When we first came up with the idea, we couldn’t have imagined how successful it was going to become. Sitting in a coffee shop in Omaha, Nebraska and enjoying their delicious strong brew, Jonathan Williamson and myself thought it would be neat to have a small add-on content for the Blender Market. I remember us discussing that getting five or six solid entries would be a success. Fast forward two months and here we are with 25 high quality add-ons, featuring some incredibly useful tools! The winners were already posted to the CG Cookie Community Forums but I would like to get a little more in-depth about the winners, as well as some of the other entries that are very much worth mentioning.
1st Place - Mikhail Rachinskiy with Commotion
The first place went to Mikhail Rachinskiy for his Commotion add-on. This is a really polished, powerful add-on for working with animation, particularly useful for motion graphic artists. Mikhail created Commotion specifically for easy handling of Shape Keys, F-Curves, NLA strips, Drivers and relations between a number of objects. The result is an add-on that automates many tedious steps and makes creating awesome motion graphics easy!
2nd Place - Sam Maliszewski with AE2Blend
Coming up at a very close second place, Sam has made going between After Effects to Blender much easier by allowing you to simply copy and paste animation data into Blender. His AE2Blend add-on lets users copy keyframe and transform data from Adobe After Effects, applying it directly to a new or existing object in Blender. Animations and objects can be imported with a one-to-one match, including cameras created by After Effect's camera tracker. This is an incredibly useful add-on for making Blender a part of a smooth, integrated pipeline.
3rd Place - Jakub Zolcik’s Group Particles Tools
Jakub has made it much easier to work with particle groups, which are particularly useful when creating destruction, morphing, or anything else of the sorts. His add-on enables a "hidden" functionality of particles systems in Blender which allows for better control over particles displayed as objects group. Group Particles Tools is particularly useful for particle effects like building up objects of transforming their shapes. Clever and fresh - and the best thing is, it’s a breeze to set up!
Honorable mention - Manu Järvinen with Asset Flinger
Although this add-on didn’t snatch any of the top prizes, Manu and the rest of the Blender Aid team have created something really promising via a graphical object importer for OBJ files. Asset Flinger is a no-brainer to use and is incredibly helpful for importing and exporting models or sharing them with colleagues over a common network folder. It includes a drag-and-drop thumbnail generator, making the process super easy and quick.
Honorable mention - Jacques Lucke’s Autocomplete
Jacque’s working title for this add-on was “Unleash the power of scripting” and indeed he achieved this quite well! Autocomplete helps those who use Python for scripting in Blender and makes the job easier for those learning to program as well. The add-on has been optimized for Blender and has the ability to autocomplete large parts of the API, making the task of writing scripts faster and less prone to error. Autocomplete also comes with a few templates and dynamic code snippets.
Honorable mention - Cédric Brandin’s Plancher
Plancher allows you to create different types of hardwood floors. Cédric lists French floors, English, Chevron, Herringbone, square, tiles and many others. Furthermore, this neat little add-on allows you to distribute color and vertex group by phase or randomly, which helps in the distribution of the texture on the boards in Edit Mode. The add-on is simple, but incredibly useful, making the creating of a regular or irregular floors easy and quick. One of our judges loved it so much that he wishes it was bundled with Blender as a built-in add-on!
Honorable mention - Maciej Paluszek’s Animation Automaton Renderer
The reason for Maciej’s add-on not being one of the winning submissions is that it has a very narrow target audience: that is, game developers who like creating sprite animations. If you are one of those, you will absolutely love Animation Automaton Renderer as it automates sprite animation rendering and will save you huge amounts of time. It is a complex add-on, almost a program inside Blender, but definitely worth a shot! Last but not least, I want to thank all contestants for submitting their add-ons. The quality of all submissions was incredibly impressive and we are already thinking about the next contest to throw your way!