blender has alot of moving parts, and while the development team tries to keep them moving and well maintained, this is an impossible task, given that the blender development team is always adding new features into blender ontop of over 1000 operators, tools and functions that are already builtin to blender.
this is why its not surprising that 100s of tools have been around for years with out any major updates or new features, its for this reason that the blender community has made it there job to replace these outdated tools, addons and functions with new and improved ones they made them selves.
cycles is the main render engine for blender but it can be slow sometimes, its for this reason that over 6000 artists have replaced it with K-cycles, a custom build of blender with a highly optimized cycles render engine and more features for faster rendering, this render engine can produce better renders with less samples than cycles in less time. K-cycles also comes with a performance mode for a GPU Boost, more optimization and render presets.
how tables have turned, most times artists see a feature that lacks in blender or needs to be improved and make an addon out of it, but not today the node preview addon was the first to add image previews above each nodes and later we saw the same feature adopted by blender, so now it comes inbuilt in, how the turn table, though this might be the case, i find node preview to be more faster and availble for more nodes than the inbuilt previews.
folders vs Texture Folders
it takes a few steps to import images and textures into blender, the texture folders addon is a replacement to all those steps with a single click, your favorite folders are always easily accessible, and you can search textures easily from your folders without ever living blender.
cell fracture has been in blender since the beginning, but it has not seen any major updates or improvements, the Rbdlab addon is the update the cell fracture addon always needed, it introduces presets, an easy way to turn fractures into rigid bodies, a better way to control fracturing and more.
texture painting is a great way to add detail to your renders, but its a pain to work with, you have to do alot of clicking and setup before you can start painting , thats why this philogix pbr painter is a great alternative, you work with layers and the User interface is intuitive and a familiar way of working if you have used applications like photoshop.
Just like texture painting, motion tracking in blender is good but the way its done leaves a lot to desire, you have to add tracking points one by one manually and track them one by one, you can track multiple points at once, but the track will go off in just a few frames, Keentools geotracking tool is a great replacement that solves all these problems, its faster more accurate and comes with more features.
baking vs Baketool
this list is quickly becoming a list of things i hate to do in blender because of how painfully difficult they are to make, and boy, do i hate baking in blender, good luck if you have any metalic parts in your material, its going to take you sometime to get a good bake with metals in your material, but good thing there is a better alternative for baking in blender and thats the bake tool.
BakeTool is an add-on for Blender that redesigns the way that Blender Bake works with a more coherent and easier workflow. and to save you from the stress, bake tool highlights baking pbr maps including channels not available in blenders bake system such as metallic and id maps as its main feature.
uv unwrapping saw some improvements in blender 3.6 but uvpackmaster still packs more features than what you get with the uv tools. its faster, more efficient and has more packing options.
when it comes to animation and rigging blender offers rigify, a skeleton setup with ik controls for animating characters, the problem is it does not always work depending on the proportions of your character, thats why auto-rig pro is a better alternative, you can easily help the addon setup you character by letting it know where the main joints are and the addon will do the rest.
every 3d application comes with its simulation system and for blender, that is manta flow which is great for alot of things but has a steep learning curves, most of the time its hard to know what the simulation will do and does anyone even who what the planar setting do,
because sometimes it works and sometimes it does not, i think flip fluids is a better option and provides more predictable simulations with a more intuitive user experience.
blender comes with the sky texture, its great but its no match for the physical starlight and artmosphere, this addon comes with clouds, planets, suns, moons, atmosphere and more things that are not supported by the inbuilt sky texture.
like most tools in blender, they are powerful but they lack an easy user friendly way of using them, this is true for the cloth simulation system in blender, the simply cloth pro addon takes advantage of the cloth system in blender and just adds the features it lucks to make it easier to use.
most 3d applications come with a library of materials so that you dont always start from scratch, blender could do this but one of the reason they dont is because they want to keep blender small and quick to download, this made more sence in the early days where download speeds were below 128kbps but now its over 20mbs per second and blender is already a bigger download nearly 300mbs compared to the 10mbs back in 2010, i think a couple of more mbs to accomodate a library of materials would not hurt, but we can complain too much as you can easily find one on the market like this procedural library called sanctus material library with over 1000 materials.
many of you might have forgot about the landscape addon, but its how we used to create landscapes in blender, there were not materials, you dint get alot of detail and the presets where not many but it worked, today using an addon like true terrain is way faster, produces better quality and detail with materials, water, rocks plants and everything in between.
while no addon can truely replace how we model in blender, hardops users may fail to model anything in blender without the hardoops addon as its like replacing a shovel with a spoon to fill a dump track with sand. hardoops introduces alot of new features to modeling in blender that all hardsurface modelers truely appreciate.
blender comes with about 6 hdri images a far cry from the 361 editable hdri images you get from hdri maker, they range from 1k to 16k resolution, have shadow catchers and can be used in eevee and cycles, the builtin blender ones are only for preview in eevee look dev mode.