Sorry, but Blender is an amazing project. Its single-handedly the best graphics software the FOSS community has produced by a long shot, and can compete with the likes of 3DS Max and Maya which are owned by the 3D powerhouse monopoly Autodesk. For me, its up there with the likes of linux and maybe libreoffice in terms of quality alternatives for otherwise software monopolies.
Anyway, I've used Blender quite a bit for games and animation and it never ceases to impress. So their devs deserve a huge applause IMO. Also, for those of you who think I'm exaggerating about Blender's quality just check out these links:
The source code was then releases by NaN under some licencing scheme. Only after a fund raising drive to buy the code for something like a few hundred thousand dollars from NaN and re-release it under an OSS licence did Blender become open source.
Its important to understand that Animation Studios hire the majority of Computer Graphics researchers, Programmers and Artists. Without the commercial Animation industry there would be a small fraction of the research and innovation that we have today. And also a fraction of the innovative open source Computer Graphics projects that we have.
Open source projects like Open SubDiv (Pixar), Ptex (Disney), Open VDM (Dreamworks), and many others are all projects that are created by Animation Studios and would not be possible without the funding and expertise that these studios have.
It's also just a modeling package, whereas Blender is a full suite including video editor and compositor.
The most recent that comes to mind is the Factorio team's use of Blender:
They have a fairly complex art pipeline that relies on Blender, and they continue to use it despite having had strong sales for some time now. A vote of confidence if I ever saw one.
That isn't to say its interface is perfect. But it actually is perfectly fine now.
My experience: The original interface was something that I learned, used for a bit, then I stopped using it for a while. When I came back, I found I had to completely re-learn even the easiest bits, despite it not changing at all. This happened multiple times.
With the new interface, I learned it once and every time I've gone back, I've remembered basically everything I needed to use.
You'll find holdouts that still hate on it, but they do it blindly and often based on the old UI, instead of its current state.
Then I didn't touch it for a few years, came back, and realized I had no idea how to use it again. But this time there were docs and the interface made sense. There's a lot to even like about it now!
Nevertheless, Blender is a fantastic project and I remember the whole movement to make it open source felt like bringing the ring to Mordor.
In Factorio's case, they've ended up remaking a lot of their art assets to a higher standard of quality, so that would have been as good a time as any if they had wanted to switch.
At the other extreme is Autodesk Inventor. Unless you're typing in a numeric dimension, you seldom touch the keyboard.
But I haven't pushed "Vraag Construct" yet. Maybe in a week or so.
I set my object measurements to variables, then define thicknesses as variables and use math plus union() and difference() while creating modules (c functions) of the various stages that nest in each other.
It can get pretty hacky sometimes with the nested translations to center things relative to each other but it's a wicked awesome way to model.
G, X, 1.5, Enter boom! Love it.
However, if you seek the power and speed of a CLI, use Autocad, an Emacs for CAD. Scripting (traditionally) is done with AutoLisp a cousin of ELisp.
Happily surprised to see it still exist!
I also like the ergonomics a lot. It has a bunch of other buttons too but I never use those. If you're in the market for a new mouse, check it out.
His picture is of a Razer mouse, which is a line of mice that are VERY light. So light in fact that for my last Razer mouse i had to rig up a system to keep the cable elevated, as the weight of the cable was bigger than the weight of the mouse, causing it to lift the mouse when the bulk of it hung off the edge of my desk. Logitech mice on the other hand tend to be really heavy and stay on the desk no matter what, but even come with extra weights if necessary. (Also to adjust balancing.)
I'd suggest to try out both types of mice if you're gonna buy one, as either will feel better to certain kind of people. (I'm fairly strong, so Logitech's heft is a must for me.)
This saves on wear of the cable and lowers the resistance for dragging mouse towards you and out from keyboard. Very important for your wrist and mouse arm.
for play i have a Razer Deathadder. for work i use Logitech MX Performance (which seems a lot like Master). they're both great for their own purposes.
I ended up bringing the mouse to the office myself, and I had the same situation happen with chairs sometimes. My rationale is that I spend a lot of time sitting around so why not just get the very best I can afford?
I wish they made a larger size, because I really like it otherwise.
A few years later, I picked it up again when I had a more convenient internet connection. Learning it through tutorials was a lot like learning a new programming language. Find some that cover the basic interface, then the intermediate interface, then stumble through the advanced tuts for whichever feature you think would be useful to know how to use.
It's a great piece of software, and it feels nice to use once you've developed the muscle memory. The comparison to vim is somewhat apt, but that only really hit me when someone else mentioned it in a post a few months ago.
Try this http://gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html instead. Screencasts are always easier for this kind of stuff anyways.
These days I have been working on a basic FPS rig with blender that I want to use for a generic 4-player split screen pc shooter...as I just really miss these style games on the PC and my tv has been a HTPC for the last 4 years and there are very few split screen shooters/fighting games available.
The newer and more advanced features seem to have become a lot more GUI-focused (and that GUI isn't always the most streamlined or easy to discover) but basic mesh editing is great.
Less features? The only thing I can think of are the advanced topology surfaces that rhino has. I'd argue most people don't need or want those.
What I REALLY dislike about max is the subscription model. It encourages piracy in all but the wealthiest nations worldwide.
But the biggest downside of all is being windows only.
I like how nobody ever complains about software that's OSX only, but if something is windows only then HOLY SHIT CALL OUT THE FUCKING CAVALRY
Most people tolerate Windows. Many are waiting for the day they can get rid of it completely except for this annoying list of Windows-only applications they can't live without.
But maybe there are shortcut profiles for Blender to match 3DS Max?
I had the same attitude coming in from Softimage but eventually had to bite the bullet because I was screwing up a lot of Blender's workflows just because I remapped a few keys to match SI. But once I'd internalized the default ones (which took a dozen hours), I never looked back.
EDIT: YMMV and it could be different for Max - I haven't used it in a long time, so I can't compare.
But yeah, it is overpriced commercial software, so you are way better off using Blender in the long run.
"Now for an important prerequisite: a mouse with an easy to use middle button."
You don't need a mouse with a middle button.
Just go to user preferences, "File" menu, "Use preferences..." item, "Input tab", set radio button "Emulate three button mouse" on, Click button "Save user settings" in the bottom.
Now alt+ left button will map to the same action as the middle button.
Some bad UX decisions get baked in and you have to live with them, though the nice thing is Blender can be switched to operate in completely different flavors. There's one that matches what Maya does quite closely for those who prefer that.
Check your User Preferences options. It's extremely configurable.
Blender's UI isn't intuitive, but it is fast and quite efficient.
Blender's used in actual production, which means lots of tiny things that people doing production work might like to have, have been implemented there.
If one wants to code ones graphics then Blender can serve that need just fine - it has an extensive Python API. Leanrning which will serve one much better than learning the obscure POVRAY script.
Don't guide beginners to POVRAY, please. It will only hurt them in the end. This is just from an ecological perspective.
Besides, it's not like the parent post mentioned anything about beginners, just how to do stuff with vim, which matches the title of the article
For learning computer graphics programming through ray tracing something like Peter Shirleys "Raytracing in one weekend" and then onwards to Pharr, Jakob and Humphreys "Physically based rendering" would be a much better learning path. OpenGL and real time graphics are another beast entirely and to learn those well you must preferably work in the industry for a while (mainly because it's a fairly deep topic and you need professional level enthusiasm to progress much).
For hobbyist programmers Unity is a much better platform to get familiar with real time rendering than just taking the Red Book. I tried the Red Book route long time ago without much other domain understanding of computer graphics - not really the best way to move forward.
And yeah, I was familiar wirh Povray at that point and frankly - that knowledge did not help me much.
When scripting from Python, you should almost always avoid operators, except if it is not possible to access this functionality (In the Video Sequence Editor ...). And of course the documentation never tells you what context you actually need. Besides having a ton of parameters in the definition, operators essentially take the entire state of the Blender process as a parameter passing mechanism.
Not trying to compare the apps otherwise, their different focus makes them great for different things.
So Python optional until you want to do quite complicated things.
I am pretty sure just learning from the Blender video resource  will also suffice, but just listing my journey. The thing is just like Vim (as most are referring to it here) and I am a Vim user, Blender has a learning curve but sticking to it and gradually advancing to doing more complex stuff makes sense. But I don't know if this curve is true of other modeling software as well.
Plus the fact that python scripting lets you do your own stuff is even more fun. In the course of my game, and using Blender's rigify, I had more weight influences which would cause SceneKit to animate on the CPU. Just writing a simple python script  did the trick.
I think like other proprietary tools in the industry, which have deep roots in the asset pipelines, probably makes Blender a non-starter. But if someone is an indie developer and wants to use a 3D software; Blender is a great choice. For the game I am working on , even if it succeeds, we will stick to the Blender asset pipeline. In fact we have made the rigs such that it is also compatible with Unity's MecAnim.
The only downside is if you are planning to become a 3D artist, Blender may not be the right choice. Heck, even wanting to work as a 3D graphics engineer in the games/movie industry requires you have to knowledge of the proprietary tools, at least as per my current job search results. If someone has a similar experience vis a vis Blender and the 3D software engineer requirements, or even better if is part of the industry and can throw some light on this, will be great.
Overall, I believe Blender is very powerful and worth learning.
I wanted to be able to put together a video, so I made an introduction for my D&D friends for our next adventure.
First time I used video or sound editing, but it worked out fine, because I found a really good instruction video series. That usually makes all the difference.
Bonus: Try to draw a line in GIMP (without first going to google). Have fun! (;
Edit: In fact, I think GIMP and Blender have kind of opposite UI problems. GIMP tends to go along with the obvious toolkit defaults, making no concessions to usability, whereas Blender reinvents everything from scratch for efficiency, making no concessions to convention.
That said, Blender's GUI has been updated dramatically over the last 5 years. It is still quite painful ("discoverability" does not seem to be a concept they've become acquainted with), but in fact it's far better than it used to be. I'd made occasional attempts to acquaint myself with Blender starting in the late 90s and had invariably failed; tried again a few years ago and after a few days of pain I was being incredibly productive with it.
Most features can be found in Menus. Every clickable UI element has a tool tip if you hover.
With your mouse over the 3d port, hit the spacebar and fuzzy search for commands.
Most times there's a menu option there's a hotkey listed to the right... or you can right click a menu item and "Assign hot key."
You can also right click things and click "Online Documentation" for documentation on it.
Granted, I don't see an easy way to discover that "TAB" is for switching between edit and world mode when an object is selected... though you can switch modes in the "Object Mode" drop down 3d port menu. there's not a tool tip for it. ...and probably other things. It would be helpful if a better getting started guide/beginner walk through (like this introduction.) could be found in the splash screen and help menu easier.
Voilà, done (without using Google).
GIMP is not a paint replacement. Since GIMP is primarily a tool for image retouching and editing, drawing a line is not it's most obvious use-case.
> Blender is to 3D modeling what Gimp is to image editing what Darktable is to photo editing. Painful.
The main UI concern they have, is that they're usually not the first software of their kind people use. Switching from photoshop to GIMP is hard and people complain about the UI, but UI-wise, switching from GIMP to photoshop is equally hard.
Here is an example:
File > User Preferences > Input > then you can choose Blender, Maya, 3Dsmax
There are lots of other options on that Input dialog, too.