[Bf-committers] Sum up the long outside viewers post

Ton Roosendaal bf-committers@blender.org
Thu, 13 May 2004 14:07:40 +0200


Uhh... I don't know if I can add anything useful to the discussion. But  
some remarks:

-> Trip: thanks for the effort, but as others said already, what would  
better help us is extracting the relevant parts from such forum threads  
and turn that into a summary that would help us while working at  

-> Intrr: you point to known problems (the cleaning up makes work for  
experienced user harder). But you seem not to accept that we can't  
represent each and every option anymore as a quick hotkey or icon in  
the GUI. And I don't mean we should accept each new option people come  
with... It was always part of the redesign to find a solution for that.  
With as rule that even *you* should be able to work efficiently, with a  
minumum of clicks/moves/etc to create work. That work isn't finished,  
and something we need your intellect (and open mind!) too to come with  
solutions for.

Here's my general take on Blender criticism:

1. A lot of ignorance and contempt.
Which stems from Blender's turbulent (bankrupt company) past, the fact  
its free, or runs on Linux, or is open source, whatever. Can be solved  
with good PR, marketing, communication, documentation, etc.

2. But what is Blender?
A major issue here is not knowing what Blender stands for, or should  
be. That's a complex issue, because this isn't clearly sorted out  
within blender.org either. A lot of slashdot criticism for example  
comes from non-artists, who consider Blender to be obliged to be an  
accessible tool for the masses (of linux users :). Maya and XSI suffer  
much less from such confusion, these apps are OK to be hard to learn,  
have complex interfaces, and are meant for people seriously interested  
in 3D.

3. Consumer psychology
A common psychologic effect you see is the famous 'cognitive dissonance  
reduction'. Artists who spend lotsof money on a 3D app make up reasons  
to justify the investment. Same goes for zealot Blender supporters  
though, who spend a lot of time learning the program, and unconciously  
protect that effort. Worst in this category is the vast amount of  
illegal users of cracked copies of 3d suites who pay off their debt...  
(yes, cgtalkers!)

4. The "Experience Experts".
A lot of criticists consider themselves experts on GUI and tools just  
because they use it. Not having or showing interest in analyzing  
issues, not separating conventions from desired methods, or show  
insight in the design issues related to a 3D tool and its underlying  
technical structure (and limitations).
A lot of 'obvious' requests (ranging from undo to customizable hotkeys)  
are not so much conscious design decisions for Blender, but stem from  
limitations of the early implementation of Blender.
Another lot of obvious requests come from demands to adapt Blender into  
what's "common", where you can fill in "3D Studio" or "Maya" or any  
other package. I think that each of the larger 3d packages is proud to  
have their own conventions and UI design. There's not 1 single truth or  
method, but you *can* stick to a consistant and predictable design.

5. The "Professionals"
What people in popular forums like Cgtalk show, is typically the  
amazing results from hard working artists/hobbyists with too much free  
(unpaid) time on hand. And everyone 'oohs' and 'aahs' seeing the latest  
SFX by the Hollywood wizzards. That's great stuff, but it mainly  
illustrates the result what a lot of money, and/or a lot of competent  
people, and/or a lot time can do.
Being a "professional" has nothing to do with that. Over 99% of CG  
artists and developers you'll never hear of. They just get paid for  
their work, and contribute to useful products. But it doesn't show off  
so nicely eh? Even on our forums (or elysiun) such professionals won't  
show up easily just for that reason. Someone like Intrr (sorry buddy!)  
might not show off to be a great CG artist, but he's making a daily  
living using Blender... something that makes him the real Pro!
I consider that as much an honour to contribute to, as for the greatest  
artwork published by the Endre's and @ndy's in our user community.

On the other hand though:

Blender just *is* not as good as Maya, 3DS, LW, XSI, Houdini, Cinema4d,  
etc! Such comparisions don't work well... there's nothing wrong seeing  
things in a humble perspective.
But let's be very proud of the achievements of the past 1.5 year.  
Compared to "no free 3d application at all" and "having Blender" we are  
doing an incredible job! :-)
Also: for me the actual process of turning the Blender code into  
something that works for development in open source is an interesting  
challenge too.

So, yes, we can all still learn a lot, and should be as open minded as  
possible for anyone who's interested to point to improvements, to  
better methods to model, animate, or render. But such efforts go from  
inside out... meaning getting good developers involved, getting user  
feedback & proposals into structured design, getting companies  
interested, getting more artists using Blender... all nice challenges I  
look forward to and don't mind to make a humble contribution for. :)


Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation ton@blender.org