Meet the Maker: Sergey Kritskiy Creator of Cablerator -"'s INSANE how easy and functional this script is!"

Cablerator is a Blender addon that's focused on creating and editing hanging and lying cables and adding details to them. Some of its features include the ability to create cables by clicking on geometry, create cables using guide edges, draw cables on geometry or planes, create masses of cables between faces, simulate hanging cables, create layers of insulation, create simple rope-like structures and more.

What inspired you to create Cablerator? What problem were you trying to solve?

Back in 2020 I searched for a convenient and fast way of creating hanging and lying cables for my day job as a concept artist. Although I've tried several addons that had this functionality, none of them felt convenient or fast for my needs so I thought, why not try to build my own tool? I had some basic knowledge of Python and saw this as a great opportunity to learn more about the language and Blender API: the way Blender communicates with Python scripts. For some months Cablerator existed as a tool that I've used internally, I never felt pressured to release it and I think that helped to release a fully functional addon without too many bugs.

My lack of experience with Python and calculus made things challenging. Blender has some great template scripts that can help to understand certain paradigms but when you're at the start a lot of those things don't make any sense. And then you get to vectors? Matrices? Who has time for learning all that when you do art for a living? I wish there was a crash course on "maths cheat sheets for artists" that focused more on practical aspects than mathematical notations. Fortunately, there is enough information available on the internet to provide answers to any beginner's questions, it's just scattered.

How long did the initial development take and how many people were involved? Did you hit any snags? Feel like giving up? Find any exciting enhancements along the way?

It is difficult to provide an exact timeline for the development of the addon as it was not a full-time project. Some days, I would work on it for the entire day, while other days I would not work on it at all. The development process was spread out over several months, and a considerable amount of time was devoted to creating documentation, promotional videos, and illustrations. I was the sole developer working on the addon, but several people helped with testing it.

Several days after I uploaded Cablerator on Blender Market I went on holiday and my first update was done on a train and during rainy days in mountains, answering questions on super slow internet with a lot of interruptions... so I'd say if you release something be sure to be available for a week or two after.

The biggest hurdle and the lowest moment for me (and apparently for a lot of people) is the actual release of the bloody thing. When the code is done and everything works and you realize there's still so much stuff to do that's not directly related to the tool.

A shot from Sergey's cat's laptop camera while she helps him debug some code

How much time do you spend on support and updates on average each day now that the product is available on Blender Market?

Less than I would like! Now it's about several hours a week, working on an update, but for some time I didn't touch it at all. Thankfully there were no major bugs or unexpected behavior.

I once got a very long support message that had quite a lot of particular details about some geometry, scale issues with a video attached

Do you have another job/responsibilities outside of your work on Blender Market? How do you balance supporting and updating your product as part of your daily life?

I am the art director at Tindalos Interactive, a game development studio. Currently, we are in the final phase of production for our new game, Aliens: Dark Descent. These last few months have been challenging and stressful, so I decided to take a break from development. I occasionally receive questions, but most of them can be answered by referring to the documentation: the time I spent on it has been worthwhile!

What is your favorite response you've gotten from a customer who used your product?

It was the first rating with comment I got on Blender Market! It's a great feeling to know something you made mostly for yourself also helps other people.

What's next for you? Any exciting projects on the horizon?

First of all a Cablerator update that includes more Geometry Nodes stuff and better Asset Browser support. I'm slowly but steadily working on a simple pipe addon because I like pipes as much as I like cables and once again none of the existing solutions doesn't work for me. Lastly, I have an addon that I use extensively to improve my composition, and I believe it may be of interest to others!