One for all and all for one. Say hello to Blender.

Since you are reading these lines, I guess you already have a faint clue what blender is all about. Maybe you have used it during your time at uni and have faint memories of a (let’s be honest here) terrible user interface and strange workflow. Blender has been around for a long time, like a really long long time. Since 1998 to precise. Heck, people with a degree and a job are now younger than this old 3D software relic. Let that sink in for a minute.

But just like wine and whiskey, some things take time to reach perfection and with blender it’s no different. The free open-source software has come a long way thanks to many talented and dedicated developers who never stopped believing in the concept. Long gone are the days of weird bugs, insane render times, and again that user interface was just a nightmare. I mean who the hell sets a right-click for selection as default right? Of course, you could have spent a lot of time getting things to work the way you wanted to but if you had the budget to spend some dollarydoos on the competitors you were probably better off doing so in the old days.

Endless possibilities

Do whatever you want, where you want how you want it.

We love open source

Blender always had one thing going for it which its competitors could only dream of. A strong and loving community. And I guess this is the reason why we can all go to blender.org and get our hands on Blender 2.8 for free. Oh, ok I just realized that 2.9 has been released, so I guess get that one then! And the best thing? Since Version 2.8 the UI has completely changed and it is a dream come true. It now feels like a tool built for professionals and your intuition should be enough to find everything you need without having to read through forums and Reddit posts.

I mean come on, this software is free, comes with way more features than the average 3D artist would ever need and if the one tiny winy thing you need is not in the box then I guarantee you someone has already developed an add-on for that. Oh, and at least in my case it hardly never crashes on you after you have forgotten to press cmd+s (Strg+S for you windows peepz) since the beginning of your project again.

You Happy, me happy, client happy

Alright, this should be enough to convince you to get blender for yourself. Now let’s talk about why you need blender, especially as a designer. Basically, you can do whatever the hell you want. Need to show off a client’s product but have no time to organize a photo shooting, find a set, or maybe the product isn’t even real yet? No worries mate, blender got you covered. Simply build your scene, import your product, play around with textures, lighting, and so on until your client is as happy as the second-to-last person on a round of Russian Roulette and hit that render button. Depending on your janky hardware you will receive a stunning photorealistic image in no time. And the best thing about all this? It saves a lot of time, money and gives you way more possibilities than real life.

Blender can be used for almost anything you can think of. Want to model and sculpt a badass supervillain? No problem. How about animating the whole thing and creating a full-on movie? Sure thing. There even is a build-in real-time rendering engine for you to play with. Good luck finding such a variety of possibilities in any paid 3D software.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

but i don't know jack about 3d

Ok, let’s say you have listened to me as you should, and now have a strange orange eye-like logo sitting in your dock. Maybe you already have been brave enough to click on it and met our good old friend the default cube. Rest in peace little friend. At this point, you probably felt a little insecure and started reconsidering your life choices but don’t you worry about it. The internet is full of great beginner tutorials for people just like you. I guess all I have to say at this point is that you should try to find a way to build a donut and you will inevitably stumble upon a great series of tutorials that will teach you all the basics you need to get started. Besides Blender Guru I can also recommend CGMatter, Default Cube, and Ducky 3D. And if you want to see what happens when you dive too deep into blender you should definitely check out the Lazy Tutorials by Ian Hubert. Just play around, think of little projects you could do for fun, and bit by bit you will learn new tools, techniques, and solutions that will let you actually charge money for this.

But I'm like super lazy

So now you basically are a 3D god and can create anything you want inside of your little computer you might be wondering how you can speed up things. Materials for example. Are you tired of running around outside with your 2MP digital camera you stole from your grandma, trying to find that perfect asphalt texture? Well, then I have a gift for you. Check out Texture Haven and thank me later. Rob has done an extraordinary job of creating a huge database of high-quality Textures, HDRIs, and Models for you to use. And the best thing? It’s free! But if you have a heart then leave the man a tip. He has truly deserved it. There are many more platforms like this one, just have a look around and you will find what you need for your next project.

say bye bye to sunlight

Just to clarify things, I am in no way or form sponsored by any of the people and companies above. I am just someone who truly appreciates the work they have done for the creative community and want to share that love with you. So that’s about it. Go grab a copy of blender, tell your friends and family you will be in quarantine for another 3 months, and start your journey into 3D space. Or 2D, since they added a complete 2D animation pipeline with version 2.8.

We would love to see your results and hope that this little article was enough to convince you that 3D software is an essential tool for any designer out there.