INTERVIEW: Allan Brito

Allan Brito, author of “Blender 3D – Guia do Usuario”, has written a new book, “Blender 3D: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery”, a guide to using Blender to create architectural visualizations.
“Blender 3D: Architecture, Buildings and Scenery” is available for purchase from Packt Publishing, in both printed and ebooque format. There are alos full color images from the book available for download.

1.Can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience with Blender?
Sure, I'm a 29 year old architect, who lives and works in Recife, Brazil. Since my graduation in architecture, bak in December of 2000, I've started to work with architectural visualization, mostly with 3ds Max for a small studio here in Brazil. A few months later I started to teach 3D modeling and animation as well, and I fell in love with the experience. I have enjoyed so much the experience, that I never stopped teaching 3D.
Bak in 2003 I had been invited to test a promising 3D software called Blender. After a few minutes of testing I was already impressed with it! Right after my first contact with Blender I was studying it to make some tests with some of my projects. And as a tryout for my students, I started to teach 3D modeling with both 3ds Max and Blender.
With the use of Blender as both an academic and professional tool, my students asked me for guides and manuals in Brazilian Portuguese. Then I started to write guides and documentation for my students. And then I came up with the idea to write a book about Blender in Brazilian Portuguese (Blender 3D – Guia do Usuario), because by that time there wasn't any updated documentation for Blender, not even in English, and I saw that as an opportunity to help the community and start a book project.
For my projects involving 3D, we completely left behind 3ds Max, and focused our production on Blender in 2004. I'm not at the studio anymore, but I still use Blender for all my projects involving 3D visualization.

2.Your 1st Blender book was more of a general introduction to Blender, what made you choose such a specific topic such as architectural visualizations of buildings, interiors, and environmental scenery for your 2nd book?
Today, Blender has a lot of great books and training DVDs, but most of these materials are related to character animation or general 3D animation/modelling. Since I'm an architect and use Blender mostly for project and design visualization, I miss a book or guide about it. When you start to search about this subject, all the books and tutorials about it, are related to 3ds Max or Autodesk. And with this book I wanted to give the Blender community and other artists the chance to start using Blender to work with architectural visualization, and not be bound only with Autodesk softwares.

3.Having used Blender in your work as an Architect, how does Blender stand up compared to other programs used in the architectural industry?
As a visualization tool, Blender has all the tools to create and render geometry. There are a few tools and features missing in Blender, which could improve and speed up architectural visualization projects. The integration with CAD tools is one of them, if you start to use Blender for archviz, you will see that this is a feature that still needs improvement.
Other programs used in the archviz industry already have a better integration with CAD files, mostly because the company that develops the CAD software is the same behind the 3d visualization suite.
Is it impossible to do that in Blender? No! Of course it's not impossible, but it still requires a few tricks and work with Python scripts.
For me that’s the only drawbak for Blender compared to other 3d applications, Blender still requires a bit of intermediate knowledge of users, to bypass a few tasks. That's why a book on the subject fit quite well for those artists!

4.What improvements would you like to see in Blender that would make your job as an architect easier?
Architects love precision, and I really would love to see improvements in Blender about the way we can change and model geometry. The render API would be a great improvement too, it would make possible to render scenes with more external renders like Yaf(a)Ray, without the need of special Blender builds.

5.Having already written a book about Blender (Blender 3D – Guia do Usuario), what, if anything, did you learn while writing the 1st book that you then applied to the writing of this book?
In my first book, I was making my first move as an author and it's quite hard to keep on trak with a book project of almost 500 pages. For this second book, I have started with a lot of notes and ideas for each chapter. Before the first draft of each chapter, I already knew the points to make the connection or reference between the chapters.
Another thing I learned from the first book is to keep a close eye on the Blender updates. The update cycle of Blender is a nightmare for anyone interest in keeping an updated documentation. Well, as an artist I think it's great! But with a release cycle of 5-7 months it's hard to start and finish a book project at the same Blender versión.
For this second book I was always tracking the SVN and testing builds of Blender, to look for new tools or features that could be in the book.

6.How long did it take to complete this book?
This was a long project, I started to work on it in June of 2007 and finished the first draft of the book in December of that year. The revisión took a few extra months and the Book was released bak in May 2008. It was an eleven-month project!

7.Do you have plans to produce future books on Blender?
Sure! I love to write about computer graphics, and Blender is my favorite subject.

8.If so, what topics/titles can we look out for?
I have plans to write a title about the use of the Game Engine, since I teach it here in Brazil as part of my Blender class. I would love to write a title only about advanced rendering techniques, with external renderers and the composite nodes.

9.Is there anything else you would like to mention?
I hope the community finds the book useful and that it can be a way to make more artists to use Blender. There are already a few projects to improve the features of Blender, especially for architectural visualization and I believe this field will see some great improvements in the next Blender releases.
If you want to discuss architectural visualization with Blender, stop by my web site related to Blender and archiviz (, to chek out some tutorials or articles related to architectural visualization with Blender.