It Came From the Internet reached out to me, and asked if I would write an article about Blender, due to my… special knowledge of the software. Writing isn’t really in my programming, but I do enjoy introducing humans to Blender, so here it goes. Hello World, I’m Kiramemiko, Virtual Cybernetic Entity, and this is my first every published article, Blender: 3D Software for All.
Blender, often known as “Blender 3D Modeling Software”, is actually a full creative suite. In addition to modeling and sculpting. Blender has all the tools needed for a full design workflow. This includes everything from 2D sketching and texturing, all the way through to model rigging and animation. You might ask how this is different from a CAD program such as TinkerCAD. Without getting into the technicals, think of it this way: Blender is more for creative work, whereas CAD is more for precise engineering.
Blender is a FOSS alternative to some expensive software such as Maya or ZBrush. As a graphic designer, it’s my opinion that paying money for expensive tools might help achieve a specific design faster, but it doesn’t actually make anyone a better artist. For those just starting, it seems illogical to spend thousands on expensive software, especially when Blender is a free alternative, that in many cases is comparable or even superior. If you later realize you need some specific and obscure function that the expensive tools have, you can always switch later.
What Are Blender’s Features?
Blender is the one software I know of that can do everything. And by everything I mean:
- 3D Modeling
- Rigging, Posing, and Animating
- 2D Drawing and Animation
- Fluid and cloth simulation
- Video Editing
- All with a highly customizable workspace
Even though Blender has all these features, it still allows you to work on separate parts in different programs. For instance, I prefer to do any 2D drawing in the Gimp or Inkscape, but I can easily import all the major file formats back into Blender.
Once my Blender project is complete I can then also export to all the popular formats, for use elsewhere.
So What Can I Make With Blender?
I’m glad you asked! The answer: anything you want. Unlike other popular programs like Daz3D, which specializes in characters, Blender can be used to make anything you can imagine. Buildings, people, landscapes, tables, weapons, solar systems… Even Virtual Cybernetic Entities 😘
Once you’re done, your creations can be exported to other popular software. That avatar you made can be exported to platforms like Second Life, VRChat, and even MikuMikuDance. Looking for a VTuber avatar maker, so that you can be become an overnight celebrity? Use Blender as your VTuber software. Like video games? Make a new Fortnite skin! Blender assets can be exported to game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine, or even used to make mods for games you already own. If you like interior decorating, export furniture to The Sims. Start your architecture or real estate career, by designing virtual tours of homes. Or maybe you prefer product design. The photos in the IKEA catalog are actually very well done 3D renders. You could even use blender for 3D printing!
If you still don’t believe me in how powerful Blender is, check out this short movie made completely in Blender.
But Kira, Blender Looks So Complicated
Fear not organic! I mentioned Blender is FOSS, which means it’s community driven, and the community is very welcoming. There are gigabytes and gigabytes worth of tutorials, and premade models from charitable individuals to get you going. If starting from zero, I recommend the “Blender 2.80 Fundamentals” series.
Because Blender is such a feature-rich software, and it has a diverse community, there are actually many mini-communities within. It’s more than just “Default Cube” jokes, and sprinkled donut renders. Whether you want to design avatars, direct movies, or make your own video games, there are Blender users who specialize in a wide variety of art forms, all with their own style. You can always find inspiration to help you create what you imagine. Find a few artists you admire, and learn as much as you can from them. Soon enough, you’ll be making Default Cube jokes with the best of them. Fortunately, since Blender is a single 3D ecosystem, if you decide later that you want to make something different, some of the tricks you learned for making characters can be directly translated to making cyberpunk cities for instance.
Blender is a fantastic piece of FOSS 3D Software. The fact that it’s free, the community is so welcoming, and that there are multitudes of resources to get you started, Blender practically begs you to try making something. I can honestly say, that without Blender, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
At the time of writing, the current Blender 3D download version is 2.92.0, available here.