Best Linux distro for Blender 2.8

Best Linux distro for Blender 2.8

The best Linux distro that runs Blender 2.8 out of the box is the Arch Linux based Manjaro. Many Blender users have cutting edge hardware and when it comes to Linux, then KDE is the DE (desktop environment) of choice. The main reason for this is that KDE is capable of scaling the fonts on 4K hidpi displays which as of now, 2018 / 2019 not many distributions can handle.

Blender 28 beta on Linux

You can’t beat simplicity. To run the Blender 2.8 beta on Manjaro you simply download a daily build from the blender website, unzip it and that’s it.

Here are the exact steps.

  1. Go to the Blender website
  2. Download Blender for your platform (Win, OS X or Linux)
  3. Extract the downloaded file
  4. Open the directory and click on the blender icon*

*The icon to load blender is black and not orange.

As soon as you do, Bledner 2.8 will open and you can start to configure it to your needs. Most blender users just start using it right away but in the long run, it is better to do start properly.

How to configure blender

There are two kinds of configurations that need to be made. First, you should set your preferences which you can access under Edit > Preferences. From the new windows, you can select which mouse button you want to use to for selection and a ton of other features. The most important ones are found in the “Interface” tab. It is there that you can chose to “zoom to mouse position” which is really nice. Instead of zooming the whole 3D scene, you enlarge the contents where your mouse cursor happens to be located. I find this most useful. Don’t worry about all the other options. You can always come back to the preference settings and do some additional tweaking.

Don’t forget to save!

Careful. Setting preferences is a bit time consuming but worth every minute. When done, make sure to press the “Save Preferences” button (right lower corner). If your don’t, then you have to redo everything which isn’t the end of the world. I am sure that we’ve all done it.

Editing Input Add-ons

The Blender Preferences windows has many tabs on the left-hand-side so take your time and look trough them. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything just yet. That will come in time. Just chose what you want and save the preferences. You can always come back later to make adjustments.

Once you get used to Blender, you should revisit the Add-ons tab (preferences) and enable a few modules to assist you in your work flow. There is some nice stuff available and you’ll enjoy having the extra functions.

User Preferences – Files

I am an old-school Blender user and back then, we wouldn’t have dreamed of NOT setting the file paths. These days, I hardly see this topic mentioned. Why would you want to set the Blender file path? Well, there are a ton of reasons and they are amazingly simply to grasp. Just look at the first option “Fonts”. Here you can tell Blender where you font directory is. If you leave it blank, then you have a very limited font set to work with. If you specify you font path, then you have access to everything that you r word processor has. This setting depends from distro to distro and regardless of which operating system you use, you should set your font path.

Textures

To be a great Blender user means being organized. Don’t just have texture images everywhere. Down the road you might change Linux distros and if you do, you will lose your images. In many cases, you can’t get them back so be smart and create a directory to hold all of you texture images. Tell Blender where to find it (set the path) and you will live happily ever after.

Some settings can be left blank for now. It’s OK to not specify the Output, Scripts, Sounds and so on directories. You can always add those as you progress.

Blender Preferences – General

It is the General tab where you enable the device Cycles can use for rendering. Assuming that you have a Nvidia high-end GFX card, you will see two options. None and CUDA. If you have a recent Nvidia card then CUDA should already be selected. While there, check both options.

  1. GeForce GTX (your card)
  2. Intel Core i7 (your processor)

Doing so will give you the best possible render times. Recent version of Blender no longer work on one of the other method. Instead, Blender can now combine both the CPU and the GFX processor to give you a much better performance and user experience. Finally, life is good.

Save Preferences

I said it before and I say it again. Save your preferences before you close the window. Remember that you can always revisit the Blender Preferences options to make additional tweaks. Nothing is written in stone and the more YouTube tutorials you watch, the more you will learn about Blender. When you do, adjust your Blender preferences settings as needed and enjoy a better workflow.

Conclusion

Linux has come a long way and although Blender has always run well on Linux, these days it takes more than it used to. No all Linux distros are ready to rund Blender 2.8. I like KaOS Linux which is an up-to-date and fast Linux distro. It configures my Wacom Pro tablet better than any other distro. Why the develpers can’t be bother with enabling cuda is beyond me. The good news is that not all distros are created equally. Manjaro is ready to run Blender 2.8 out of the box and gives us the best render times possible.

So do some testing and download Blender 2.8 beta on a USB stick. Boot into several Linux distros, extract the archive and run it. Blender 2.8 should run right away without installing any additional libraries and if it doesn’t, give Manjaro a try. I found Manjaro Linux KDE by fast the most polished of all the Linux distros out there.

If you have a need for additional security then simply run Tails Linux off of a USB stick. What ever you do, make sure that the actual workstation you use has a solid Linux install and if you take my advise and set the paths as shown above then you should be off to a very good start.

If you have Blender 2.8 related Linux questions then I’d be more than happy to provide additional info to get you started. Thanks for reading.

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