It’s no secret that all great artists use content libraries. According to Google, a Content Library is a collection of digital content such as videos, images, text, and audio files that can be organized, stored, and accessed in a central location.
For Blender artists, a content library is mostly comprised of models, textures, shaders, node setups, and more. Since the introduction of the asset browser into Blender, which makes it easy to manage premade assets, more and more artists are relying on packs of content, including scanned models, vegetation, background elements like clouds and HDRIs, and more.
As an artist, the value of your work is measured by the quality of the final output, not how much time you spent making it. It’s for this reason that most professional artists and studios are relying on content libraries instead of creating everything from scratch.
With a limited budget, you may be wondering what options exist for Blender and what you can get. Oh boy, there are so many, is all I can say. So, let’s explore the best content libraries the blender community has to offer.
the difference between blender content libraries is that their most of the times more than just a collection of assets, they usually come with extra functionality and procedural crowds is no different, for less than 20$ you get a collection of 3d people that are animate and can behave like a crowd, hence the name of the library procedural crowds, the library comes with a complementally addon that gives you functions like crowd animation, randomization and crowd control. the content library comes with about 20 3d scanned human models with animation and variations.
if 3d scanned models don’t do it for you and need a more hands on experience but not too hands on, then the human generator library is for you, you can use this library to generate 3d characters that are fully customizable, there several templates to start from so that you are never starting from scratch.
you can be as detailed as you want, from face details, body, clothes and the library comes with a pose library and animation library so that you can hit the flow running when you need animated background characters, and if you want to get upclose with your characters the human generator library lets you take over the characters rig to animate as you want.
while human generator gives the option to dress your characters in clothes, if you need further customization, then the simply cloth pro library is the best option on the market, this a library dedicated to dressing up the characters, the library is based off the blender cloth simulation system and what you get is these cloth patterns that you just hit play in blender and they will wrap onto the character so that no matter the size or shape of your character, the clothes will always fit without any husstle. the library comes with some premade assets but its the simulateable cloth patterns that sold it for me.
if we are talking about content libraries, its impossible to not talk about bottaniq, this is one of the most popular libraries in the blender community the library comes with a boat load of trees and vegetations all detailed for that closeup short, and if you want background elements without hogging computer resourse, the library comes with tools to help you optimize the assets for a smooth rendering exerience.
and for animators out there, the addon provides animated trees too, fun fact in the movie lion king, most of the trees are not animated because of how massive the cache files would be and how difficult rendering them would be, so yes botaniq trees can be animated but if you want to make a forest unless if have more powerful computers than disney i would recommend not over using the animated trees.
content libraries are not just limited to models they can be anything like a collection of skies, and that is what the true-sky library brings, the clouds are procedural and the skies range from all different styles, from sunsets, nights, day time and more. the library also comes with other functions like creating a full day night time cycle all animated and working with any template you select for that high dynamic range render.
while the true sky library brings you a library of procedural skies, if you want something simple but still rich with detail, then you are gona love hdri maker, this library takes the idea of hdri lighting to the next level, it comes with over 500 backgrounds that are can be dome projected to make fully integrated background with ground deformation and more.
world building is a satisfying endeavor but it can quickly turn into a dreadful task if you have to build every asset from scratch, that’s why a library of buildings like what citybuilder 3d provides are a life saver, watch your world come to life with a bustling metropolis filled with unique buidings from industrial, soviet, hongkong and more.
and if you want to add extra variation to your world, do it by capturing the vibrant and variant materials we see in the real world, creating 3d imagery is a process of reimagining the real world on your computer which means recreating hundreds of materials found in the real world. Get a head start with extreme pbr library which comes with over 1800 pbr materials, with extra tools to help you customize and blend into your scene.
like materials, the world is different everywhere, all places look unique and different, if you want a library of terrains that can fit any type of scene you can imagine, from snow peaked mountains, to tropical lands, true terrain has them all, and they are all customizable with its complementary addon thats shiped with the library. the library comes with scattering features and extra detail assets like rocks, grass, plants and more to create a realistic ecosystem.
cities are never empty, when you are looking at a city, weather from the skies or on the streets the first thing you see are the buildings towering over everything, then people and finally cars, while the world is trying to reed of its else of these man made beasts, in the digital world they just look super amazing, the transportation addon comes with over 80 of them in all types so that you never miss what you want.
one more thing before we move on from cities, what makes a city vibrant is its skyline, and a city skyline is not complete without an amazing sky back drop, the pyscal startlight and atmosphere is a library that not only provides provides such backdrops its a full sky system that you can use to light your scenes.
you should not be creating explosions from scratch, they take too long to make, you have to do alot of experimenting to get them to look right and they take to long to bake, so what do you do when you need them, in blender 3.0 they introduced the ability to import vdb files, and these are volume objects that can be explosions, smoke and other things. So studios like RBDLab have gone on and done a torn of testing and R&D to produce a wide range of explosions so that when ever you need one, its always one click a way.
the same studio are also heavly invested in the vfx industry so its no supprise that they have yet another amazing library for vfx artists that come with tools that help you make and direct any vfx shorts, these libraries come with templates for fracturing and destroying objects and more.
finally vfx if a skill of layering effects on top of eachother and one such effect is adding a layer of atmospheric fog into your scene, there several ways you can do that but the best way is by adding volumentric fog from a library like what the smoke elements library provides. they also have other smoke elements in there library including vent smoke, steam and more.