Best Blender Addons & Plugins For 3D Artists In 2018
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A large part of Blender’s success comes from the community that developed it.
The open source nature of Blender encourages enthusiasts and professionals alike to contribute their time and expertise in the name of making a better Blender.
This is widely visible in the massive variety of plugins you can find for Blender on the web. These plugins extend the program and improve its capabilities.
And it seems like new plugins pop up every day.
In this post you’ll find a list of the best plugins for Blender for all purposes. Use these scripts to enhance your workflow and radically improve your Blender creations.
BLAM is a powerful plugin for calibrating Blender’s 3D camera.
Using a photograph, BLAM can interpret the orientation and focal length of the camera that was used to take the photo. From there it’s easy to calibrate Blender’s camera to match.
This technique has a variety of uses including projection mapping, special effects in film and animation, and creating simulations in a real-world environment.
BLAM is simple to set up too.
The plugin asks the user provide vanishing lines based on a reference photo. BLAM can then automatically reconstruct the geometry. This makes it easy to reproduce real-world architecture such as a room or a staircase within blender using only a photo.
Blender comes with a powerful set of sculpting tools for shaping finely detailed 3D models.
To animate these high-resolution objects an artist must create another simpler model using a process called retopology.
By default Blender lacks in the retopology department.
This is where RetopoFlow comes to the rescue. It brings together a set of tools that were specifically designed to help artist retopologize their work.
Using an intuitive process, RetopoFlow lets you draw new contours over the surface of an object giving complete control over the geometry. A new clean mesh is generated on the fly that automatically follows the surface of the old model.
RetopoFlow will also ensure quad-based geometry which means your model will be perfect for animation.
The asset Management addon is a handy tool that will save you time in mostly any project.
It introduces a new panel that lets you create a custom library of the materials, scenes, HDRI’s, other assets you create.
These can be shared across your Blender projects too.
Included with the Asset Management plugin is a Thumbnail Generation tool that makes it easy to create custom thumbnails for all your individual assets. Organizing complex scenes and sharing assets has never been easier.
You can also use this plugin to create libraries of your HDRI maps. Experimenting with your scenes and keeping track of your assets is important for obtaining consistent results with Blender, and this plugin is a big step forward in that department.
You can generate simulations of complex surfaces like cloth or liquid with ease using Blender.
These simulation tools are quite capable, although sometimes getting the results you want can be tricky.
With FLIP Fluids it’s much easier to create high quality cinematic fluid effects within Blender.
The FLIP Fluids simulator was created to improve many aspects of Blender’s internal simulation tools. You’ll get controls for speed, performance, and customizability for anything you generate with this addon.
For example, FLIP provides an exciting whitewater simulator that creates millions of spray and bubble particles. Use this to add greater realism and detail to any scenes featuring oceans or lakes, or even a bubble bath.
BPainter is a godsend when it comes to painting textures.
While Blender comes with a quality set of painting tools, getting a good setup for painting can be difficult as the UI is particularly annoying in this regard.
BPainter was developed to help you establish a smooth workflow for painting in Blender.
It adds a layering system that you’ll recognize from 2D painting programs. It also cleans up the UI and brings its own set of brushes and textures.
As icing on the cake, BPainter also provides some common blend modes for your texture layers. Advanced users will recognize filters like Overlay, Multiply, and Subtract.
There’s also an improved color picker that gives you control over which layer you’re sampling from.
BPainter is a big improvement over the default Blender painting setup. The $39.99 price tag might seem expensive, but professional artists will find the price well worth it for what they save in time and frustration.
Josh is an artist and game developer who specializes in sci-fi, fantasy, and abstract art. His work employs vibrant colors and combines elements of glitch art, outrun, retro-gamming, neo-geo, and conceptual art. He trained as an oil painter before picking up 3D modeling, animation, and programming. He now runs Brain Jar, a small game development studio that focuses on experimental, narrative-driven content. You can learn more on the website or on Twitter @brainjargames.