3D Modeling in Blender: What Beginners Need To Know

3D Modeling in Blender: What Beginners Need To Know
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3D modeling has become essential in various fields, including architecture and film animation.

Highlighting the growing adoption of 3D modeling across various fields, Stratview Research forecasted more than a 15% growth in the 3D modeling industry by 2028.

Blender is a popular 3D modeling software program known for being easy to use, while still offering many features. If you want to learn about 3D modeling—or try your hand at it—this guide explains what you need to know about Blender.

We’ll cover the basics, including installation, navigation, and additional resources for learning.

What is Blender?

Blender’s open source software has several free-to-use tools for creating 3D graphics and animation designs. Blender’s suite of features supports creating 3D designs—including modeling, compositing, motion tracking, and deployment.

Blender was built using the Python programming language. The software automatically generates and stores the equivalent Python code when you create a design on the application.

As a result, you can complete your designs on the app and integrate the codes into other programming environments or software. You can then automate the deployment of repeating models, reuse the models, and manipulate your designs in real time by coding more specific functionalities.

What else can you do with Blender? The section below provides more details.

What is Blender used for?

Blender’s suite of functionalities makes the software relevant for professionals in various industries, including video and graphic content creation, filmmaking, data visualization, and storytelling.

Below, we review some everyday applications of Blender in different creative fields.

3D modeling

Blender is typically used for 3D modeling, which involves creating a three-dimensional representation of an object or scene using specialized software. The models simulate and capture the shape and appearance of real-world objects, rendering them in digital form.

Although 3D modeling is primarily associated with 3D artists, its application across various fields makes it relevant to other professionals. For example, architects, product designers, and interior decorators can use Blender’s modeling technology to create 3D models that visualize their designs.

Scientists can also use Blender to add more functionality to their data visualization models, and communicate complex ideas. Medical practitioners use Blender to create 3D models, as well as visualizations of the human body and various medical procedures.

Animation and visual effects (VFX) development

Blender’s advanced modeling tools allow artists to create complex and realistic objects and characters for films and videos. Its built-in particle system and physics engine can also create realistic smoke, fire, and other special effects.

Another critical feature of Blender is its built-in capability for compositing and video editing. With Blender, you can create composites of multiple 3D elements and footage, adjust color, and perform other post-processing tasks to create professional-looking visual effects.

It also has advanced compositing and special effects technologies, such as motion blur, depth of field, and glow effects. With camera tracking, you can add 3D elements into real-time footage for VFX compositing.

Sculpting and 3D printing

You can also use Blender for sculpting and 3D printing. Its sculpting feature allows for precise control over the shape and form of 3D models, creating highly detailed and realistic objects.

The software offers a variety of brushes and tools, such as the ability to sculpt with dynamic topology. This technique adapts the resolution of the mesh as you work, allowing for a more efficient workflow.

Mesh refers to a structure made of interconnected points and lines in 3D graphics. It is used to represent the surface of an object. The mesh can be adjusted and manipulated to create different shapes, and its resolution can be increased or decreased to achieve the desired level of detail. In 3D modeling software, mesh is used to define the geometry of a 3D object; it can be sculpted, textured, and animated to bring a graphic to life.

Blender has an array of 3D printing tools, including assistance in generating support structures. It’s also compatible with many 3D printers, allowing 3D printing from within the software.

Blender can also export 3D models in various file formats compatible with 3D printing software and hardware.

What are the advantages of 3D modeling in Blender?

Blender has versatile and comprehensive features that make the platform useful in several creative fields. Consider these advantages of creating 3D models in Blender:

  • Free and open-source. Blender is free to download and use, and its source code is open to the public—meaning you can customize and modify it to suit your needs. This makes it accessible to many, including students, hobbyists, and small studios. Blender has cross-platform compatibility and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
  • High-quality features. Blender has a range of advanced modeling, texturing, lighting, and animation technology found in more expensive software. It can handle a wide range of tasks, and allows you to create highly detailed and realistic 3D models.
  • Active community and many tutorials and resources. Blender has an active, supportive community of users who share knowledge, tutorials, and resources online—meaning a wealth of information is available if you want to learn to use the software.
  • Non-destructive modeling. Blender’s modeling features work in a non-destructive way, allowing you to change your models at any stage without permanently altering the underlying geometry. This lends flexibility and freedom to the modeling process.
  • Extensive add-ons and scripting capabilities. Blender provides scripting capabilities through Python, which means you can use scripts to automate repetitive tasks, duplicate models, or create custom tools.

How to download and install Blender

Use these steps as a guide for the download and installation of Blender on your device.

How to download blender 1

1. Visit the Blender website from any web browser.

How to download blender 2

2. Click “Download Blender” to get the latest version of the application.  If you’re planning on using Blender on Windows, select “Download Blender 3.4.1.” from the new window. (Note:  Blender 3.4.1 is the latest version at the time of writing this article. The version number may differ when a later version is released.)

How to download blender 3

3. If you’re downloading Blender on a Mac, click the dropdown labeled “macOS, Linux, and other versions” and then select your operating system. After downloading, double click on the DMG file. Then drag “Blender.app” into the Applications folder.

4. Once the download is complete, open the file to begin the installation process.

How to download blender 4

5. Opening the downloaded file will launch the setup screen. Click “Next” to continue.

How to download blender 5

6. The next screen will show the license agreement. After reading the terms in the agreement, tick the box next to “I accept the terms in the License Agreement” and click “Next.”

How to download blender 6

7. The new window will require you to confirm the installation path—the location where you want to store the installation documents on your computer. Click “Next.”

How to download blender 7

8. Now, click on “Install.” A prompt will appear asking you to confirm the software will make significant changes to your system. Select “Yes” to accept and proceed with the installation.

How to download blender 8

9. The wizard should begin setting up the application on your device. Wait for a few minutes for the installation process to complete.

How to download blender 9

10. After following the steps above, you should have Blender successfully installed on your system.

The installation process will also automatically create a Blender shortcut on your desktop for easier access to the application. Go to the icon on your desktop to launch the Blender application and create a project.

If you encounter any challenges in the process, confirm your device meets the requirement to host and run the Blender software.

Once the installation is complete, click “Finish.”

What are the requirements?

Blender supports various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, the application needs at least Windows 8.1, macOS 10.13, or Intel 11.0 Apple Silicon.

Below are other hardware requirements your device must meet to run the application successfully.

Minimum hardware requirements

  • 64-bit quad-core CPU with SSE2 support (64-bit octa-core processor is recommended)
  • 8GB RAM (However, you may need up to 32GB memory size for a better experience.)
  • Graphics card with 2GB RAM, OpenGL 4.3 with Full HD display support

Supported graphics card

A graphics card is computer hardware designed to process and render images, videos, and other graphics. It’s an essential computer component for 3D rendering, gaming, and other resource-intensive tasks.

Blender relies heavily on graphics cards to process and display 3D graphics. Without a compatible graphics card, Blender may not run smoothly—or at all.

The following are supported computer graphics card versions that can run the Blender 3.4.1 application:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 400 or newer versions
  • Quadro Tesla GPU architecture or newer versions
  • Graphics Core Next (GCN) 1st generation or newer versions
  • Haswell architecture or newer versions

The basics of using Blender for 3D modeling

Whether you’re a beginner who is just getting started with 3D modeling, or an experienced designer looking to learn Blender for the first time, learn these basic terms to get familiar with the application.

  • Basic navigation. After launching Blender, the window will open to a screen showing a work area called Viewport with a tools panel on the side of the screen. To navigate the 3D view on the viewport, use the following keyboard shortcuts for Windows and macOS devices:
  • Middle mouse button + move. Pan the view
  • Mouse scroll wheel. Zoom in and out
  • R. Activate rotation mode
  • X, Y, or Z. Constrain the rotation to that axis

Left mouse button. Rotate the object in the direction you drag the mouse

The basics of using blender 1

  • Enable edit mode. To enter edit mode, select the object you want to edit and press the “tab” key or the “Edit Mode” button on the 3D view header.
  • Enable object mode. To enter object mode, press the “tab” key or the “Object Mode” button on the 3D view header.
  • Add a mesh. To add a mesh, press “Shift + A” to bring up the “Add” menu.  Then select the type of mesh you want to add, such as a cube, sphere, or plane.
The basics of using blender 2

  • Merge. In edit mode, with at least two vertices selected, press “CTRL + J” to join the selected objects. The feature will merge the selected vertices, edges, or faces together.
  • Extrude. In edit mode, select the vertices, edges, or faces you want to extrude, then press the “E” key. This will pull out a new shape (or faces) out of the original shape, or you can use the “extrude region” button on the 3D view header.
The basics of using blender 3

  • Modifiers. To add a modifier to an object, ensure you’re in object mode, select the object, then click the “Add Modifier” button on the properties panel. The command will open the modifiers tab, and you can add one from the list.
The basics of using blender 4

Best Blender 3D step-by-step tutorials

Below are a few tutorial recommendations to help you learn the fundamentals of using Blender 3D.

Blender Fundamentals

The support section on Blender’s website provides an extensive series of video tutorials. The Blender Fundamentals 2.80 playlist is a series of 43 video tutorials that cover the basic principles and techniques of using Blender to create 3D models.

The playlist is designed for beginners and covers various topics, including navigating the Blender interface, creating and manipulating objects, and working with materials and textures.

The tutorial page also contains playlists for learning grease pencil basics to create 2D animation characters and videos. In addition, Blender’s tutorial page has more advanced playlists to learn 3D sculpting.

Blender Guru

Blender Guru is a website created by Andrew Price—also known as Blender Guru—that offers video tutorials catering to everyone from beginners to advanced users.

Blender Guru’s YouTube channel includes the “Blender Beginner Donut Tutorial” series, which covers the basics of Blender’s user interface and how to create simple 3D models. The “Intermediate Blender Tutorial Series” teaches advanced techniques for creating detailed and realistic materials and textures.

In addition to video tutorials, Blender Guru offers written tutorials and downloadable project files.

Where to find models for Blender

Blender allows you to create models and import ready-made models from other sources. Creating 3D models can be time-consuming, especially if you’re new to 3D graphics or don’t have a strong foundation in modeling techniques.

Let’s look at a few places to find models for Blender.

CGTrader

CG Trader

CGTrader is an online marketplace where a wide range of 3D models created by a community of artists and designers are available for purchase or free download.

They have a dedicated section for Blender models that can be downloaded in .blend format and easily imported into Blender. You can also find models in other formats like .fbx or .obj to import into Blender.

BlenderKit

Blender Kit

BlenderKit is a free library of assets for Blender, developed and maintained by the Blender team. The platform has a wide range of 3D models, brushes, materials, and more.

You can find everything from architectural elements and vegetation to furniture—and it’s all compatible with Blender.

Sketchfab

Sketchfab

Sketchfab is a platform that allows you to browse and download 3D models from various categories. It has a dedicated section for Blender, which you can find under the drop-down menu labeled  “Tools”.

It has a collection of models organized into categories such as characters, animals, 3D environments, and more—and also provides models optimized for real-time usage.

TurboSquid

TurboSquid

TurboSquid is another platform providing a large selection of 3D models for use in various 3D software, including Blender. Its models include characters, buildings, vehicles, and more that can be downloaded in various file formats, including .BLEND, which is native to Blender.

Free 3D

Free 3D

Free 3D is a website that offers a wide range of free 3D models, including characters, vehicles, and environments, that you can use in Blender projects. You can find a lot of free models to kick-start your project.

Although the selection isn’t as large as the other platforms, this could be a good place to begin looking for a specific kind of model you need.

Find the best Blender 3D specialists on Upwork

3D modeling in Blender can help you create a wide range of digital assets, including architectural renderings and character animation.

The free, open-source platform makes learning these skills accessible to anyone who is interested. Its simple interface lets you quickly learn how to draw, animate, rig, model, and sculpt scenes.

For beginners, learning all the features of Blender may feel like a challenge, but with patience and persistence, you can master the basics and start creating your own 3D models. There are plenty of tutorials, documentation, and forums available to help as you use Blender.

If you’re looking to create professional-quality 3D models, hiring a Blender specialist on Upwork can be a great solution. These experts can help bring your vision to life, and they can be contracted on a project-by-project basis.

If you have skills in Blender, Upwork is a great platform to find Blender jobs. It allows you to put your skills to work while enjoying the flexibility to choose your own projects. Start building your portfolio on Upwork today.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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3D Modeling in Blender: What Beginners Need To Know
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