Very early on in this blog, like 2013 early, I wrote about wanting to switch from Maya to Blender. It was a long and frustrating process. For quite a few years I suffered from a sort of software phantom limb syndrome where I would continually hit the wrong hotkeys or search for tools using the wrong names. While it ain’t busting rocks, there was a certain amount of psychological pain associated with the transition.
Now, barely a day goes by when I don’t fire up Blender to do something. I have my own custom keymap that I blindly jab at and really only remember in the tips of my fingers. From time to time I will even write tiny, simple python scripts to automate some tasks. Before Blender I had never even wanted to venture into the python language. I follow several news sources and development blogs to pick up information about the newest versions. I may or may not have fallen asleep to the soothing voice of Pablo from the Blender Today youtube channel. Okay I definitely did. A couple of times. I’m completely in the bag for Blender.
It’s not just me. To the outside observer, the latest version of Blender, 2.8, is pretty much indistinguishable from the polished and user focussed commercial software that it competes with. I’ll understand if you don’t take my word for that, since I am admittedly in the bag for Blender. Epic Games and Ubisoft have recently backed Blender as one of their go to art creation tools. They are only the most high profile of the companies backing or using Blender on a day to day basis. There are many others across the games, video production, advertising, and special effects industries. 3D printing and prop making is another pool that I have a toe in, and they are Blender day in and day out over there.
I don’t think that Blender will ever fully replace Maya or Max or Cinema 4D or whatever it is people use. I don’t even think that it should. Some folks are very comfortable with the tools that they use and they really have no incentive to change. There are some tools like ZBrush and Houdini that are invaluable for some people for specific tasks. I think that’s great. I also know that for what I do, I have yet to hit any walls with Blender.
If nothing else they now have a proper object organizations structure that works better than any other I have ever seen. They went from having an obscure unlabeled layer model that was one of the dumbest things I have ever had the misfortune to use, to a nesting ‘collections’ system that works so elegantly, within days of using it, I changed my own workflow habits to better fit their system and could never imagine going back.
If you are like me, and you tried Blender in the past only to bounce off of it, I think that version 2.8 might be what you were waiting for.