Blender Display Problems

For years, I have been interested in 3D graphics. In fact, I used to render 3D graphics on my old BBC Micro, which was long before any of the big movies like Toy Story were ever created.

It’s only been a hobby though – I never got into it in a serious way.

My sons have got to that age where they are interested in computer games and as I am a professional programmer, are quite keen for us to put together a game of our own. Of course, we don’t have the time and budgets of the big software companies, so we’re not expecting miracles, but it is possible to put together simple games reasonably quickly.

One tool that I have used in the past is Blender. It’s a free 3D modelling tool that incorporates Python scripting and a game engine which lets you interact with the models that you create.

So, I downloaded the latest Blender and set it running. Disaster! As I move my mouse around the screen, various menus and display panes go completely black and then come back again randomly. It makes the software totally unusable.

A search for the solution to the problem wasn’t very fruitful, which suggests that not many other people have suffered the same problem. This points the finger at my PC, and probably at my video drivers and/or settings.

The PC I am using is running Windows XP with SP3 and has an ATI Radeon video card.

I tried the settings first and the solution was not actually hard to find. Basically I opened up the Display Properties (right click the desktop and select properties) and went to the Settings tab. On there, I clicked Advanced to open another settings dialog. On the Troubleshoot tab, there is a slider control that determines how much Hardware acceleration is used for the display. Mine was set to Full. I had to reduce it by 3 steps to the setting that says “Disable all DirectDraw and Direct3D accelerators, as well as all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations. Use this setting to correct severe problems with DirectX accelerated applications.

It’s a pity that these settings cannot be made application-specific as I don’t see why I have to switch off all that hardware acceleration for all applications when there is only one which fails.

April 13, 2012 · Phil Rogers · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Computing, Troubleshooting

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