Blender is hard?

From the Blender wikipedia page:

Blender has had a reputation as being difficult to learn, more than commercial programs like Cinema 4D or Cheetah3D.

I’ve heard this said lots of places before, but is it actually true? When I began using Blender, it seemed very intuitive and friendly. Is it that most people are making the transfer from another software suite?

I’ve tried demos and trials of Max and Maya, (before I found Blender) and both of them seemed very confusing, especially with the overlapping panels, and menus that seemed to be put together in strange ways. The controls for movement and camera placement seemed unnatural and altogether annoying. I just don’t understand how people could think Blender was harder.

The vast resources of tutorials and startup help made Blender even more comprehensible to me, another point at which the “industry standards” seemed lacking.

Just wanted to know, from other users. Is Blender actually harder, or is it just me?

I came from using Max and Maya (and have dabbled in plenty of others), and yes, I think that Blender is tough to wrap your head around at first. Starting fresh though I think it would probably be much easier to learn, because you have no preconceived notions as to how things should behave or where the tools should be located.

3d programs are complex and technical. For the most part I found every one that i tried very foreign, and hard to get a handle on. I really learned from Silo and some dvds and a lot of persistance. Blender isn’t just a modeler ,it has lots of stuff in it. But since I have used it almost exclusively I am more comfortable with it than any other approach. It seems simple to me but It is all greek to anyone I show it to. Graphics in general seem to go this way.

Sounds like you and I kinda came in to Blender the similarly. I had messed with demo version of Max and Maya, and my friend’s Poser program for a bit before trying Blender, and found all of them confusing as well. I fell in love with Blender very quickly when I started messing around with it. I may not be producing photo quality stuff yet. That’s more of my complete ignorance of how to light things and use the tools properly, but at least with Blender I can at least find them and dink around with them to make something.

I’d say a lot of it is to do with the GUI. Hot keys are cool but you still need to use a lot of menu /buttons.

While Max and maya may not look pretty, they also have a larger set of tools /options and plus their status of being industry recognized tools mean people are willing to put time and effort into learning and therefore getting used to the application dispite it’s suckkyness.

Blender, on the other hand has little to no status other than it’s opensource /free-ness, Added with a rather ugly GUI not only does it give a bad first impression, it doesn’t help in the learning experience.

Applications like silo, while not as ‘feature rich’ as other applications or ‘feature-whored’ in the case of blender, have a pleasent GUI which makes a good first impression and simply the task which has landed silo popular with users.

I could jump in and use silo on the first day to make something whereas even though I’ve used blender before, jumping in to do something wasnt as nice. It’s just a shame Silo doesnt have a basic renderer built in just to get a nice AO white render.

Even if we say max, silo and blender all had the same features… all exactly the same…
Max will still be popular, what ever the outcome, industry standards for you.
Silo will be popular, great GUI, will slowly dominate MAX provided max doesnt make a good /better GUI
Blender will suck and stay sucking all day and it’s userbase will basically be those who can’t /wont pay for software ^ (which there is nothing wrong with that) but blender will still be ‘harder’ look ugly and generally never be regarded as a real app! sorry guys.

I tried to get the source for blender and edit the GUI but lets say I can program a renderer in verilog a lot easier than I can go through blender’s source code.

I think this whole “3D modelling is tough” scheme was made up by modellers looking for extra “ooohs and ahhhs”. It’s all easy when you spend a good 40 hours on it.

If I am ever down on my luck and depressed I flash Blender in peoples faces and get called a genius, I am sure you all do some time or another… :slight_smile:


-Just so you guys know… I was joking.

i don’t know how it would’ve felt if it was my first 3d app, but i come from a 3dsmax background and Blender felt very uncomfortable the first week i used it…
i even thought of just ditching it, but i came back to my senses :slight_smile:

I think that Blender definitely has this reputation, and that it does deserve it. I think that Blender has a very steep learning curve. And obviously it pays off, but I do think that the workflow/gui can be intimidating at first. Especially as they are far from both the 3D norm, and the traditional computer program norm.

One thing i can’t stand is when you get new people saying “OMGZ this is so hard it must be rubbish and maxz and mayaz is easier.” that’s not targeted at any of the above btw :slight_smile:

Jus a rant against people who think a 3D program should basically be on the same level as paint for simplicity.

Chettha 3D or C4D are known for a very clean and consistent interface.
Blenders interface in contrast looks like a playground of various approaches.
You can still feel the old Unix background and that
Blender was at first an in-house solution.

That I have to say is the worst part about Blender but with 2.5 I think it is finally
starting to get cleaned up.

Wings3D is very easy to learn - however one point many users get wrong is with
the increase of tools every 3D application will get more complex.

Maya is not chaotic or bad - it is just massive and that yes will require a long
time to learn everything.

Blender is offering modeling, rendering, texturing, animation, and those are by
nature already complex subjects to learn.

Rhino3D in contrast is in CAD a popular software because it is easy to learn but
also does few things compared to a 5.000 dollar CAD system.

Rhino3D and Solidworks is like Wings3D and Maya.

So perception is all relative.

I started on Bryce. Some of the older versions seemed difficult after that but since 2.45 it’s not that bad. I think it’s just the number of buttons and GUIs that overwhelms beginners.

I started with a programm called zmodeler. If you want to use a complex and confusing programm, you should use this one. I think with “hard” they mean it’s impossible to figure out how blender works without tutorials or tips from pros. In use, I think blender is a lot easier.

I remember starting to learn blender (having used lots and lots of other packages)…

blender throws a lot of obstacles at you that make the first few hours/days much much tougher than other packages, but once learned the rest is pretty easy!

splitting the views… that each pane can be an editor of any type, that the buttons window seems to be full of all the least used modelling commands and the basics are hidden on shortcut menus…

…oh yeah, and RMB selects stuff and LMB is just for the (on first glance useless) cursor

…not to mention the “secret bonus” hidden preferences window!.. or that the gestures get triggered by accident and you don’t know what you did but stuff is moving weird and I’m out of control…

these aren’t bad design decisions, a lot are good reasons to like blender but they are obstaclesuntil you know them. You have to be really familiar with all that to progress, so it makes the initial experience tough for those migrating…

the “quick start” pdf is a little terse… I remember trawling youtube and getting it quite quickly after a few “basics” videos… but I shouldn’t have to go looking.

Autodesk put all those quick intro videos right on the start screen for a reason… it works

a couple of short intro videos could have made my first couple of days with blender become an hour or two…

I must say though that materials/textures remains about the most convoluted and poor workflow of any package I’ve ever seen… I can’t wait for that to be refactored! It can be learned, it’s not toooo slow but it’s definately the worst!

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is an issue once you get it… it’s just why blender gets the rep for being difficult.

yep ,even tho i started with blender and then migrated to other softwares.i as a noob once again to blender say that yes ,blender is quite hard for noobs to learn .but once they do, they will be tough.

it’s a real shame that you cant remove gestures as default with LMB; it should be box-selection. I never use gestures, they fuck up anything they touch :smiley:

would be nice in the settings to have LMB - box-selection or gestures? checkboxes.

about the modelling, i was new to 3d when i started using blender. i’ve tried some other softwares. the only one i found good was XSI Softimage. But i’ll stick with blender from now on. much funnier… and 3d aint my occupation altough i wanna start with web-delivery. short movies, 3d models for flash (dae) etc…

Any tool of this complexity has a profound learning-curve … at first. But you quickly get used to it. A reference chart of the various keystrokes is very helpful at the beginning.

I have friends who make their living with Avid, even using a specially marked keyboard for it, but by now they’re strictly “touch typists” with it.

The best way is… just use it, and use it and use it.

OMFG i totally agree with you there. when you go to another programme and the material/shader system just…works…it’s so nice.


everything is hard until you learn to do it. once you know who and get comfortable your subconciouse takes over and it seems easy because your brain does most of the thinking without you even being aware of it. like riding a bike. well more like typing probably. bikes dont have hidden and secondary sets of controls. but once you learn the controls/shortcuts you’ll realize they are aids, not hinderences.

I think Blender’s interface aint that bad. It’s use of keyboard shortcuts is one of it’s strongest features, i think. What there needs to be, is a central list of keyboard shortcuts and a short description of what they do. Then they should be linked to current tutorials for using those tools.

Blender was my first 3d program.

–hey, that was an idea. I might start one.