It seems that my heart belongs to Blender lately. Since this is the season of Valentines and heartfelt messages, I have to make Blender my February pick for Adobe Offsetting. Blender keeps proving from month-to-month that they’re serious about investing in making a quality product. I’ve just started learning how to model, but the amount of endless documentation online helps me demystify this robust program.
For inspiration incentive, Blender reduced the price of their Art of Blender book by more than 50%. You can pick up the 160-page book for a song of only $22.20 (USD). I purchased the book to support Blender while also getting a wonderful book at a steal of a price.
I first noticed the book offer on Twitter. The Blender community is very active on social media which helps to stay informed of the latest developments.
Last month Blender released version 2.73. The new version totes many great additions, including improvements to the UI, a better knife tool for increased precision, and cool stuff like SVG export. One benefit that everyone has been talking about is the grease pencil tool. The grease pencil has been around for a couple years, but now its included standard in Blender instead of being an add-on. With it you can draw freehand in Blender which is great for drafting, 2D animation, storyboarding, and much more. Below are videos showing the grease pencil in action.
Grease pencil in action
Mikhail Shablin gives a flashy overview of the workflow of the grease pencil while illustrating the tool’s 2D animation possibilities.
BlenderTek explains more in-depth the steps for using the grease pencil in a 2D style. If you weren’t able to follow the steps in the previous video, this video is very helpful, illustrating how to create animatics within Blender itself.
Blender Sensei shows in the next clip how you can use the grease pencil for notations or sketching out your ideas in 3D. It’s a great way to draft out your idea in 3D space before starting the modeling process.
Blender’s Project Gooseberry demonstrates how they’re using the grease pencil in their workflow for their upcoming animated short, Cosmos Laundromat.
It will be interesting to see what other examples and purposes people share in the near future on how they use the grease pencil.
As part of my monthly contribution, I am also a subscribing member of the Blender Cloud with a reoccurring monthly donation. If you are first learning Blender, this site is a wonderful resource of videos for learning modeling and animation techniques. They also have access to all the art and assets from their upcoming open-source animation, Cosmos Laundromat.