About Blender

I've been using Blender off and on for graphics and animation for at least a decade. It's very capable and very difficult to learn. However, if you can slog your way through learning how to use it, it's incredibly powerful. I recently begun another round of attempting to learn how to use Blender. These are my discoveries.

Making Shapes using Boolean using "Blender Default"

Even after watching a couple of videos and faithfully following the manual, I couldn't create even a simple shape properly. This reminded me of why I stopped using Blender... in fact, because I didn't want to start spending a fortune on commercial software, I just stopped altogether in the past. I started watching YouTube videos on the subject and took a detour into learning about Grease Pencil Animation... then later continued researching how to create shapes.

Grease Pencil Animation

Like everyone else, I dismissed the "grease pencil" feature in Blender as useless. Then I saw an awesome video and demo file of what it could do. Download and run "ForYou.blend" and run it. It's amazing.

Location: https://www.blender.org/download/demo-files/, https://download.blender.org/demo/test/ForYou.blend

Sensei Format and the Open Source Blender Ecosystem

I watched a few videos on how to use the Shape Modeling tools in Blender. It looked very easy... the disclaimer "this video uses Sensei Format" seemed innocuous. Until I looked into it, I didn't realize, how wrong I was.

Sensei Format is a plugin for Blender which fixes a lot of the things that make Blender difficult to use. It's purpose is to make Blender a tool which behaves as you would expect and to automate a lot of things that require multiple steps to do in Blender. It is a free Blender Add-On. The "Blender Crash Course" shows how to use Blender and the Sensei Format add-on. The only price of admission is your email address. (Unlike most free things, you can't get this add-on without having an account on blendersensei.com). Basically, this is how Open Source business works. Produce something useful and gain a following, then leverage this new ecosystem to sell products and services... just enough to make a decent living doing something you like.. Basically, create a livelihood. Not a bad deal.

Blender Ecosystem

A few Blender Stores have popped up. The stores sell models and add-ons. There are a lot of add-ons for Blender. Some are for pure performance (rendering takes a lot of computer power), others provide advanced graphical effects. BlenderSensei.com is an example of a viable business based on Blender.