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Blender 2.42 Has Been Released 166

Posted by Zonk
from the makes-good-juice dept.
bartv writes "Blender 2.42 has been released. It features an impressive list of new features for professional users. The most important improvements are: a new render pipeline, node editors for compositing and materials, support for anisotropic materials, improved fluid simulation and new character animation tools. Most of these features are the result of the production of Elephants Dream, the first Open Movie. During this project, Blender's lead developer Ton Roosendaal was coding the features that were required by the artists to produce their movie."
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Blender 2.42 Has Been Released

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  • by suso (153703) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:09PM (#15725531) Homepage Journal
    See, the best invention really is neccesity. They should try to make a movie every year or two.
    • See, the best invention really is neccesity. They should try to make a movie every year or two.

      Why not offer a short-film contest, similar to the POV still-image rendering contests (see http://hof.povray.org/ [povray.org] )

      (BTW, I think you are missing a "mother"........above.)
      • Main developers where involved in "Elephants Dream" production, this way they could see what features of software designers were in need. They could do fast prototyping of new ideas and test their usefulness in films development :)
      • Well, there's the 10 second club: ( http://www.10secondclub.net/ [10secondclub.net] ), basically a monthly animation contest around a 10 second sound clip, meant to mimic actual production (where a character animator is given a single scene to animate). I do remember some blender users winning some of the rounds sometime ago. Haven't been following it much lately, but to give an idea of the quality of the competition, sometime ago I saw an ad looking for animators to work on Blue Sky (IIRC, it was about a year or more ago...
    • by enitime (964946) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:39PM (#15725629)
      "See, the best invention really is neccesity. They should try to make a movie every year or two."


      In future they should try to get better writers. I saw the Elephant's Dream movie, and technically it's not too bad. The models seemed fairly on-par with most "real" 3D animation feature movies. The animation was worse, but at least still around what you get on those 3D animated kids' shows or in-game cut-scenes. I was more impressed than I thought I'd be.

      But did anyone think that story was any good? I didn't. And with all the stories and fan-fiction out there surely there must be hordes of aspiring writers out there who would like nothing more than a movie based on one of their scripts, even if it means making it creative common licensed. If nothing else, it gets their name on IMDB. That's a decent foot-in-the-door these days, if they're looking for a career. Then you perfect it with collaborative writing, TV-show style, where a whole team of writing staff have input (or in this case the whole Internet.)

      Couldn't get open-sourcier than that.

      But get WRITERS to do it. I'd bet good money this thing was written by animators and modelers. If you're a professional-level animator/modeler you're probably not a professional-level writer. No one's good at everything. Get over your egos and suck it up.

      I guess it's the same problem open source programmers have with, for example, user interfaces or documentation. "It's just a minor detail, what really matters is this other aspect. Besides, how hard can it be? I'll do it myself."

      • I agree, I did enjoy elephants dream for the visual quality, and the fact that it was made in an open and free environment (aka software).. But yes, story was awful. But as you point out that the modellers/animators can't be story writers, in my belief is wrong. I think (I don't know) but I'm pretty sure that none of them would attempt that. I have experience in the computer graphic area, and it's becoming more and more important to excel in one small area, for example - modelling or texturing - and the
      • But did anyone think that story was any good?

        I did, for several reasons. Perhaps the most salient is that it wasn't the typical sugar-coated, start-to-finish, spoon-fed, junk. It was thought-provoking, and open to interpretation. This doesn't work with a lot of people, but it's only because they're too young to understand it, or they're old enough, but fail to allow themselves to think in more abstract terms.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hey, I read that as Bender!
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:13PM (#15725547) Homepage Journal
    The UI was natoriously difficult the last time I tried Blender. I agree that there may be a method to the madness, but why not have a mode for those who want instant gratification by using "expected" conventions? It could increase interest and hobbyists. I realize that some don't like watching impatient newbies infesting forums and fan sites, but if you want a product to survive, you need new blood. Today's snot-nosed newbie may be tomarrow's programmer for a great new feature.
    • Just maybe (Score:3, Funny)

      by suso (153703) *
      but why not have a mode for those who want instant gratification by using "expected" conventions

      Maybe its because those that want instant gratification only end up making shiny metal spheres on checkerboard planes.
      • Maybe its because those that want instant gratification only end up making shiny metal spheres on checkerboard planes.

        And when they get board of that, they then may try the productive UI.
             
      • Ah! You're familiar with my work!
      • Working with spheres and checkered planes is a great way to learn the very basics of primitive shapes, shading, and materials. What would you suggest as a first step for someone learning a new GUI and workflow? Creating a full-motion feature film?

        And, if someone just wants to fool around with raytracing rather than producing a professional animation, what the heck is wrong with doing just that?

        Blender's GUI is totally different from other 3D apps I've used. I used to play with Truespace a lot (created elabo
    • Having spent many many hours playing with Blender, I can say that the UI is not the major hurdle. It takes at most one hour of sustained effort to get to grips with the UI — the main problem is actually doing creative things once you've mastered it. 'Modelling', the art of constructing 3D structures out of mere electrons is the most time-consuming part of the process. My advice is to steer clear of Blender, unless you find that your WoW addiction still leaves you with time to kill.
      • Wait, what? Steer clear from Blender or 3D modeling in general?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Wait, why was this modded insightful? No evidence is offered, just a vague comment that 3D modeling is time-consuming and therefore stay away from Blender? Gimme a break.
        • I agree with you. I was going for a Funny mod, but I guess the moderators were on crack again.

          Seriously though, I found that Blender ate up my life when I was using it. It can be very addictive to create and manipulate your own virtual world.

      • I have modelled in the past, and this poster above is nothing but a liar. You don't model from "electrons".. you model from vertexes, points and edges. You then use a smoothing tag to estimate a curv over the points, inwhich you can add more detail by adding more points.

        Blenders UI isn't great for a total newbie I agree, but that's not to say it's hard. I thought 3ds maxes interface was hard at first compared to maxon cinema 4d, but I got used to that.

        There's also lots of video tutorials for blender w
      • the main problem is actually doing creative things once you've mastered it.

        You started me thinking about programs like Terragen, Poser, and Pixar's "Universal Man."

        Tools which help an artist to remain productive and focused on what he does best. Character animation, for example, is a form of acting and demands a very different set of skills than those needed for the basic construction of the model.

    • by SB_SamuraiSam (962776) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:37PM (#15725618) Homepage

      I've tried Maya (evaluation), 3DS Max (cad), AutoCad and Friends (cad), etc. They all have very different interfaces. These are the few that would seem to define "convention," yet they are totally different. They are also hardly within the "hobbyist" price range. Blender is well within the hobbyist price range, has some decent [wikibooks.org], free documentation. The "getting started" range of documentation is actually quite good.

      Not to mention people are free to, for example [wikipedia.org], fork the project and make it how they wish.

      If you watch "The Making of" for Elephants Dream, you'll see that they looked plenty productive and the new node compositing (think Shake) looks down-right sick!

      • Actually Maya, Max, and Cinema4D seem to be converging UI-wise. A lot of third party tools have been borrowing their UIs from Maya and Max.

        Blender and Lightwave are odd men out.
      • I think you're missing the point.

        One of the main problems with blender is its learning curve. Yes, they're are manuals, and web pages, but it many cases, they refer to an earlier version of Blender (e.g. Blender X - 0.02). Every dot release, the UI changes. Not all of it, but enough that if you're trying to figure it out from an old manual or page, you spend a lot of time going "but there IS no such button!"

        OBDisclaimer: This is from personal experience. I was curious about 3D apps, and tried to learn b

    • by Anonymous Coward
      > The UI was natoriously difficult the last time I tried Blender.

      Try it now -- it's much better. The old keyboard-driven model still works, and the menu panels are still kind of weird, but now most major functions have a visible button or menu entry, the "spin buttons" have arrows that indicate that fact, and there are now actual handles on each axis you can see and grab. In short it's not any stranger than maya or softimage now, just slightly different.

      And it's still incredibly fast.
    • Suprisingly enough the majority of our new users actualy are these 'snot-nosed newbies'. It seems older people just don't have the drive to learn something new...and probably the fact that they can afford professional software. Building a seperate UI would require a massive undertaking on the part of our few coders, who are already busy enough trying to keep up with today's 3D application needs. Besides, we have a great community who would be willing to help you with any problems you have.
      • " It seems older people just don't have the drive to learn something new...and probably the fact that they can afford professional software"

        Maybe. Or maybe it's that those using it are gunning for a job in the industry and they have to use the tools the professionals do. This isn't elitism or anything like that. It's about pipeline. One major major major problem with 3D apps is that they do not talk to each other very nicely. Getting a model from Lightwave to Maya, for example, is a huge pain in the as
    • the UI is no more difficult than Maya or lightwave. All of these kinds of apps are simply really stinking hard to use to begin with because of the complexity you are looking at.

      The only things I find annoying about the UI was that if you accidentally clicked in the tools fram and tried to use your scroll wheel you can mess up the ui location and size. Everything else is pretty darn useable for the amount fo power thay hand you.

      • the UI is no more difficult than Maya or lightwave. All of these kinds of apps are simply really stinking hard to use to begin with because of the complexity you are looking at.

        Gotta say I disagree. Just because something is complex doesn't mean that it can't be presented in a simple fashion.

        I've used many, many 3D programs, from Sculpt-Animate-4D through Caligari, Imagine, Lightwave, Milkscape, and many others. Blender has the worst interface I've ever used. Caligari was second-worst (even with the ins
    • This isn't an app aimed at people who will give up after ten minutes. It's aimed at people who do 3D all day every day. The UI is designed for them. It's designed for speed.

      If you want something 'easy to pick up', I'm sure you can find something in the aisles of Target called something generic like 3D Extra Designer Pro. And you can wow us with the spinning animated gifs you make.

      That's not to say there aren't some fixes needed in the UI. (Mostly due to a feature not having been updated to the new paradigm)
    • I think I can assure you that Blender is having no trouble at *all* in the survival department. Yes, it is difficult to master at first. The UI is always evolving, but no matter how you slice it, high-quality 3D is quite difficult no matter how many dialogs and buttons and you pile on top of it. That's just the nature of the beast. For people that need software that has been dumbed down, there's always Poser and others like it.
  • are the result of the production of Elephants Dream, the first Open Movie.

    Uh, the *last* thing I want to see is a Replublican's wetdream :-)
           
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:17PM (#15725560)
    Really, the list of new features and improvements is so impressive that, were it a company product, it would surely be named "3.0", not puny 2.42 (after 2.41)...
    • by Speare (84249) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:56PM (#15725671) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, look through the back changelogs-- there's a HUGE list of new features and capabilities and tweaks and improvements on EVERY dot release. Yet it's still binary-compatible with ancient .blend files (and the ancient versions of blender can load the newer .blend files ignoring for future parameters). Pretty impressive really.

    • by It'sYerMam (762418) <thefishface&gmail,com> on Saturday July 15, 2006 @05:54PM (#15725841) Homepage
      In the past year or so, every single release has something that got the modeller in me excited. Each time, there has been at least one feature that is almost immediately applicable, usually more, and with a raft of bugfixes and minor features that I doubt I'll use. Blender has been for quite a while a very impressive piece of software, and that is ignoring the fact that it is free. It is one of the main, (in my opinion) achievements of the F/OSS movement, and is competable with professional applications. If development continues at this rate, I expect is will quite possible be better than its expensive competitors.
      • It is one of the main, (in my opinion) achievements of the F/OSS movement

        Except that it was developed by a company as a commercial product and later released as open source. I am not trying to diminish the (impressive) efforts made after they released the source, only stating the fact.

        (That is, Photoshop would also qualify as one of the most impressive OSS projects if Adobe released the source.)
        • As I recall, when I first used it, I found it awful. When it was first released as open source, it was, I am led to believe, barely useable - in spite of what people tell you about the interface just being "different." So yes, a lot of the groundwork was laid by commercial programming, but hot damn, has it come on since then. With the amount of recoding they do, I expect there will be little original code left, shortly.
    • Actually, Blender 3.0 would have come and gone years ago. At the rate they've been adding features, by now it should be "Blender WorldStudio CR 9.0 Professional." Oh well, at least they're helping put an end to the people who try to compare the maturity of completely different products by looking at version numbers alone.
  • Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dubmun (891874) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:27PM (#15725585) Homepage Journal
    Blender has really come a long way since we tried to use it to program our game Log Cabin Adventure in it back when I was getting my BS in CS. I always liked it's UI better than 3DSM but it seems like their feature sets are getting closer and closer as well.
    • I always thought CS was one of the few things you couldn't BS.
    • Wow...Plugins. (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      For ME, the most important thing is the running of plugins* ment for other 3D tools. A lot of games release development plugins for 3Dmax. Fine if that's what you have. Not so fine if you don't.

      *Number two is the running of published scripts.

      BTW how well does Blender do hair, fur and cloth, along with particle effects like water and fire?
  • by MarkByers (770551) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:28PM (#15725590) Homepage Journal
    Watching so called 'Open Movies' is Communistic and hurts the American economy. In particular it hurts us. There's no such thing as a free lunch. You get what you pay for. Open movies contain viruses and trojans. Sharing open movies is illegal in most countries.

    Don't download this movie or we will sue you. We know you broke the law when you were 14 years old. We have it on record.

    Your friends,
    The MPAA.
  • Cool (Score:2, Informative)

    by yfkar (866011)
    Great! Congrats to Ton and the rest of the developer team.

    It's always nice to see that every new release pushes Blender substantially forward. Especially the nodes are a nice addition.

  • just FYI (Score:3, Informative)

    by christurkel (520220) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:35PM (#15725610) Homepage Journal
    This release also sees official support for Irix restored. It had been been built for Irix but unsupported
  • by oldosadmin (759103) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @04:39PM (#15725628) Homepage
    Has anyone seen Elephants Dream? It's a horrible movie. Sure the 3d stuff is cool, but that's not what I want advertised everywhere as "the product of open source". The movie is *bad*. We're talking worse than Gigli, seriously.
    • I think the move is quite good, but they should have gotten someone to make a decent story. The move (and story) was made by 3d artists & programmers, and not story authors. The best story would probably be made in collaboration between story authors and 3d artists to make a decent story while showing off new 3d features.
      • I agree wholeheartedly. This is also why most OSS games don't have good textures, they are made by programmers, not gfx artists.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, 2006 @05:46PM (#15725814)
        Hate to point this out to you and ruin a perfectly good rant against hobbyists and open source jacks-of-all-trades, but they hired a professional screenwriter to write the script. They asked him for "artsy" and that's what he gave them. Sure, it's not Pixar by any stretch of the imagination, since Eddy Murphy's not providing the voice of a wisecracking fax machine, but there's a hell of a lot going on in ED. It's crafted like a puzzlebox, with multilayered symbolism hidden in the imagery and dialogue. It wasn't meant for saturday matinees, it was made for the art film festivals. If that not your cup of tea, that's fine, but don't decry it as "crap" and insist that just because you didn't see it, there must be nothing there. Film is subjective, not objective.

        (Disclaimer: I'm not really a huge fan of arthouse films. I know 'em when I see em, and I'll give 'em the respect they deserve, but I usually end up watching Hollywood's output.)

          Oh, and it's completely open. If you can do a mean Eddie Murphy Fax-machine voice, you're free to render your own Dream.
    • I haven't seen Gigli (and I think I'm glad), so I can't compare the 2.

      But Elephant's Dream does lack of a lot of the things that make a movie successful. You know, plot, good voice acting, good dialog... that stuff. the only things it DOES have going for it are pretty good CG and a neat idea. Oh, and it's free.
      • Considering the voice acting was done gratis it's not *that* bad. You want real bad voice acting then try watching some fan-dubbed anime, the first episode of Prince of Tennis for example, aweful.

        The rest you have right, the story and dialog is pretty crappy. But for a real-world demo of what can be done with blender it is an impressive piece of work. If you don't agree then put your money where your mouth is and make your own CG movie for the same budget.
    • "Has anyone seen Elephants Dream? It's a horrible movie. Sure the 3d stuff is cool, but that's not what I want advertised everywhere as "the product of open source"."

      I bolded the important part of your post. Lots of us were talking about switching to Maya after that horrible Star Wars movie came out.
    • Isn't that the open source way? Of course, like most open source projects, your fixes will probably be ignored.
    • Disney has plenty of movies waiting for you at your local video rental outlet.
      • Disney has plenty of movies waiting for you at your local video rental outlet.

        which is not a bad place to be if you want to generate the money and exposure needed to make Blender a must-have tool for the professional in animation.

        • For those that work in the production of the pop-cultural, money-driven industry, yes, that's true. However, I believe that people will continue push Blender in ways that will drive its future development - *other* people, not necessarily those working for Disney and Pixar. Because of this, I think Blender stands a good chance of continuing to gain ground. It may *never* be *as good* as the tools used by these studios, but at some point, it may very well be good enough to accomplish 95% of what the studios
  • Even if it isn't the main purpose of the program the sequence editor has been improved too, e.g support for FFMPEG formats, longer movies etc. At last a working relativly stable NLE on linux.

    (and yes I know about LiVES, Kino and others, but I they have been unstable and with a diffecoult interface, even if the interface of Blender takes a while to get used to.)

  • Run Away Now! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by pipingguy (566974) *
    Lock up your hookers, money, cigars and booze!

    Oh, sorry, I thought we were talking about Bender.
  • Open Source? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Then where is the script and story board? As an open source zealot I need these things!
  • I tried an earlier version of Blender and liked it, but I had to switch to 3DS max because blender didn't support an export format that I needed. I like 3DS max as well, but it suffers from a big focus problem that Blender doesn't have. There are mouse shortcuts for zooming panning and rotating, but they only work when the window has focus and the main window is always loosing focus.
    The one gripe with both packages I have is why is it so difficult to paint texture on an object?
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @05:51PM (#15725833) Homepage

    Tried the new physics engine, by dropping a cube and a cone onto a slanted plane. Things are definitely better than in 2.41, where the objects just hit the plane and stuck. Now they hit, bounce a bit, and slowly fall to align with the plane. They start to slide.

    Then the cone goes spinning and flying off into space. Huge conservation of energy violation. Oops.

    The Bullet Physics guys don't have sliding friction right yet. But they're making progress.

  • How about a Blender upgrade to a window manager that pipes graphics to Blender in realtime? Not just screengrabs, but any rendering being sent to the screen, before getting dressed in the widgets, or including them. With loopback to let us Blendo our desktops as we use them.
  • During this project, Blender's lead developer Ton Roosendaal was coding the features that were required by the artists to produce their movie.

    It's as if a cold shiver just ran through thousands of proprietary software companies all at once.

  • The program itself is awesome. Sadly, every tutorial, video or text, doesn't really help you. They just say "Do this, do that" without ever telling you why you're doing this task or that task, they only assume you know what each tool does and what it's primarily used for. Bad way to get people to use your program - I tried making a simple head using the step-by-step instructions in a tutorial, and failed miserably because the tutorial failed to mention that you need to select two certain regions for a loop cut.

    Blender hardly needs improvement (though the new particle/hair stuff is insanely cool,) it's the tutorials that need major improvement. You're not teaching anyone anything when you don't explain why you do this cut or select this part of the mesh. If you can't teach people the whys and hows, nobody can learn it. "Do this, do that" does nothing.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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