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Looking Back on 2011: Most Read Posts


I've compiled a list of the most popular posts on BlenderNation this year. While it may miss some events, it certainly gives a good impression of 2011. Enjoy!

10: Cleaning up the Blender UI

There's no better way to get people's blood pumping than by discussing Blenders user interface. You either love it or you hate it, but most people agree what once you've mastered it, it's amazingly efficient. William Reynish proposed a cleanup and met both both praise and resistance in this post.

9: Blenrig 4: Automatic Skinning and Rigging for Bipeds

Blenrig is one of the most advanced rigging systems available for Blender.

8: Hair in Blender

This tutorial by Ben Simonds was the most popular tutorial on BlenderNation this year.

7: SIO2 No Longer Open Source

SIO2, a game engine for mobile devices, dropped their open source license earlier this year and caused an outrage.

6: Demoreel: Dono

What can I say? The work of a genius.

5: 4 New Blender Features That Will Blow You Away

In his typical way, Blender Guru comments on 4 new features that made their way into Blender: Cycles, Camera Tracking, Dynamic Paint and the Ocean Simulator.

4: GSoC Tomato Branch: Motion tracking in Blender

After Cycles, the new Motion tracker is what got people REALLY excited this year.

3: Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook

Colin Litster's new book drew a lot of attention and was received very well, although some people were disappointed by the printing quality (something that the publisher, PACKT, seems to suffer from a lot).

2: Brecht Returns to Blender Institute, Works on new Renderer

I think this is the news item that caused the most turmoil in the Blender community this year. It showed a first glimpse of the new GPU renderer Cycles, which left people drooling. Cycles was integrated in Blender 2.61.

1: Blender Releases: 2.57, 2.58, 2.59, 2.60, 2.61

At the top of our 2011 list: we've seen no less than five new Blender releases this year! Much needed and pro-level features were added at a pace that we've never seen before - Blender development is speeding up at an unbelievable rate. The new features convince more and more users of other 3D apps to give Blender a try, and often they find it a useful addition to their workflow. I can only guess at where we'll be in one year from now, but I'm sure 2012 will be a great year for the Blender Community!

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)


  1. @Zecc:disqus : You mean, the CGI world as we know it, ends?
    Everyone knows how the free version of Unity change the game engine scenario (both paid and open source). That lead to free, cheap and commercial licensing of UDK, which then followed by CryEngine.

    The story goes that lots of developers use the  free version to create a proof on concept. But the thing is, once they got funding, why change engine when everything already well developed? It made Unity what Unity is now. This business model is now followed by UDK and CryEngine.

    As for Blender, from what I heard, the problem is in the API. But then again, even MAX suffer the same problem early on. If you plan to upgrade MAX, you must also consider the upgrades cost of all your plugins, and what about the plug-in that yet has no new version. I think only at version 7 (or was it 6) that MAX upgrades still can use current version of plug-ins.

    Blender need to have a good API that allow other plug-ins company to support Blender. We also must shows that we are not cheap people, we must be seen as (since no money spent of Blender, we can afford to buy other software/plugins) type of people. Suicidator (city generator) and some other tools is a nice step to this direction. Maybe when BMesh is in trunk, maybe there are people going to return to Blender.

      • At the end of every year, the "prophets" (Nostradamus, Mayan, and many other) say that the world will end. But their forecasts failed each time.

        • Nostradamus did ok with his predictions up until the introduction of
          movies. Then instead of seeing the future, he saw the big screen and thought death and destruction was everywhere..

      • Yes, I know about the Mayan 2012 thingy, it just that it's too vague. But I will watch what will happens when Blender plays well with other specialized app. Will it do to CGI world what Unity do to game development world. Blender already play well with VRAY, so I guess it's a matter of time.

      • It ends in 2012 because... they ran out of stone! :D

        On topic, yes, I think this year was one of the best years for Blender, but I think we haven't seen anything just yet; 2012 is here and we need to roll the rock more and make more tastelicious salads with Blender, aye!

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

      “Blender need to have a good API that allow other plug-ins company to support Blender.”

      It already has assimilated Python into its entire DNA, so to speak. And look at the loads of add-ons that people have already done for it, and continue to do for it—what more do you want? What do you see as missing in the “API”?

  2. A Happy New Blender Year for All the Blenderheads all over the world  !!! 

    A lot of very interesting new developments for all the Advanced Users among us !And for all the Beginners and the Intermediate Blender Users : a Comprehensive Fully Updated Blender Manual and a lot of energy to study all those wonderful items !!!  :-)

    • Haven't checked that out in awhile... [quick check]

        Aw snap, what the heck?  The 2.6 manual still has some 2.4 GUI screenshots in it.  That's no good!

  3. Aaron Keesing on

    I hope that in this year a lot of other open source software will improve a lot as well.

    e.g Inkscape, GIMP, Luxrender etc.

    Then we'll be able to do a lot more with CG.

  4. I think that as long as the money keeps flowing on proprietary software companies Blender will never really "surpass" all the other 3D softwares. I'm not telling it's bad, I'm just being realistic. Blender is a very nice piece of software that fulfills all my needs and lately I'm really impressed on how it's evolving and incorporating 'million-dollar' functionalities. However, it really can't be compared with the AAA commercial applications, especially when taking into account the commercial plugins for these applications also. You can somewhat compare them in 'vanilla' state, and in fact imho Blender actually is superior in this case, because it's a "complete" software, it can do everything outta-the-box.

    • It depends on what is meant by "surpassing" other software offerings though.  To my viewpoint, putting the proprietaries out of business and bleeding all their money away would be a much more ambitious goal than this.  It is possible to surpass another offering while still co-existing with it, without completely vanquishing the competition.  To try to be the next Microsoft is not necessarily the best goal.

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