October 17, 2005

Blender Conference closes, Orange Teaser released

Phillip Richdale writes "This years International Blender Conference in Amsterdam has closed at Sunday, 19:00 local time. The 3-day anual meeting of Blender and other OSS 3D enthusiasts was again packed with cool people and cool stuff. The team of the OSS renderer Aqsis (a Pixar renderman compliant renderer) was present and rallied for Blender Renderman support and collected much agreement amoungst the Blender Projekt. Three Suzanne Awards were won and awarded, a professional Film production company held a lecture on their exclusive use of Blender for feature film 3D effects (very impressive), a further integration of the Crystal Space 3D Engine and Blender as it's authoring tool was decided and the Orange project members were giving first hand information on progress of their pure OSS animation project (without spoiling anything) and released an awesome teaser (Readers, please use Bittorent! - Help reverse the slashdot effect).
The tight knit fulltime interaction between the Blender devteam and Project Orange currently is causing new features introduced to Blender on a near daily basis. A Blender 2.4 alpha preview now is available and allready sports a completely revamped Armature system, first parts of the upcoming major GUI reorganization and an innumerable amount of new features. Two of the most notable being B-Bones, a simple and powerfull new type of twistable armature bones to date unseen in any other 3D package and Blenders version of constraint controlled morph targets (3D Buzzword overload) called "Shape Keys" or simply "Shapes" - a mesh deformation mechanisim based on bone movement for realistic, hassle-free muscle simulation and simular situations. Both these features alone have Blender closing in on professional packages fast and greatly speed up realistic character animation. I actually met a guy who pushed back his purchase of Softimage XSI - a premier animation package - upon seeing this feature in action on a character rig he tested it on. Large parts of this years Blender related Google Coding Summer projects are now in the main devtree, such as the allready available (2.4 alpha) fluid simulation.
Bottom line: This years conference was 3 times 14 hours of frantic sessions, releases, talks and fruitfull debates with some of the coolest people in the open source world and - as allways - a great pleasure."
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