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DTPBlender released

Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 8:24 pm
by intrr
Hello,

some of you might already have heard of it, to others it might look like an
April Fool's joke, but here it is:

DTPBlender - a fork of Blender used (and approved in practice) for Desktop
Publishing (DTP).

http://dtpblender.instinctive.de

I can't give real support for this, but I do appreciate getting feedback and
would also be happy about people contributing binaries for other platforms.

I hope it will be useful both as an inspiration for enhancing Blender
itself, and as a creative tool for DTP work.

To get people started, two quite extensive tutorials are available here:

http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/cms/Documentation/Home

The rest of this mail is a copy/paste from the frontpage.

Thanks and have fun.

---------------

dtpblender is a fork of the popular 3D modelling, animation and rendering
software Blender. It has slowly evolved and matured as an in-house solution
for efficient and flexible Desktop Publishing (DTP) at instinctive
mediaworks. Its creator, Alexander Ewering, has decided to release it to the
public!

dtpblender offers a very unusual approach to 2D graphics creation,
particularly suitable for people who are already comfortable with Blender
and its user interface.

dtpblender is currently only available as a Linux binary release, and as
source code. Contributed binaries are always very welcome!

Before trying to do anything, you should read at least the introductory
tutorial found in the Tutorials section!

If you have questions, feel free to mail me at blender@instinctive.de, and I
will put your question along with an answer into the FAQ. A forum might also
be opened, depending on the amount of feedback.

Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 9:20 pm
by roofoo
Hey, this looks pretty cool, and I love the snapping features and the layer system. But I don't think it's really ready for any serious desktop publishing. Consider these features which are a MUST for serious layout people:
  • Ability to save or export document as a PDF file
  • Different color modes such as CMYK in addition to just RGB
  • Color management
  • True Type font and OpenType font support
  • Postscript import & export
  • Ability to export vector data, not just flattened bitmap images.
  • Ability to export layered bitmap images (such as TIFF, PSD, PNG, etc.)
  • Blending modes
  • Paragraph & text styles
  • Probably more but that's all I can think of now.. :)
Until DTPblender has all that, I will stick with other DTP programs, like Scribus, (which is also open-source everybody!)

I do hope some of the cool features you developed can be integrated into the official Blender though, that would be awesome!

Bye,
Roofoo

Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 11:13 pm
by intrr
Hi roofoo,

thanks for your suggestions. I guess it depends on everyone's particular understanding of "serious" :) Nearly all of the designs on http://www.instinctive.de in the "print design" section (and in the news section on the front page) have been created using DTPBlender, and nearly all of the websites in the "web design" section have been layouted using DTPBlender.
For me, RGB images have always worked, for printing things like A3 product brochures as well as printing a huge 6.25m x 2.00m banner that decorates a company building.

But here's some of my thoughts anyway (be careful, they're strongly biased and closed-minded):

* Ability to save or export document as a PDF file

Would sure be nice, but PDF and vector formats in general often give more problems with incompatibilities than they solve.

* Different color modes such as CMYK in addition to just RGB

While that would be nice, I still think it's the responsibility of the printing hardware / driver to reproduce an RGB image as closely as possible in the CMYK space. The designer shouldn't have to bother with it. And so far, the print shop I work with has always done a 100% perfect job in converting my poor DTPBlender images :)

* Color management

See above

* True Type font and OpenType font support

I don't see this need really.. it took me 20 minutes to convert my TrueType fonts to Postscript... but, of course, it would be nice to have, and not too difficult. The code is even in there basically. Just someone needs to make it work again.

* Postscript import & export

Postscript import is basically there using the standard paths importer python script (although it is known to be buggy). On export, see my first comment.

* Ability to export vector data, not just flattened bitmap images.

Same as above

* Ability to export layered bitmap images (such as TIFF, PSD, PNG, etc.)

That could be useful, yeah. But for the rare occasions where you (well, at least *I*) need this, you can just switch the corresponding layer sets on/off and render by hand a few times...

* Blending modes

No idea what that is :)

* Paragraph & text styles

Hmm.. not sure about this one... if I have a certain text object which has a certain style, I'll just SHIFT-D it... but it would be a fun thing to have.

Hope I didn't appear too arrogant ;)

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 2:44 am
by intrr
UPDATE: Windows release available! Also with a few improvements:

http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/cms/Main/Download

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 6:13 pm
by intrr
UPDATE: There's now a demo files section on dtpblender.instinctive.de with various example files.

http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/cms/Do ... /DemoFiles

Have fun

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 4:29 pm
by N86
I'd like to see a slice tool to export slices of the images out. Would be useful for creating the layout of a website.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:37 pm
by intrr
N86: I also do website designs with DTPBlender frequently, and yes, I already considered implementing something like this... a number of definable rectangles, which will automatically render and save to pre-defined files.

Till then, I just use a Gimp template with guides, and load the render into it and then save manually. Oh well :)

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 4:38 am
by intrr
UPDATE: dtpblender now has a Forum at

http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/forum

For exchanging help and information with other users (and the creator), this is a good starting place.

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 5:44 am
by LetterRip
layered bitmap should be accomplishable with openexr, and i think Ton already coded support for it, buy wanted to finish the multilayer/pass rendering stuff. Also we already have tiff, so hopefully it will be done for tiff also.

LetterRip

Posted: Sat May 27, 2006 4:22 am
by intrr
Just wanted to let you know that greboide has sent me a Linux x86 64 bit binary!

Grab the release at http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/cms/Do ... DTPBlender

Posted: Sat May 27, 2006 9:04 pm
by coltseaver
Excellent Intrr, you have really pointed the fact.
Roofoo: use or try the software rather than pretending how to do what.

Intrr: It's just a detail but you misuse of the word "Fork", DTPblender isn't really a fork, it's totally another project. Moreover "fork" can be interpreted in a negative way.
Well it was just a detail. ;)

Anyway, i give a try to this good surprise

Posted: Sat May 27, 2006 9:42 pm
by intrr
coltseaver: :) Well, I already do far too much arrogant positive publicity... maybe using the word 'fork' brings back the balance ;)

Let us know what your experiences are and maybe share some of your experiments. Preferably at the Forum at http://dtpblender.instinctive.de/forum/

Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 4:50 am
by roofoo
coltseaver wrote: Roofoo: use or try the software rather than pretending how to do what.
What are you talking about? I did try the software. Anyway, I was just sharing my opinion, and offering some suggestions. I'm not "pretending" anything..... :roll:

Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 2:49 pm
by intrr
roofoo: Could you still explain what you mean by "Paragraph and Text styles" (in practical terms - or, rather, what do you *want* your application to do - and I can tell you if dtpblender can do it - please be generic), and "Blending modes"?

Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 8:50 pm
by roofoo
Sure, I'll explain what I meant. With a style, you can define a certain font, font size, and color, then apply that style to several blocks of text. It just makes formatting more consistent. Then, for example, if you decide later to change the size of the font or the color for that style, any text blocks with that style will automatically reflect that change. It's like cascading style sheets for HTML. One set of rules that can easily be edited, without having to change each instance of the text by itself. When you change the style, anything that has that style applied will reflect that change instantly.

As far as blending modes, I mean like what Photoshop has, every layer can be "blended" with the layers below it using a certain algorithm, like darken, multiply, screen, overlay, etc. I believe Blender's texture buttons contain a similar thing, where you can set a certain texture channel to be blended in various ways, such as Add, Mix, Multiply, Difference, etc. But My idea is to allow whole objects to get their own blending mode settings. Maybe it's possible, maybe not, I don't know because I'm not much of a programmer. :P