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Friday Hangout: What's Your Favorite Part of Blender?


So, which part of Blender do you spend most of your time in, and why? Do you love modeling or lighting, does your job require you to rig characters, or are you trying to build skills in realistic rendering or Python programming? (A last possibility: is a certain part *so* bad that it just takes outrageous amounts of time to get anything done? ;-)

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 ;-)


    • Electronicpulse on

      there should be a way, have you noticed how every time you select mesh it draws the borders around it... there might be a way tu use the same things that draws that to create a rendereable outline... rigght?

        • Well, I haven't tried this in blender, but one trick we used once in a low poly video game a long time ago (like ... before shaders) was simply to create a double of the mesh, push it out a bit. Make it flat black, one sided, and invert the normals. Works great and it's a really simple way to get your outline.

          It's not perfect. You do get the occasional artifact. I'm sure there are better solutions available now, but it's easy and it works.

      • Since blender has that functionality I think it should be possible to extract this and use it as a render pass or something. having control over color, thinkness and AA should be great also. The blender internal render had that posibility. shame it dissapeared with cycles.

        Brecht? if you have some spare time. could you take a look at this please. :)

  1. Greeting everyone,
    I love modeling and texturing, trying to get a model to look as realistic as possible. I come from a CAD background so the modeling part is what I like to do most. Unfortunately I'm not all ways successful, but my motto is: try, fail... try again and fail better.

  2.  The speed, openess and collaborative nature of its development. Nothing beats being able to message the developer of a tool and getting an answear to a mission critical problem the same day!

  3. the interface paradigm. very intuitive and excellent design. 

    another one is the python scripting, very easy to learn.

  4. With Blender's reliance (some might say over reliance) on keyboard shortcuts, I can get things out of my head and into a polygonal mesh faster in Blender than with any other tool. Blender is the Vim of 3d content creation tools.

      • Don't say that, vim is great, it has very easy recogniceable text commands. :-)
        Though you may like emacs or nano more.
        Or notepad++.
        In blender I really like modeling in the local view, and I think some of the texture buttons could be moved.
        But I still like it.
        I hope I get timed textures back for particles- and yes, rigging is awesome too :-)
        as well isa uv unwrap and new tools.

  5. Daryl Van Humbeck on

    Primarily modelling, materials, and lighting.

    I'll sometimes add a rig to things that would benefit from one, but that's rare.
    (I also try to stick to the internal textures so I can avoid UVs and creating textures manually)

  6. I use Blender for Modelling right now, got the basics already, I'm aimed at creating an awesome Film, but I know this won't work if I do it alone, but right now no one I know is really willing or able to do stuff like this. I have a DVD that teaches the Basics of blender (>12 hours), but after the Modelling I really no longer paid attention like before. About materials for example I just watched it, tried some stuff out but never really kept it in my Mind, still don't completely get this "Material channels assign-unassgin and so forth- stuff" :D, Cycles confuses me even more, only thing I'm sure about is: it's great :)

  7. Dabou Master on

    The sculpting !!! Although it's really painful with my actual computer I pray to have more fun with the new one I'll buy this year. I think that this part is just the quickest way to have an impressive model (organic only) and it's really pleasant. I hope that it will be greatly improved by the GSoC :) ! (sorry if I didn't write correctly, never sure with my english).

  8. Blender is for me first of all great tool. Tool for almost everything I do (architectural rendering of my own projects). And still, so much to learn. So it's great from all aspects.

  9. Coming VFX-features like vernoi-shatter ;), good learning books, allways up-to-date .... thank you for BLENDER!

  10. Well, my main strength is modeling, so in a project it's always what I enjoy most.  I'm still in the process of learning about proper rendering and lighting, but I have to say, considering my limited experience with it Cycles is proving to be seriously awesome!  The smoke simulator is also the only simulator (so far) with which I've succeeded more consistently, but overall modeling is my favourite aspect of 3D - I just love taking a whole bunch of dots and making them look like an NES console or a Golf GTI :D

    There's also the mind-blowing speed and enthusiasm that's propelling Blender forwards, I'd have to say that's one of my favourite aspects of being a Blender-head.  I'm no developer (I can tell Python to Print "Hello World" and that's it) but seeing everyone get together and push something through, like Mike Farny's brief Cycles involvement, or seeing new add-ons pop up and new amazing developments evolve is really awesome. :D

  11. floating panels...oh
    I miss 'em, but I really like just about everything aside from the new(3DSMAX)layout...I prefer the horizontal and floating panels, but I guess my game modeling and texture painting in blender....

  12. Henryschreineriii on

    The VSE. I make educational lab intros as part of my job as a TA at a university. So film + photos + simple animation. I enjoy all parts though. :)

  13. Pawe? ?yczkowski on

    Surprisingly modeling, even without BMesh. I love how vertices and edges can exist independently of polygons, how extrude works (single command for vertices, edges and faces), and how the mirror modifier works for symmetrical modeling. Had problems with those things in other apps.

  14. Modeling, rigging..

    ..and Blender itself! Because it's interface let's you integrate different tasks, with a few panels you have access to modeling, sculpting, animation, tracking , video editing, composition, etc etc in a very easily customizable way.

    And what I love most, it is ours!

  15. In the everyday life I'll do everything in Blender, using almost every feature, except rigging and animating models ( i animate objects and cameras)...
    In this work, the part that I love is the one when I don't know how to do something and I try pressing G and the component/node/trackpoint/frame/object/line/strip/suzanne moves! simply coherence!


  16. Sterling Roth on

    I particularly enjoy modeling and texturing. I work in a production environment where I can render up a concept of a fixture that we are going to build and then see it physically constructed a few weeks later.

  17. Sergiohannemann on

    The interface, this made me put a lot of tools aside and do quickly what can quickly be done, but only in Blender. 

    I used 3d max and i saw that that value in that was in the plug-ins and not in the program itself...

    • Beauregard Heimer on

      Yep, VFX in BI are great. It is harder and more time consuming, but the results rival AE. I wish masking was easier, and some of the nodes don't seem intuitive, but it is useful to understand what the computer is actually doing when you press buttons in AE.

  18. I just love looking at all the creative, nice souls that makes Blender go forward. I see a united helpfull community. I spend time in a kick ass software. I see Ton being a master of free. (To bad he wasnt at Fitc).

  19. 1. philosophy of Blender leadership (open)
    2. Blender user community: wow. I participate in several creative communities but nothing tops the response time of Blender-heads!
    3. every time I think to myself, "I wish Blender would/could...", the next release usually does.
    4. I prefer modeling in Blender to Maya (started with Maya years ago, not saying one's better, just prefer Blender modeling)
    5. ...and I could go on and on...

  20. The compositor.

    Easyness to add audio tracks to footage.

    And everything else about Blender.

    Blender has enabled me to stay out of debt and survive by giving a bit of extra income.

    I have only been able to give €10 to Blender so far, but hope once I am on a better financial footing to give more, when I get on a better financial footing over the next 4 to 6 months.

    I appreciate giving me its capacity's for free. I will remember that and hopefully will at some point be able to repay them for there kindness in making Blender free to use.

    I have a feeling that more than a one or two Blender users have used Blender in there spare time to help pay the occassional debt payment that they did not have the money for.

    Blender definitely is the best.

  21. My favorite part of blender is the 3D viewport navigation and the keyboard shortcuts :) There's no other software that feels even close of blenders fluidity. Clicking is terrible, why the hell someone would want to click in virtual buttons if we have a bunch of them in the keyboard ready to press and leaving the mouse free for what it really matters. 

  22. Beauregard Heimer on

    I use use it for VFX. The compositor is not yet comparable to NUKE, but it is definitely a rival to AE. It is a  little harder, but it does the same stuff.

  23. Anthony Pilon on

    Modelling and sculpting are my main strengths right now, and Blender's keyboard-shortcutted-everything makes the workflow really fast.

    I also like the BI's material nodes, the compositor, and the tight integration with external renderers (Yafaray, Luxrender especially).

    And the interface.

    And the fact that it has a full-featured interactive physics simulator.

    And the excellent 3D navigation, which no other software even comes close to in ease of use.

    And of course, the open-source bit!

  24. Just being able to boot it up quickly, start work, and get a nice result fairly quickly. Oh and having pretty much everything I need in the one tool. (nodes, smoke sim, tracking, water sim, dynamic paint, great modeling, cycles, everything!)

  25. G R S X Y Z, ctrl+L/T arrow, shift+alt+s, ctrl C ctrl V, 1 3 7 5 0, shift+a, X, tab tab tab

    yeah - another interface and default keyboard lover. and the modeling!

    Out of the more special features, I'll be a bit original and highlight the Grease Pencil. 
    And even more original and praise the clean crashes, rather than timekilling lockups. And subsequent 5-10 second startup time.

  26. What do I love most in Blender?
    - MoCap plus all other things related to the creation of realistic human characters (MakeHuman integration, for example); I just wish the particle hair behaved better, especially when animated
    - Physics and sims (a realistic lava fountain, anyone? Not even Andrew Price, the creator of Nature Academy, has managed to come up with one :-) )
    - Cycles renderer (subsurface scattering and normal maps, please!!!! And if it's at all possible to speed it up just a little bit for animations?)
    ...In that order.
    What do I spend most time on? UV Unwrapping... much as I hate it.

  27. I just started to learning it , before I use 3DS max , I love the openGL rendering most ! I can see what is going on in a complex animation scene without a Quadro xx...........  I think . and most things can be done in Blender itself . for example uv painting , Sculpting etc , I  haven't worked with sculpting tools before , it seems i need to learn some ! but beeing in china , I don't know how can I get that tutorials ! there is lack of tutorials , even I can find tutorials in 500-600 res video tutorials . youtube is not available in here for Gov forbidden it , it seems like some other webs are forbidden too , I can only enjoy pictures and only some videos in here ! but Blender community is grat ! 

    • Have you tried IMO it's the best blender resource site with tons of free videotutorials.
      Or is it forbidden too?

    • Beauregard Heimer on

      Have you tried It has a few Blender Tutorials. If that is blocked too, then just try to figure stuff out on your own. It may take longer, but you develop a very unique style.

  28. What I love in Blender?
    Blender community, especially BlenderArtists, I am an anarchist and BlenderArtists is a community that operates on every anarchist principle, the fact that its open source too - absolutely amazing
    the fact that its free - I hate money too:) unfortunately I need them to live...
    the interface - the best interface of all programs that I ever used and the fact that is fully customizable.... and the theme manager
    modeling - right now - one of the the best modeling systems/tools/many many primitives, modifiers and so on and after refining the Bmesh bugs and updating the addons - woooow, i cant wait! Sculpting Is Awesome too and keeps improving!
    animation - super cool, althought there can be done more...I love the fact that Blender is easy to install and starts 3 times faster than Maya or other softwares
    cycles rendering - I simply love it! The idea that I can go from start to finish of any project in one software without the need to use others, sometimes very expensive softwares for specific tasks(except Gimp of course - we cant make textures in Blender yet). I personally love Ton(no homo) - he is such a great character with a great heart - he could be a millionare by now if he didnt made Blender free... What I hate about Blender? - KEYMAPS cant be moved from version to version, and they remain very buggy, I dont like the defaults, so every time I want new build I need to waste 2 days of making my keymaps AGAIN!!! I REALLY REALLY HATE THAT!

      •  Doesnt work! there is another way that works, but its tricky and bggy, cause you can modify keymaps and then when you save it and load it you realize that it doesnt save the changes! this can be repeated several times without effect and optionally it will save changes after many times of redoing the shortcuts and this takes many hours!

        • Ah, I didn't clue in on you specifically saying that the problem was in moving from version to version. hmm, when you you start a newer version of blender, do you ever see an option on the splash screen to copy over your previous settings? I am guessing that would properly deal with converting things.

          I am not sure if you just happen to have problems moving forward, or if you move back and forth between versions and different machines on a regular basis or something that has a change in the bindings for keys. If you think it is a bug and don't mind filling out a detailed bug report explaining what you try and what does and doesn't work (instead of here in a survey :), someone might be able to fix it or at least explain why it is and possible solution. Or did you already go through all this?

          Anyways, just a thought. Sorry to hear of your trouble! :)

  29. I have summerized my thoughts about blender...

    The 5  best parts of blender:

    1. modelling
    2. UV mapping
    3. rigging
    4. colorramp node !
    5. camera tracking...

    should be improved:

    1. materials  -  glow effect like maya, better hair shader,etc...better toon shader
    2. toon edge  -  that would be good to setup the size of the edge and its style like in Cinema 4D !!!! - this would be very important
    3. modelling  -  better knife function (Bmesh-knife would be perfect)
    4. rendering hair - very difficult to create well-looking hair in blender
    5. UI - compared with other 3D editors (Maya, 3D Studio, C4D)  blender looks like a baby toy.... better icons need

    • Beauregard Heimer on

      I disagree with the UI, I have used MAYA, and I definitely prefer BI's interface. It is not as easy to find stuff, it doesn't have tabs with a million buttons on them, but when you actually learn it well, the interface is faster. 

  30. I love it all, the community, the free as in beer, the fast start up times, a solid app for us linux folk, the bazillion features that make for jaw dropping art, and my daily svn up+compile fix ;)

    Probably my favorite thing about blender though, is the bug hunting and reporting through quick feature and workflow testing. There is a certain satisfaction in reporting a problem to the tracker, and having it fixed in hours (well, most of the time!), and benefit everyone that uses blender in the next release!Now, if we could just find a way to flush the Google caches for old articles that complain about the old 2.4 UI that make it sound like it still applies! :)

  31. Us.

    .. or maybe cycles. Cycles is pretty sweet. I've been obsessed with trying to get an animation done, but I've begun to feel frustrated. In order to make a detailed scene in cycles it takes a looong time to render (some frames are 30 hours or so). Some renders are even crashing my computer even when I use cpu rendering.

    So what I've begun doing is consolidating a few 3d objects into 2d planes and alpha masking the edges. Suddenly my scene goes from borderline incalculable (or 30 hours a frame) to gpu based rendering (7x as fast or so for me, which is helpful, and also possible since the scene is less complex) and the scene is rendered in fractions of the time. The power of 2d being used in 3d animation has never hit me until a few days ago. Here's a few screen shots.

    This first image is of a scooter, full 3d 
    Render time ~ 30 minutes on gpu (gtx 460)

    The 2nd image is of the same scooter, but a 2d plane that has the texture of the 3d scooter image. It is then alpha masked in the node system so that anything other than the scooter texture is transparant. 
    Render time ~ 2 minutes on gpu (gtx 460)

    So in animation, 2d planes that are textured and used as distant objects is probably my newest favorite thing. I have no idea if this is unique to blender, but it wouldn't be possible without the node system. So sorry to not answer the question, but I guess the node system is my favorite? Dunno.

    •  Very interesting post Kylehagmail, it would be great if you could do a short tutorial about this, I can see how this would be really useful when working with detailed scenes.

  32. Why not a post on blender artist with a poll? It's easier collecting results. Though, I use modeling for work and hobby, rendering and texturing.

  33. I love how user friendly Blender is. It's by far the best modelling and animation package I've used, easy and powerful.

  34. I Love the modeling, and especially character modeling. I don't use premade models from Make Human or something like that. I like it to start from zero on every model.
    And I realy like working on light setups for Luxrender. Sice I have a good render maschine I use always Luxrender for my final renders. But Cycles is very good, too. Because its so fast but I prefere the Lux result. I read that Luxrender 0.9 will have a a better integration of Hybrid rendering on GPU + CPU.
    "In v0.9, Hybrid adds support for bidirectional path tracing and rendering on multiple graphics cards."
    Sounds very interesting because the 8.0 Hybrid path tracing mode was horrible. Mass RAM usage + not very good performance compared to CPU only.

  35. Kirill Poltavets on

    - modelling (a lot of tools and addons for this!)
    - materials (in Cycles)
    - animations with shapekeys and animated modifiers
    - rendering (memory management is much better than in Modo 401 - that was "my program" before Blender)

  36. William Wayman on

    The game engine, it just keeps getting better. I despise the steering actuator, it is totally useless if you add characters during the game. The characters will navigate, but they don't seem to avoid obstacles. Maybe it was fixed; haven't tried with 2.62. The remesh modifier is great if you work with it, but derps complex meshes and skyrockets polygons (but great if you are too lazy to model good landmasses).

  37. Is there any way to get the 2.49 interface layout working on 2.5/2.6. I had just managed to start functioning in the magic when the items I was using disappeared and are not back in the same detail in 2.5/2.6. No guides match the guides of 2.49, and I cannot find the settings, so can play with 2.6 but have to keep the real work to 2.49. Only the full detail available in the 2.49 standard items can solve my problem.

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

       You know, I get fed up of seeing the same old complaints from people
      who got used to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the 2.4x Blender, and
      don’t like how things were rearranged in 2.5x/2.6x.

      Get used to it: the old interface was a mess. The “buttons window” was
      called that because it was full of an ever-growing collection of
      ill-sorted buttons. Is that any way to design an interface?

      The new, cleaned up design is the product of a careful rethink that was
      implemented starting from nearly 4 years ago. You can read the blueprint
      that was published then, here:

      By all means express an opinion about the new interface. But not till you have read and understood the rationale behind it.

  38. thanks for danyiko and Beauregard Heimer  , vimeo is completely blocked , in  cgcookie I can see the pics and texts , but no video ! but thanks to all ! I'll tyr 

  39. I spend most time modelling simply because it takes most time in blender. Its all very good i think. But modelling is most time consuming. 

  40. My favorite part...? It's free. Most companies won't put out cash for 3D software... to upgrade mostly. For instance we have a Maya from a decade ago. So to have a free program that gets free updates is fantastic. 

  41. 30Mb and you have all the 3D power needed for a movie... Is open Source, multi plataform, free... All blender is great.

  42. Open-source, free to use, and awesome Linux support!  I don't care if I have to (re-)learn everything for Blender 2.5-2.6's new GUI, it's still amazing.  I have a render farm of four computers at home (2 desktops, 2 laptops), and it "just works."

  43. I love the cameras, modeling and lights. I am new to storyboarding and cinematography, so it is nice how you can block things out quickly and experiment!

  44. Carl Erik Tengesdal on

    I love the modelling, and basically everything else. Compositor, camera/object-tracking, animation, cycles, the whole shebang!! 

  45. ++  Interface: far better than anything Adobe can do, and quicker to use.
    ++  Rendering: always amazes people when I produce a beautiful product image in a few minutes!

    --  UV layouts. Unwrapping never seems to give a clean and straight map, however careful I am with the seams. **
    --  Rigging: Armatures drive me mad!  I've sat through so many tutorials, but my bones away seem to have a mind of their own.**

    ** But other people love UV and rigging so I guess I'm just rubbish at it.

    • Yeah, everyghing in one place. IT makes development quick even when only 2 people are working on a game part time.

      Lighting is a major drawback but I maybe things will get better this year.

  46. Modeling some irregular glass objects. Putting them in a scene with some colored objects. Setting up some nice lighting. Rendering with Luxrender. Completely useless but very enjoyable.

  47. Blender is very intuitive, and when, after learning the strokes, I find that I can reach for a move and the tool is there. That is the part of Blender I like most. I imagine the hardest thing is blocking animation. Especially the subtle anticipation, action, reaction, that "for every action there is a reaction" part of movement dynamic. That blows my mind just thinking about it. 

  48. Using mainly Sculpting to do 3d conception and cycle which is handsome for clay rendering
    If sculpt can be more improve regarding mesh density i'll be happiest man of the world :p

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