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Comprehensive Guide to Using Blender Software: Updated 2024

All about Blender software
All about Blender software

Table of contents

1. What is Blender software?

Blender is an excellent open-source program known for its 3D animation and modeling capabilities.
It’s a powerful piece of software that’s been used in feature films, games, TV shows, and a variety of other incredible projects. Blender, however, is capable of much more. Video editing, compositing, painting, sculpting, visual effects, cloth simulation, particle simulation, fluid and smoke simulations, 3D printing, and, more recently, 2D animation and real-time rendering.

Blender is available for download for free at the official Blender website.

2. Best computer specifications to run Blender

Minimum specsRecommended specsOptimal specs
64-bit dual-core 2Ghz CPU with SSE2 support64-bit quad-core CPU64-bit eight-core CPU
4 GB RAM16 GB RAM32 GB RAM
1280 × 768 displayFull HD displayFull HD displays
Mouse, trackpad or pen+tabletThree-button mouse or pen+tabletThree-button mouse and pen+tablet
Graphics card with 1 GB RAM, OpenGL 3.3Graphics card with 4 GB RAMGraphics card with +12 GB RAM
Table comparing between Minimum, Recommended and Optimal computer specifications for Blender to run properly

Graphics cards (GPUs) that are compatible with Blender

Whenever you use a GPU to render in Blender, make sure to install the latest drivers from the graphics card manufacturer’s website. The following are GPU brands and model ranges that are compatible with Blender.

NVIDIA

GeForce 400 and newer, Quadro Tesla GPU architecture and newer, including RTX-based cards, with NVIDIA drivers

AMD

GCN 1st gen and newer. Since Blender 2.91, Terascale 2 architecture is fully deprecated, try using 2.90 (albeit not supported, it might still work)

Intel

Haswell architecture and newer.

macOS

Version 10.13 or newer for Intel processors on supported hardware. Version 11.0 for Arm-based processors (Apple Silicon).

3. Who uses Blender software?

Blender is an ideal program used by small animation companies, freelance 3D artists, independent filmmakers, students beginning to learn about 3D computer graphics, and dedicated computer graphics hobbyists.

4. Is Blender good for beginners?

Blender has a lot of tools and functions, but you usually get used to it after a few weeks. However, mastery of Blender will require a lot of practice. How fast you master Blender depends on your level of interest, commitment, and frequency of practice.

5. How and where you can learn to use Blender software

You can learn how to use Blender by enrolling in an online school or by teaching yourself using the numerous tutorials available online. Enroll in an online school if you can afford it. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t afford it. There are plenty of video tutorials available online that cover everything from the fundamentals to advanced topics. In addition, there is a large supportive community of experienced Blender users willing to assist you.

Online schools that teach how to use Blender

The following are websites where you can learn how to use Blender one-on-one. On the websites, you can get help from professional Blender tutors. It is up to you to pick the one that works best for you.

  1. Blender Cloud website
  2. CG Cookie website
  3. Several tutors on Udemy website
  4. Several tutors on SkillShare website

Where to get free tutorials that teach you how to use Blender

There are hundreds of excellent Blender YouTubers out there. Here is a handful that I am familiar with:

  1. Blender’s official YouTube channel
  2. Blender Secrets, for quick short tutorials
  3. Default Cube, for quick short tutorials
  4. CrossMind Studio, for product design and animation using Blender
  5. DECODED, for animation and VFX stuff
  6. Ian Hubert, for quick short tutorials
  7. InLightVFX, for in-depth tutorials
  8. Blender Guru, for in-depth tutorials
  9. PIXXO 3D, for in-depth tutorials
  10. CG Geek, for in-depth tutorials
  11. Many more YouTubers. Search for them on YouTube.

6. Awesome resources and assets for Blender

Documentation of the inner workings of Blender software

  • Blender Manual. This is a written online Blender manual that is maintained largely by volunteers.
  • Blender Wiki. Here you can find information about Blender’s development process, design and architecture, as well as instructions for Building Blender.
  • Python API. Python API documentation for Blender

Free online courses

High school level course by James Chronister of Central Dauphin High School, Harrisburg, PA USA

Communities and forums

Material asset libraries you can use with Blender

Addons repositories for Blender

Sound assets you can download and use in Blender

  • Soundcloud has many free downloadable audio tracks, the terms of use mention optional Creative Commons, but these files seem to be rare.
  • INCOMPTECH Creative Commons music
  • CCMixter Creative Commons music
  • Freesound Has a large collection of sound effects.
  • FreeSFX has a medium(ish) collection of free sounds. (Registration required)
  • sfxr Is a simple sound effect generator
  • Bfxr Is is an elaboration of sfxr and has a web interface that allows the download of created effects.
  • OpenGameArt.org: sound effects, music, and more. Various licenses.

Themes you can install to enhance your Blender user interface

Blueprints you can use for reference when modeling in Blender

AI texture generators and textures libraries you can use on your Blender models

HDR/JPEG Skydome images to illuminate your scene in Blender

AI image generators and stock photos to use in your projects

External tools and apps you can use together with Blender

  • GIMP is a free and open-source program designed for photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring.
  • MakeHuman is a free and open-source software for creating realistic 3D human models and rigs.
  • Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor.
  • Krita is a free digital painting and illustration application.
  • Hugin – Panorama Photo Stitcher
  • JMC2OBJ – Minecraft to .obj converter for makers of MC scenes.
  • AwesomeBump is a free and open-source program written using the Qt library designed to generate normal, height, specular or ambient occlusion, metallic, and roughness textures from a single image.
  • LICEcap is a free and open-source program that can capture an area of your desktop and save it directly. GIF, or its own native lossless.LCF file format. It is available for Windows and Mac only, but the Windows version works remarkably well on Linux, through Wine.
  • Peek is also a free and open-source program that can capture an area of your desktop and save it directly. GIF, which it is optimized for, or to.APNG, WebM, or .MP4. It is made for Linux operating systems.
  • Materialize Free and Open source tool for creating material layers from flat images. Diffuse -> Height, Diffuse -> Metallic, Diffuse -> Smoothness, Height -> Normal, Height + Diffuse -> Normal, Normal -> Edge, Normal -> Occlusion, Normal + Height -> Occlusion, Normal -> Height, Seamlessly tile your textures, Save and load in a variety of formats, Automate many processes with clipboard commands in XML format.
  • PureRef is a simple and lightweight freeware tool for artists to organize and view their reference images. It is available for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  • FreeMoCap is a tool that helps you generate mocap data for free which you can then use on your characters in Blender.
  • Rokoko Video free AI motion capture. Right from your browser, use Rokoko Video to record your movement with a webcam, or upload a video. Then export the generated motion capture data in .fbx or .bvh format
  • Cascadeur helps you with posing, physics and secondary motion.
  • Mixamo for rigging and animating humanoid characters.
  • AccuRIG is a free application designed for fast and easy character rigging, aiming to reduce production effort for character artists by focusing on model design with automation and simplicity.

3D models, you can download and use on your projects in Blender

Where to get fonts you can use on your projects

Rendering services you can use to fast-track your production process

  • Sheep-it is a free distributed render farm for Blender.
  • Ray Pump Closed down in 2016 is a software that provides free, easy, and efficient access to GPU/CPU Render Farm. The current version is designed for Blender and its Cycles engine.
  • Blender Grid
  • RenderStreet (highly recommended among blender users)
  • Garage Farm

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