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Blender Goes Open Source 186

Christoffer Green writes " This morning, the NaN shareholders have reached an agreement on the conditions for a new future for Blender. In general it means that the Blender Foundation can execute it plans, to continue developement as an open source project." Perhaps some ambitious soul will bolt a reasonable interface onto the 3D app.
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Blender Goes Open Source

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  • Users Manual (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope the instructions on using it go open source too, man I tried it a few times made some nice images but couldn't for the life of me figure out how to render it... Used a few of the tutorials but they assumed I already knew what I was doing.
  • Next... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Real World Stuff ( 561780 ) <real_world_stuff@@@hotmail...com> on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:36PM (#3829495) Journal
    They'll open source my toaster, and fridge, oh wait RTFA...Um...nevermind... :)
    • With Microsoft embedded in your toaster, fridge, et. al., you won't be able to open source any of them. And if your appliances hear you talking about such things, well, I don't even want to THINK about what they might do.
      • sigh...

        I dread the day when Palladium means I have use Microsoft Certified Bread in my toaster every morning.

        Worse yet, the only certified cheese will probably be Swiss (*ba-dum crash!*).

        • But since Microsoft Certified Bread will be bloatware, it won't fit in your Palladium toaster.

          The refrigerator door won't open for any of those organic, "open source" vegetables (they might be viral).

          The microwave will transmit details on everything you reheat to Microsoft, to "ensure proper authorization".

          What most worries me is your oven's Blue Screen/Flame of Death.

  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:38PM (#3829508) Homepage
    "Perhaps some ambitious soul will bolt a reasonable interface onto the 3D app."

    Maybe if you have ever used Blender for any length of time, you would realize that the interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use. In fact, after having learned the full interface, I had a full blown introduction to my home movies completed in three hours.

    I would be the first to admit that the learning curve is steep, but once you are there, the program is a breeze to use.

    Now that I am off of my soapbox, I am pumped by this announcement. There is a huge community out there that has been gunning for this, and now that it is done, it can only go up!
    • I second this. The interface is absolutely marvelous. It's targeted towards keyboard shortcuts and speeds up work in much the same way the command line does. If 'a reasonable interface' means a candy coated bryce style button set, I'll avoid it like cli elitists shun desktop environments.

      In any case, this is great news!

    • Embarassing as it may seem, I'm with Taco. It suxxors.

      • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:31PM (#3829796)
        I agree with Taco, too. The interface of blender, when compared to other modeller's interfaces, sucks donkey balls.

        It may be very quick for someone who takes the time to learn it and become one with the app, but as someone who's sat down with several modellers over time, yes, including candy-coated Bryce, it's almost unfathomable. The icons are meaningless, the tools are painful to use, and the vast array of options given to the user make absolutely no sense. It wouldn't be so bad, but understanding of all these is required to do anything at all in the modeller.

        I've spent quite a bit of time [furinkan.net] with different modellers, but when I tried to do something so simple as to create a rendered sphere in Blender, it took me almost two hours to figure out that the reason my image was coming out blank was that Blender does not provide default lighting... like every other modeller out there does.

        Blender can and has been used to create some fantastic graphics. I'm so glad that it's been open sourced so that development can continue. As a graphic artist, however, I strongly encourage the design team to *completely* revamp the interface. It may what programmers want, but it's definietely *NOT* what artists want.
    • I haven't used Blender, but to say the interface is intuitive after using Blender for a length of time makes zero sense. Almost any programs interface is easy if you use it for a long period of time, that doesn't make the interface good, and it certainly doesn't make it intuitive.

      It would seem to me that "the learning curve is steep" and "the interface is extremely intuitive" are two very contradictory remarks.
      • It would seem to me that "the learning curve is steep" and "the interface is extremely intuitive" are two very contradictory remarks.

        Then pick "the learning curve is steep." It's the truer of the two. Once you figgure out what does what, it's smooth sailing.

      • by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:03PM (#3829649) Homepage

        Easy-to-learn and Easy-to-use are two very different concepts, but they are often confused. Take, for example, the controls of a modern fighter jet - it takes over a year of intensive training, and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of practice to learn to use the system effectively, but once learned using it becomes second nature. It's easy-to-use not easy-to-learn.

        Blender is like that too - it's a highly specialized program that requires some intellectual investment from the user, and rewards the user by being functional and flexable.

      • If you think Blender's interface is sub-par, compare it to Lightwave's
        interface (a $5,000 app). If you're serious about it, you'll learn the
        interface. I personally find it a ray of hope that the interfaces are simular.
        In addition, I wonder if the interfaces are simular on purpose, to draw in more
        experienced users.
        • I hate to split hairs...but a full version of Lightwave 7.5 (the newest version) is only $1,595 and NOT $5,000.

          That being said, I own and use Lightwave and I agree, the interface takes some getting used to.
          • Sorry and thanks for the correction. It's been a while since I looked at the
            newest version. Heh, time for me to get some sleep before posting to /. 8*)
      • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:11PM (#3829694)
        It would seem to me that "the learning curve is steep" and "the interface is extremely intuitive" are two very contradictory remarks.

        Perhaps, but what I think the original author meant was "easy to use" not "intuitive." This makes much more sense, since "easy to use" and "hard to learn" are definitely not mutually exclusive, and often go hand-in-hand.

        (To prove this to yourself, consider MS Windows Notepad. Very easy to learn, right? Try to use it for something serious: development, complex text transformations, etc. Very hard to use. Consider now vim or emacs. Pretty steep learning curve, but once you're there, it's really easy to do almost anything.)

        Now, a case could be made for "intuitive" too, since once you know what you're doing and have some decent familiarity, figuring out how to do something else could be very intuitive. I tend to think this isn't what the original author meant, but a case could be made anyway.

      • "It would seem to me that 'the learning curve is steep' and 'the interface is extremely intuitive' are two very contradictory remarks."

        Initiating pet peeve mode: Steep learning curves indicate that something IS easy to learn. Plot time on the X-axis and learning on the Y-axis. If the curve is "steep" you are learning a lot in a short period of time. Pet peeve mode off.

        I know you didn't use the phrase originally but the setup for my post was better so I chose your post. It irks me. Almost as much as Jeff Goldblum movies.

      • I think he meant:

        1) "the learning curve is steep"
        2) "the interface is _great and makes sense only when you get to know it_"

        Meaning that a flat learning curve thas has a huge cost. You learn it fast, but it limits you in unexpected ways.

        Windows is a 4 story building with huge elevators. Linux (and in this case Blender) is a 10 story building with staircases from flor 1 to 4 and a modest elevator for the rest.

        So the result is people think building as 4 story tall. Most people still think of Linux (Blender) as a Windows building clone with just starcases.

        Sorry for having to resort to analogies :) But that's my Linux experience and it's difficult to tell....For the sake of it, a final analogy: I think Linux needs to finish the 1-4 elevator for the lazy folks. But they'll still have to take the 1-4 staircaes if they want to access the 5-10 floors.
    • by Cryptnotic ( 154382 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:48PM (#3829558)
      Blender is the vi of 3D modelling applications. Like vi, Blender uses lots of single-keystroke commands. Blender is a modal editor (use TAB to switch modes between object editing and scene editing). The interface is based on the concept of having one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the mouse, with most of the work being done by the keyboard hand.

      I just wonder how the open source people are going to be able to come up with the 100000 Euro that the property holders want for the Blender source code.

    • Blender is NOT intuitive. It is GREAT to use once you have trained yourself. Pico is intuitive. Vi is great to use once you have trained yourself.
    • I think that once learned it is easy, yes. I think there are still points wrong with the interface such as incredibly small widgets (the sliders) and unexplained button coloring.

      Also object creation is debatable - I much prefer MAX's method to blender/truespace's create then scale approach.

      One of the great things about blender's UI is how small it makes the binary. I highly doubt blender would be so small if native widgets had been used. Then again a native file selector would be far easier and more powerful than Blender's 80sesque implementation.
      • trueSpace has a very intuitive and powerful interface. You can also scale first like in max. The pricetag for tS is also very reasonable for an application with it's power. tS's interface can also be customized. It's currently at 500 dollars for the boxed copy of tS6.

        You can find info on the latest version of tS at: http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSpace/tS6/Bro chure/modeling.asp?Cate=BModeling
    • I would be the first to admit that the learning curve is steep

      The problem is that the documentation never was and still isn't free. How is one supposed to learn this sort of program wihtout the docs?

      • I disagree with you here. The number of tutorials on the I'net is large and informative. I did pluck down the $20 for the book, but I found it wasn't nearly as useful as the tutorials both on Blender's webpage and also on other support sites.
        • I don't own the manual, but almost everything else I've read says it's quite good. And I've never found any decent tutorials for Blender. They're all incomplete, incomprehensible, or filled with ads and Flash.

          If you've found a useful tutorial, I'd be very appreciative if you would post a link.

    • If something is 'intuitive', it means that its purpose and/or function can be easily ascertained from the placement and presentation within the overall interface. Blender's interface is a lot of things, it but it is NOT intuitive.

      I've used Blender for about two years, and as far as interfaces goes, it sucks rocks. Admittedly, there are certain aspects that are nice, even brilliant, but there are others that make using it unnecessarily difficult and cumbersome. I am hoping that the open source initiative will lead to cleaning up the interface so that it is more consistent, and functionally better. And for cripes sake - get an UNDO function.
    • First of all, this is awesome news!!!! Blender was the only good 3D tool I could find that works on Solaris. Next, there's nothing wrong at all with the Blender interface. You can have one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse and just go to town. I don't think they should waste their time on the interface. I would like to see more features instead. I had no problem learning the interface. Once you start using it you'll see there's a lot of shortcuts. I've used 3D Max, Raydream, lightwave and Maya and I think Blenders interface is great. Who cares whether it's standardized. If it works for you then use it.
    • What if blender didn't require hours of torturials just to make a simple teapot? It has become one of those examples of potentially market-changing technology that sunk because nobody could figure out how to use it--right up there with voice recognition software and Freenet. If blender was even as easy to use as, say, photoshop or soundforge (which are not as easy as AOL but simple enough to pick up on your own), do you really think Blender AG would have gone broke?
    • I have to agree with this. I found the interface to be fast and easy to work with once you get the hang of it. It just takes some time to read the tutorials and to get to understand how the UI works. It's rather powerful. I for one would hate to see it change.
    • Intuitive from Intuition, (knowledge obtained from) an ability to understand or know something immediately without needing to think about it, learn it or discover it by using reason. [From Cambridge International Dictionary of English]

      Twice before I've been involved in discussions on Slashdot about Blender's interface. Twice before have a very strong argument from those who like the interface been that it's incredibly intuitive once you learn it. Two wrongs obviously does not make a right.

      Please stop abusing the word "intuitive". Sit down for a moment, using a dictionary if necessary, and think about what "intuitive" means. Then use a better word such as "powerful", or a term like "it's obvious once you've learned it" in these cases.

      English is a very rich language, please keep it that way.

  • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:39PM (#3829510) Homepage
    This is pretty good news for me. I started a tutorial [digitalhermit.com] for blender a while back. The interface at first looks daunting, but after using it for a few hours you realize that everything makes a lot of sense. It's probably as opposite as you can get to something like Bryce in terms of the interface. Not pretty, but powerful. Though there are many rt apps for Linux, none of the friendliest ones are open.
  • I was just thinking to myself yesterday how nice it would be if Blender went OSS. We've needed a nice open source 3D editor, and now I don't have to start a project to write one from scratch. Good deal.
  • by certron ( 57841 )
    I've used blender on and off for the past 2 years, I'm not sure how exactly I came across it, but it was after I had gotten the utah-glx to work with my matrox g200 card.

    That it has gone open source is a welcome development. The site says that it will be under "GPL (or similar) license" which I think is a very good sign indeed.

    As for the interface... It is awesome. There is nothing wrong with the interface, in fact, there are lots of things right with it that other products don't even approach. Yes, it is weird to start with, but if you are prepared to use the keyboard and mouse, and learn a few gestures, you should be all set to go. The window creation and resizing is very well thought out as well.

    But hey, if you don't like it, maybe there can be an alternative interface made. All in all, this is really good news.

    • I am not prepared to use the keyboard. When you
      do graphics you think visually so there should
      be a way of doing everything with a mouse and
      it should be fairly intuitive.
  • Press Release Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by cow_licker ( 172474 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:41PM (#3829523)
    The press release and proposal are both lcated here [blender3d.com].

    Congratulations Ton and everyone. This will be a great addition to the OSS community. Once the 95k USD is scrapped together.

    • I noticed that they have a paypal account set up for bandwidth charges. So I thought it might be nicer to post the press release here, rather than bankrupt Ton from a thorough slashdotting.


      New future for Blender as Free Software!

      Today the shareholders of NaN Holding have reached an agreement on the outlines for a new future for Blender. In general it means that a non-profit organisation (the Blender Foundation) will be enabled to execute its plans, including Blender development as an 'open source' or 'free software' project.
      Details of this agreement will be studied on and negotiated during the next week, hopefully resulting in signing contracts next friday july 12.

      What the NaN shareholders and the Foundation agree on:
      - putting the full Blender sources, including old and new development, in the public domain under a GNU GPL (or similar) license.
      - the Foundation will pay an initial fee of 100k euro for this (95k USD)
      - the Foundation can exploit the website and re-establish e-shop services
      - NaN Holding will be sufficiently enabled to (re)start business in the future, for example licensing derived technology or special services.

      NaN Holding recognizes that, giving all circumstances and the current economic situation, moving on with Blender to this next stage will be the most beneficial thing to do, to protect past investments, but also to respect everything that has been realized until now by the NaN companies and the world-wide user community.

      I am very happy we were able to make this tough decision, hopefully it will become a historical step. Details on the activities to gather funding will be made public here soon. Stay tuned!

      Ton Roosendaal, July 5, 2002
      • the Foundation will pay an initial fee of 100k euro for this (95k USD)

        Two things jump out of this sentence at me.

        $95 Thousand US Dollars!? Who's going to cough up that money?

        That's the initial fee, so what's the amount of the remaining fee and who's going to cough that up, and when?
  • did you perhaps go through the tutorial? the blender interface is amazing for its job, i wouldnt put it on a file manager but for 3d is rocks, oh and by the way, if you use a mouse in blender for more then selecting and move/rotate/transform you are using the interface wrong.

    i REALLY REALLY hated the interface when i started but over the span of a week i learned to love it, its great.

    sorry for being so defensive but why is an editor for a "news outlet" commenting on the interface? thats like a tour de france winner bashing cars for having a steering wheel instead of handle bars

    stick to what you know.
    • Taco's done some 3D stuff like Duckpins [cmdrtaco.net] and Hamster Havoc [cmdrtaco.net]. Who's to say he's not qualified to comment and you are. I tried to go to your website and see if maybe you put something out there for us to see, but alas, your server doesn't even work. So what have YOU done that make you any more of an expert?

    • did you perhaps go through the tutorial? the blender interface is amazing for its job

      Even vi's interface is easy once you've learned how it works. It took me three days to figure out how to select an object in Blender. Compare that to the mere 2 hours it took me to figure out how to select text in vi.

      Anyone can make a functional interface, but a good interface is one that is easy to both learn and use.

      I don't think that blender's interface is deficient as far as features are concerned, but I do think it could be greatly improved. The tutorial only does so much.

  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @03:45PM (#3829540)
    I know there is going to be alot of cracks about it's goofy interface.

    But to be honest, it is not all that bad. I went and bought the official blender book to learn how to do everything, and it was pretty straight forward. I was doing some things I never thought I would be able to do in a matter of hours. I still use Blender to do some artwork when I'm kinda bored. More of a part-time hobby then anything else, so Blender being free software was nice.

    The Official Blender Guide was a really well written book. Lots of great looking shots showing off what blender can do, and putting alot of what I've seen people do in Maya to shame. I'd reccomend the book to anyone really interested in doing something with Blender. Also has a CD with updated versions of Blender, and all the pictures and animations done in the examples.

    Just my two cents, I'm just happy to see that Blender isn't dead quite yet.
    • But to be honest, it is not all that bad.

      It's not all that good, either. It's kind of like vi; incredibly powerful, once you climb the learning curve - but damn, what a steep curve that is. Not everyone will make it to the top.

      In fact, I think that Blender's failure as a commercial product was, in large part, because of its hard to grok interface. For better or for worse, people in general are used to instant gratification; that's why clippy is on millions of computers, and emacs isn't.
      • For better or for worse, people in general are used to instant gratification; that's why clippy is on millions of computers, and emacs isn't.

        True, and that's why a free Blender (like a free Emacs) is so beautiful: it can continue to be powerful software for intelligent users, and does not have to cater to the billions of idiots out there.

  • The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple.
  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:01PM (#3829632)
    $95,000 USD is fairly cheap to move all of Blender's IP into GPL. Ton's proposal [blender3d.com] for the Foundation didn't explicitly state (unless I missed it) how the group would obtain the starting cash. It outlined a membership for exclusive offers.

    We should keep an eye out for the Foundation to be set up and gathering capital. I would also be curious to see any big corporation (Red Hat, IBM, Mandrake, etc.) donate a few thousand each to the cause. It used to be that the best way to support Blender was to buy the manual (which I did, VERY nice looking btw), but now we'll have a non-profit organization handling the continued development and support of Blender. 'Tis a good day.

  • by minus23 ( 250338 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:06PM (#3829660)
    If we can get a "banner head" in the 3D open source community it will do great things. There is currently the "Wings 3D" project which is a work off of sorts from the Nendo software. -- I believe that given a long enough timeline opensource solutions can surpass the solutions we have today. -- It just becomes a matter of how long that timeline is. -- Anyway... I use Mainly Lightwave 3D.... but if the opensource comunity can create a competitor to even the very largest packages... (Maya, 3DS, XSI, Lightwave)... then it can only do good things to the pricing of these applications as a whole. --- The next few years in 3D animation are going to be exciting even without the opensource trends... but these projects... (blender,Wings...)... I think are going to make things even more interesting to the industry as a whole.
  • I think the interface is just fine. It might have a small learning curve at first, but once you understand the layout it is very well designed. Even others that use 3D animation packages professionaly agree.
  • I would love to see good multi-platform render clients (nodes) for blender.

    Also, being able to render to Renderman would be nice...current tools that support this are weak at best.

    The interface, although weird at first, is perfectly fine. I have used 3DS Max, Lightwave, Softimage, and Blender and they ALL have different interfaces which take a little getting used to.

  • by -ryan ( 115102 )
    Thank God, I have been hoping and praying for this moment since NaN closed its doors.

    And, in the words of the old Negro spiritual,
    "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
  • Thats a pretty clever move. Buy the source of software and distribute the source for free.

    I would happily give up 20-50$ to get the quality of blender with aviability of open office or gimp.

    It also seem to be an encouragement - the ability to write source a sell it to the OSS community.
    • I would happily give up 20-50$

      How about $95,000?
      That's the "initial fee", by the way, according to the announcement, so we don't yet know how much the final amount they will be demanding is.

      Seems a bit for "free software" to me, but then what do I know...
  • Good to see. Now development can continue, and I certainly hope the company can continue development on their web site (which is excellent, especially the tutorials) and generate greater revenue.

    Good news all around. Ometedou!!
  • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:31PM (#3829795) Journal

    I agree that the interface at first glance appears to be convuluted. But once you learn it, you'll realize it's one of the most well thought-out gui's out there, period. I'm sure many blender users out there would atest to that.

    Don't just download blender and expect to learn the GUI by fiddling around. Chances are you'll only get fustrated after a while. Buy the tutorial, it is *well* worth the ~$35 if you're serious about learning this 3D app. The Official Blender 2.0 Guide [amazon.com].

    • Many posts regarding the interface describe it as "good once you get to know it." The challenge for any good interface designer isn't to just throw together bunches of related buttons and sliders, but to hopefully make their use, as well as the process required to learn them, as easy as practically possible. There are several instances where Blender could use some real improvement in this regard. Few if any software apps are so good that it cannot be improved, and Blender is no exception.

      • Many posts regarding the interface describe it as "good once you get to know it." The challenge for any good interface designer isn't to just throw together bunches of related buttons and sliders, but to hopefully make their use, as well as the process required to learn them, as easy as practically possible.

        Not necessarily; EMACS, for example, has a pretty steep learning curve. OTH, it is by far one of the best editors available (depending on who you ask). I've never used Blender, so I can't say much for it, but just saying, that a good interface doesn't need to very intuitive, but should be easy to use *once you've learned to use it*.
      • There is no correspondance between "easy to learn" and "easy to use". These are two subsets of all interfaces, and these sets intersect.

        Unfortunately there is a huge number of people who think "easy to use" implies "easy to learn", or worse they think "learn" is all the work they will ever have to do with an interface (which is stupid if you plan to use a program more than once).

        There are also lots of examples where interfaces are *both* hard to use and hard to learn. Perhaps this is the majority of interfaces. But this in no way implies that the sets "easy to learn" and "easy to use" are identical, all it implies is that they are small compared to the set of all interfaces. Their intersection may still be quite small compared to their non-intersecting parts (this is what I suspect).

  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:33PM (#3829807) Homepage
    It should say, "Blender May Go Open Source".

    Frankly I'm a little dubious about the scheme. Blender hasn't been successful commercially (when it was free-like-beer), so now, the owners are making a last ditch attempt to scrape up some money. Well, I certainly understand why they want the money, but aren't they still selling their books? (Which was the only way they were making money before.) What if they don't get their money, are they going to bury or destroy the source, and cut off their income from selling the book? Isn't that like cutting off their nose to spite their face? What if they only receive 40k euros? What if I'd sent in 10 euro? Do I get a refund? Or will they just keep whatever money they've received and laugh at us? Frankly, while I hope the scheme succeeds ('cause that'll leave everyone happy), it worries me very much.

    On the other hand, the comment about the interface was really clueless. Can you imagine the reaction if Taco had said "perhaps, now that vi is open source, some ambitious soul will bolt on a reasonable interface." The vi fans would be burning him in effigy. The cult of easy-to-learn, who-cares-how-easy-it-is-to-actually-use gets rather annoying sometimes. Where are the usability studies on experts?
  • Yes, Blender has an unintuitive interface, and it took me about 3-4 tries over the years before I started to get the hang of it. But, if it does indeed go GPL, that will probably be the easiest to fix. And behind that interface lies a very fast and powerful modeller that runs on multiple platforms and whose Linux binary zips up to about 1.2Mb.

    The only other major weakness I see in Blender is that its output format isn't documented, another problem that goes away as soon as the source is opened.
    • The only other major weakness I see in Blender is that its output format isn't documented, another problem that goes away as soon as the source is opened.

      This is not a problem. You can write your own exporter in Python, all you need is Blender module documentation (available in many places).
  • by Nindalf ( 526257 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @04:54PM (#3829898)
    ...it's also their income!
  • interface and such. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The_Great_Satan ( 308213 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @05:03PM (#3829937)
    I've got to come down on the "yes, it does need a new interface" side of the argument.

    If you want to see my qualifications for making this statement, you can download a game demo I made at www.shizit.net. I also made a tutorial on IKA which NaN published on their site. Perhaps some of you are familiar with it.

    It's true that the learning curve is too steep. The interface can be quick for experienced users since most commands are tied to hot keys, BUT, I found this was again a major disadvantage whenever I needed to use the program after a long period of not using it. There are/were only two ways to learn most of the hot keys, the book and the Blenderbase web site. Either way it can take a lot of digging to unearth a forgotten hot key command.

    Solution: expand the menu system to contain ALL of the interface commands and display the hot key shortcut beside it. It would also be great if the hot keys could be reset by the user, ala GIMP.

    The other big annoyance I found was tying up the left (for right handed users) mouse button with placement of the creation gizmo. The creation gizmo itself needs to be taken out and the left mouse button reassigned the normal selection duties it has in every other program I've ever used. New objects can either be spawned at coordinates 0 0 0 as in Maya or spawning can wait until the a point is selected with the mouse as in 3DS MAX.

    This is great news for all Blender user's though. Good luck raising 90K, Ton!

  • ...if they intend to open-source the optional food processor module as well.
  • Perhaps some ambitious soul will bolt a reasonable interface onto the 3D app.

    Or perhaps some ambitious soul will bolt a brain into that head of yours.

    The interface is the best for a 3D app I've ever seen, and if they change it, then I'm dropping blender... I get so sick and tired of hearing people whine about an interface that they are not willing to sit down and learn how to use. Patience levels of people are rediculous when it comes to learning how to use something like this. Heaven forbid that it doesn't look like Microsoft Office and you actually have to learn something NEW once in your life.

    Mental midgets are such tragedies...
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @05:09PM (#3829963) Homepage
    Blender's interface is only complicated because it controls a complicated program. All the controls have got to be easy to get at, instead of hidden under many levels of menus.

    It's like buying a JCB and complaining that you don't know what all the levers do. It's harder to drive than a car with cruise control and automatic gears, but then again it's designed to do a lot of things. And you need to *work* to learn how to use it.

    Not everything in life is just a couple of mouse-clicks away.

    • I think I agree with you. I had to buy a Blender book just to figure out how to use the darned thing. The interface was "confusing".

      However, once I took the time to learn it, I began to love it. It's actually extremely easy to use after you learn it, and, in addition, the fact that it uses OpenGL as an interface makes it both very small, and very platform-independent. And, even though everyone does tell me I'm strange, I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that Blender actually looks pretty good.

      Anyway, to bring my rantings to a point, I think Blender is sort of like Linux -- to a newbie, it seems totally impossible and illogical, but once you learn it, it's the most innovative thing ever.

      • I think I agree with you. I had to buy a Blender book just to figure out how to use the darned thing. The interface was "confusing".

        I learned Blender interface without any book - just few tutorials and list of keys from WWW.
        I contacted Blender Shop becouse I wanted to buy book, but there were too many problems (very long shipping to Poland) so I resigned.
        Blender has strong community, well designed interface (yes), and is extensible with Python. So it won't die even if code won't be free.
    • This is not true. I have used 7 completly different 3D programs and many revisions of some of them. The best interface I have ever seen is Softimage XSI by a wide margin. If you want to see a program 10 times as fast, elgant, and powerful as blender with an interface better than any program I have ever seen, grap hold of a copy or get the trial version off of their website. That is what an interface should be. Blender's is easily the worst. No organization, very arbitrary. It is rediculous.
      • Yes, but Softimage XSI is unbelievably expensive.

        Oh, and it's spelt "ridiculous".

        • That doesn't mean that someone can't take lessons from its interface or that a program has to be expensive to have a good interface, or (probably the biggest misconception) that a interface will naturally be difficult if a program is complex and powerful.
          • Yeah, that's true. However, Softimage probably has a large team of full-time designers that come up with the UI.

            It's something I've noticed about free and open-source software. The software itself is fast, stable and generally very, very good - usually better than commercial offerings. However, it tends to be let down by clunky and badly designed user interfaces. It's not really a big problem though.

  • by JediTrainer ( 314273 ) on Friday July 05, 2002 @05:13PM (#3829983)
    At least, that's what it appears to be from the proposal [blender3d.com]. Looks like you'd have to pay to get a copy of the sources (but not necessarily binaries). I'm not sure if the GPL will be legal in the case that they're proposing. Nevertheless, it still seems like a great deal to me. I'd love to get my hands on that source code for the cost of a yearly membership.

    And I quote:
    Blender Foundation activities

    To establish a solid revenue model, the Foundation will limit access to free services and free copies of Blender Creator. The web portal will be reorganised to serve this purpose. In general there will be four levels of access (or licenses) people can get.

    The licenses can be defined to match standards for 'Free Software' or 'Open Source'. Key isue here is the right for Foundation Members to re-use or re-distribute the source codes, but strictly limited to projects that work within the (same) GPL structure. Challenge for the Foundation then is to establish a good services and management system, to provide a strong incentive for users and coders to regularly visit the web site, and participate in making Blender a better product.

    A. Free (gratis) access
    Limited parts of general user information (executables, tutorials, help files, discussion forums) will be accessible for free. The Foundation board can decide on the level and quality of free access , related to exploitation requirements.

    B. Membership
    For a reasonable fee, EUR 50 per year, you get access to the closed Membership area, which includes all user services, all executable versions, all source codes. The license for the executables and codes will be the 'copylefted GNU GPL' license, also known as 'GPL' for short. This allows Members to freely use and redistribute the code, but restricts building new applications with Blender codes to other GPLed software projects. Membership is personal and cannot be transferred. For companies or schools a Bulk Member license (10+ users) can be obtained for EU 495.
  • Calculations for Revenue expectations are off. In the proposal [blender3d.com], we see that membership will cost:

    B. Membership
    For a reasonable fee, EUR 50 per year, you get access to the closed Membership area, which includes all user services, all executable versions, all source codes.

    Later, we see the revenue expectations:

    Revenue expectations (July-December 2002)

    - Initial funding (community, e-shop, sponsoring): 100.000
    - Member License subscriptions: 1000 in 6 months, 50.000
    - E-shop revenues general products: 20.000
    - Product License subscriptions: 10 x 5k = 50.000

    Total: EUR 220.000


    - Website: 6k
    - Webmaster / sysadm: 6k
    - Full time operations (wages) 30k
    - General costs 10k
    - NaN Holding license fee: xxxx

    First of all, 50 * 1000 for membership revenue is PER YEAR, not for 6 months. Divide that by two. That knocks about 25k off their revenue.

    Where can I find a webmaster for 12k a year? Or a full-time operations staff for 60k? The site only costing 12k per year? Is bandwidth really that cheap?

    I'm not sure, but these numbers aren't sounding that realistic to me. Best of luck to them - I will probably try to support them with my $$, but I sure hope they have a clear idea of where they're going with this.
    • The way I read it is they anticipate getting 1000 subscribers within six months, not 1000 subscribers for six month memberships. They aren't going to get 1000 people offering up 50 euros on the first day. They think it will take them six months to get 1000 people willing to pay for annual memberships. So, they will still get 50k.

      As far as the costs go, I'm guessing they aren't talking about a full-time webmaster. Blender already has a strong community base, and I'm sure that some of those people will help out with some of the webpage content, tutorials, and such.

      At any rate, I wish them the best of luck. Hopefully, this will lead to some cool plugins and enhancements for future versions.
  • I didn't know that Professor Farnsworth's robot belly was source.

    What? That's BLENDER, not BENDER??? Oh, sorry. Nevermind.

    Bite my shiny robot ass...

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.