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Noteworthy Blender Mention


Reynante M. Martinez writes:

Some noteworthy mentions on Blender by Jaideep Arun Khadilkar (DreamWorks FX Developer) in 3D Artist magazine​'s Issue 80.

What are your thoughts? :)


  1. Th new fewatures of nodes are procedural. Smoke, fire, math nodes... :-) The problem of Houdini is the sea of nodes, specially, float, vector to float etc.. Ony Mantra Render, Oscar Academy.

    • Brian Lockett on

      Houdini's real strength is when it's in the hands of technical artists. The nodes thing is just jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else offering a nodal workflow. But the real meat of Houdini is in what it allows the technical team to achieve robust results. I'm sure movies like the upcoming "San Andreas" make some good use of Houdini, because it's built to handle large-scale simulations panned across the tech team, as well as how it integrates with other simulation software's data such as RealFlow.

  2. Brian Lockett on

    Hmm... I think Blender needs a few more years in the oven before it's ready for large-scale studio production. It's great for smaller studios, and this is a nice nod to Blender, but quite unrealistic expectation at this stage. Even among the Blender community, there are some raised issues in terms of internal performance improvements Blender could use.

    We see tons of simulation improvements (perhaps even TOO much attention to simulators...), but still so many long-standing unaddressed issues that can prove to be a headache, like how there are still some large-scale formats (i.e., Alembic) and emerging technology (read: future standards, like geodesic voxel binding, which is very useful) that Blender needs to adopt, that might prove difficult, given its license nature and its already-crammed design.

    And I know that Alembic is on the schedule for Blender development, but if there's anything I've learned over the years with Blender, it's never to count my chickens before they've hatched. After delayed projects like Nurbana, Array Sketch, a muscle-deformation project that didn't go anywhere and the sad disappearance of the quad-dominant remeshing proposal, we can see neat proposals all day, but it comes down to seeing results.

    Even Ptex support is something I'll have to see finished to believe first before sighing in relief--we've seen abandoned developments time and time again. With Blender development, nothing is quite ensured as definitive. Direction can change like the wind.

    Blender has industry potential. It just doesn't have industry priorities.

    • If anything it needs to step back from trying to catch up with industry standards and focus on some of the critically lacking pieces of fundamental functionality. As you said, for example, too much focus on simulations. The particle system has a very powerful set of features for simulations and controlled animations for groups of particles, but the most basic aspects of the particle system are bare, confused, and missing important features. They've put a lot of effort into what the viewport can render in real time, and the Cycles renderer is getting a lot of attention and making impressive strides, but the viewport itself is running on an ancient version of OpenGL and is terribly inefficient and burdening the rest of the program. The animation system has a lot of powerful features for rigging, graph editing, drivers, and so on. However, its animation system in general is very linear, the nonlinear animation system is awfully bare, simple features like "bounciness" for objects don't exist, I could write a list. There's a lot of basic things that Blender lacks or screws up that, despite being simple, are so important and broad in usage that it perpetually cripples creators and animators who try to use it, and yet all these resources go into stacking on all these fancy or trivial features without addressing necessities in Blender's roots.

      • Brian Lockett on

        Well, yes, that's true. The needing to address the long-standing lack of basic features and needing tighter integration between all its parts is a point I myself have raised for years. Perhaps one time and several paragraphs too many. (Hahaha!)


        Though, still, if we're talking about it as something the industry should adopt, Blender's behind in the pace of emerging standards, too. It's good to address those smaller (but oh-so-big) issues that Blender needs focus on, as you've listed, but because those should've been addressed all along, it's also caused Blender to fall behind some very wonderful technology that's quickly becoming industry standard. If we're talking about its potential in industry use, we have to address both the smaller (but crucial) features its lacks, as well as how well it can keep pace with the industry.


        This is why I said that Blender has industry potential, but not industry priorities. It focuses on the developers' preference of tools, usually small-budget movie project-based goals, rather than sitting with professionals and core users and finding out what direction Blender generally should focus on at a time. Blender could stand to use some focused, singular development, rather than the ad-hoc manner in which it's developed--which results with a rather scattered and incoherent result.


        If that doesn't get addressed, Blender will never see serious adoption or regard among professionals. It'll remain as a noble effort, a nod-worthy project and a nice free little program, but never really see industry professionals at large actually turning to it. A professional would rather pay for a product that is more complete in the basic touches you've mentioned and that keeps pace with new standards than merely turn to Blender merely because it's free. They'd rather save time than money, because in professional work, time is more expensive.

        • Brian Lockett on

          What I stated earlier:
          "And I know that Alembic is on the schedule for Blender development, but if there's anything I've learned over the years with Blender, it's never to count my chickens before they've hatched. "
          Though, Alembic being an open standard doesn't guarantee that Blender will see it to completion, nor does it mean that Blender will carry the fullest implementation of it.
          New formats in Blender are a wait-and-see matter, to see if the formats are implemented, and how featured such support it. Consider how it's taken years to get decent FBX support.

  3. Brian Lockett on

    Hey, guys! I found a runaround way to parse! :D
    Just type something...
    {Hit Enter}
    Use a tilde (~) mark here.
    {Hit Enter again}
    And start typing your next something to say.
    It'll break up your writing well enough to increase readability. I often have to resort to this on Facebook, since they too decided to condense everything you write into an unattractive thicket without spacing. I just can't live without some form of parsing! Hahaha!

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