[Chimera-users] Chimera, 3dsmax, blender

Jonathan Hilmer jkhilmer at gmail.com
Mon Oct 30 16:07:42 PST 2006


It's been years since I've had access to a 3dsmax license, so I can't
really make good comparisons between it and Blender.  Fundamentally,
they serve the same role, so I expect you would find using them
similar, especially compared to PyMOL, Chimera, etc.

Before getting into the benefits, you should be aware that compared to
any software truly designed for chemical modeling, Blender has some
serious drawbacks.  There is no pre-existing set of structural tools
that is standard for chemistry modeling software: if you want ribbons,
you have to write a procedure that will generate them.  I'm assuming
you're already familiar with this, though, since you're using 3dsmax.
As another sizeable negative, CSG in Blender is still somewhat flaky.
I seem to remember having far fewer problems in 3d studio, even back
around ~R5 or 6.

On the benefit side, Blender's plugin/scripting system is extremely
free of restrictions.  The scripting system is pure Python, and many
Python "plugins" are available.  The true plugins are done in C, but
are currently restricted to some post-processing features.  You could
also use the scripting system to access C libraries.  These features
really help to make up for the lack of built-in chemistry-centered
tools.  The other reason why you might prefer Blender over 3dsmax is
that the scripting and plugin system is very much like Chimera, so if
you're using both it's only one system to learn.


> Message: 8
> Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 14:47:06 -0800
> From: "Lydia Jablonski" <lydka at uoregon.edu>
> Subject: [Chimera-users] Exporting VRML, Using Blender
> Jonathan and Greg-
> Thank you for your suggestions. I wanted to at least try them before I responded.
> Exporting VRML: I did try the export to VRML from version 1.2304 and it is good to know that it works for ribbons now. Unfortunately, the imported VRML meshes don't seem to respond to the mesh smoothing in 3ds max. With the .pdb --> .pov --> .3ds --> .max  workflow I'm able to get a completely smooth surface on the ribbon. With the imported .wrl (VRML) I am able to see the triangulation on the surface, especially with shiny materials. Increasing the subdivision quality in Chimera makes these triangles smaller, but they are still visible.
> Blender: Can you explain more the advantages of Blender for rendering/animating molecular models? I've been using 3ds max for quite a while (since the DOS days) so I feel very comfortable with it. But the need to work with molecular models is new so I'm still bumping around trying to figure out what all the possibilities are. If another 3D animation program would work better with exported .pdb files I'd be willing to pick it up.
> Any more pointers would be much appreciated.
> -Lydia

More information about the Chimera-users mailing list