How to stay productive in Blender
How it started
I am Robert (aka Peetie on Blender artists, founder of New Media Supply and this website). It started with making a list of addons for Blender 2.8 on Blenderartists. That was in November 2018. Later the list got huge, so huge that is was not maintainable anymore. So I decided to start this website. And yes, as you see I am addicted to addons for Blender. Maybe it makes me think that I will get more possibilities and work faster. Right? No, not really. I tell you why and how to stay productive in Blender from what I experienced.
I was so addicted to addons, that I tried them nearly all. And I also bought a lot of addons. But that slows down tremendously productivity. You try a new addon, need to get familiar with it, the N-Panel gets full, and you just experiment and try and experiment and try again. Over and over again. And I bet many Blender users experience the same: How many clips do you see on Social Media, made with Blender, that takes just a few seconds. And how many clips do you see that is longer than 20 minutes? Are there series made with Blender?
Another reason why it’s hard to get productive with Blender is that Blender doesn’t come with materials, presets and assets. Also many settings are all over the place. It’s so frustrating: You know you can do a lot, but nothing happens really.
I knew that my addiction was holding me back being productive. And because I was so frustrated doing things over and over again, I developed the EV Express addon. The first version was released in April 2019. And until now I use it every day, every single time I start up Blender and render something out. It like this: Load an asset, or model something and choose one of the light setups with backdrop. Then if need you adjust the light setup and render. No more need to do settings for probes, render settings, settings for light etc. Just get your model in the scene and render.
Then there was just one more thing. Textures offered online are from different quality. Some are taken with phones, transformed in several ways, and it’s like copy paste textures from different worlds. Once loaded in Blender it doesn’t make sense anymore: wood that looks like fire, grass that looks like green light. Also issues with tiling, uv unwrapping etc. So I developed the Material Nodes addon. The Material Nodes addon contains 40 building blocks to build your own (semi) procedural materials but has also a library of 165 materials. I finished the last version of the Material Nodes addons just a week ago on July 24.
So the EV Express addon and the Material Nodes addon that was quite a success. And I realised these addons go perfectly together. I am proud of the result and because I want to make it more accessible I decided to bundle these two addons as the EEVEE Production Suite. The EEVEE Production Suite gives like 20% discount compared to buying the two addons seperately. On top of that, there will be Summer Sales on Blender Market from 3-7 August 2020 and that gives a further 25% discount. So this is an amazing value for your bucks, because the products I worked on for more than a year are already cheap: 40 light setups with backdrop, 3 addons, 40 nodes, 165 materials, compositing nodes and more. To get an impression, check this short teaser video:
I have a list of addons that will help you getting more productive after you bought the EEVEE Production Suite.
- Blocker and KITOPS is a perfect combination. With Blocker you can quickly block a shape and refine is quickly with KITOPS. I love it!
- For Animation, check the free addons: Dynamic Parent Addon, Text FX Addon, Commotion, AnimAll. But there are many many more.
- To add more grunge to the Materials, check: Grungit and Smudgr Pro.
- Also DecalMachine speeds up the workflow.
- Level Builder is handy to quickly build your scene with assets. It’s one of my favorite addons.
- And I suggest to get an asset manager, like: Asset Manager, Simple Asset Manager, etc.
- And there are many more good addons, but remember: not to many!
A few suggestions to stay productive:
- Trying out all the addons won’t make you productive. I know, I am also addicted and it’s hard.
- Make a plan what addons you need. Stick with a few and know them very well.
- When you post something on Twitter, don’t look every 5 minutes. Make a plan and produce, work, get results.
- Working Smart without working doesn’t work. Working without some smartness neither. I would say: 5% smart, 95% work. For example: I’ve seen a website scraping info about addons from github to make a list of addons. That’s smart, but without work you wouldn’t accomplish much. For one year I worked like 16 hours a day. (A parttime job and my Blender addiction). And now I am at a point I think “For how long do I still need that parttime job?”.
- Solve what bothers you, just like I did, that Blender is capable of loads of things but it’s not productive out of the box. Look for things that bother you personally, look for a solution and offer it to others. You can also look at stats, but I think you will miss a story at the end. If it bothers you, you won’t be the only one. And others are happy with the solution.
What addon to buy and not to buy:
Are you going to make clips about exploding eggs every day? No, right? So, are you going to buy an addon to make exploding eggs? No. What I mean, there are some very specific addons. Ok, it is a tearing cloth addon what I am talking about. And I think, how many times in real life I even see a tearing cloth. Once a year maybe? So that is not something I would invest in if I don’t need it all the time. What I need all the time for example is the Quad Remesher, Baking, and yes, of course my own addons because I developed them with the reason I need them all the time.
So I hope I helped you with the question on how to stay productive in Blender.
You can find the EEVEE Production Suite on Blender Market in case that is what you need at the moment.