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Blender Wiki PDF Manual

Blender Wiki PDF Manual



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Published by Ahmad Musaffa
Colorful. Bookmark to navigate the desired topic.
The Best Thing I could find in my quest to learn BLENDER.Get it Downloaded for yurself.
Colorful. Bookmark to navigate the desired topic.
The Best Thing I could find in my quest to learn BLENDER.Get it Downloaded for yurself.

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Published by: Ahmad Musaffa on Apr 07, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Blender Wiki PDF Manual
About Blender Wiki PDF Manual
This is an unofficial PDF version of the Blender Wiki Manual pages.I produced this PDF copy for my personal use since I needed it to learn using Blender, and I could not find anup to date alternative to my knowledge. I've read that Blender documentation is released under the OpenContent License (http://opencontent.org/opl.shtml). This license is reported at the end of this pages, below. Iam trying to stick to this licence, but i'm no license expert: if you feel something is wrong, just let me knowwhy and possibly how to fix.
The short story
I did not modify the content of the wiki pages except for removing the parts typical of a web page, which arenot needed in a "book", since you don't have to browse through web links, but scroll pages.Since Blender developers are incredibly fast, documenters have always hard times to keep up with that speed,but every week there is something new or updated on the wiki manual. Documenters do a great job, but theirwork goes easily unnoticed because of the high number of the single pages involved: they're hundreds, andBlender developers they're fast!Discussing this PDF conversion with other users, I explained that my "method" allows me to update the PDFwith the actual web pages quite easily so I told that, if needed, it won't be difficult to update that PDF everymonth. Many people agreed, and that is what i'm trying to do. I hope that one day there will be anautomatically generated PDF directly produced from the wiki. Until then, I plan to keep this PDF updatedregularly, and possibly other useful sources of knowledge about Blender, found on its official wiki or website.
The whole story
I needed an offline manual...
I don't have an internet connection at home, where most of my Blender experiment take place, and alwaysneeded a help for learning something I didn't know, or a new feature i've read of on BlenderNation, orelsewhere. I always had to wait until tomorrow, or until monday, if you get what I mean. It was frustrating. Ifollowed a small Character Animation Course for beginners, in the city where I live and they used Maya PLE(which it's free to download but does watermarked renderings and does not import/export too much, btw), andalthough I hated the interface and find it much more uncomfortable than Blender, which I was used to, I hadno problem in learning stuff about it because there was a big complete manual and reference, also in the free,limited edition.
I had to build one.
That was two years ago. Recently, I investigated a bit and found out that there could be a method to:retrieve all the links to the web pages of the wiki manual (http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual)1. download those pages in the right order, with all the images and external links2.convert them to a single pdf, ps or html file.3.fix any possible error and weirdness up to my satisfaction.4.add pdf bookmarks in order to easily browse chapters and topics .5.During the last months i tried different tools in order to to this job better and easily, but actually all the job isdone with:
About Blender Wiki PDF ManualAbout Blender Wiki PDF Manual29/01/2009 13.49.521
(http://www.mozilla.com/en−US/firefox/ ): well, i needed a browser, and Firefox is my choice
. In order to have the correct sequence of pages in the PDF book, I needed to collect all theneeded wiki web page links (over 250 of them) inthe right order. Easily collect linksis not difficult,there are many ways and utilities, but I had to be sure the order of the list obtained was the right one.In the past months I used
(http://gemal.dk/mozilla/linky.html), but I ended up not beingsatisfied: it does a pretty job but always removes duplicate links and I had issues with this behaviour.In fact, *there are* duplicate pages in the current Blender Manual WIki pages, mainly because sometopics belong to or are referred from different chapters. So I ended up writing a PHP script, based on asmall URL−retrieving scripti found on the net (sorryi forgot where, search for "function crawl_page"on google.com) that collects all the link that are needed, leaves duplicate links if I need and I'm happythis way...
(http://www.htmldoc.org/ ): this great GPL software can load html files or download webpages, convert them to a single pdf, ps or html file, allowing you to set−up the conversion in manyways. With thissoftware, you have to setup a "book" file, which contains all the needed settings(quality, options etc) and an ordered list of html files, or links to web pages to convert in a singleoutput document.
Jpdfbookmarks: this is a free CLI and GUI java tool to import/export and edit PDF bookmarks, and itreally was the solution for this. It requires a bit of manual work and patience but not too much to beworried :) I also reported some bugs /whishes to the author, and he was kind enough to fix bugs andadd features really fast. Great!
The long road towards perfection ;)
When i had the first usable result, it became clear to me that other people could benefit from it, so i decided toshare it through a free web service. At that time I got 19 small PDFs, one for each main section of the manual,and then I published the links to the files on the Blender forum(http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13461).There some user asked for a single PDF, which I thought was a good thing, but I was a bit worried of theresulting size, since most of the wiki manual pages have many pictures (both JPG and PNG formats); thenanother user, Nathan Letwory aka jesterKing, kindly offered a permanent space on a web site he owns, and soI did. I simply joined the 19 small files into a big one, obtaining a huge PDF that was over 1700 pages andabout 87 MB in size.That result was a bit rough, though: all the menus, logos, navigational links were still there, as HTMLdocdecided to keep them as part of the information of the source web pages. Plus, a part of the many (over 1500)images of the wiki were PNGs, part JPGs, part GIFs. PNGs are good for quality because they use a losslessalgorithm but also bigger than JPGs. So I improved that document a bit: removing headers, footers, menus,and other unneeded things in a book, inserting te creation date/time, page numbers, some headers, andconverting all the images to JPGs (i was worried to preserve the PNG quality, so i converted them using a100% quality setting in HTMLdoc), and that alone reduced the size to a much smaller 52 MB. In order toremove part of the HTML before passing it to HTMLdoc, i ended up writing a small CLI php script whichdownloads all the pages, preprocess them a bit, and saves the fixed files in a local folder.Then I noticed that other parts of the wiki could benefit (to be shared and printed) from being converted to ahandy PDF format. They were:Script Catalog from http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Scripts/Catalog
Reference from http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Reference
Release Logs from http://www.blender.org/development/release−logs
and converted them, too, in the same way, and Nathan agreed that they could be interesting and useful, so hehosted them and published the links on his site.
About Blender Wiki PDF ManualThe long road towards perfection ;)29/01/2009 13.49.522