Blender Discussion

I made this new topic so you can discuss Blender with whoever else wants to. If you stay on this topic I predict you will not get flagged and can make whatever civil argument you like.

I think It’s a valid conversation to have.

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Thank you @endlessfix for setting this up. And I want to apologize to anyone who felt I was hijacking a thread previously.

Two posts which may have been out of place and should be here:

and

https://forums.sketchup.com/t/terrible-move/127409/14?u=chippwalters

I don’t preach Blender just to hear myself talk-- and I especially don’t preach it to sell product. I do it for two reasons:

  1. On the off chance someone might take a chance and learn what is IMO (been doing 3D since 1984) is a significantly better program for most users of 3D.
  2. On the off chance Trimble might see the ongoing decline and either a) actually improve the product and bring it in line with modern 3d software or b) sell it to someone who will.
    My guess is number 2 will never happen, as Trimble only needs SU as a complement to existing products. Heck, I doubt it makes any revenue for them-- especially compared to their other revenue streams.

FWIW, as far as I can tell, I make $0 off of SketchUp users. A while back, I crafted a beginner level course targeted at only using Blender for rendering, and it is by far the lowest selling product of all. So, me being here has zero to do with pushing product.

Blender really does have a bad rap-- mainly because of the awful interface and insistence (until recently) it’s reliance on learning hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. The new version is much like SketchUp in that you can do most everything from buttons and menus.

If any of you have any questions, I’ll do my best to provide answers.

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Questions: Why is blender for free? Do all the programers the work just for nothing? What is the business-model of blender? Do they sell tutorials, models or textures to make money to develop future releases?

You may want to get involved too, visit blender.org

They get sponsors and donations to fund their development. Intel, AMD, Epic are just a few.

Many years ago, the user community saw that the organization that owned Blender was failing. The writing was clearly on the wall-- Blender development was not keeping up and the product would soon fail or become irrelevant.

At that time the users got together and raised enough money to purchase Blender and they did with the understanding it would be licensed under GPL and made available to everyone at no cost.

Because of the community, they devised a system to receive donations to help pay for some of the ongoing development. Fast forward many years later and Blender is a fully funded development group. There are many who donate monthly. I am a gold sponsor. Major corporations like Intel, give millions annually. Everyone wins.

The openness and transparency of such an organization is refreshing.

For a long time I was concerned about the “What if they fail” issue, but as I see more and more commercial 3D companies come and go, I see that Blender is still going strong.

I feel the same about SketchUp. I asked years ago on this very forum for a road map of where Trimble wanted to take SketchUp, and they replied they can’t share any information by law-- which is untrue, as many commercial software companies divulge their future directions for their products.

The real reason they don’t want to say is they know SketchUp is architecturally not easily updatable to be in line with current 3D applications. Their lack of GPU support is truly astounding. I cannot think of any other mainstream program that doesn’t support the current generation of massive parallel processing you now find in even laptop GPUs. These graphics supercomputers can render millions of polygons many times per second-- Sadly SketchUp chokes on a couple hundred thousand.

For SketchUp to be able to utilize these current generation technologies would entail a massive rewrite of their basic engine code. They instead spent those resources on what we all know now as a failed web experiment.

So, for die hard SU users, what happens if/when SU becomes the MS Paint of 3D programs-- or worse yet is abandoned after they’ve squeezed every last dime they can out of loyal customers-- all the time giving them a few more dashed lines, or renaming the layers panel?

Consider your time is worth something. Have a backup plan.

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Thanks a lot Guys for the infos!

I don´t use/ want to learn blender. A few years ago I owned a licence of Cinema4d R18 and did some paid work with it. After learning and doing stuff with SketchUp (and Lumion) in the last two years, I now start again with Cinema4d. I am going to purchase the actual version, S22. Btw, they also have that subscription thing going. Nothing to worry about for me.
But of course I will use SketchUp furthermore. :grinning:

Not trying to talk you out if it, but I’m curious why you would choose C4D?

Here’s an interesting thread talking about how to create “Layout like” dimensioned drawings in Blender.

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chipp,
of course i considered learning blender (and did some Donut-tutorials), because paying €86 (c4d incl. redshift) a month compared to paying nothing is a lot. But I go for Cinema4d because of:
1.
I already have knowledge in cinema4d, here is a little showreel of mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OKtJiTpjWU

Mostly I work with Allplan. This is a powerful 2d/3d bim-architecture-software. Owned by Nemetschek group - they also own Archicad, Vectorworks and Cinema4d (and others). They built in an direct export/import Allplan/Cinema4d.

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Hi Peter,

Wow! Very nice show reel :+1:
Thanks for explaining your reasons. :grinning:

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Thanks a lot chipp!

I find this discussion really interesting. And I kinda want to add to it… just this once. I’ve been wanting to for a few years now.

For context:

  • I started using Blender the week it went under… the week it was open sourced after failing as a company after it received €6m in funding from the EU.
  • I was an administrator of the Blender community for probably close to a decade
  • I ran ‘the’ annual 3D contest for blender for 7 years organising it with my own money, time and energy in the thousands of hours, only stopping when my house was destroyed in an earthquake making me prioritise my life
  • I wrote a text book on Blender at 23 years old, being the expert in my country at the time.
  • I also continued to use it commercially for years as a professional industrial designer using it for organic conceptual modelling that solid works couldn’t easily do.

… but

  • I was more recently working for Trimble. For geospatial designing amazing workflows for surveyors and geeks that love satellites and unhealthy levels of precision.
  • For Connect designing the Trimble ecosystem, which has amazing capabilities for collaboration for building professionals
  • But more recently as a Product manager for SketchUp… the desktop apps!

I’m no longer with Trimble, as I returned across the world to start a family, and pursue a few burning dreams of mine… (luckily just in time to dodge Covid.)

So why does any of that matter?
It matters because what I‘m about to say is very impartial. I’m possibly equally the most attached and most detached person in the world from both Blender and SketchUp. I have earned the right to celebrate and be critical of each.

In the last 3 weeks I’ve built a stack load of furniture… in SketchUp! And then in the workshop.
In the next 3 weeks I’ll build a stack load more furniture… in SketchUp!
Over the next 9 months I might use a bit of both apps, but given what my outputs are, it’s most likely to be SketchUp.

The reality is that SketchUp is incredibly fit for purpose, it’s the exact right tool for so many jobs. With LayOut alongside SketchUp it’s fit for many others. With laser scanners, GPS, mapping tools, a huge model library for interior designers… it just makes sense.

Equally Blender is a great tool for a different set of jobs. But Blender compares itself to Maya, and Max, and is pitching itself at animation and game development.

Although it might be possible I’d never personally recommend Blender for the things that I’d recommend SketchUp for. There is just no competition between the two.

This Blender topic seems to pop up each release. So too do the statements that Trimble isn’t working for their customers.

As someone who was amongst it, and now has a little more ability to speak as I’m representing myself entirely:

  • Every release the team focused entirely on customer value, and it was always with passion.
  • The talk about the web and stuff being a distraction is nonsense. SketchUp at its core is being strengthened by all the teams. Supporting more ways to model allows SketchUp to be more relevant to people than many other apps.
  • When I was last looking, the team absolutely was working on cool things, they were also hiring more people to help build cool things… we ran out of office space even, and they’re moving into a bigger one.
  • They were significantly investing in tech… not to get something shiny out the door that was just surface deep, but really and truly investing based on significant research with professional customers and future needs.
  • Because SketchUp is closed source it’s super easy to not see the work under the hood like in Blender and therefore you don’t get a chance to get caught up in the excitement… I was, it was exciting.
  • The team reads all the forum posts and genuinely cares. (Hi BTW… 2020.1 was good work, keep it up). They may not respond as it’s often a challenge to find the right words. But Also because they are busy focusing on the new features. With a release multiple times a year, they are always getting ready for delivery.

P.s. blenderartists.org is where there are some great blenderheads. It feels most appropriate to discuss Blender there. But feel free to DM me if you think it’s important to discuss Blender with another SketchUper. I’m passionately both, but I also don’t feel comfortable discussing Blender publicly here, simply out of respect of the significant effort that the Trimble team goes to for this community and the wider user base.

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This is a really great, balanced post. I kind of play in both worlds on YouTube right now (Blender and SketchUp tutorials). I’ve been surprised the number of comments I get from very anti-SketchUp Blender users (just to be clear, not talking about Chipp, I’m talking about anonymous YouTube commenters) that state that with add-ons Blender is just as good as SketchUp for architectural applications.

So far, after looking at the available options, I just don’t see it. Archipack has some interesting tools, but everything else I’ve seen is VERY behind most CAD drafting programs from an architectural modeling standpoint.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this statement - “Equally Blender is a great tool for a different set of jobs. But Blender compares itself to Maya, and Max, and is pitching itself at animation and game development.” If I was recommending an alternative program for precision modeling or drafting for architecture, woodworking, etc, Fusion 360 has a much better set of tools for that kind of modeling than Blender currently does.

If you’re trying to do organic modeling, animation, rendering, etc though, Blender does have a fantastic toolset for those things. I’m really enjoying learning and working with Blender, but I always find it kind of funny when most people threaten to leave SketchUp for Blender. From what I’m seeing at the moment, it’s apples and oranges :grinning:

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Yep, it’s just NOT there…yet.

Lol - I really hope this is correct - someone posted a comment on one of my videos that it feels like the architectural add-ons for Blender were developed by people that “think” they know what architectural drafters need, without having ever had to generate true documents.

I would LOVE to see Blender get some people with an architectural background on their Dev team, but I understand that that kind of modeling isn’t really its primary focus at the moment.

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I trust your knowledge on this, but if the reason people are considering switching from SU is that they refuse to rent software, an AutoDesk subscription product that’s twice the cost of SU (CDN $640/yr) doesn’t seem like an very attractive alternative.

Though I think the monthly subscription option that AD offers is something that SU should add to their menu.

I’m speaking purely from a feature standpoint - SketchUp and Fusion 360 are more in a similar application “class.” I’m not encouraging anyone to switch programs at all, more just stating that if you want programs with the same target useage, SketchUp and Fusion are closer, where Blender is closer to 3ds Max or Maya.

Cost is a completely different discussion for sure :slight_smile:

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OK, got it.

There’s no doubt that Blender is not (yet, at least) an truly viable option for people like me who most always need to output Construction / Workshop Drawings — as Chipp has been very clear about from his first Blender posts.

What’s your take on Rhino in that context?

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Yep - agree

I work for a commercial General Contractor in my day job - we’ve started to see some preliminary documents/models come across in Rhino, depending on the architect. I haven’t gotten too far into it, but it definitely seems like an up and comer in the architectural world, though I’m not 100% clear on its capabilities for actually exporting construction documents. It does seem popular with younger architects from what I’ve seen so far

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