03 June 2012

Blender 3D Architecture, Buildings and Scenery - Chapter 1 of 14 Review

This chapter called "Introduction to Blender and Architectural Visualization", is as you would expect from the name, an introductory chapter covering very briefly the background of what architectural visualisations are; and information on contrasting the older and newer ways of producing them (made and crafted out of physical materials versus produced in a 3D computerised environment such as Blender).
The chapter then moves on to giving a little information on the features that Blender has that make it ideal for powerful visualisation works. Here is the first hiccup I noticed; It has a link to the older Elephants Dream movie (www.elephantsdream.org), showing that this book is slightly out of date as regards the version of Blender it is using as the newest movie is Big Buck Bunny (www.bigbuckbunny.org). That said, this book will mostly be covering Architecture type modelling concerns and not doing character animations or wanting anything furry, so this will probably not be too much of an issue. You will just have to keep an eye out for slight interface mismatches and Buttons, Panels not being where the book says. Let's just hope this doesn't happen to often.

Then the chapter moves onto how to obtain Blender and gives a little background information on the Blender Foundation and their role in coordinating Blender as a whole. This is where the next slight weakness kicks in. They explain where to download Blender but not how to install it for the different platforms, or mention where to get platform specific version for different operating system. A section on installing from package management systems and repositories for Linux users would have been helpful.

Then the text moves on to detail the hardware specifications both minimum and recommended specs.

Next some of the extra tools that can be used to post process visualisations are covered, such as Gimp and various CAD systems. Though Blender in my opinion can carry out most of the CAD tasks itself without any help. Same goes for the tools the chapter describes for doing presentations, Blender has a video sequence editor and would be ideal for doing that sort of stuff internally rather than externally with other tools.

They also give a few locations for obtaining freely available models in both native Blender format and various other formats that Blender can import. Though strangely the official blender model repository (http://e2-productions.com/repository) doesn't seem to be included in the list of places. But since the official model repository may be lacking in models that would be any good for visualisations, this may be why.

Finally the chapter lists some sites of visualisations made with Blender and rendered with various renders and shows a screen shot of a dining room that is made throughout the course of the book.

This is after all an introductory chapter so all it really does is demonstrate how your going to proceed through the rest of the book. I do wish more examples of what can be done with visualisations had been included in this chapter so we could see what was possible with Blender without having to flit about from website to website. Still on the whole a clear chapter, if a little incomplete as regards to installing Blender.

(Is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that a publisher in the United Kingdom England uses American spellings; they should get told off by the Queen!)