Why I still use Blender for multi million dollar projects.

The reason I writes this Article.

I don’t know, if I am the only person doing this, but sometimes I wake up thinking well, maybe Blender isn’t the right thing for me anymore. Then I browse the web, watching at the features of Maya, Arnold and others for hours but at the end I always come to the conclusion, that Blender is still the right choice for me.

And I think that I am not the only one who sometimes think like this. Not only professionals, but especially beginners who want to become better and think about maybe working as 3D artist one day can be insecure when it comes to this topic.

For people who are insecure about this topic or beginners who ask the self is Blender really the right software to start with and specially to continue with I wrote this article. So, I list up the reasons, why Blender is the best 3D Software for me personally even for „Pros“.

"The grass is always greener on the other side."

Erma Bombeck

01. Cycles

The Render-Engine, we all love and use. But sometimes there comes this question isn’t the Arnold render more realistic or Redshift faster? And the answer is yes.

But the question is, „Does this really matter?“. And, if we all agree that faster and more realistic renderings are something good in my opinion it is not that important. Raytracing engines like Octane, Arnold or Cycles don’t distinguish so much when it comes to realism and output quality. When it comes to speed cycles isn’t that bad. In the past I tried out Redshift and octane which are much faster on the first view but with the same number of light paths the difference can be very small. So, when it comes to speed better invest in hardware then software.

The aspect that is in my opinion way more important is handling and this is where Cycles beats all the others. The reason is very simple. Cycles is native in Blender, so they work perfectly together. Blender is currently the only 3D Software that ships with a production ready render engine.

There are also features like the build in Denoiser or the principled Shaders like „Principled BSDF“ or the principled hair and volume Shader which are included in the upcoming Blender 2.8 which aren’t unique but still very rare. Especially the seamless switch between Eevee (the new Realtime engine in Blender) will be a huge time/money safer in the future and is also something unique to Blender.

Another thing which most Blender users take for granted is the Support of CPU, Nvidia GPU and AMD GPU which is also currently unique.

You don’t need Redshift or Octane for good performance.

02. The Community

What really makes Blender to the program we all know is the Community. In the 3D world good Tutorials and forums are very rare. It’s close to impossible to learn Maya or 3Ds Max over YouTube. Here Blender is completely different. I feel like the focus isn’t on making money its more on supporting each other and creating awesome things. It is hard to describe but this makes a big difference.

03. It is Open source.

What comes first in mind when most people hear Open source most importantly for them seems the fact that it is free. Which is in fact a huge selling point for Blender. But certainly, it doesn’t stop here. Being able to read and modify the code of a program enables other develops to easily created addons or rewrite parts of the program which maybe has influence on the program itself cause of this blender’s development is much closer to what the users want.

This is also a benefit for bigger productions like man in the High castle where a lot of custom code came to use.

On the other hand, there is no real Support or even a company which would offer this. This is a thing which deters some Companies of using it.

04. It has everything I need.

I can put in a USB-Stick and have everything ready, to sculpt, render and composite which is just awesome.


Speed Up renders in Blender in 2019

Introduction

Under my last post, someone commented with This video about how to Speed up renderers in Cycles. Made by my friend Remington Graphics, which you should subscribe to if you don’t do this already. Anyway, I was watching the video, because I was eating Dinner and I tend to watch random videos while eating.

And I recognized that today were most advanced Blender users are using already Blender version 2.8 it maybe makes sense, to write an article about rendering faster in Blender 2.8 Cycles since many things changed. And also, if Eevee is now out there which looks very good for a Realtime engine there is still a huge difference between Cycles and Eevee.

By the way, if you don’t use Blender 2.8 and you are a hobbyist, I would recommend downloading it since it has so many new awesome features. If you are a professional, I would also recommend downloading it but not to use it on important client projects so that you can directly start with Blender 2.8 if the final version is out there. Which will be in Q1 2019 as far I know but currently no one knows for sure.

01. Using GPU + CPU

In Blender 2.8 you can use your GPU and CPU simultaneously. Which can give you a huge advantage especially if you own a good CPU like a Threadripper or a Xeon CPU.

02. Denoiser

The Denoiser is part on Blender since version 2.79 but still, only a few people use it. This feature simply reduces the noise which allows you to get noise-free images with a way lower sampling rate.

But if you go to low with the samples you will get odd artifacts which won’t look good either. I recommend testing this feature, to get a feeling on how it works.

It works really well and saves a lot of time for stills but it’s not that great for videos. Which means I still use it on videos but still try to keep the sampling rate high to eliminate the rest of the noise.

Remington Graphics developed an own Denoiser Addon which works with an Artificial Intelligence. Which is even better than the one that comes already with Blender and it’s for free.

03. Keep it simple

Try to avoid as many polygons as possible and delete unnecessary objects in the scene or hide them.

A new feature of Blender 2.8 which can help is the Cycles bevel node. Which enables you, to create bevels based on a normal map. But the problem here is, that it only works for very small bevels. On bigger bevels, it doesn’t look good.

04. Light Paths

The Lightpaths simply set, how often the light bounces from one to another object. Technically more light bounces mean more realism since in reality, the number of bounces is close to infinity especially with glass or in very complex scenes this is the case but most of the times there is no real difference between many or just a few light bounces speaking about the End result. For a simple scene Total: 5 Light bounces should make your scene render faster and don’t change the result.

But here it is the same as with the Denoiser its all about experimenting and getting a feeling for it how it affects your rendering.

05. Principled Shader

The principled Shader not only brings more realism by default it also brings optimized performance over a recreation of the same Shader. In Blender 2.8 we got Principled hair and Principled Volume beside Principled BSDF so use them they are awesome. What matters is the final result and not the afford you put in by creating everything by yourself.

"Work smart not hard!"