Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blender 2.5 Settings

Ever wondered what user-prefs some of the Blender devs use? Looking to make some tweaks to your copy of Blender to make it work nicer? Read on for more...

These days, there are only a few pieces of software that I use without first taking a peek in the Settings/Preferences of, and changing any settings that either:
1) Sound like something that is going to cause me annoyance in future
2) Are something I know from experience is a jolly pain to do without

Therefore, you really should take the effort to configure you programs to work in ways that are more comfortable for you to use. It really makes a big difference down the track.


Now, I've ordered these by User Preferences category. In case you aren't already aware, in 2.5 you can access the user preferences through the File menu.

What I'm using
Nothing to change here for now.

What you might also consider
I'm currently playing with "Zoom to Mouse Position", but I'm getting rather mixed results with this. It's fine for navigating some models, but can end up being a total PITA for other things.

What I'm using
  1. Grease Pencil:
    • Disable "Smooth Stroke". This option works really badly for scribbling text or lines or anything with fine detail. It's only really somewhat acceptable for drawing circles around things, if that's what you're into, and don't mind the noose tightening around things from time to time.
  2. Playback:
    • Enable "Allow Negative Frames". This is new functionality in 2.5 that is quite useful for animating at times. It's only really disabled as some people still like being lazy, slamming playhead into left-end to get to the start frame (though the timeline header has a one-click solution for this all along!).
  3. Keyframing:
    • Disable "XYZ to RGB". This option makes all newly added F-Curves get coloured Red/Green/Blue if they affect some triplet of array-values (i.e. x,y,z transforms, or r,g,b colours) when enabled. When disabled, Blender's traditional "rainbow" colours are used instead. Under the default colourscheme, the Blender colours really look much better (i.e. better contrast against the grey background), not to mention being able to identify curves instead of having a mass of red+green+blue mess in the Graph Editor (as the butt-ugly Maya-inspired default would have you dealing with). I still don't really agree with the decision to go with this enabled by default... 
What you might also consider
- For rigging (specifically creating new bones), I still prefer to have "Enter Edit Mode" for New Objects enabled. Everytime I try creating bones these days for testing, I keep making mistakes here, and I'm sure this does lead to some of the (thankfully dying out) newbie confusion over multiple bones being inside an armature, vs using single-boned armatures and asking "how do I make the armatures hold together". Still, I can understand that not going into Edit Mode is convenient when just trying to set up some cubes for Rigid Body Sims ;)
- When animating using Keying Sets, you might want to enable "Only Insert for Keying Set", which will only add keyframes for settings within the active Keying Set instead of creating whatever F-Curves are necessary for whatever tool is being used that also auto-keyframes.
- When animating, I wouldn't really recommend using "Only Insert Available". Sure, it's possible to use it as an alternative to setting the "Available" builtin Keying Set as active, and using the above option, but really, this option isn't as well supported these days. It's not really something I think we really still need...

What I'm using

  1. Orbit Style set to "Turntable". I could not and still can't stand Trackball (aka "looney tumble"). It just makes so much more sense to me to not have to place my cursor in specific places and carefully rotate small increments at a time, to not flip or otherwise severely tilt the viewport I'm looking at.
  2. Invert Wheel Zoom Direction set to enabled. See this post here as to why I think enabling this is the truly intuitive method (if MS and other corps hadn't corrupted most of the userbase first).
What you might also consider
- As weird as RMB select may seem, it's not totally without rationales. Among some of the chief reasons I'm aware of, is that by default in many other systems, LMB is actually completely overloaded leading to inefficiencies and buggy behaviour from such systems as they struggle to grasp what action a LMB click or drag should equate to. You can see this type of conflict quite well in animation editors, when trying to select keyframes and/or change the time cursor: in other apps (such as Houdini), because the LMB may be interpreted in two different ways, there is a bit of a conflict over what should happen, leading to some kludges such as limiting the screen space that scrubbing can occur over.

What I'm using

  1. Autosave
    1. Set "Save Versions" to 1. More than 1 backup is a bit wasteful in general, especially when other backup methods are also being employed.
    2. Set "Recent Files" to 30 (or more). When developing Blender, I often just use a few files, but there is quite a decent set of them in total for various things. Therefore, setting the Recent Files list size quite large means that I have quick access to all of these without browsing through directories, even if it means that some may change order/jump around a bit.
    3. Turn "Auto save temporary files" off. I understand that some people may be paranoid about this when working on some models they've put blood+sweat+tears into, but for developing + testing Blender, this overhead and the gunk that's left behind at times is just not worth it. I've also had cases of bugs where this was causing some bugs, and these had to be fixed before I could fix other stuff.

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