutions, unfortunately
in an production situation that's not always useable.

It's like we finally got "real raytracing" in blender...
well of course we could "fake it" using enviroment maps & just use
fake reflections, but now we got more options....and Blender starts
to be serious for the serious users too.

/JoOngle
ztonzy wrote:hi JoOngle!
I am your Swedish neighbour ;)

to re-use armatures, just Append into the .blend file where the current Armature you need/want, to do it, do this: Shift+F1 and locate the .blend file, click on it and browse through to find your Armature, and then it will be placed in that Layer it was created in...

I hope it works for you :)

JoOngle
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 4:12 pm
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Post by JoOngle » Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:20 pm

JA-forreal wrote:
Max is a fairly easy to use for advanced 3d work. I personally found some of its tools redundant. Blender's workflow is excellent. However it takes some time to get used to.

If a new Blender feature is implemented we need to clearly have some brief form of documents that explain its use in detail. Maybe we could have a group of Beta testers and document writers who keep up with the CVS releases and Tuhopuu releases. Maybe this could be a called “feature tracker” program?
Yes, a lot of the tools (especially modifiers) are very much out of date.
but a proper Bevel & chamfering funktion is an ABSOLUTE must.
Blender is already easier to use in regards to workflow, but if it
also gets these things (not to mention proper UVW texture handling
to make texture-hell do-able by normal-artists) it will be a
winner that noone can deny.

/JoOngle

JA-forreal
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:45 pm

Post by JA-forreal » Sat Feb 14, 2004 11:05 pm

JoOngle wrote:
Yes, a lot of the tools (especially modifiers) are very much out of date.
but a proper Bevel & chamfering funktion is an ABSOLUTE must.
Blender is already easier to use in regards to workflow, but if it
also gets these things (not to mention proper UVW texture handling
to make texture-hell do-able by normal-artists) it will be a
winner that noone can deny.

/JoOngle
True, so true. It's happening. And from what I have seen with Blender in the past and present it may just be more than we expected.

Blend on!

mmh
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:12 pm

Post by mmh » Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:21 am

another MaxER, forget that, never blender will blend to a MAx like

wavk
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Post by wavk » Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:45 am

I know what you mean, JoOngle:) I've worked with 3d studio viz for 6 months during my graduation project. And at that time I was already an avid blender user, so feel my pain :D In 3d studio everything is so many clicks away, it's just.... whoah there I go again, I still get agitated when i hear the name 3d studio:) I had quite an argument with discreet/autodesk back then on their forum.... As my graduation project I coded a plugin for 3d studio, aaaah the terror! You really don't want to code for 3d studio.... ARG! Ah well...

What it boils down to is that not only does 3d studio suck, also the companies (the whole weird construction of discreet/kinetik/autodesk) sucks. You pay big bucks but that doesn't even seem to be enough to even ask questions on their forum, you need to pay for support before they will listen to you. Even after finding an email address after searching sooooooo long, the reply I got was that the email adress was only for american/canadian users. That's when I popped, I got reallllly mad. Can you imageine?!

Compare that to blender's community..... Ahhhhh... tranquility.... Me gets a cup of coffee now, well deserved.... Please don't mention 3d studio again! Please!

JoOngle
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Post by JoOngle » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:09 pm

Heh, I Feel your pain Wavk (and my wallet STILL feels the pain)
luckily I didnt continue to purchase upgrades, I stuck with ver. 4.
My first - and my LAST.

Blender forever!

/JoOngle

intrr
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Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 12:15 am

Post by intrr » Fri Feb 27, 2004 7:48 pm

I only read the original (first) post, but i must totally agree with what has been said there. Blender used to beat *any* (and i mean it) other application in terms of workflow (I am talking about 2.2x though, not 2.3x). 2.3x's UI is still better than most other applications' UIs.

Sadly, we live in a world where efficiency and speed have an every-day-decreasing meaning to people and companies (at least that's the obvious interpretation one must take from the evidence), and applications (and cars) are becoming increasingly hard to use.

The ridiculous thing here is that everyone keeps yelling that everything is becoming so much easier to use these days, although people seem to confuse a few things there. It's simply not true. Things are becoming HARDER to use, in other words: More time, more keystrokes, more mouse clicks, more mouse movement needed to do the SAME thing.

One of the best examples for this is the middle-mouse-drag convention found in Blender. Recently, luckily other applications have adopted that as well (Example: Cubase SX 2) instead of using the TOTALLY DUMB typical scroll-bars, which are an invention from hell.

Well, maybe it's a global conspiracy of a few people wanting to conquer the world by letting it die in its own inefficiency :-)

:)

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