Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Unit 1: Knowing Before Making

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Blender is a powerful and complex 3D modeling and rendering package. However, before you can make anything, you need to understand several concepts used in 3D modelling and related fields. Examples include:

  • Understanding the process of 3D modeling and rendering
  • Understanding how the axis and 3D coordinates work in Blender.
  • Understanding orthographic and perspective views.
  • Local coordinates, parent objects, and child objects.
  • Blender's user interface and how to navigate it.
  • Viewing a scene from different camera angles

Don't be scared by their long names; a lot of these are actually pretty intuitive and easy to grasp. Of course, since you're not doing any actual modelling in this unit, you might be tempted to skip ahead, and that's completely fine! Just know that understanding these concepts well will help you a lot in the long run, and proceeding through tutorials in order will build a strong foundation for you to build on. Prior knowledge also plays a huge part in this, so if you're coming from other 3D software, you should already be familiar with these concepts.

That said, the actual fun (making stuff in Blender) comes in the next unit. However, keep in mind that Blender is not the kind of software you can jump into and experiment with. It's notorious for having a steep learning curve. It's less like exploring an unfamiliar city and more like flying a spaceship; if you hop into the pilot's seat without knowing the fundamentals, it's going to be near impossible to get off the ground.

Blender-specific terminology.[edit | edit source]

Like any subject, 3D graphics has its own words and terminology used to describe specific ideas. In this book, important words are highlighted and defined on their first use. If you've missed or forgotten the meaning of a word, try looking it up in the Glossary.

Things you'll need.[edit | edit source]

In order to follow the tutorials, you need a computer with Blender installed. You can download the latest Blender release here.

Depending on your system, you may also need the appropriate Python installation. Each version of Blender requires a specific version of Python, but it's usually packaged with Blender.

The Blender team has the Blender Long Term Support program which provides a stable Blender version with 2 years of support. During the 2 year support window, no new features, UI changes, API changes or other enhancements will be done; only critical fixes will be applied. This allows teams working on long-lasting blender projects to use a single supported version over a 2 year period. Long term versions are indicated below with the LTS suffix and a year indicating the last year of support.

Blender version Python version
2.79 3.5
2.83 LTS 2022 3.7
2.90 3.7
2.93 LTS 2023 3.9
3.0 3.9
3.1 3.10
3.3 LTS 2024 3.10
3.4 3.10
3.5 3.10
3.6 LTS 2025 3.10
4.0 3.10
4.1 3.11

You can check Python version on Scripting workspace using:

import sys
Installation instructions

Since Blender is open-source software, you can download the source code and build it yourself, but it's easier to download a pre-built binary. As of Blender 4.0, compiled releases are provided for the following operating systems:

  • Windows 8.1, 10, and 11
  • macOS 11.2 Intel or Apple Silicon
  • Linux with glibc 2.28 or newer

Along with the website, many Linux distributions have Blender available in their package repositories, though it may be a slightly older version. You can use your system's package manager to download and install the package. It's also available on steam.

Windows users can also choose between an executable installer ("setup wizard") and a ZIP archive.

After the installation process is finished, Blender should appear in the Graphics section of your desktop environment application menu.

You may also want to download a 2D image editor, such as GIMP, Paint.NET, or Photoshop or a media player, such as VLC.

It's a good idea to have pencil and paper handy for sketching and taking notes. There's a lot to absorb. Taking notes as you go will pay dividends later.

Where to Go for Help[edit | edit source]

If you get stuck, you can ask for help from other Blender users in the appendices.

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

Many modules have a section like this at the bottom, listing websites with information on the topics covered in the module.