What and Why?

With the upcoming 2.8, Blender is going to be an amazing tool for artists. However, not everyone is a professional working in a studio environment. Many are casual users. Some use Blender just for 3D printing, some to make models for games, and some just want to teach their young kids the basics of 3D. For these users, Blender’s all-in-one approach poses a huge challenge.

The Blender 101 project is about making Blender usable for everyone. Using features that’s going to be available in 2.8 such as Workspaces, Templates, and some good ol’ coding, we aim to achieve the goal of ‘Blender for every occasion’.

Just like how the new Workspaces in Blender 2.8 will optimize the interface for specific tasks(such as modelling, animation, sculpting and compositing), Templates will go one step further, transforming Blender into very focused applications that do specific things really well. Possible candidates for templates include:

  • Blender Simple
  • 3D Printing
  • Games Creation
  • CAD

The template will be something that the a user can select from the splash screen of Blender:

splash

By selecting a template, every aspect of Blender can be changed, including:

  • User preferences
  • Addons
  • Color schemes
  • Input maps
  • Units
  • Interface layouts
  • Manipulator widgets
  • Pre-built 3D assets and presets

Because Templates could be potentially big in size (since they may contain pre-made assets), they can be made available as separate downloads, and loaded into Blender like an addon. Some templates can be bundled in the default install. This is to be decided later.

Blender Simple

An ideal candidate for template is a massively simplified Blender. This template will strip down the interface to the bare minimum, encouraging inexperienced users to explore a 3D program without worrying about the consequences of making a mistake. The target audience for this are kids under 16 years old, or people who has absolutely no experience with computer graphics. The expectation is that one day, they will be able to ‘graduate’ to the full Blender without having to relearn a new interface.

Blender for 3D Printing

Even as 3D printing is gaining popularity, preparing a model for printing is still a complex and highly technical process. Together with Aleph, we want to make this process as simple as possible. The 3D printing template will have the bounding box and measurement units all setup, ready for you to create or cleanup your model. The template will also have the ability to carry out sanity checks on the model to ensure its printability.

Blender for Games

Blender is an ideal content creation platform for game engines such as Unity and Unreal. However, currently Blender doesn’t have a focused interface for game makers. If we can work to remove functionalities that’s irrelevant to game designers, and provide basic shaders and assets that are compatible with modern game engines, artists will have a much easier time creating content in Blender.

Keep in mind that because these templates are still running the same Blender under the skin, the files they create will be interchangeable. For example, one can always bring a model created in Blender Simple and retopologize it in the full version.

These are just some ideas for what the 101 project could bring. Our goal is not to ‘dumb-down’ the interface and pose artificial restrictions, but rather to optimize the interface for everyone’s individual needs.

After all, as Leo Tolstoy might have once said, “All happy blender users are not alike.”

Please leave your ideas or suggestions as reactions to this article!

Thanks,

Mike Pan