[i]“The node shader system? (Ton so probably not) or the original shader system in the NaN days? If the original shader system … hmmm I can’t think of anyone from NaN who would be considered active developers except Erwin, and of course Ton. zr was active this past summer. There are a few developers that are still around but have been fairly quiet as of late - Hans and Njin Zu. Bart and Joeri are still around as well (but were artist side only I think?), admittedly I don’t know the historys of all the active coders, so apparently I must be overlooking someone. (Ah it appears you are refering to the individual who did the unified rendering stuff during NaN he is listed above - just wouldn’t have thought of him as an active dev).”
[/i]Nathan Vegdahl aka Cessen. He implemented the phong, blinn etc back in the day. Right now he’s working on getting the node based materials up to snuff. Much to my annoyance… back to work slave.
“Just curious when you used it. Did you use 2.40/2.41 or current CVS? (I was comparing to current CVS which has the ability for fluid to break off and become particles, interact with moving objects, etc.) I’m not a realflow expert by any stretch, but i was fairly underwhelmed by its features.”
2.4, I don’t evaluate beta releases of Blender or Commercial applications.
“Fair enough, a point you seem to have missed is that users who are familiar with both find Blenders subd polygon tools, ‘speedier and more efficient’ than say Mayas.”
I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. Maya’s modelling system is terrible IMHO. I would call Silo or Modo or even Wings a near mandatory addition to a Maya pipeline. But that’s like saying “Our bicyle is faster than a skateboard.”… ok… that’s great, but my volkswagen golf is still faster than a bicycle.
“Also lightwave is only getting edge tools and ngons with 9.0. (a reasonable possibility that Blender will have ngons by mid summer) Individuals can be plenty productive without certain features. Basically it comes down to what i said before - how your total speed of workflow is impacted.”
Lightwave fell behind years ago. They’ve sort of settled into a Print and Architecture niche as of late. And like I’ve said. You can do anything in any package. But why would you want to use a worse tool? It’s not a question of whether or not things can be done using said tools. I used to have all the same limitations and more that Blender has now, and still created quality work. But WHY would you want to go back in time 4 or more years when the future is here now?
“Are you familiar with the film industry? From my reading the reason Maya was used is because they could replace the suckiest parts with their own solution, and customize the hell out of things - ie it was all about the Melscript. Now that they are able to glue everything together with python that is less critical.”
That is exactly my point. Maya allows you to build it into whatever you want using its ‘monolithic’ framework as a base.
“Mayas internal paint tools are used for mat painting. So no they aren’t ‘by definition’ created outside of a 3d program. Also BodyPaint replaces Deep Paint 3D, which replaced a quite a bit older 3D painter.”
I’ve never heard of Maya’s artisan tools used to create matte paintings. I’m sure somebody somewhere at some time has, but you’ll have to provide a little documentation to back that statement up. Point being with BodyPaint, it’s not replacing any one of the big 3 apps in the pipeline (Maya, Max, XSI). It’s not even technically creating any 3d data. It’s just creating 2d paintings which could and often are done in photoshop. Another aspect of the pipeline which is easily done offline of the 3d app.
“Animanium can’t do deformations and such and thus isn’t capable of full animation. It uses the phrase ‘motion capture replacement’ because it is capable of only IK/FK but not of doing deformations.”
It’s also not too widely used. For animation the big packages still dominate the field, especially XSI and Maya with Max dragging in third. Why? Simply because they have the best tools and you don’t have to find ways to import your data, it’s just there already in the scene file ready to render.
"I’m curious how you are deciding this. It has pretty good animation tools. I guess I’m really curious what exactly software needs for animation to be ‘acceptable as an animation platform’, in your opinion."
This is one area where I’m going to defer to those who know more than I. I’m not an animator so I don’t use very many of any app’s animation tools. I’m just quoting what I hear in this respect. Most of the problems I was hearing about were related rigging and the defficiency of the tools to do so. But this all hear-say and isn’t really admissable in a court of law ;).
"I work faster in Blender than in wings3d. I prefer a poly by poly workflow rather than box modeling."
I would recommend making the jump leap to box modeling some day. It isn’t a whole bag of hype it really is that much better. And Wings3d isn’t really that great either.
It all really comes down to people were happy and productive before the invention of the wheel. People lived long prosperous lives before the discovery of anti-biotics. I got along just fine before the internet. People created professional 3d work before they could use a mouse. But why would you want to live without running water? How good is Blender? A very good 4 or 5 year old 3d application. If you don’t want to do anything which has only come about in the last 4 - 5 years, it’s perfect. If you don’t want to do high-end character animation it’s perfect. If you want to use a slower 4-5 year old workflow, it’s perfect. If you need the cutting edge, newest and most advanced functionality that the 3d world has to offer, pickup an educational or commercial copy of Max, Maya or XSI.
The quality of the work is dependent on the artist. But it can be limited by the software. Blender has far more limitations than the commercial competitors which is why I wouldn’t recommend it for cutting edge professional work. If Bob has XSI and can do XYZ but I can’t, I just lost money to Bob that just cost a lot more than a copy of XSI.
In the end Maya, XSI, Max, Blender are all just text editors. The only thing you do in a 3d application is generate list of render instructions. You can do everything Maya can do in Microsoft Notepad and load it into Mental Ray or Renderman to be rendered. The only thing these applications do is simplify and speed up this task. So why tie one hand behind your back if you don’t have to.
If it does everything you need to do, Blender is the most cost effective choice, if it can’t, it’s not. It’s really a simple equation.