3D Modeling is nothing to shake a stick at. You can’t even shake the whole tree at it. May different tools out there exist to make modeling “easier” by honing in on a very specific style or feature, like Crocotile 3D or Wings 3D. But, when you’re trying to find an end-all-be-all to all forms of modeling, you go for the big boys: Maya, 3DS Max, and, of course, Blender.
A problem with all these heavy-bliters is that their toolset is huge! Tiny icons surround the boarders of your screen, and many, many more tools hide in secret little menus. Most of the time, I find myself knowing what I want to do, and I’m on 18 different tabs trying to figure out the damn workflow!
Well, like any good craftsman, the best solution to having too many tools is to add more tools.
Something about what I said doesn’t sound right. Let me explain: In your toolshed, you have several different saws. They all serve different purposes, and all have to be hooked up in different ways.
Then you buy a sawzall. This is a motorized saw with all forms of different attachments for all your sawing needs. Those old manual saws are going to stay in that toolshed, while your proceed to save the world with your amazing sawing prowess.
The following Blender tools have helped me take a bunch of hotkeys, tiny tool buttons, and hours on the Blender forums and turn them into very simple clicks.
My work has me mocking up different consoles and equipment that use a lot of the same knobs and buttons in different configurations. Copying materials over from one mesh to another is easy enough – just select all the meshes you want the material applied to with Shift+LMB, and then, for the last element, select an object with the desired material, hit Ctrl+L, and click Materials. Done, right? No. Not one bit. Because, while that last element was properly UV mapped, the other objects probably aren’t. Either you could try to manually redo the UV coords for every object (gross) or you could use this tool, select the faces you want to copy in Edit mode, press U, and select the option to Copy at the bottom. Then paste away. Easy.
So, the hot-new-hip-rad-dilly-o thing these “youngin’s” like to dabble in these days (I am so disconnected from the youth. Please help me) is to create models that can be 3D-Printed. 3D Print Modeling is not easy – you can’t just slam a bunch of polys together and hit “Print.” Your model needs to be optimal, and, above all, “watertight.” Blender doesn’t really have anything within itself to check for these things, but this tool does that and so much more. It can look for Tris (because triangles are sooo 2007), n-gons (which sound like an amazingly bad sci-fi villain), and a ton more. It will highlight the problems for you, so you don’t even need to hunt around for the issue after it finds it. It’s pretty great.
There, 2 tools for now, more always to come. Let me know if any of these tools help you guys, or if you have suggestions. I’m always looking for new tools to use and spread out to the, like, 50 people who visit this site every day! (You guys are the real heroes…)