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View Full Version : Potentials & Limitations of Blender As a Production Tool


Georgie
07-17-2012, 04:19 PM
How good is Blender for simulating hair and cloth? You might have been quite impressed with the effects featured at a recently released short film entitled Ara's Tale (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qQNiepekno&feature=youtu.be). But Martin Lubich--the creator of the short film--made a candid observation about the limitations of Blender in the following interview:
(Some Blender experts say he's correct about hair and cloth but he's a bit behind when it comes to texturing.)
http://blendernews.org/xe/Feature_Articles/1785
http://blendernews.org/xe/files/attach/images/112/785/001/3537f1e056c54cd37335848d9665c018.jpg (http://blendernews.org/xe/Feature_Articles/1785)

THX1311
07-17-2012, 04:59 PM
Did you ask this in the blender forum here??
it has the potential to devolve into a prohibited app comparison Debate in this section.



Cheers

Georgie
07-17-2012, 05:26 PM
it has the potential to devolve into a prohibited app comparison Debate in this section.

That would be a worse scenario for this thread. Hmm... I see what you mean. Martin does talk about Mari's superiority over Blender. Thank you for bring attention to that potential problem.

I agree with THX1311. Please keep this thread free from app comparison Debate, since that is not OP's intent.

If you happened to disagree with Martin about texturing or any other features of Blender, please just put a link to any information about new features of Blender that Martin might have missed.

Thanks, THX1311. :)

jtheninja
07-17-2012, 08:44 PM
By far the biggest issue with hair in blender is that when using the built-in dynamics with it, it can't collide with anything. Not even with its emitter. Cloth and particles can be set collide with any arbitrary object, so this lack of hair collisions is a little weird. There are some workarounds, but flowing strand hair is just awkward. (Of course, if the hair is a mesh, you can set it as cloth or a soft body and bounce it off whatever you want......... :rolleyes: )

As for the smoke sim, it's already getting quite a bit of love, stuff like emitting directly from meshes, adaptive-size domains, flame simulation, etc. I don't think any more attention is needed there, we just need to sit tight while the summer of code project wraps up and hope this gets into a final release. See: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/User:MiikaH/GSoC-2012-Smoke-Simulator-Improvements

fahr
07-17-2012, 10:01 PM
Blender has a ton of potential as a production tool, but for a lot of things it's not quite there yet.

It excels as an all-encompassing tool for small production. If your pipeline is all blender, you'll find your team can be very productive and get a lot of complex animation and vfx accomplished. If your trying to push the bleeding edge, however, you will need some bigger guns, like Houdini, and that's where some of the weaknesses lie.

Blender does not play well with others. At the moment, no fbx import (export is decent), no alembic, so-so MDD support. So there is no strong pipeline options for interoperability with other apps.

It has a lot of good, well implemented tools but nothing that's particularly "best-in-class". You could pay thousands for a myriad of separate apps to do just about everything better. Blender's strength is how well everything plays well together inside the blender environment.

It has decent modeling tools, great uv tools, a nice integrated sculpting/painting toolset, solid character animation tools, and it's work-in-progress new renderer is looking extremely promising. Like Arnold's kid brother, but needs a lot of features yet in order to be a good general purpose renderer.

It's VFX pipeline is improving every day, and you can accomplish a lot, but it's still got a long way to go there.

The recurring theme is that blender's development is headed in the right direction, but still missing a lot of important production features, and doesn't play well (yet) with other tools in the pipeline to fill in the gaps.

If you have a small project, a small team and a small budget, however, you can do worse than blender.

trancerobot
07-19-2012, 03:26 AM
It's like Linux. There will never be a "Year of Linux on the PC", and Blender will never be "quite there yet".

teatimebing
07-19-2012, 11:14 AM
It's like Linux. There will never be a "Year of Linux on the PC", and Blender will never be "quite there yet".

But in the case of the VFX industry, that's the opposite as Linux dominates workstation and server environments.


@Georgie,
I have used Softimage and Blender for years, and I have been showing some friends, maya users, the ins and outs of Blender and they like what they see, especially as not many of them yet have access to Toxik/Composite or have looked at using it.
Blender has some really nice features, but as some people pointed out, it lacks good data-exchange, especially now since Blender 2.5 and 2.6, they have dropped most of their import/export plugins from the default installation, and this affects workflow. Whether people like it or not, 3D and 2D has always involved multiple platforms, applications, and formats.

The other problem with Blender is longevity of testing and support. The Blender Foundation team utilises Google Summer of Code to extend Blender as they see fit for their current Open Movie project. As per the last developer meeting notes, 2 student projects have been dropped midterm. It's a shame that the development comes and goes so much, it's almost like a fleeting fancy.

One way to look at it as of the last 4 years is, BF is a movie studio using their own homegrown software (just like Disney, Pixar, Weta etc), but we are fortunate enough to use it for our projects too for free. I think this is really important, and is the point of Open Source. Share not only your good ideas, but what made those ideas become a reality.

Just an example, I would imagine within autodesk FBX is a group of developers, with a product owner. Fine. Typical Agile/scrum stuff. They support the format, API and documentation. It's then up to the Maya/Max/Softimage teams to work with said API to implement it. It's nice to see new features added to Blender almost every few months it seems, but they need long term QA and support.

Georgie
07-19-2012, 02:54 PM
It's nice to see new features added to Blender almost every few months it seems, but they need long term QA and support.

Thank you for drawing attention to that. I can't speak for BF but I'm sure your comments will be noticed by Ton and many others involved in the development. :)

Georgie
07-20-2012, 05:27 PM
It's nice to see new features added to Blender almost every few months it seems, but they need long term QA and support.

Yesterday, Ton--the Chairman of the Blender Foundation--has announced his plan to launch a website for professional at the SIGGRAPH 2012, apparently to address such needs. Check out his announcement at:
http://www.blender.org/news/article/blender-network-launches-august-6th/

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