how hard is it to learn blender?

The demand for 3d artists is ever growing, from VR content creators, vfx artists, AR to virtual sets creators.

its feels like a new 3d niche is being curved up every few years. there is also a number of 3d applications for artists to choose from but with a steep subscription model attached to them, options like 3ds max, cinema 4d and Maya are getting less picked up by new artists in favor of blender.

blender is free and has the largest and fastest growing community of all 3d applications, in this post i want to talk about the learning curve of blender for a new 3d artist and give my recommendation of where to start.

any 3d application has 3 major parts, modeling, materials/textures and animation, those are the 3 main thing you will find in all 3d application each with its own learning curve.

while those are the 3 major parts there are not the only important parts you will have to learn.

things you have to learn in 3d modeling:

One great thing about all 3d applications is that knowledge is transferable between these applications, if you learn modeling in blender, you can apply the same knowledge in other applications like maya or cinema 4d and what is more fun is, you can start modeling in blender and finish your model in another application and the process is just a few clicks.

there several exchange formats to facilitate this workflow and you will find that no single 3d artist uses one application for all, though blender can do everything listed below, sometimes other tools are more suited for that task than blender. take an example of texturing, while you can do proper texturing in blender, doing texturing in substance painter will take half the time it takes in blender to do the same thing.

list of things you can do in blender/ will have to learn:

  1. (depends what you are making) modeling
  2. (medium) uv mapping
  3. (easy) creating materials
  4. (medium) creating procedural shaders
  5. (depends) texturing
  6. (easy) lighting
  7. (easy) camera composition
  8. (hard/advanced) rigging
  9. (hard) animation
  10. (hard) sculpting
  11. (easy) texture painting
  12. (easy) using curves
  13. (easy) riggid body physics
  14. (easy) cloth simulation
  15. (easy) particle simulation
  16. (hard) geometry nodes
  17. (hard) compositing
  18. (easy) rendering
  19. (hard) hair grooming

this list can go on with more things and sub items that may need to be further brockened down, i have also linked a video for each of the things you need to learn so you can learn them immediately if you so choose.

how hard is modeling in blender?

Anything you can see in the real world can be modeled in a 3d application like blender, but the more complicated it is, the hard its going to be to model, some models may not be as complicated in structure but they are things people are familiar and slight errors in them will be more noticable than others.

I would say a grasshoppers face is equally difficult if not more difficult to model than a human face, but few people can tell if the grasshoppers eyes are off than if it was a human model, its possible if another grasshopper saw one of the best grasshopper models a 3d artist can produce, that grasshopper will think that model looks off or not right but to us it would look perfect because we see more human faces than grasshoppers so we can easily tell when things dont look right.

organic modeling or modeling animals is going to be the hardest to learn, then hardsurfaces like cars.

there tools to make modeling much easier like addons, especially for hardsurfaces.

hardsurface modeling examples:

to learn blender successfully i would recommend learning modeling first as this is going to be the foundation you use to build everything.

you can start by modeling simple things in your house like furniture and electronics, you dont have to become a master at modeling before you move onto the next step which would be lighting and rendering.

you want to learn some basic lighting before learning creating materials and texturing, because when you learn some lighting, you can render out what you have made and show it off to others, this will motivate you to keep making and improving.

it should take just a few tutorials for you to learn some basic lighting and camera setup.

here is a quick tutorial on light i made:

if some basic lighting i recommend you start playing with materials, nothing fancy or procedural just simple staff like:

simple materials like these will introduce you to the material and shader interface and shader nodes preparing you for the hard stuff like procedural shaders.

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