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Dev Proves You Can Do 3D Modeling With Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Game Dev Academy/YouTube)

Raspberry Pi projects are more about what you can do with a Pi, not what you should do. Earlier this week, Shane with the Game Dev Academy YouTube channel pushed the Raspberry Pi to its limits by using it for 3D modeling with Blender

Don't get too excited. A Raspberry Pi is far from being the ideal 3D modeling computer. You'd still be much better off running Blender on a more capable desktop PC. But this developer has shown that Blender on Pi as at least possible. 

This project was inspired out of necessity (like most Pi projects). Shane said he was working on a new tutorial when his graphics card failed. Instead of rushing out and buying a new graphics card, he looked to see if a Pi could get the job done.

Blender doesn't require much in the way of hardware. Shane decided to use version 2.79, which requires 4GB of RAM and a dual-core CPU with a clock speed of at least 2 GHz. However, it's recommended that you use 16GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU. Shane chose to use a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4, which features a 1.5-GHz processor with four cores. 

Setting up Blender on Raspberry Pi 

Getting Blender to run on the Raspberry Pi looked easy enough, based on what the Game Dev Academy's video showed us. 

You'll need a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian installed. Shane searched for Blender in the Add / Remove Software window to get the Blender 2.79 package. 

Once installed, Blender launched, and Shane demonstrated its capabilities with a time-lapse video. The biggest drawback came with rendering, which took much longer to complete on a Raspberry Pi than a desktop. 

 If you want to see more of Shane's work, check out Game Dev Academy on YouTube for more projects and 3D modeling tutorials. 

  • bit_user
    The timelapse makes it impossible to see how bad the interactive rendering really is. The pi's CPU is weak, but its GPU is simply horrid.
    Reply
  • SirCrono
    bit_user said:
    The timelapse makes it impossible to see how bad the interactive rendering really is. The pi's CPU is weak, but its GPU is simply horrid.
    There is a system clock on the upper right corner that lets you see how sped up the time lapse is (I clocked it at 60x). It's not ideal, but it's not intolerable either, especially if you are in a pinch, like a dead gpu time.
    Reply
  • QBall1977
    bit_user said:
    The timelapse makes it impossible to see how bad the interactive rendering really is. The pi's CPU is weak, but its GPU is simply horrid.
    The Pi is like Duct Tape, not the prettiest, but gets the job done. For a bit of light modelling for 3D printing it’s amazing! Such an affordable piece of kit can offer so much. I use a Pi4 as a desktop and it performs admirably, it’s functional, cost effective to run, tiny yet infinitely customisable. So yeah, you’re not going make or render movies using it, but the Pi was initially designed as a learning tool. This is just another piece of high end popular functional software that is now far more accessible to a MUCH wider market, that is the amazing thing...

    People also forget a key feature of the Pi is that it makes a very affordable and functional thin client. You need more power to render, rent a cloud PC and stream it through the Pi. It will work out much cheaper in the long run.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    QBall1977 said:
    People also forget a key feature of the Pi is that it makes a very affordable and functional thin client.
    For the price, it can't be beat. But, for just a little more money, ODROID has models that will beat it, hands down.

    For $5 more than the 4 GB Pi v4, ODROID's new C4 is comparable on the CPU front, but runs much cooler and has a much better GPU:

    https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-c4/

    For nearly 2x the price of the Pi v4, you can get the much-faster N2:
    https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-n2-with-4gbyte-ram/

    In this case, the biggest benefits are faster CPU performance, as well as lower power consumption and a faster, more-capable GPU. The benchmarks on its product page don't include the Pi v4 , because it launched a couple months prior, but the C4's page has both (see above).
    Reply
  • QBall1977
    True, but to be honest I have not tried either. I’m sure they’re both excellent boards, but do they have the support and active development that the Pi has (rightly or wrongly). The Pi might not be the king, but it has the following and backing of the people, maybe a little like VHS vs Betamax.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    QBall1977 said:
    do they have the support and active development that the Pi has (rightly or wrongly). The Pi might not be the king, but it has the following and backing of the people,
    Pi definitely has the largest user community, no question about that.

    While it's true that some Pi-wannabe's have really dodgy hardware quality and software issues, ODROID has been around and building ARM SBCs since long before the first Pi came onto the scene, and they officially support Ubuntu. You don't have to take my word for it, though. Check out their forums, for the latest.

    https://forum.odroid.com/
    Reply
  • MyrtleFletcher
    said:
    The Pi is like Duct Tape, not the prettiest, but gets the job done. For a bit of light modelling for 3D printing it’s amazing! Such an affordable piece of kit can offer so much. I use a Pi4 as a desktop and it performs admirably, it’s functional, cost effective to run, tiny yet infinitely customisable. So yeah, you’re not going make or render movies using WalgreensListen it, but the Pi was initially designed as a learning tool. This is just another piece of high end popular functional software that is now far more accessible to a MUCH wider market, that is the amazing thing...

    People also forget a key feature of the Pi is that it makes a very affordable and functional thin client. You need more power to render, rent a cloud PC and stream it through the Pi. It will work out much cheaper in the long run.


    Effective and interesting post for reading
    Reply