Blender Discussion

That seems a good summary of Blender.

To me the interesting angle is addressing the “simple things seem more complicated than necessary” part. The power features are already awesome, and probably also beyond the reach of most users. Yes, the super nerds are happy, but most users are probably mostly confused.

The real opportunity for Blender would seem to be all those people who would like to work in 3D, and are drawn to Blender because of the price, but then quickly retreat from an unfriendly interface and never become even confused new users. I’m guessing that for every person who makes it to the confused new user stage there are ten or more who bail right at the start and never return.

All across the video world the solution typically offered here is to lecture new users on how they need to stand up straight, get a haircut, take the pain without complaining like a man, yada yada yada etc. Ok, but that seems a primitive teaching strategy to me.

What we can learn from SketchUp is that the upfront learning curve pain isn’t really necessary. Take the average person off the street, show them one 15 minute video, and ten minutes later they’re having fun in SketchUp. And because they’re having fun, they are motivated to keep learning. That’s the professional way to approach the challenge. Blender could be that friendly to new users too. It’s not obligated to be so, but it is possible.

I wouldn’t hold my breath on this though, as it seems the power users who dominate Blender culture find all such discussion to be offensive for some reason.

No need to denigrate Blender users just because you find it difficult to learn. There are plenty who learn it just fine.

If you actually spent time in the community, you would know there are plenty of long threads, like this one, where users provide input to the user interface designers to help make features simpler and easier to use.

For instance Blender, like many other 3D apps, and unlike SketchUp, has a “Gizmo.” This ultra simple device does away with SketchUp’s transformation modes, and allows users to directly manipulate and move, rotate or scale, instantly. Unfortunately, it takes SU users many clicks of the mouse to do the same.

And the switch to “left-click” was made for the good of new users as those “super nerds” (sad you continue to refer to Blender users that way) acquiesced and changed years long habits to accommodate.

FWIW, I’ve been editing in Blender some of my old models and I just can’t get over how bad the topology is coming out of SketchUp. I now better understand why decent booleans and fillets are not a part of the standard product.

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I didn’t denigrate Blender users. I made a factual statement about nerd culture, which you just verified with your own words. You came charging out of the gate to defend the status quo when that is not how things are made better. Things are made better by identifying weaknesses and addressing them. For Blender, price is not a weakness. For Blender, features are not a weakness. For Blender, accessibility is the weakness.

How did Steve Jobs build the richest company in the world? Not by defending the status quo, but by embracing a state of chronic dissatisfaction.

If you actually spent time in the community, you would know there are plenty of long threads, like this one, where users provide input to the user interface designers to help make features simpler and easier to use.

And if you were actually reading my posts you’d see that all that I’m suggesting is that such efforts are an interesting project, which still has a long way to go. Blender is not a religion. There’s no need to become agitated when someone suggests a simple obvious fact, Blender accessibility could be improved. I can’t recall reading a review of Blender that didn’t make this point in one way or another.

I get that serving newbies doesn’t really interest you, because that’s what you said, and I have no problem with that. Really, I don’t. There is no obligation, this is not a moral crusade.

Why does it bother you that this part of software development interests me?? I have a teaching degree, and have written a ton of software, and built and sold a startup which succeeded by making something obtuse much easier. And so that process interests me. Get it?

Again, what the Blender folks can learn from SketchUp is how to better manage motivation levels. That is done by feeding users success experiences right from the start. We can climb to the top of a 100 story building using the stairs because each stair is only 8 inches high, and leads seamlessly to the next step.

An interesting and productive discussion would focus on how to create such success stairwells in Blender.

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I don’t think this is a big Sketchup problem. I have tried Blender and I think it is great, but the number of clicks to rotate, scale or move are similar in both softwares.

Where the number of clicks is too much, in Sketchup, it is when accessing nested groups and components. Maybe Sketchup should copy Blender’s “Collections”, ie groupings in the Outliner but not in the modeling space.

Excuse my bad English.

No one is agitated here. I’m just pointing out the obvious: Everyone has their own best way of learning. For you, SketchUp is very simple and I understand that. For others, not so much. I’ve posted my experiences trying to teach people SketchUp which differ greatly from yours. And, we’ve gone around this issue countless number of times. Please know I respect your point of view. And that is it. It’s just your point of view, just as my point of view is my own. You are welcome to keep posting it over and over and over, but it will not change what I think.

Of course every program can use help in UX and UI. The more complicated and feature rich an application is, the harder it will be to learn. Blender is much different from SketchUp (desktop) as it is a continuous build model-- where new versions are released every day. This allows for quick changes in both the program and the interface. And there are very good forums and threads, like “Blender UI Paper Cuts” where ideas on making the user experience are encouraged and taken very seriously. You should check it out:

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Here are your own words.

No need to denigrate Blender users just because you find it difficult to learn. There are plenty who learn it just fine.

Classic nerd man (sorry I mean Technological Professional!!) strategy to shift the focus from the weaknesses of their favorite software to weaknesses of the users. Classic blame the user tactic, seen on every software forum. Note how you’re attempting to make this about me personally, when in fact every article ever written about Blender typically reports that it’s hard to learn.

I’m not taking offense, really I’m not. But I will point out that, from a teaching point of view, “blame the user” is a very primitive perspective. You know, teachers get paid to solve problems, not blame them on their students.

I respect your advanced technical skills, I really do. But knowing how to do something does not automatically equal knowing how to teach that something. The assumption that the two are the same is another classic Technological Professional logical fallacy. Evidence: Blender

I don’t seek or expect to change your point of view, as I’ve already stated a couple of times. And, I’m not “posting over and over” any more than you are.

It does seem true that we don’t share a common interest here. I’m ok with that.

Thats a fun statement: some of your non agitation statements:
"For instance Blender, like many other 3D apps, and unlike SketchUp, has a “Gizmo.” This ultra simple device does away with SketchUp’s transformation modes, and allows users to directly manipulate and move, rotate or scale, instantly. Unfortunately, it takes SU users many clicks of the mouse to do the same.

And the switch to “left-click” was made for the good of new users as those “super nerds” (sad you continue to refer to Blender users that way) acquiesced and changed years long habits to accommodate.

FWIW, I’ve been editing in Blender some of my old models and I just can’t get over how bad the topology is coming out of SketchUp. I now better understand why decent booleans and fillets are not a part of the standard product."

Oh yes, noone is agitating here… :crazy_face::face_with_monocle:
My personal view: since i tried blender 2.49 and 2.8:

  • eye unfriendly color of the UI out of the box -called dark theme without any contrast (light gray letters on a bit darker light gray background…)
  • usability is worst and not easy to learn compared to sketchup
  • overloaded UI with tons of useless functions
    I have more success in learning sketchup as in blender. Mostly caused by the useless GUI and tutorials witch are no longer valid due changes on the “usability” in every release. Again, its my personal view.

Chipp, maybe this will help?

First, I agree with you that the ideal situation would be that you be allowed to present a relentless challenge to SketchUp and that the most useful response would be for members to meet your challenge with thoughtful counter-challenges. But, this is not a philosophy forum but a company owned website, so it doesn’t surprise or offend me if the staff of that company might restrict your ability to undermine their reputation, on their own website.

I think you might get a better reception if you dialed back the evangelist nature of your posts a bit and focused more on developing the fair minded even handedness which does already appear in many of your comments. Justin comes to mind as a good role model here. I come to mind as a good example of what maybe not to do. :slight_smile:

I sense we are kindred spirits of a kind because I’ve spent 25 years doing things like going on a forum about XYZ (philosophy and religion mostly) and then relentlessly challenging XYZ. It’s often been me against the entire forum until they finally decide to get rid of me, happened too many times to count. I thrive on these challenging rhetorical (and social) experiences, and suspect you do as well.

I’ve learned I should make a clear minded decision as to what’s more important to me, intellectual inquiry or social popularity. I usually choose the former, but the thing is, without some social popularity it quickly becomes impossible to persuade anybody of anything because the conversation soon becomes over run by male ego head butting, and that gets pretty boring for everyone involved.

As for Blender, it seems the most constructive way to proceed around the head butting would be to focus on how Blender can improve, instead of why Blender is better than something else. Such a conversation doesn’t have to focus on the newbie experience, admittedly my personal obsession, as there are plenty of advanced features topics which I’m sure you could contribute to.

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Wrong thread, sorry

Another link interesting from Justin. It is about the difficulty to import SketchUp models into Blender. There is several possibilities, and there is an add-on to import SKP but there is compatibility issue with last Blender version for the moment.
A possibility is Collada (.dae) file format. But time to time it is disappointed. In fact this is not a Collada support problem in Blender or in SketchUp…

Thanks Justin, we have understood two things with your video :

  1. The Collada import success depend on the group/component hierarchy, so using Blender as a rendering tool to SketchUp is possible, you can explode your model in SketchUp before exporting. I tried yesterday, it work.

  2. There is annoying lines in Blender after import… but it is not bade geometry lines ! It is easy to hide them, in fact it is “link option” to geometry. I don’t know what it is but it is not bugs and easy to hide

The 3D industry as a whole has some serious problems establishing reliable data transfer standards.

So long as we stay within one environment things usually go pretty well. For example, pretty much all 3D Warehouse files work in SketchUp, at least in my experience. But as soon as we start trying to move models from one place to another trouble is to be expected.

We can create pretty much any MP4 file and reasonably expect it will work in pretty much any MP4 player on any platform. Likewise for image files. These industries have largely succeeded in establishing standards.

I believed it was bad support of Collada in Blender, because SketchUp export perfect Collada file as I see.
But in fact it was more a group hierarchy compatibility between both applications. For rendering activity in Blender, it is not a problem. To get files for modeling, I am waiting for a solution (there is an add-on that improve DAE exchange from SketchUp, and maybe the SKP importer that is still to update to new versions)

SketchUp Importer v0.21 (for Blender 2.83 LTS)

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Fun futuristic city project created in under 30 minutes. Over 2,500,000 faces and 5.2M tris. Renders at 4K resolution in under 9 seconds.

Viewport performance:

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Are those from Kitbash 3D? I love those models, but they are HEAVY :slight_smile:

Could be fun to plug a couple of those into Curtis Holt’s city generation add-on he created - I should spend more time just playing around with stuff like this.

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Just in case anyone gets confused… I created a new category, “Extending SketchUp” for this type of topic. You no longer have to go over to the Corner Bar.

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Hi Justin,
They are from:

A worthwhile purchase IMO.

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Yesterday I tried node based shading, I finally managed to produce some, especially from a texture. It is not difficult if you find the explanations on the net so as not to be blocked at first. Now I find it easy and awesome.

In the image below, the checkerboard is shot at 45 degrees with a plugged-in component that offers this setting. We can test a lot of suits. It is expected that Blender will generalize the nodes for the entire interface… it’s going to happen!

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Imagine the vision of a Blender that is a schools first choice to teach 3D because it is so simple for students to start and learn. That anyone wanting to update their kitchen, or fiddle in their workshop would see as the obvious and simple choice. I believe it can be done, but will need more than UI tweaks to accomplish. I believe there needs to be a dedicated mission, driven from the top, to make such changes.

Bravo, and well put! I thought you did a great job of translating the frustrations of new Blender users (which are not always expressed in the most constructive manner) in to politically skillful communication which seeks to serve and not just critique, with a pinch of flattery tossed in to grease the wheels.

My favorite part of your message was “but will need more than UI tweaks to accomplish”. Yes, a goal as ambitious as “schools first choice to teach 3D” will require a transformation of Blender culture. Or, perhaps an expansion of Blender culture is a better way to put it.

Should you wish to further build on your open letter here in this thread (and/or elsewhere), that would obviously interest me.

As a quick first impression place to start, perhaps it would help to re-imagine Blender not as a single thing but as a universe of tools, a collection of baby Blenders if you will. Creating versions of Blender which schools would embrace would be more a process of subtraction than addition. Or perhaps, more a process of hiding the advanced features until a user make a conscious decision to explore them. We could discuss this in more depth if it interests anyone.

One challenge I see is that the people who will have to do the work of creating more accessible versions of Blender will not benefit from that work. My sense is that this is why Blender has not already achieved your vision.

As example, Trimble benefits by creating entry level versions of SketchUp because that brings new prospects in to their sales pipeline. How does this equation work in Blenderland? Don’t know.

If you wish, keep us updated on where you see this going. Again, nice work.

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