I recently downloaded and installed the Beta for Blender 2.80 and I am blown away by the improvements.

Update: Version 2.8 is finished go get it!

I will be completely honest and admit I struggled with the older versions of Blender. It’s not because I am new to 3d it was actually my main area of interest. One of my jobs was in a studio that created 3D renders for businesses. My job was creating 3D buildings from architectural drawings.

I struggled with Blender because I had worked with 3d studio max for so long it felt like I needed to unlearn what I already knew.

Love it or hate it Blender’s UI was like no other program. For starters, the right click was the main way of selecting and moving objects, which to me was a big headache. Next was the sheer complexity of the workspace, it seemed like everything was on display and it was overwhelming.

Blender’s main workspace was extremely cluttered when compared with other programs like Photoshop, Premiere or 3D Max. I personally like minimalist workspaces, I don’t want to see everything in one place. This made Blender a very intimidating program.

All of this could be explained away as me being too stupid or lazy to learn how to use it. However, if I felt this way than I am sure plenty of beginners felt the same way and therefore avoided learning what is an amazing 3D program. And it’s freakin FREE!

For the doubters – If you need any reassurance that Blender is capable of professional 3D animation check out Next Gen. This Netflix exclusive was made 90% in Blender.

It has been a few years since I last used any 3D modelling software so I have forgotten most of the tricks of 3d studio max. I would imagine the program has developed way beyond what I knew anyway. Fortunately, I can still remember the fundamentals of 3D modelling and Animation. So for the hell of it, I thought I would see what the newest version of Blender is like seeing as I have no 3D alternative anymore.

It was good timing because the latest Beta version of 2.80 is the most revolutionary version in Blenders history.

Why Blender 2.80 is Awesome

It is far more User-Friendly

I cannot comment on the performance or the other highly technical aspects of Blender as I don’t have enough experience. However, as I have used what seems like hundreds of design programs I can talk about the new UI.

Improved UI and Workflow

The UI is vastly improved and addresses almost all of the issues I and many others had with the previous versions. Blender has adopted a system of tabs which allow you to quickly access different layouts best suited for specific tasks. This is much better because you can hide the irrelevant menus and tools when working.

Other improvements:

Left Click by default, I think the vast majority of us are familiar with left click dominant programs. You can still change it to right click if you wish.

A large portion of the tools now have icons which clean up the workspace and it looks much slicker.

The important and most used modelling tools like extrude, bevel and slice etc are all quickly accessible without locating them in a menu. This will dramatically improve the speed of modelling.

More Gizmos, this something that helps massively and gizmos like this allows you to work much quicker and with more confidence. It is also more welcoming to a newcomer.

Gizmos are the icons which appear when you are moving/rotating etc.

The new collections and sub-collections feel very similar to the layers and groups system found in many programs like Photoshop

New dark theme by default, not really a big deal but I like it.

To be totally clear, if you are new to 3D it will still be intimidating and difficult at first. This, however, is the case with all 3D software – there is a lot to learn.

Modelling Test

I had a quick go at modelling a simple low poly flying ship, inspired by Wipeout and AG racing games. It took about 15 minutes and it is probably riddled with errors… I found the modelling process incredibly smooth although I realised how rusty I was.

The quick access to the bevel and extrude tools made the process much more efficient.

A little bit of video from the beginning stages speeded up x2. Grab your popcorn it’s exciting.

Closing

Without sounding too cheesy I honestly believe this is an important turning point in the history of Blender and the 3D world. Blender finally feels grown up and ready to properly take on the titans of the industry. When you load up Blender 2.8 you do not feel like you are running a free program it feels professional and powerful.

It is a good time to be a newcomer to animation.

Go get it: Blender 2.8 Beta Download Page

Categories: AnimationTips

David

Works part-time as a Graphic Designer and Website Designer. Studied Animation and has been using and learning design software for over 15 years.