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Blender's BMesh video overview

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Join Blender Cookie's Jonathan Williamson for a tour of the upcoming BMesh modeling system.

Jonathan Williamson writes:

Hello and welcome to this overview of Blender's new BMesh modeling system!

BMesh is the new mesh modeling architecture that is currently in development and scheduled to be included with Blender 2.63 or 2.64. This new BMesh system is very powerful and brings Blender's modeling tools into the modern era.

You can download development testing versions of Blender from GraphicAll.org.

One of the main capabilities of BMesh is full NGon support so that you may have polygons with more than four vertices. This helps to make the modeling process far less destructive and easy to work with. Along with NGons, BMesh also opens the doors for many new mesh modeling features and tools that previously had not been feasible.

This video overview gives you a demo of several new features that are already included with the development versions, including the new Super Knife tool, and it also helps clarify what BMesh means and how it effects you the artist.

Overall, BMesh adds substantial new power to the Blender's modeling toolset and can drastically speed up your modeling workflow. Personally, I love it and already feel crippled when I go back to the current modeling system.

-Jonathan

Link

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 ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

24 Comments

  1. This is exactly what I have been waiting for. A walkthrough by the topology master himself. It does seem easier to get your way out of a tricky mesh if you use ngons. Also the architectural example is very good. I often model complicated shapes with mostly flat parts. It is apparently ok to keep them is you model of you are only shading flat pieces, so that indeed makes life easier. I'm onboard!

  2. "BMesh also opens the doors for many new mesh modeling features and tools that previously had not been feasible."

    Can we hear about some examples of this?

    Also, will this completely replace the existing mesh code, or will both be in there with the option to choose/convert between them?

    • A proper bevel
      A proper Knife
      A proper inset, outset tool, a rock solid bridge tool (inset & bridge exist as plug-ins now, but the bridge tool output is often... problematic.)

      At least as important is the selection tools that are made possible because BMesh not only stores "vertex soup", but edge adjacency data as well. This allows for all sorts of powerful selection tools like pattern selection (e.g ever 3rd edge in an edge ring)

      The ability to UN-triangulate a model all at once and not just 2 triangle pairs at a time.

      Download Wings3D (http://www.wings3d.com) and check to the toolset. Wings uses a similar data format that allows for many operations and selections not currently available in Blender.

      • Don't forget that Bmesh will enable better sculpting speed, and the possibility to get the UnlimitedClay support natively. That'll be a real revolution!

        • What is the concern some people have about being able to convert between the new code and the old code?  Has there been talk that it would break backwards compatibility?

          • I know it does, it's some other people who just act like the sky is falling, "but what if I don't want Bmesh", well it works fine and won't change any of their old projects so they shouldn't get all panicked or anything.

          • I don't think bmesh could break anything. In the end, the blend file is just a source of information. It depends on how you read it to get the relevant info. They have their own specification available, so they just need to add some lines of code to process the old files. And btw you always can triangulate the mesh or convert between formats to open a new file in a more old version of Blender.
            See U.

        • Nicholas Bishop on

          BMesh will not affect sculpt speed. It may or may not help with dynamic-topology sculpting, we'll see on that one :)

      •  Ran, thanks for enumerating some of those advantages... I asked mostly by way of promoting this great effort - to get word out about what amazing things this will allow blenderheads to do!

        I've used wings (well, tinkered really) for many years now and do enjoy the advantages it provides, tho also find myself straining against its limitations and restrictions. (Blender feels more free.) Also, I found its n-gon capability to be a little shaky, seeming to sometimes result in something like double edges or somesuch kind of error... I'm thinking/hoping that bmesh does this "properly"...

  3. lets not forget that the new bmesh system will finally allow for proper nurbs modelling, nurbs support as it stands now is a bit crippled in the old system

    •  AFAIK, there is little to no correlation between the Bmesh effort/code and the NURBS effort/code within Blender. The two are completely distinct systems. [I know for a fact that the methods for describing geometry within the two systems are entirely and completely different and virtually unrelated to one another.]

      The only improvement I can suppose is that when NURBS geometry is tesselated into Bmesh geometry it will behave in a more reasonable way (eg. result in a closer approximation of the original NURBS representation.)

      Unless I'm completely off-base, here? Could you point to some discussions/resources from the devs on this topic?

      • Right, its two seperate toolsets but when working with complex nurbs with in blender or from other package, bringing them into blender as a mesh, the current system falls short, holes and multiple vertices where none should exist and with the new bmesh, it should be easier and involve less clean up when bringing nurbs in as mesh, right now its very destructive

  4. There's a misquote there, he says bring blenders modeling tools into the modern era. More like, bringing blender's modeling tools to the 90's--there is nothing modern about how *all* modern 3d software handle mesh creation--today. We'll see what the future has in store.

  5. @6b5609c16fed79eab222b199daecd782:disqus
    It's not dead. I would consider Wings3D 'mature', so it's expected there's not much going on improvement wise.

    @05b50fd6be71228c07925f9d7624f82e:disqus & @twitter-190879674:disqus
    Absolutely agree. In many respects Wings3D and many other applications are superior to
    Blender' modelling tools, both in usability and features. N-gons, dissolve, cut... really? Is that considered 'advanced'?
    Blender is amazing software, but wake me up when it has the full feature set and usability of something like Wings3D and I'll consider switching to Blender for modelling. Maybe.

    • Just got done supplying a "helper" graphic for Wings' new Image Plane placement tool. It allows for the placement and naming of image planes in one dialog box. Not a big change, but certainly indicates that it is still being developed. The current dev snapshot contains a GPU accelerated viewport renderer as well. You can find screenshots of the renderer output on the Wings user forum... unfortunately, I can't currently access the forum, so I can't provide a link... but search the forum for posts in the last 4-6 months by user "dgud" -- one of the long-time Wings dev's.

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