[Bf-committers] Development plan proposal for after the 2.6 series

Charles Wardlaw cwardlaw at marchentertainment.com
Fri Dec 18 16:01:44 CET 2009

> > Bringing some area to be industry leader in 1 or 2 months is
> > absolutely impossible, no matter how many developers work on it.
> There are a few areas that could be.  UV tools are extremely close for
> instance, we are behind headus but not by a large amount.  The
> modeling tools could move to second or third place for SDS modeling
> (We can't overtake Modo, but almost certainly Silo), currently we are
> in about 6th or further.  Painting tools could move to roughly 4th
> place, maybe even 3rd (currently we are around 6th, maybe further).
> Sculpt tools could move to a very solid 3rd place - the development
> already is enough that I've talked to schools and they are planning to
> switch from Zbrush and Mudbox after 2.6.  Retopology we could probably
> make a solid play for 3rd, maybe even 2nd.   The other tool areas I'm
> not as familiar with how we stack up compared to industry leaders but
> I know the gaps are quite a bit larger and more time consuming to
> overcome.

First off, I like the idea.

I think the problem with "make Blender's features industry-leading" is that
its a nebulous goal.  I use LW, Modo, C4D, and Maya, and in the end I always
come back to Blender for modeling tasks because its modeler is in my mind
the best on the market at any price.  For me it's about workflow.  All the
little details that were put in over the years that allow the user to model
unrestricted in full screen without losing access to necessary tools are
what make it beat out Modo, for me.  Simple things like how in Modo you have
to drop a tool before changing a selection.  Right-mouse select and the 3D
cursor were years ahead when they were introduced and people are still
catching up.

Another example: I've been training people here at work in Blender for UV
layout and retopology.  One of the guys kept asking for Headus' UVLayout,
and I told him repeatedly that he should try Blender before attempting to
get the company to shell out $300 for the program.  He did, and discovered
that he much prefers it because of the ability to type S-X-0-Enter and have
all the verts snap into line. He literally said that one feature pulled
Blender ahead of UVLayout for him.

So on top of your proposal, or in conjunction with, I propose that we get a
conversation started about what would make these parts of Blender closer to
the industry leaders, or even pull ahead of them.  Paint is simple-- fix the
"feature" where painting at odd angles keeps you from being able to apply
paint, add multi-layer document support, and make the cloning workflow much
more easy to figure out.  I'm sure people could submit proposals, and then
interested devs could take those proposals and use them as springboards to
move forwards.  Perhaps that conversation could move to a wiki or a google
wave thread if the mailing list isn't the proper place for it.

Replying to two emails in one:

Why not small Open Dev projects (one-two month cycle) similar to the
> Open Movie project but instead of focusing on a final movie investing
> funds in all the necesary machinery for that (which I consider is very
> effective for its goal) the output of such Open Dev projects could be a
> small but well elaborated features demo/documentation.?

I've wondered a few times why feature bounties haven't worked.  Sometimes
devs actually turn down money.  But maybe something higher-profile with a
specific target and goals clearly outlined through the proposals submitted
(mentioned above) could get parties more interested.

~ C

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