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Friday Hangout - How've You Been?


It's been a while since our last Friday Hangout, so: how've you been? Did you finish another Blender project, do a tutorial, did some crazy coding? Me, I went to a Blender workshop in Amersfoort, the Netherlands last weekend and it reminded me just how nice it is to meet fellow Blenderheads. We should have more of them!

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. I am now in a student group where i could etablish Blender as main 3D Tool and our art designer uses Krita. Sadly no Photoshop to Gimp convert, do the lak of an All-in-one transformation tool and Stylelayer.

    • I will argue that Blender is as good (actually better) as MAYA, but I can't do the same with GIMP.

      Photoshop simply has many more features that are more advanced. Photoshop is better--for now....

      Wait until GIMP 3.5 and it will probably be better.

      •  I am with you. Blender is my 3D application of choice not only because it is open source.

        Photoshop is a very well rounded application and in my eyes is superior. But I can't see how anybody can be limited by GIMP. There are always workarounds(Correct me if I am wrong). Plus you can supplement Gimp with plug-ins and Krita and My paint to meet your needs.

        • Well, I've got some correction for you there about the workarounds.  While there are several workarounds available for using GIMP instead of Photoshop, there's simply no workaround for program design limitations.  Photoshop DOES have some features than even GIMP, Krita, and MyPaint combined simply don't have and aren't close to doing yet and all the plugins in their repositories combined still can't add up to some of the standard abilities of Photoshop.

          For instance, as much as I like these programs, NONE of them have nearly a brush system that quite matches the quality of the brushes in Photoshop.  GIMP's brush dynamics, as better as they are, are simply no match to the brush dynamics of Photoshop.  MyPaint is amazing and has that wonderful Pick Context feature, but still, it's several features short in terms of feature like selection and cut, MyPaint doesn't even try to be that kind of program.  Krita is by far the most interesting brush engine, and Krita even have several great features you won't find on Photoshop.  You can use all the plugins you want, but at the end of the day, Photoshop still reigns supreme in terms of many things, such as its brush engine.

          I personally say, just because one may favor open-source software doesn't mean you should consider a user's running into a problem using them as their lack of not finding a 'workaround."  With me personally, I rather favor have loyalty to quality in usage rather than loyalty to software.  If GIMP can get a job I need done, good.  But if Photoshop can do it better, I'm going with better.  Of course, GIMP has a few features about it that I turn to instead of Photoshop.  I say, typically, the best option in life is options, if you can gain them.  If you have options, use them all.

          But still, even with GIMP's usefulness, it's still far from being sufficient as a "workaround" solution.  One simply can't ignore the fact that most open-source software--including GIMP, MyPaint, and Krita--simply don't benefit the same level of steady development and support as Blender does.  It's taken GIMP like more than 10 years to get even this much of a brush dynamics engine that it has, and it's still got a ways to go.  It's taken years to add up to what was available standard on Photoshop many years ago (though, I know there's just someone waiting to give me the counter-argument of the ideas that Photoshop might have looked to FOSS for ideas).It's rather true that it's not so much the tools as it is the artist, but it would be a complete lie to say that the right tools for the job are not as important as the skill of the artist and that comfort with using a tool isn't as important as skill.  Even the most masterful chef simply won't put up with using a dull knife.  Again, I do not to mean to bash or detract away from the goodness, value and generous progress of these three amazing programs, and I use them myself.  I'm just making a solid point here: Quality is not in philosophy--it's in results.

          • I agree that options are great.

            I am not going to pretend to be some digital painting expert. I am a 3D artist that sometimes do my own concepts. I have had no issues so far.

            I do not consider Gimp, Krita and My paint as a "dull knife". They have worked amazing for me so far.

            If you want the best, buy Photoshop. I would prefer to spend that money on two extra render nodes :)

            Just out of interest, what exactly can you do with Photoshop's brush engine that can't be done with the new Gimp dynamic and Krita's?

            Does Photoshop have colour blending?

          • One thing I do with Photoshop's brush engine is put textures to the brushes themselves through the brush dynamics.  With the other three programs at the moment, the problem I have with their textured brush systems is that, as far as I know about them (and I've searched hard for solution), they treat their textured brushes more with the canvas rather than the brushes themselves.  If I can explain that better, in GIMP, when I try to make say a grunge brush, I either have to use a textured canvas or set a grunge pattern as the brush.

            But in Photoshop, I can apply an adjustable Texture dynamic to the brush without messing with the brush or canvas, allowing far more customization options with the brushes.  I can have an oil paint brush with adjusted grunge-textured dynamics to apply onto a smooth-surface canvas.  I find that as something the other three programs can do just yet, but it's something I'm constantly needing.  Even Krita, as awesome and unique as its multiple brush engines are together, doesn't quite have this capability yet (again, as far as I'm aware and on the Windows version).

            Also, even though I can well work without it, Photoshop now has a bristle feature similar to that found on Painter.  This one I'm not going to say is the most important feature in my workflow, particularly when it comes to painting game textures, but it does come in mighty useful in concept painting.  In fact, bristle features are something that's erasing a little more of that "digital" feel to a lot of paintings to give it a more "tradigital" feel, since they better simulate a real-world brush of dynamic digital bristles that you control like a real brush so that you don't get repeating brush patterns showing in your work (which static sampled brushes tend to produce sometimes).  But again, the importance of this feature depends on your work.

            As for your last question, yes, Photoshop has color blending.  It has two ways to do it.  You can do the traditional Alt-key eyedropper-tool color sampling way, where you're sampling colors and gradually building up a gradient alternating between colors.  Of course, this method is bit more of a pain at times since it's slower, and it's not as dynamic as, say, Corel Painter's absolutely amazing color blending system, but it has its use.  And then there's, more recently, the Mixer Brush Tool, introduced in CS5 (if I'm not mistaken).  They added a Mixer Brush Tool (under the Brush Tool options) to help with smoother color blending a lot easier, and allows you to use a dirtied brush and a cleaned brush a la Painter.  It's one many longtime Photoshop aren't really aware of, but it works nicely.

          • Thanks for the info. I always like to hear new perspectives and opinions.

            Last Photoshop I used was CS3. So the last 2 features you mentioned is new to me. They sound really nice.

            I will still stick to Gimp, My paint, Krita.

          •  Hey Brian!

            You say " The promising Krita has by far the most interesting brush engine of the
            three and even has several great features you won't find on Photoshop,
            but it's still got a ways to go in terms of more convenient brush
            customization features." -- and that interests me a lot, because, well, making Krita better is my passion...

            Could you go into some more details about the things you are missing, or the things that you feel are inconvenient?

          • Sure!

            As I mentioned to Dewald above here, Photoshop's brush engine allows you to apply texture dynamics to the brush itself without having to use a textured brush or textured canvas.  It's a feature not even many other competing commercial programs have (in fact, off the top of my head, the only other program I know of with something similar is Corel Painter).  But I already knew that you guys were headed towards this feature with Krita 2.5.  ;)  (I follow Krita's blog and David Revoy's blog.)

            I use a Windows version of Krita, so I know that it's a work in progress, but one thing that's a bit of an inconvenience is when adjusting the brush size.  Understandably, using the comma (,) and the period (.) keys will incrementally increase the brush size respectively, and it's for quick resizing. But to fine-tune the brush size, when going up to the drop-down arrow next to Opacity or Flow in order to adjust the brush size, not only is the brush's Size meter kinda hard to finely tune without jumping incrementally, but (at least on Windows version) your brush's indicator doesn't adjust in real-time.  I end up just going to the "Edit brush settings" menu to see my brush size adjusting, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but it can be rather a time-consuming step to my workflow.

            That's all I can think of right now.  If I think of anymore, I'll post them on the Krita forums (I'm registered on the Krita forums).  But overall, I love Krita (I use it daily).  It feels more naturally-geared to painting and drawing than Photoshop does (which makes sense, since Photoshop's really a photo manipulation program at its core).  The multi-brush system is wonderful and I love using its ruler guides.  This program is so promising with its development, and I can feel that your passion goes into it.  Looking forward to Krita 2.5.

          • Thanks for making Krita better.

            I can't really use krita at the moment due to Driver issues. I am using a Genius Mousepen in Ubuntu. Last time I checked it can't really be fixed. I need to get myself an intuos soon anyway.

          • We've got a patch for Qt that apparently makes Qt work with any tablets -- I only have an Intuos3 myself so I cannot test it: thtps://

          • Thanks for the link, however I can't find src/gui/kernel/qapplication_x11.cpp file. I am using Ubuntu 12.04.

            Some further help will be very much appreciated.

            Thank You

          • Hey, Boudewijn, I was cruising through some blog site talking about Krita and I just learned about the Shift+Left Mouse Button feature for controlling brush sizes.  Don't know why I didn't even know about this before--I explored Krita like crazy when I started using it quite some time ago.  :P

            So I guess until I can think of something else, I'm just waiting on the brush dynamics coming to 2.5 then.  :)

      •  Not quite sure why I always hear people saying blender is better than maya, or vice versa. I feel they actually compliment each other.
        For example in my pipeline I will model and UV in blender, sculpt in mudbox, texture in mari, rig and animate in maya, and composite in nuke.
        None of these software is the master of all, but instead they integrate seamlessly together to get to the end result much faster than doing it all in the one program.

        Just my 2 cents :)

        • How much do you pay for licenses? $20 000?

          I am a one man show and there is now way in hell that would be financially viable for me, at least not right now.

          I soo want to try Mari.

          What renderer do you use?

          • alextelford on

             Lol, I'm a student so it was $250 USD per year for mari and nuke. maya, 3ds, mudbox, etc are free for students.
            I do a lot of texturing in blender though (once you get to know the tools it's quite easy and I even prefer it to mudbox texturing), though nothing beats mari for texturing capabilities, hence why my mates get to use it at weta on computers that can actually run it lol - it barely runs on my dual GTX 260m's :P
            As an example, I tried to record some texturing timelapses for some mechs and my laptop failed to run both mari and camtasia...

            I use a variety of renderers, cycles, mental ray, octane, BI, luxrender.
            I've almost finished setting up my new X79 build with dual GTX 680's so once that is ready to go I will switch to mostly cycles for blender, vray for maya, and octane when I can be bothered using it (takes a bit to set up a render but is incredibly quick)

            You can download a trial of mari from the foundry's website. But once you see how awesome the software is the price might be depressing.
            It has tools blender doesn't like a complete masking system (faces, objects, edges, facing, depth, etc), you can also import animations so you can paint on a moving mesh (have your character lift up his arm so you can paint under it/see how textures stretch in real time), you can also work with massive textures with little memory. I often use like 16 8k texture maps on my 8Gb of memory just cause I can do it without any lag.
            It also has filters like photoshop does such as blur and sharpen and add noise and the rest of the ones I never use.
            You can work with multiple UV's, and can have UV's split into a stack of patches, or you can use pTex and work without UV's.

            And once you've experienced the awesomeness of mari with it's like $1980 USD price tag, you can go check out houdini master ;)
            Houdini is the best phsyics simulator for things like smoke, fire, etc, with it's $6,695 pricetag + $2,495 annual upgrade cost.
            Or $99 per year for students.

            The pleasure I have of being a student and getting such awesome software to use lol
            Perhaps if I get a job at weta next year i'll be able to afford to keep using the software "crosses fingers"

          • I am quite surprised that you prefer Blender for texturing, That is the one Blender tool that I could not deal with. I will give it another shot. Perhaps even go through your tutorial.

            I hope you are going to get 4GB GTX 680's

            I have one 3GB GTX 580 and I am very happy with the performance. I was thinking of getting a quad liquid cooled 3GB GTX 580 setup on the Asus Maximus motherboards. I realised that the 3GB vram and 100 texture limit will not fly for most scenes. So I decided, for the same price I will rather buy 6 render nodes with Intel 3770 on h67 motherboards with 8 GB of ram(upgradable to 16GB).

            I would still love a quad liquid cooled 3GB GTX 580 setup for preview rendering and assist with rendering my smaller scenes.

            I have bought my first render node for testing and it renders about 3 times slower than my 3GB GTX 580. Not bad.

            I really need sss and hair in cycles though, for my commercial projects I am working on at the moment it is fine but I will definitely in the very near future. If it is not there when I need it, there is always vray and mental ray or hopefully Solid Angle's Arnold will available to the public .

          • alextelford on

             I agree it used to be horrible, but it has certainly got better in 2.6 with layer management and the ability to paint images directly onto your model using the clone brush.

            I will if I can afford it, was hoping to get 690's but they are extremely hard to get in new zealand and cost $2500 NZD so a little overpriced considering I only allowed $4000 NZD for my whole build.

            I'd be careful about using liquid cooled setups, a lot of people have fried their chips,
            If you get the cooling system done at a shop you'll at least get a warranty if it leaks.

            Sounds like your getting a pretty sweet computer setup :)
            I can't wait to have my build together, there is 64Gb ram sitting there doing nothing lol.
            Still nothing compared to weta's server room, you can see it from the road and it's just this pillar of steam coming from the buildings cooling system, would love to get in there, but I doubt that would ever happen, haha

            SSS works in cycles btw, and you can get reasonable hair, but what I would recommend is mixing together your BI renders and cycles to get the final result. You can merge the two seamlessly using the compositor and saving your files as .exr multilayered files.
            I often do this for my commercial work, it allows for me to do the main render in cycles, then load in any blender internal stuff like grass, depth/AO pass and I use a combination of object index and material index passes to merge the two

          • You probably know this. But the GTX690 4GB is 2xGTX680 2GB. So your vram ceiling will still be only 2GB. Two GTX 690 will be super fast though.

            I have done some Cycles/BI for hair. I did not get the results as I wanted but it works OK. My issue is just with casting the hair's shadow on to other objects cleanly.

            Good luck with your build. I would love to see render times on 2xGTX690s.

            Please explain sss with Cycles. I have tried the ray-length method to fake it. It works but is far from real sss. I know Roger Wilco is working on proper sss for cycles in the Google Summer of Code 2012.

            I know hair in Cycles will rock. It is just a matter of time before the brilliant dedicated developers get to it.

          • alextelford on

             Hi Dewald, these comments are getting really skinny lol
            I am getting the 680's for performance so not overly concerned about the vram limits, as I seldom reach them at the moment on 2 260's
            If I did start working on such larger scenes I would probably switch to the quaddro cards. They are slower at rendering (faster in viewport though), but have a lot of vram.

            If I have time I will do a tutorial on getting SSS working in cycles and blending BI and cycles with hair :) - is my tutorial site.

            The trick for blending render engines shadows is to use the shadow pass and render layers combined with object index to composite correctly. If you have your shadow is hitting objects with reflections/specularity, you will need to use a specular/reflection pass as well, material index can help with this.
            The challenge comes in though when you have your hair being reflected in objects or close enough to something to cast bounce lighting from it, in this case you would need to render a second cycles pass with polygon hair, and in BI use a reflectivity of 1 combined with the indexes so you can blur and mask them in the compositor to match, for objects angling away from you use the z depth to control your blur.

            Hope that makes sense in some weird way, hair and sss in cycles will be great, but there is work arounds if you don't want to wait :)

      • It doesn't matter if it's better or not. It's still good , and still my 3D application of choice, simply because I want to support blender. You don't have to justify why you use it. Use it because you want to.

      • Nabil Stendardo on

        You are perfectly right about GIMP. It's not that it doesn't have potential, it's just that the development is so slow. In certain cases it's actually easier to use Blender for image editing (ortho projection, render nodes, etc. in replacement for layers) rather than GIMP. If we could add the required features for image editing to Blender, it might take less effort than making the GIMP hippo dance.

  2. chromemonkey on

    I used Blender to make a mockup of a 3D coding interface for things like PHP programming.  A web development project was getting too big for me to keep track of everything, and this mockup put me back on track. 

    I am also recreating my long-gone grandfolks home from my own memories and some blueprints and photos to guide the process. 

    Hmm... also used a Blender model to help solve a problem that the plumbers created with a friend's kitchen sink.

  3. Krišs B?rzkalns on

    Fracturing a house with +- 1000 pieces so I could smash it/blow it up and do other crazy stuff with it, anyhow it's so tedious and slow.. And in many cases it doesnt do anything, but yeah, when I finish it will be pretty awesome, and then I will finally be able to finalize my physics simulation clip compilation.. :) 

  4. Philip Witte on

    Well this isn't exactly new, but I made all the art for our simple game:

    Space Pizza Delivery

    in Blender, Inkscape, MyPaint, and Gimp on Arch Linux. :) Go Open Source! The games available for FREE (no ads or anything) on iOS, Android, and Chrome NaCL. Please note that the game currently doesn't run smoothly on all Android devices (Unity3D engine issue).

    Tilt the phone to doge the asteroids. The game is a bit hard, but you get better and it's pretty fun for what it is. Try it out :-)

  5. Been working on my graphic novel that will use Blender heavily for models, objects, scene layouts.

    Also using BGE to make a first person exploring/mystery game (Amnesia minus the creatures).

    ... I think that's it for today. OH, my kids and I have been slowly making a side scrolling game ala Super Mario Bro. 

  6. pratik solanki on

    hey yah i have finished my new art yesterday .. its called "PAIIII JUMP " .. have anyone seen it ????

  7. I am finishing up my script and doing some VFX practice shots getting ready to film in two weeks. I am really excited about the new masking features. Now I don't need to use roto-bezier. It is a lot faster now.

  8. Work, or more accurately Fun, continues on The Adventures of Herman. As a technical person, the touchy-feely niceties of composition and lighting are proving a challenge but it's fun learning. Believe it or not the attached image was intended purely as a test for an animated book based on the recent article on BlenderCookie about ... animating a book. I still need to texture the pages so that the next shot has the camera over Herman's shoulder and we can see what he's looking at.

  9. after spending many hours finishing almost all the textures for a render/model I have no need for, I decided it looks like crap. So I went with the generic white & AO render. looks much better :P

  10. I'm hoping to be done with adding touch into GHOST for a good while after tonight and getting into the meat and bones of my Summer of Code project. Bugtracking at the moment, which is going very slow.

  11. This last month I've been attending to soundtrack and sound work for the Resilience Satelle Teaser
    It's only missing the narration now (we had one, but there was some problems with it and now has to be recorded again), everything else is done. Hopefully someday close to the end of this month it will be released (now is for real) to see the public reaction to it so we can determine if worths to continue the project.

    • I had a look at your site and it seems very Interesting. Please post the trailer on blendernation when it is ready. A project like yours is a lot of work. I am embarking on a similar adventure at the moment.

      Best of luck to you.

      • Hey! Thanks for having give it a look! It's a lot of work indeed but, for me at least, the work is the easy part... the trouble is all related to the political aspects of nowadays movie-making.
        But it sure can be done, so I also wish best of luck to you and hope to read more about it soon.

  12. James Jackaman on

    I have been playing with exporting simple model designs for WebGL, I love Blenders modelling tool set and am interested in getting 3D content displayed onto the web

    • This is sweet! I like the look on her face.  Guess: slightly unnerved. The stylish hat fits her facial expression. You didn´t ask for Crits&comments, but her is mine: Overall image is sort of greyish, mabe turn up the contrast if it fits the scenery. The pose of her left leg (the angled one) fells not exactly natural to me. Keep it up, i like it a lot!

  13. I'm currently recording some game environment tutorials for 3D world :)
    plus I have a large scale environment previz to build this weekend.


  14. Working hard on storyboarding and cinematography studies this summer. Hope ot have my Tex Avery tribute done in two years!

  15. Been animating another scene for my short film Fishing Reel. I started working on the film two years ago when I was fourteen and had been learning Blender for about nine months. WHY DOES A THREE MINUTE SHORT FILM HAVE TO TAKE SO LONG! :) I certainly learned a lot about making realistic deadlines (my original plan was for three months), and my skills have improved so much so that the most recent scene doesn't even look like it really belongs with the earlier scenes. I also post occasional updates on my blog at if you want to check it out.

  16. Benjamin Lau on

    I've been using Blender for small projects off and on for many years (bought a C-key way back in the day). In the past couple of months I've started to assist (where I can) on the MakeHuman project. And I've more recently been doing some experiments with the Freestyle renderer and making use of some models I downloaded from Yepsketch (also fixed a bug in the 3ds importer).

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