Cartoons on Major Dutch News Site Made in Blender

Dutch designer Metin Seven creates 3D cartoons for the large Dutch news site Nu.nl. He recently switched to Blender, and I talked to him about his work.


Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Metin Seven, a.k.a. Sevensheaven. I’m a freelance designer living and working in a town called Bussum in the Netherlands, together with my wife and our white feline princess. You’re invited to sevensheaven.nl for an impression of my work.

What are the Nu.nl weekendcartoons? How many people see them?

Nu.nl is the most popular online news source in the Netherlands. I used to create a daily news cartoon for Nu.nl from 2006 to 2008, with an average of about 60000 daily views. In 2008 my Nu.nl cartoon frequency was reduced to once a week, and to be honest I haven’t checked the views since then, but as the internet is being visited much more since the smartphone revolution, I guess the cartoon views should have increased rather than decreased.

Can you describe the creative process of the cartoons?

To my knowledge I was the first person in the Netherlands who used 3D CG to create cartoons. It allowed me to build a whole range of reusable and adjustable 3D cartoon character designs, props and decors, speeding up a cartoon’s creation process as time went by.

I love Blender’s versatility. I like to experiment with different 3D styles and renderers. In the last three weeks I have used Cycles for a realistically executed cartoon, the default Blender renderer for a semi-realistic cartoon, and an IKEA instruction manual spoof using the Edge option from the Post Processing section in the Blender render settings.

Which software did you use before? What are your reasons for switching to Blender?

I have been using 3ds Max on a daily basis from 1998 up to now. Although 3ds Max is still a powerful 3D editor, I think Autodesk’s prices do not fit in the current times anymore. With impressive open source software like Blender, offering you so much power for free, and potent tablet apps with an average price range from $0.99 to $9.99, in my humble opinion Autodesk can not keep asking thousands of dollars for a piece of software that’s still largely based on a core from the mid-1990s, plus many hundreds of dollars per version upgrade each year.

I am very inspired by the altruistic open source community that surrounds Blender. So many people are creating helpful tutorials, add-ons, free 3D models, etcetera, to share with others, just like Blender itself is shared with the world at no expenses. A major realistic plug-in renderer such as Maxwell or V-Ray will cost you up to $1350 on top of 3ds Max or Maya, while Cycles can already pretty much compete with such renderers.

In some areas Blender is also more complete and up to date than 3ds Max. To name a few examples 3ds Max has no built-in video editor, no compositing editor and no high-polygon sculpting engine. You have to buy Autodesk’s Mudbox separately for high-poly sculpting. Having said all this about 3ds Max, I do miss the relatively large number of useful 3ds Max modifiers in Blender, and I miss some things like being able to go back and change the number of polygons in a mesh object after you’ve created it. But such relatively small obstacles won’t keep me from enjoying Blender.

What are your future plans?

I am definitely going to continue exploring Blender, watching a truckload of informative Blender tutorials on the internet, and eventually I want to become a 100% Blender user, which will also finally allow me to migrate from a Windows PC to a Mac, because 3ds Max is still only available for Windows after all these years.

I have also made a first little contribution to the Blender gospel, by creating a 3ds Max (Design) UI scheme that transforms 3ds Max into a surrogate Blender, so 3ds Max users like me can convert to Blender more easily, by not having to completely switch back to the 3ds Max workflow when it is necessary to revisit 3ds Max.

 


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  • lexi

    Serious? First making complains about expensive software and then planning to switch in hardware which is in the same way overpriced. Its like Germans going to Aldi eating just pea soup only to have money over for buying a Mercedes meaning an early occurrence of fanboyism – speaking about the 1980s. But there it was not just a name but some quality and durability in opposite to todays opsoleteism – well and it run on cheaper diesel. But maybe there is some important software running only on Apple hardware or somehow more streamlined over there.

    • http://PolyKhromeGames.blogspot.com/ Brian Lockett

      Buying a computer like a Mac for $1000+ that is capable of running plenty of commercial and FOSS software is quite different than buying one single piece of software.for $1000+. Heck, a new copy of 3ds Max or Maya will cost you more than the Mac computer! Besides, maybe he needs it–you do need a Mac for iOS development. But I say, it’s worth paying for a comfortable workflow. If a Mac makes you more comfortable with your work, if may cost more, but I say, go for it.

    • fiend

      How often do you upgrade a computer?
      How many uses does a computer have Vs 3D Studio Max + Add-ins as ONE piece of SOFTWARE only?
      What is the ratio of artist-related software that comes with Macs VS PC?
      What is the lifetime of current hardware Vs current software?

      Surely you cannot compare the two.

      At the end of the day. Its HIS CHOICE. He may rather spend thousands of dollars on a hardware than on software.

    • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

      Thanks for your replies guys.

      @disqus_jCtZMkTuul:disqus I agree with you that Apple products are relatively overpriced compared to a similar Windows PC setup, but I am willing to pay some more for a system that is overall more well-balanced than a custom PC with Windows, with an OS that integrates better with my iPad and iPhone.

      • lexi

        Ah that thing – kinda dongeling. But i am at similar situation to going for Android as base as i wouldn’t be able to get a pad and a accompanied development system additionally. But if it where not the price i would try it for fun and not lacking a person as usability tester. I will see what i can make with it. So there are restrictions for every one – once here once there. And for the gadgets makers there are the patents to make themselves getting each other in the way.

        • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

          Yep. It’s all a matter of preference and budget. And oh well, the many available choices keep us busy. ☺

    • http://www.facebook.com/reaphsharc John Gerritse

      If he doesn’t have to pay for 3DS anymore, he has plenty of cash left to buy a Mac :-P As stated, that is his choice. I’d rather focus on the fact that more and more professional users are discovering Blender… and loving it! Metin, hope you keep enjoying Blender, and the fun thing about open source software and an open community is that you can tell the team what’s missing and they may be able to include it in future versions of Blender if the feature is worth the effort of programming. That is one of the great things about open source software and a great community surrounding it. We all want Blender to be an even better and versatile product than it already is.

      • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

        Thanks John! I fully agree, and I’m already busy contributing wishes to Blender Storm:
        http://www.blenderstorm.org/blenderstorm/contributor/Sevensheaven/ideas/

        • Kirill Poltavets

          Hi, Metin!
          Followed your links I found your site… Amiga’s Forever! :D
          Crap, I’ve already regretted that I’ve sold my 1200 with Blizzard accel. about 15 years ago. Still didn’t found better games on PC. Many-many 3d games passed… and I’m bored and wishing to play Bubba’n’Stix, Uranium, Shadow of the beast, ATR and many other hits. Emulators still doesn’t replicate unique Amiga’s HW features like blitter.
          Can’t find an old Amiga (a working specie of course) in my region. I don’t believe e-Bay in such deals.
          P.S. Moon Child looks nice and the music is very cool!

          • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

            Many thanks! Much appreciated, and indeed: Amiga forever! ☺

  • DJ Sparkwood

    Nice to see a Dutch organisation using a Dutch product. Keep up the great work. I love the 3D model of Steve Jobs on your website.

    • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

      Thank you very much!

  • npm1

    er thats called edit mode…..is it me or do some of the modifiers in 3ds max sound silly–

  • npm1

    er how about a linux distro such as ubuntu which works just as well as mac os x (in fact some can say that its better and more compatible plus its free plus you get the same or even more support on linux distro as you do with blender 3d)

  • http://www.blendernation.com Bart Veldhuizen

    Everyone, please take the Apple discussion elsewhere. It’s off-topic here.

  • jzbosco

    There is no argument that Max and Maya are some serious softwares. Still, Metin has very good points as to why they are no longer the only kids in town. I bought Max ten years or so ago and the costs associated with it are no longer feasible. And that is even more true with what I like to call ‘Blender coming of age’. Is Blender the greatest thing since sliced bread- the fanboy in me says, ‘Oh Yeah!’ OK, ok, I know that might be stretching it a bit (not sure anything is better than sliced bread); but the point is still real, Blender is now a serious software too and the icing is, it is so much more affordable. In other words, Blender won’t nickel and dime you. At last look, about an hour ago, 3dsmax upgrade is over 1700.00 and Maya is over 1800.00; Blender, after all these years, still hasn’t raised the price a penny. Good choice Metin.

    • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

      Many thanks!

  • 8-bit

    Nice little write-up! As Metin hit most of the reasons why I currently use Blender for my children’s media production start-up. Hard to justify spending thousands when a free flexible and robust tool already exist, thus the reason why I’ve been a blender user for the last 5 years or so. I learned the very basic on Truespace a decade ago, moved to a copy of 3dsmax to learn a bit more as a hobby and now Blender. I revisited Max about a year ago for a game I was working on. I think it still has some very cool things to offer, but was very disappointed how often it crashed on my machine and once again, the pricing.

    I’m thrilled Blender is my main 3d app as it’s been a way for me to pursue things that otherwise would be very difficult to achieve.

    Thanks again for sharing the info Bart and Metin – it’s a nice boost for us pursuing 3d graphics at a professional level.

    • http://www.sevensheaven.nl/ Metin Seven

      Thanks for your comment, much appreciated.