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About the Author

Benjamin Bailey

I am a young creative artist with a dream to conquer the world with my ideas. I love singing, writing, drawing, and modeling in 3D - and I'm ready to put these skills to use.


  1. It's a pretty mediocre review, but then again, I bet they didn't go into a lot of depth when covering multiple programs.

    Thanks to the Devs which have made this happen.

  2. Sorry for the double, but man, it looks like a steal when you read about Maya.

    The suggested retail price is $DOOM for Maya Complete 2009 (standalone) and $4,995 for Maya Unlimited 2009 (standalone). The upgrade price from Maya Complete 2008 is $899, and the upgrade from Maya Unlimited 2008 is $1,249

  3. To be acknowledged in one of Holywood's leading industry magazines, shows that Blender is more than capable to be in and should be considered as a part of any professional pipeline.

  4. I find that in certain areas blender actually surpasses the commercial packages. At least if you compare it to Maya :D I have worked on feature films and Blender is now my perspnal number one. My current blender rig is about three times faster than the maya rig that we use at work.

  5. I dislike those comparisions between Blender and other 3D software, they think that Blender CANT be that good as other expensive 3D packages because it costs nothing, but in fact it IS. Its just different. Im in the luck to work with Blender in my job the whole day and it shows to be very stable, very powerful and very versatile. We never had to or wanted to use any other 3D software.

    Plus, i worked on solutions that were only possible in Blender, like a complex terrain generator with material nodes and Python scripting.

    I wish people would stop describing Blender as a free alternative to MAX or Maja, its just more than that. Its Blender!!!

  6. compared to other competitors, blender screenshot is eyecandy, it's old, but still stunning! look how detail the model is. but than again, it is personal :)

  7. "It may not have all the same bells and whistles of leading packages such as Max and Maya"
    I'm actually struggling to think of what these bells and whistles might be.....anyone?

  8. maybe they mean n-gons as one of the bells and whistles? the lack of n-gons is the biggest disadvantage of blender to me.

    maya is huge and has stuff like maya live (match-moving), paint effects (nice for doing vegetation), motion retargeting, nurbs, global illumination (mental ray),...

    i still prefer blender for most things. :) blender does a lot of things better than maya (like uv-mapping, weight painting, subdivision surfaces,...).

  9. I'm happy to see Blender shown with other well known softwares.

    It has it's place now in the image industry, and will have a better one in the future, I'm sure !

    Congratulations to the Blender Team !

  10. I think facile comparisions of CG-Packages are useless for everybody! Especially "Animation Magazine" is very cursory!
    Be honest: If you would compare features and workflow in Maya with it in Blender, you would see that Maya is still lightyears away!
    Every-CG-body has his favorite. There could be several causes about that.
    But I think the main cause is the result and the options!
    I distinguish tools for hobbyists and amateurs (Blender) and professional tools for CGFX and movies (f.e. Maya).
    That's the world we still live in!

  11. @Icono, @Bastian - This isn't a comparison or a review of packages. It's a list of the best tools (in their opinion) out there - including 3D/2D software and hardware. As a heads-up for those who have not tried these tools before, it's nothing but good news to have Blender included.

  12. It's great news. The more people who are exposed to Blender, the more people will start to use it for some of their needs. Blender needn't compete directly with any other software, because you can always use Blender in addition to whatever else you use.

  13. @Ivo: Very interesting to hear!
    @Bastian: Thanks for the insight there. It's only really happened once, but it's tough to know how to reply when someone says Blender isn't as good.
    @horace: Thanks for the very good info there. With Blender's enthusiastic community and developer team we may reach (and surpass) those features in the near future. Maybe? :D
    @Tony: Good thought.

  14. It’s good to see blender on the list :)

    As for comparing blender to max/maya etc, Blender does what blender does, and it does it well. As Tony mentioned it can compliment an already existing workflow. Bigger studios aren't going to drop a system they have tried and tested. It would simply make no sense to do so.

    Returning to my initial point if blender keeps going in the direction it has thus far and by doing what it does, better faster and stronger, then it will get used because of that and the other packages will keep being used for the strengths of those packages

  15. Too bad they didn't use Blender for WALL-E. I was really stunned by the quality in the animations in that movie. I always thought that Blender could dance with the top flight packages but after seeing WALL-E, I'm not so sure anymore.

  16. @Olaf: Well, Blender is only being used in a feature film (as far as I know) on the Plumiferos film, which is being done by a small (volunteer?) studio, and that film isn't done yet, so we can't quite see the final product. Anyhow, about WALL-E: Yes, many of the visuals were excellent, but keep in mind that Pixar uses proprietary software for their modeling and animation (their animation program is called "Marionette" I think.) Yes, I hope that Blender rises to the top, but it is still young and has a strong community behind it, and even though large entertainment companies aren't ready to throw away their thousands of dollars worth Maya and ZBrush licenses, other studios, smaller ones, can use Blender, and eventually it will be recognized as an industry warrior. Anyhow, sorry if I was too harsh with my lecture, there... :)

  17. I was 3Ds Max user before – Now I use Blender as my main software. I can accomplish many things with Blender faster than 3Ds Max does. I feel comfortable with it. Thanks to Blender community…

  18. I'm really not surprised.

    I'm in a 3D animation class at a technical school called Evit, and I met someone there that was, well... He hated Blender. He was a Maya person, and he said he tried Blender but didn't like it.

    But, we became friends, and one time he sees how fast I'm modeling in Blender. I'm OK with Maya (which is what we use in class, though we also have Max), but he's a faster modeler than I am. But, with Blender, I am a MUCH faster modeler than he is.

    Also, while really unrelated, my renders from Blender come out better than his Maya renders, but that really has to do with how he sets up his materials and lighting. Though, it must be said that Blender internal has more features than Maya renderer, though not as much as Mental Ray.

    So, now he's asking me to teach him Blender. I've also converted him to Linux, which he now uses.

    So, yes, Blender is making its mark, and anyone who is intelligent and has seen it in action will know it is something to at least give a chance in the studio.

    Only thing that is lacking in Blender is proper NURBS, but I heard even that is being taken care of.

  19. "Too bad they didn't use Blender for WALL-E."

    First off, who's to say they didn't? Pixar uses their own proprietary in house software for a lot of what they do. But really, there are a lot of people working at Pixar and I wouldn't be at all surprised surprised if somebody there was at least an occasional Blender user. How would we ever know?

    That said, consider this: The budget of Wall-E was $180 million dollars. Try to imagine for a moment what kind of movie could be made with Blender as its main 3D software and $180 million dollars. I don't know what the budget for Big Buck Bunny was off hand, but I am pretty sure it wasn't much more than a small fraction of a percent of that. Also, not to diminish the team of BBB creators, but the next time you watch a Pixar movie, take note of how many people's names come up on the credits, and remember that every single one of those names represents somebody at the very top of their field. There's a lot of money and an incredible amount of skill and experience that goes into those movies.

    Point is, the main difference between Wall-E and any Blender movie you've ever seen isn't the 3D software.

  20. a different Tom on

    the more people exposed to blender the more feedback, especially when they're in the pro field. Then the coders get to work and everyone wins. Period!

    Look at what it's become, how it grows by leaps and bounds compared to any other program there. It runs on darn near any OS, reads cross platform, forwards and back.

    Blender is going places. FAST!

  21. ton mentioned on IRC once that some pixar modeler told him at siggraph that he used blender for modeling one monsters inc. character since maya's (if i remember correctly) subdivision surface workflow sucked a bit back then.

    (as far as i know subdivision modeling in maya still isn't really fun. i haven't tried recent maya versions though. in earlier maya versions this proxy cage stuff and also maya's real subdivision surfaces felt very clumsy.)

  22. The article said that they used Modo for WALL-E, which (at least superficially) looks like Blender. Why then, did they not use Blender? That's what I wonder. What's so great about Modo that isn't present in Blender and what can we learn from that?

    I'm not experienced enough to know if with a large budget you could make a movie with the same quality like 'Horton Hears a Who' or 'WALL-E', but I doubt it. The Blender movies I've seen so far look OK but they're not in any way like 'WALL-E' in which almost every scene is a work of art. Blender renders with LuxRender or Maxwell do come extremely close, though.

  23. @Olaf: Like Tony said, it may have to do with the budget and time constraints, as well as the size of the team. BBB is a good push in the right direction as far as technical quality is concerned (the animations were a huge improvement over ED,) and we need to give the Blender Foundation time so they can grow. A city isn't built in a day, and Blender is like a small citadel in the world of commercial ruthlessness. As the nation of free communities, (of open source users,) grow, so will the strength of the citadel be increased. This isn't some magnificent prophecy, it's an allegorical hope.

  24. It's good thing that Blender is being mentioned in those list like the CG society list and now the animator's magazine. It does wonders for the brand recognition and it is a way for Blender to earn its street creds.

    I think with the coming new animation system and rigging stuff (Etch-a-Ton and the IPO and dope sheet stuff), Blender will attract more serious animators, and is being used/ respected by top animators like Daniël Lara already.

    Do you know which TOP package didn't make the list? XSI.... it makes me wonder how accurate the list is.

  25. """
    The article said that they used Modo for WALL-E, which (at least superficially) looks like Blender. Why then, did they not use Blender? That's what I wonder. What's so great about Modo that isn't present in Blender and what can we learn from that?

    modo has great n-gon modelling tools.

    it also has a quite nice and easy to use global illumination renderer but i don't think it got used at pixar since they use their own renderman.

    I'm not experienced enough to know if with a large budget you could make a movie with the same quality like 'Horton Hears a Who' or 'WALL-E', but I doubt it. The Blender movies I've seen so far look OK but they're not in any way like 'WALL-E' in which almost every scene is a work of art. Blender renders with LuxRender or Maxwell do come extremely close, though.

    i think with those budgets you could even write your own 3d-software from scratch if you want. which means that blender could be used too. :) ...and actually pixar really uses a lot of in-house software like marionette and renderman (which they also sell).

  26. @ Toon Scheur
    Yeah I noticed that too. Especially since XSI has seen the most improvement and addition of innovative features like ICE compared to the other top commercial programs like Maya and Max.
    Anyway I love how Blender owns the those so called professional commercial programs. I'm not say that they suck or anything is it just that I find it funny how many things Blender does better than those other programs. And it's completely for free. I just love it. ^______^

  27. I was reading the comments at the end of the article and ran across this:

    Zlatko Nikolic : PC service : Technicom
    Friday, January 09, 2009

    It will be good to have integratet Blender,Inkscape and Gimp in one pro package, and have some kind of BRIDGE between like in Adobe suit.

    That's an idea, do you think that would be possible? I haven't thought out the full implications of such a development, but it sounds like it would be a good idea.

  28. Once you've spend your €/$ 2500-5000 on a commercial "pro" package you might feel like a total idiot admitting that a for free tool could be equal or even better. This is why some people still like to believe that the emperor is not naked!

  29. @Olaf, at the risk of repeating myself, the biggest practical difference between a BF movie and a Pixar movie is hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of highly skilled and talented people. The specific 3D app is probably one of the least important elements of the equation. If there's a feature you need that's not in Blender, well, if you've got $180 million bucks you hire a team of software developers to work full time on implementing it.

    If you think 8 people in a room for six months could have made Wall-E if they'd been using Modo instead of Blender, I think you're pretty seriously mistaken.

  30. A word about other 3-D packages: I tried TrueSpace since it's free, but it's certainly not easier to use than Blender. In fact I would argue that it's just as confusing to a new user as Blender is. People should realize that 3-D isn't something you can jump in and be productive immediately, there's a long learning curve involved, no matter what package you choose. If you spend $2500 on a software package you would be loath to admit that Blender can do the same thing for free.

  31. My guess is that when Blender 2.5 comes out and the interface is revamped along the lines suggested by William Reynish that we will see a huge uptake of Blender by both amateur and professional 3-D artists. Maybe some company in the future will make a feature film with Blender to show that it can do what other packages can.

    The only thing I would suggest is that the Blender developers write a small manual (20 pages or so) about how Blender source code is organized and how it fits together. This may attract some more developers to work on it.

  32. a different Tom on

    The manual on source code is a good idea. It also touches on the one thing that, back when I installed the older versions on other computers, was my biggest problem. Lack of integrated help files or a manual. We've made some progress on that front with the wiki and countless tutorials, books, and videos, but it's still lacking.

    When I was in school we had 3D classes in 3DSM and if you look at its help file every item has a small section explaining what each setting does. The biggest problem with Blender is the rate it progresses, writing that up, translating would add quite some time between releases I think. I suspect if it were a PDF and modular, it could help as many core features still work the same. I know we've got something like that now, the pdf downloads of the wiki that jesterking puts together but an official release with chapters or bookmarks would make beginning that much easier.

    I came into blender with some of the basics understood, but locating things was the single largest issue I had.

  33. In addition to the Wiki and online tuts, there are

    Essential Blender
    The Blender GameKit Second Edition
    Introducing Character Animation with Blender
    Bounce, Tumble, and Splash! Simulating the Physical World with Blender
    Animating with Blender
    Mastering Blender
    Blender for Dummies
    Blender 3D Architecture, Buildings, and Scenery

    Mancandy FAQ
    Creature Factory
    Learn Character Animation using Blender
    Blendernewbies DVD

    With every release, there are excellent, thorough release notes to enable people to stay totally up to date:

  34. @Tony

    Yes but the devs won't have to move around many buttons i 2.5 before all those fine DVDs and books are utterly useless.

  35. @krasnik,

    This is a common misconception, but it's wrong. Those resources won't be useless by a long shot. The changes for 2.5 will be obvious and significant, but will really only affect certain aspects of the interface. If you have real understanding of how Blender works, it will be very easy to get yourself up to speed with the new developments. The number of things about Blender that will stay the same vastly outnumber the number of things that will change. This is true of every version. A couple of moved buttons don't suddenly render thousands of pages of information useless.

    When a person is completely new to Blender, obviously there are challenges in trying to learn on version Y by using materials written for version X. As you say, there will be buttons and interface elements that aren't where they are expected, etc. (Of course, this is usually pretty simple to find out about in a few minutes on However, once they know how to work confidently with version Y, making the step to the next update won't be so difficult.

    What total beginners should do, is to try to learn Blender, period. It doesn't matter which (reasonably recent) version they learn the basics on. Once they know what they are doing in a general sense, they can hunker down with the release notes and get themselves totally up to speed.

    The simple fact is that documentation writers aren't clairvoyant. Documentation has to be written for software that already exists. In the open source world, everything that exists is also publicly available, which leads to the illusion that documentation is somehow "lagging behind". It's not. The only difference is the speed at which you have access to new, undocumented features. If it was proprietary software, it simply wouldn't be released and you wouldn't have the option to try to get ahead of the documentation.

  36. @Tony

    I know it must be a bit frustration to hear that statement all the tine. I was of course exaggerating a bit, but I still believe there is at least some truth in it.

    It will not be that much of a problem to people who already know the basics of how blender works, or know an expert in person. If these people have the required time it will not be much of a problem.

    But have you ever thought about why so many people buy training books and dvds, when most of the material is already scattered around the web? Many people (especially new users) see it as a shortcut. They will rather give away money than go hunting the web for info on why the h*** they can't find the UV mode anywhere. If they have to go hunting even with the boobs/dvds, then what's the point? I know this is very generalizing and simplified, but I hope you can see my point.

    I would love to see a huge official blender knowledge base (not just a wiki) with videos/text/pictures/blend-files, something that is being kept up to date all the time. It might be necessary to hire a professional to maintain it, but so be it. I wouldn't mind paying 100€ a year for access to such a thing.

  37. "If they have to go hunting even with the boobs/dvds, then what's the point?"

    The way I see it, it's free software. People can choose to learn with the versions for which stacks and stacks of training material exists, or they can learn from versions where less training material exists and read the release notes. Everybody's got their own style of learning, and their own level of self-motivation. Some people like books, but books are physical objects and have limitations.

    "I wouldn't mind paying 100€ a year for access to such a thing."

    Fair enough, but since nobody's offering such a service at present, perhaps a better question to ask yourself is how much you would ask to be paid to do the job yourself, then try to sell others on the idea. Don't forget the service will be competing with a huge free (albeit flawed) Wiki.

  38. Agreed with Tony. Everyone has their own learning style.

    Moving buttons CAN make tutorials obsolete, depending on the user. A user that understands the underlying, universal concepts of 3d won't have much difficulty; whereas people that memorize, and get hung up on every last detail without seeing the concept will struggle. Of course many users are a blend of those two extreme types but it comes down to the way the user learns as well, not just the courseware.

  39. I once read something online that said that the majority of software development is in-house.
    Apparently, Blender can easily be developed in-house; Maya, etc., not so easily, or at least cheaply.

    Blender's free and libre. How about Maya, etc.?

    Who pays for advertising in 3D magazines? That might influence any article.

    Much great 3D computer animation movies were made using far less than what we have today in any software, and technological features don't make a great movie. In fact, they might even hinder doing so.

    Ever seen the original Solaris? I saw it for the first time only last fall, and enjoyed it as much as any good recent film.

    However, and ironically perhaps, because of some other kinds of technological advances; The "film industry" has become us. :)

    Don't quit your brick-and-mortar jobs! ;)

  40. Do we have to compare at all?

    It's like i read a discussion about Linux and Windows (i use 80% Linux, 20% W)....

    Can you compare a motorcycle with a car?
    If you got the driving license for both it's YOUR choice which vehicle you take
    So, back 2 topic: blender does not have to compete with majors like maya.
    Anyone has the choice to take the tool he (or she) likes best to do the needed task.
    It's NOT feature-competition like UV-mapping, Nurbs, Ngons who has and who not.
    It's about the task you have to do. We only need a little bit more popularity, which will come alone sooner or later
    and then the Artists know which tool to take for each task. That's freedom.

    (btw. i'd like to have a sneak preview in the source-code of maye et. al. i'm sure it's a bigger mess than blender's code ;)


  41. btw... as i read the comments ... who is this guy :-)

    ton : animator : nan
    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    blender is crap it cant perform as well as the others such as 3dmax or vue

  42. how can you guys say it's faster than the other application?
    because of hotkeys? other software also have hotkeys.

    why do we need to press 3 buttons to access the basic tool like rotation (Ctrl+Alt+R)
    or scale (Ctrl+Alt+S) or translate/location/move (Ctrl+Alt+G). Shifting from these three tools might give you carpal tunnel syndrome.
    while other application is just a single button like tanslate/location/move(w), rotation(e),scale(r).

  43. @xyz: About the rotation, scale, and translation (grab) hotkeys: to use the widgets for rotation, sizing, and moving, yes, you need to use that funky key combination. However, I hardly ever use that. Most of the time I just hit "r", "s", or "g" to switch between the operations, and then hit x, y, or z after that to decide which axis I wanted to control the operation with. Thanks for the comment! Cheers -b

  44. @xyz: (however, I do use the translation (grab) widget, because it is the preset. :) And before you told me (maybe I read it somewhere else before and forgot?) I didn't know those hotkeys. lol. thanks! ;) )

  45. What a great list. I am always on the look for top lists, and your list is great starting point. Lists are very useful.

    Well, this is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the precious time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting post you share here!

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