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Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:18 pm
by Zam
Hello to the community. I have just started with Mogre, is a very nice and powerful thing. Thanks to whoever makes possible to have it.

On my first post, I need some guidance to pick a (free?) modelling tool.

I have tried Blender, and no, its not for me. I have done some nice models some years ago (3d Studio), and is not obvious for me if Blender is a step forward, or not.

I remember selection of objects, faces, verteces with a single mouse click; a mirror tool with a single button; I used to drag the view to pan it around.
Now I need to press B and drag around to select some thing; Alt-D, RMB (as they usually name the right-mouse-button on the help), S, X to mirror; I still dont have a idea on how to pan the view... I read the blender forums and help stuff with the hope to just switch my brains and get the workflow mode, but there are a lot of noobs that have the same questions as me, and they have to write almost a book to explain their problems... everything seems obvious for the advanced users. After 5 or 10 big forum posts, you get into the point...

So I'll give up. Blender wins over me. That's sad, because Blender looks really great, and the videos are impressive. I'm a mouse/joystick guy, not a keyboard one.

I would like to hear from you, what are the tools that you prefer to use, and if possible, if you know something with the "feel" of 3d max. If its free or not too expensive, will be much better for me. I'm in the Low Budget Indy way.

Thank you for any help... and excuse me if my english is too bad, I´m trying to get it better too

Zam

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:59 pm
by kulik
Blender has a steep learning curve, you have to fight to get past it. Still, I believe that it's worth the pain.

As for free modelling tools, see this: http://www.daz3d.com/i/3d/free-3d-softw ... _btn=start
There are several other choices but it's mostly simpler tools like Sketchup.

PS: I don't buy into they mouse guy vs keyboard guy argument. Mouse control is intuitive and simple to start with, keyboard control takes practice (you have to memorise combinations, nothing is displayed to you). In the beginning, everyone is the mouse guy, then they learn shortcuts and slowly become the keyboard guy. Artists working in Max or Maya use shortcuts a whole lot, it makes them way way faster.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:55 pm
by Zam
Thank you Kulik!

Well, I think I'll be trying Blender a little more. I would like to create very simple models and animations, then I´ll try to do better.
You're right about my mouse vs keyboard complaints. It's just that I would like to use the mouse for the things that I'm used to: grab, select, pan. I'll have to kill some neurons to forget that. I use a laptop, I think is harder for this kind of work

Daz3d looks great. I'll take a look on how to integrate with OGRE.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:22 pm
by Aralox
Hey Zam, welcome to Mogre and Blender!
I use both, and love them. I've used Blender for a few years now, and I completely understand your frustrations with learning it.
It is quite notorious for being very difficult to learn, but personally I believe that only applied for the pre-2.5 version of Blender. (the release of version 2.5 blew my mind, the UI is so sexy)

In answer to your question regarding a similar free program like 3ds max, check out gmax - http://www.turbosquid.com/gmax. Its probably just what you were looking for.

However my advice would be to hang in there with Blender - Its totally worth it in the end. I read an article by someone a long time ago, in which the writer mentioned that his keyboard and mouse were like gloves into a virtual world where he shaped 3D models with his hands. This image really stuck with me, and I really strived (and still strive) to achieve that level of speed and familiarity with Blender that he had. When you really get into it, It feels great!

A site that really helped me is Blender Cookie - http://cgcookie.com/ - Have a look at the intro tutorials.
Also, check out Blender Artists, basically all your questions can be answered there, so dont be afraid to ask - http://blenderartists.org/forum/

Anyways, good luck! :)

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:42 pm
by Kojack
GMax is a rather odd thing though.
It was discontinued 7 years ago (but is still available).
It only allows you to work with game packs, special plugins which allow it to export content to specific game formats. While GMax is free, it actually costs a massive amount of money for permission to make a game pack (last time I checked, back in 2005, over $100,000), which is why there's not much support beyond Quake3, MS Flight Sim and Trainz. It's not a general purpose modelling tool and the eula stops you from exporting to anything not supported by a game pack (although people have written hacks and stuff to try to get data out of it).

Although I don't know what the game pack situation is like (if any free version of the gamepack sdk was ever released) now that it's so many years since the program was abandoned.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:20 pm
by saejox
consider a bank loan? $3500 will get you Maya or 3ds.

but i say blender is the king of modelling tools. Yeah it's keyboard intensive, but it'll be faster when you get used to it. Also there are some great ad-dons if you feel it lacks on some departments.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:58 pm
by duststorm
In the beginning Blender is tough. But once you get used to it, you don't want to go back. It just works a lot faster than say 3D MAX.

I suggest you first take some beginner tutorials. Have a look on the blender website itself or sites like http://cgcookie.com/blender/
Video tutorials can help you a lot too because you see how others work with it.

A few tips to some of the things you were stuck with:
CTRL+A selects all
SHIFT+middle mouse allows you to pan
CTRL+middle mouse allows you to zoom

Learn to work with the num keys to change views (side,top, ...)
Learn the difference between orthogonal and perspective projection (switch using 0 on numpad)

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:40 am
by LiMuBei
Just to encourage you some more (the other fine folks said everything there is to say already :)): don't give up! I was very frustrated with the Blender UI on first contact too and gave up on it for a year. Then I found a nice UI tutorial (was for 2.48 back then) and after I did that things fell into place. As others have recommended, check out the tutorials from BlenderCookie, they are great. You can do everything in Blender with the mouse it just involves a lot of clicking. If you do the tutorials you'll slowly start using the keyboard shortcuts and feel comfortable. There's also an option in the settings (Input tab) called "Emulate numpad" which should help when working on a laptop with no extra numpad. Happy blending!

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:40 pm
by neighborlee
http://www.daz3d.com/ < It is still possible to get this, for free. It's no max/maya, but I presume its going to get the job done with no problems.

If you're wanting a alternative to blender < many exist>, this is definitely one worth looking at. I have no idea how much longer it's going to be free, I've not tried mine yet,
but its features sound wonderful.

Im def. not enthused with blender myself, as I just tried to load a 2008 project, albeit 'old' now, but it loaded into 2.63a and gave me zero menus in any viewport. I tried everything, but even ctrl-alt-U, brought up a EMPTY preferences, as in nothing there, blank space. I don't think thats quality software imho. Ill use something else, even if it costs me money. THIs is not a 'bash blender' reply, so please dont bother me with that, its a, im frustrated, and I dont have time to bother anymore.

cheers
nl


Zam wrote:Hello to the community. I have just started with Mogre, is a very nice and powerful thing. Thanks to whoever makes possible to have it.

On my first post, I need some guidance to pick a (free?) modelling tool.

I have tried Blender, and no, its not for me. I have done some nice models some years ago (3d Studio), and is not obvious for me if Blender is a step forward, or not.

I remember selection of objects, faces, verteces with a single mouse click; a mirror tool with a single button; I used to drag the view to pan it around.
Now I need to press B and drag around to select some thing; Alt-D, RMB (as they usually name the right-mouse-button on the help), S, X to mirror; I still dont have a idea on how to pan the view... I read the blender forums and help stuff with the hope to just switch my brains and get the workflow mode, but there are a lot of noobs that have the same questions as me, and they have to write almost a book to explain their problems... everything seems obvious for the advanced users. After 5 or 10 big forum posts, you get into the point...

So I'll give up. Blender wins over me. That's sad, because Blender looks really great, and the videos are impressive. I'm a mouse/joystick guy, not a keyboard one.

I would like to hear from you, what are the tools that you prefer to use, and if possible, if you know something with the "feel" of 3d max. If its free or not too expensive, will be much better for me. I'm in the Low Budget Indy way.

Thank you for any help... and excuse me if my english is too bad, I´m trying to get it better too

Zam

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:51 pm
by jonim8or
Blender indeed has a quite steep learning curve, but after following some of the tutorials from cgcookie I easily got the hang of it. Now I really love it, because i was able to manually edit the export script so that blender-to-ogre exporting could be done exactly the way i want it to work.
I'd say hang on to blender, the community is nice, the features are good, the blender-to-ogre exporter is getting better, it's worth the learning effort

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:54 pm
by Demarii
neighborlee, have you tried unchecking the "Load UI" box in the left middle portion of the load file screen? This should load the data but leave the Viewports and menus in their default state. I almost always do this when I'm loading someone else models.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:38 pm
by neighborlee
Trouble is, with mesh loaded, I don't have any menus or anything else to click on that I can see. There is literally no way to select anything or uncheck a box, there is just nothing here. If I click on far right toolbox area, then I see a arrow to click which brings up options like prefs, but choosing materials for example doesn't bring anything up , but <icon here> Materials<text>

thx for replying though
nl


Demarii wrote:neighborlee, have you tried unchecking the "Load UI" box in the left middle portion of the load file screen? This should load the data but leave the Viewports and menus in their default state. I almost always do this when I'm loading someone else models.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:08 am
by LiMuBei
neighborlee, you can try to start blender, then open your blend file and in the file open dialog there is an option to the left if you want to load the UI layout associated with that file. This is selected by default. Try unselecting that and see if the file loads. If your UI is still damaged then something is pretty, pretty wrong with that file...

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:03 am
by neighborlee
Well, I have no idea whats going on, I just know that when I start blender ( 2.63a), all I get is a cube ( seems default ), and no menus on left , top, right or bottom; absoutely nothing.
Maybe the file I loaded caused this, I have no idea, but I know one thing for positive; the mesh that loads is just fine, so its not that.

Why would pressing ctrl-alt-U, cause prefs to start completely blank ? Is it a python issue ?
If there was some keypress that would put blender back to normal, that would be perfect, then I could try loading the scene and clicking , do not load scene defaults.

Id rather not have to redownload blender to do that though, surely there is another way...
Thanks for trying to help :)

thx
nl


LiMuBei wrote:neighborlee, you can try to start blender, then open your blend file and in the file open dialog there is an option to the left if you want to load the UI layout associated with that file. This is selected by default. Try unselecting that and see if the file loads. If your UI is still damaged then something is pretty, pretty wrong with that file...

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:25 am
by cybereality
I had the same feeling when I first tried Blender years ago (I was mostly a max guy, but I have used maya a bit in school). Just recently I decided to give it another chance, especially considering the cost (free!). Instead of just trying to fiddle with the UI and hope something worked, I bought a book and decided to learn it the right way. It has certainly opened my eyes, and I would say that I honestly feel the workflow is better than some commercial packages. The book that I got (which I haven't even finished, by the way) was Blender Foundations: The Essential Guide to Learning Blender 2.6 ( http://www.amazon.com/Blender-Foundatio ... 0240814304 ). Well worth the money. After the first few chapters most of the common hotkeys will make sense and its really not that bad. I can't wait to finish the book and start some real modelling, but even at half-way through I feel I've learned a lot.

So, yeah, just give Blender another chance. Its worth it (especially considering its FREE!!!).

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:38 am
by bstone
Go to your "%APPDATA%\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.63\config" folder. There you should find startup.blend. Remove it and start blender. If that doesn't give you your factory default settings for UI then just download some simple blender tutorial having a .blend file and copy it to startup.blend. That should give you some working layout. As long as you have at least one menu you can always switch the window to "Info" and then use the "Load Factory Settings" item in its File menu.

Then follow cybereality's advice on loading the file that interests you w/o affecting the default UI layout.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:06 am
by neighborlee
I don't seem to have that DIR, this is the downloaded zip file.

thx
nl

bstone wrote:Go to your "%APPDATA%\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.63\config" folder. There you should find startup.blend. Remove it and start blender. If that doesn't give you your factory default settings for UI then just download some simple blender tutorial having a .blend file and copy it to startup.blend. That should give you some working layout. As long as you have at least one menu you can always switch the window to "Info" and then use the "Load Factory Settings" item in its File menu.

Then follow cybereality's advice on loading the file that interests you w/o affecting the default UI layout.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:16 am
by bstone
Well, I assumed you have Windows, do you? %APPDATA% is your C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming folder in Vista/Win7 where C: and YourUserName varies depending on how you setup your Windows. If you use another OS then you should find where Blender stores its config data.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:18 am
by neighborlee
THis is windows 7, but I have no such directory.
**I"ll do some searching and see if something became hidden accidentally.**
all fixed.

Okay:
I removed hidden flag, no idea what happened there < oops>, but I checked that directory you mentioned, and there is no .blend file, only bookmarks and recent-files.

thanks
nl

bstone wrote:Well, I assumed you have Windows, do you? %APPDATA% is your C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming folder in Vista/Win7 where C: and YourUserName varies depending on how you setup your Windows. If you use another OS then you should find where Blender stores its config data.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:05 am
by bstone
Hmm.. Double check that you are looking into the folder corresponding to your version. I have 2.61, 2.62, 2.63 here. Or simply download a good .blend file rename it to startup.blend and save there. That might work as is.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:35 am
by jonim8or
Instead of trying to save a file as startup.blend, you can also just open the desired startup file, go to file->user preferences->save as default
I did that to have a default startup light and plane, and to have the ogre exporter enabled by default.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:52 am
by bstone
Yeah, but in order to do that he has to get the menus back first :D

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:24 pm
by Kojack
Do a file search for startup.blend instead of looking manually for it.
(Preferably using a tool like the free Search Everything, which is 10000000000x better than windows search and will find it in a fraction of a second).

Mine is at C:\Users\kojack\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.63\config\startup.blend


I've been watching the cgboorman youtube tutorials for blender 2.6, and I'm starting to get the hang of it. The new Bmesh system with ngon editing is great. I still don't like the ui that much, but it's less annoying now (well, when I'm at home at least. I tried to use it at work on a projector for my class, blender isn't so good at 1024x768).
The biggest flaw that really pisses me off a lot is the way that camera movement and tools can't be used at the same time. I use a 3d connexion space pilot pro, I like being able to pan and rotate the view while using other tools, but blender locks the camera as soon as any tool starts doing things. Sketchup lets you do both at once.
I also really miss sketchup's tape measure guides, I use them a lot when modelling real world objects and scenes. Maybe I'll have a go at adding something similar to blender one day, but that means learning Python, which I'd be happier not doing (way more languages higher on my "to learn" list).

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:54 pm
by neighborlee
I am, but thanks for asking.

cheers
nl

bstone wrote:Hmm.. Double check that you are looking into the folder corresponding to your version. I have 2.61, 2.62, 2.63 here. Or simply download a good .blend file rename it to startup.blend and save there. That might work as is.

Re: Frustrated with BLENDER

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:02 pm
by neighborlee
Wow, had no idea sketchup , or any other 3d tool did that, but thats very nice. THanks for posting that ;)

There are things blender doesn't do well, and while sure its free, that does not mitigate those annoyances.
Take bending for example ( simple modifier, only twist works atm here ), I can't tell you how annoying it is to go by supposed accurate tuts and have nothing work as intended, though Im willing
to concede its the version I have being so new,or something...

Anyway, I get the whole 'free' thing, but there are plenty of other 3d clients out there that are equally stunning for the price, and given the hastles I've had to
deal with when using blender, doesn't exactly endear me to its usefullness.

It's ridiculously easy to bend things in max/maya/etc., so its no wonder people look elsewhere when issues like that come up. It doesn't give alot of confidence < at least not to me>
when such things don't work as intended, as I wanted to chime in and let OP know there are alternatives, like daz2.5, anim8tor and Art of Illusion is also one that does alot similar to Blender. It's great to have such amazing options. I have also tried SoftImage MOD tool 7.5) latest offering, and while there are some things turned off in free version, its nothing short of amazing, and it might well be enough for what you need. I have it installed here myself.

cheers
nl


Kojack wrote:Do a file search for startup.blend instead of looking manually for it.
(Preferably using a tool like the free Search Everything, which is 10000000000x better than windows search and will find it in a fraction of a second).

Mine is at C:\Users\kojack\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.63\config\startup.blend


I've been watching the cgboorman youtube tutorials for blender 2.6, and I'm starting to get the hang of it. The new Bmesh system with ngon editing is great. I still don't like the ui that much, but it's less annoying now (well, when I'm at home at least. I tried to use it at work on a projector for my class, blender isn't so good at 1024x768).
The biggest flaw that really pisses me off a lot is the way that camera movement and tools can't be used at the same time. I use a 3d connexion space pilot pro, I like being able to pan and rotate the view while using other tools, but blender locks the camera as soon as any tool starts doing things. Sketchup lets you do both at once.
I also really miss sketchup's tape measure guides, I use them a lot when modelling real world objects and scenes. Maybe I'll have a go at adding something similar to blender one day, but that means learning Python, which I'd be happier not doing (way more languages higher on my "to learn" list).