Best Blender Add-ons & Plugins For 3D Artists
With tons of add-ons and plugins that help new users approach Blender with ease, it is easy to understand why most 3D artists choose it to be the first software to learn about CG. Let’s pick up where we have left off in the last post and continue to find out more about the best Blender’s add-ons and plugins for 3D artists in 2020.
Getting a proper UV Layout is essential to achieving beautiful textured models.
Unfortunately Blender doesn’t come with much more than the basics in this department.
TexTools provides professional UV and texture tools for Blender.
There are multiple tools in this set for aligning your UV layouts and for smoothing your topology.
There’s also 18+ baking modes to choose from, making it easier to get the perfect textures for your projects.
BookGen is a great example of the wide variety of plugins made by the Blender community.
Once installed, this free script will generate books on command, allowing you to fill 3D shells and cupboards with all the books you could desire.
With options for customizing the dimensions of books, BookGen can generate books of different shapes and sizes so that your scene will have some variety and interest.
This may seem oddly specific and unnecessary until you’re faced with a scene requiring some background details.
BookGen would be a useful plugin for interior decorators or artists who work primarily with interior spaces and architecture. Use BookGen to add some details and life to any indoor scene.
Sculpt Tools was designed to help the sculpting process feel more intuitive and creative.
If you’re looking to make Blender feel and behave more like other sculpting programs, this is the addon for you.
What Sculpt Tools does is combine complex boolean and modifier actions to make Blender easier and faster to work with.
For instance, with Sculpt Tools artists can use the grease pencil tool to quickly shape an object.
This saves time and streamlines the sculpting workflow in Blender which can otherwise be tedious.
Some of you may not be aware, but Blender has its own built-in Game Engine for creating interactive software.
While it’s not widely used in the game industry the Blender Game Engine provides everything you need for building your own games.
The FPS Setup addon makes it easier to start building your own games in Blender by providing a simple First-Person Shooter style controller.
Using this addon you can create an FPS object in your world that will give you first person controls, jumping, and collision.
This is a great way to get started in game development with Blender. Now you can easily drop an FPS controller into your world and explore your very own creations.
The Asset Management add-on is a handy tool that will save you time in almost 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.
The next plugins for 3D artists is BPainter, this 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.
The Material Pipeline plugin was designed to simplify the creation of materials in Blender.
Once installed, you can say goodbye to node-based material setups which can be complex and unwieldy.
Material Pipeline also comes with over 100 different PBR materials that provide so much right out of the box. You can also create your own unique PBR-based materials using the included node group.
Taking inspiration from Disney’s Principled Shader, the node group will let you simulate nearly any material imaginable.
ONELVXE, the studio that created this Material Pipeline addon, also provides material packs of your choice for those who might be looking for a specific set.
MESHmachine is a modeling addon aimed at improving the default behavior of Blender’s modeling tools.
Mainly it adds more flexibility when dealing with rounded surfaces such as bevels.
MESHmachine was created to allow a modeling workflow that was previously not possible in Blender. Use it to gain a range of options when dealing with tricky curved surfaces.
This addon is a big improvement over Blender’s standard set of beveling tools so it’s well worth the price if you’d use it frequently.
If you’re a level designer or anyone else who needs to create complex scenes with many assets, you’re going to want Asset Sketcher.
Placing objects in your scene is a lot of work. Creating such complex scenes can be extremely tedious too.
While Blender provides a few tools to make this task easier, it has nothing like Asset Sketcher.
Using this plugin you can easily draw assets directly into your scene.
There are so many options for customizing and randomizing how those objects are placed so you get a lot of control in the process.
Assets can be automatically oriented to a ground plane or snapped into a grid. You can even use simple physics calculations to have objects arrange themselves.
Need to add some details to a dungeon scene? Drop some crates using Asset Sketcher and watch them fall right into place.
Above are just some of the best addons and plugins for 3D artists that Blender’s community has to offer new users and professional artists. There are still many more addons and plugins out there for you to discover, each has its own advantages and help users save a lot of time and works in designing and rendering. All thanks to the developers of Blender who have worked non-stop to help and keep an open environment for our artists to create faster and better products for the community every day.
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