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Use Speech Recognition to Execute Blender Keyboard Shortcuts

23

The Blender Voice Command macros allow a user to execute an extensive list of tasks in Blender using Windows speech recognition.

Have you ever forgot a keyboard shortcut? Are you tired of search through menus? Now you can create using your voice. Blender Voice Commands allow you to say a phrase, like "Move to Layer 3" to move the selected object to layer 3. For a full list of commands that can be spoken check out our "Command List" page. Blender Voice Commands take advantage of Windows Speech Recognition and Windows Speech Recognition Macros (Both Free) to allow you to use the macros that I have created to control many parts of Blender with your voice.

You can download a free sample set, the full set of macros requires a membership of $25/year.

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.

23 Comments

  1. TARDIS Maker on

    How could any one stand using Blender this way? In the video, it always takes about a second for a command to be executed because of the voice recognition, in addition to that, it's just faster to work using a key board since there's no major bottle neck. With the voice recognition, your bottle neck is the fact that for *every* command, you need to say the command, while on a keyboard, it's done with the press of a button.

    In general, I don't see how this is useful. If anyone has something they think justifies all (wasted imo) work that went into this, please say so, I really don't see how this would be anything but a hinderence.

    • Oh, I can definitely see a use for partially disabled people, like a quadriplegic with a limited use of his hand. It still won't be easy to use Blender, but moving some basic operations to speech would be a big help.

    • I am doing archiviz and sometimes I present the design on the site on my laptop while walking through the rooms showing in realtime viewport how the furniture would eventually look like. It would be great to have the ability to hold the laptop in one hand and put a wacom tablet on the keyboard and use the voice comand instead of the keyboard. I can also imagine having something like a microsoft surface with full screen blender for real time presentation.

    • I appreciate your comments about the video and have a couple of things I would like to add.

      1. When I recorded that video my main computer's power supply had died and I was forced to use a cheap laptop that only has an Intel i3. Along with Blender and Windows Speech running I had a program recording my screencast. I hope to have my main computer running soon and can make a video demonstrating the speed more accurately.

      2. I agree that for some things it is quicker to press the keyboards. I tried to include all possible shortcuts so that users can make the choice of when to use the keyboard or when to speak. For example adding a sun lamp requires you to press SHIFT A to pull up the add menu. Then you can move your mouse to lamp/sun or press ALT 1 then 2. With voice commands you can just say "add sun" and bypass all those buttons.

      3. Another area to consider is commands that don't have shortcuts but can be found by searching. With the macro that I have created saying "push" will open the search menu, type push/pull, then press enter.

      4. I am working on commands that will be used in the node editor. By saying "mix shader" or "emission shader' it will press SHIFT A, "1" to open the search area, type in the word, then enter. There are about 80 total that I am working on to use when dealing with an objects material.

      I would love any feedback form the Blender community. My goal is to make this a tool that is practical for Blender users. If anyone has any thoughts or comments please feel free to email me at [email protected]

      • Something to think about would be "How do I use this to enable new users of Blender?" One way to to focus on actual help. A user that already knows how to use Blender well may not be your best audience, but an audience that can free form ask "How do I create a beveled edge?" and get some form of help, either the keystroke to use, a help pane, or anything that would be useful to them.

        • I have actually experimented a little with this and it is possible to ask for the shortcut to a command, such as "What is the shortcut for the node editor" and then have shortcut displayed in the speech panel and also have the computer say it. I am still working out the bugs, but I will post a video when I have more finished.

      • Keep up your ground breaking work. Voice recognition isn't for everyone, but I've been using Dragon for years and it is much faster than typing--even considering the time needed to go back and make corrections. And the more I use it the more accurate it becomes because I teach it my mistakes.

        I'm not that familiar with MS voice commands or the macro; but it's obvious to me that it can same a heck of a lot of time for some people. And as you get use to the commands, the efficiency increases.

        The voice commands are ideal for those that don't use Blender daily and have all 1000 hot keys memorized.

        The one suggestion I have that I'm sure you've already considered is to add context into the command. In other words, if I say "add" but I'm not sure what I want to add, then I should get at a list of options.

        Keep of the good work.

    • Something like this is also a key technology for integrating Blender into future workflows. For instance, if we port Blender to Microsoft Hololens, then keyboard is not really a great option for control, so gesture-based 3D interaction and voice command become key tools in the 3D artists' workflow.

      And really, something like Blender for Hololens will probably be a necessary step. It's a major step forward for 3D artists because we will actually be able to interact with our 3D work in 3D. I forsee major usage of this in the future of the animation industry.

      Also, Blender has long had a bad case of buttonitis, which some current projects are working on solving. Something like this is a useful solution.

      Also, could save time simply by not having to google a keyboard command. For the casual user like me that doesn't memorize them all, this has potential.

      My only real objection to this is that I see a suscription fee. I use Blender because it's free. I'd consider things like addons that are a one-time purchase, but a subscription model on something designed for open-source software really bothers me. To the developer, I'd encourage you to change your business model.

      • I appreciate your positive insights to the future of speech recognition and Blender. I will also consider your comments about the subscription model and look at other options.

      • One point of clarification. With the one-year subscription you can download what I have currently created and any updates I make during that period. ONCE YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS OVER, YOU STILL GET TO KEEP AND USE ANYTHING YOU DOWNLOADED AS LONG AS YOU WANT. Continuing the membership just gives you access to any new content as I add it.

        • That makes a lot more sense. My only other point of feedback is that I might encourage you to open source some of your older work down the road, as we get into AR/VR environments being used by artists to produce content I think your work may be important to maintaining Blender's usefulness compared to other commercial packages. But I understand that programmers have to eat - I am one myself! (Honestly, when I learn C++ I want to get into making Blender's 3D viewport and controls compatible with HoloLens.)

    • Though I always appreciate everyone's views and their right to express them, I'm going to be blunt here, TARDIS Maker. You need to work on your manners a bit. Providing critique is perfectly fine, but you don't have to be a flat out jerk about it, just because it's not something you would use.

      Quote: "...think justifies all (wasted imo) work..."

      In no form is Mark's HARD WORK in this project/addon "wasted work". There are many, many, MANY uses for this tech. Including for veteran Blender users and novices alike.

      Quote: "...your bottle neck is the fact that for *every* command, you need to say the command, while on a keyboard, it's done with the press of a button."

      The keyboard is a large "bottle neck" for Blender. For years, I've had to use a secondary keyboard because my laptop didn't consist of a Number Pad. There were also times when a key would pop off or just stop working altogether. Having voice commands would have greatly helped, during those times.

      It also needs to be noted that voice commands are often faster then using a keyboard. Especially if the user is not familiar with knowing the location of all of the keys and shortcuts. You also assume that veteran users never have to look at their keyboard. Well, I assure you that they/we do. I have no doubt that you have to look down at your keyboard once in a while, as well.

      In closing, providing critiques is perfectly fine. Being a jerk and passing assumptions as facts is not. Do try to keep this in mind.

      • TARDIS Maker on

        Yes, your right. I'm sorry about my post. I probably never should have clicked the link to this page, let alone comment on it.

        I still don't like the idea, but I understand that there are people who could find this useful, weather I do or not.

    • It really depends on whether you are familiar with using a computer with voice commands.

      I've been using Dragon Naturally Speaking for years and it is much faster than typing. It isn't perfect but it is still faster even going back and making spelling or grammatical corrections because they will happen during typing as well.

      The other point is that some voice recognition programs will find similar command and prompt you to select the right one. With hot keys, you either type the correct hot key or you or SOL.

      Again, voice recognition isn't perfect, but that is the trend in technology. It gets better every year.

      When Dragon version 1 came out, I could type about as fast with the little finger on my left hand as Dragon could type.

      Now, I just cruise along saying whatever I'm thinking and Dragon is putting it on paper with an accuracy that is better than my typing. It's pretty amazing.

      My doctor uses a medical dictionary version of it while doing his examination. While he's examining me, he's making notes that are transmitted via Bluetooth to Dragon.

      That's not to helpful for Blender, but give it time. I guarantee that there will come a time when you say "old bronze" voice recognition will pull up several shaders with bronze with examples and ask which you want.

      For now, you have to build your shader with separate voice commands, but Dragon has a "macro" feature that allows you to say "standard consultant contract" and it executes the standard consultant contract.

      All I'm saying is don't be so negative. Look to the future potential because just like PDF files the industry is moving to AI and voice recognition. Give it time and give it a try to provide feed back to the developer.

      He is using Microsoft voice recognition because it's free and has a macro SDK. Dragon is much more powerful but it's expensive to most people. For me, I save money using Dragon because it saves me time. And in my business, time is money.

      So for now, you are more right than I am at projecting the future. Blend's time for voice recognition may not yet be here. But it's a first step into the future. Think Minority Report for Blender.

  2. Midnight scenario: Grab, X, 5, enter; pull 2 enter; stretch 0.1 enter; save dirty.
    Neighbor will think you done something else. XD

  3. It great that your spreading the word on this very useful free Blender extension. I've been using voice command recognition for years (going back to using Dragon Dictate with Humapatch). There's one advantage you didn't mention. You can substitute any word(s) for any key combo. So "move" can now mean translating a vertex instead of the G key. In fact, you can assign foreign language words to your shortcuts, making Blender multi-lingual.

  4. So fantastic. For tablet users, this might be even more important than radial menus.
    For someone with carpal tunnel syndrome, it's especially great.
    Now I just need a PC instead of a mac...

    Ignore the trolls.

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