How can I become an advanced Blender user from Intermediate?

I have been using Blender on and off around 3 years now. I am extremely familiar with the user interface of all of the engines and tabs whether it’s the 3D View, Node Editor, or properties panels (including all the other tabs as well). While using various YouTube videos was good for learning Blender they never really taught me how to make things for myself. I can watch a 3D Modeling tutorial but they don’t tell me why they are doing certain things or what they are trying to accomplish in some tasks. This is especially true with tutorials involving making specific materials with the node editor. This was one of the things that I admired about BornCG is that he explained why he did everything however he does not make advanced tutorials and does not upload regularly. I want to become an advanced Blender user but at this point I don’t know how. I want to learn how for free but I am willing to pay small amounts if needed (less than $20). There are no specific tutorials I want to follow as I want to learn various things from making realistic environments to character modeling. How did you learn Blender and become an advanced user? Thank you!

Just starting a WIP should be sufficient.
People may comment your work and give you advices and tricks about how to improve it.
By practicing, you will have to think by yourself. You will remember what you saw in tutorials.
And you will begin to categorize techniques you learned and will understand why they are pertinent in some cases and not in other ones.
When you consider that you know almost all blender tools that blender has to offer in a domain and how to use them, you can say that you are an advanced user.
But blender is so vast that is almost impossible to be up-to-date to each domain covered by blender (illustration, 3Dprinting, games, vfx…).

Being an advanced modeller that masters edit and sculpt mode and modifiers and modelling addons, is able to create its owns ; that does not mean that you are an advanced rigger.
I am not saying that is impossible to become a generalist and a advanced user. I am saying that generalists are not advanced users in all domains.

So, making projects should help you to find in what domain you want to progress.
And when you know what you want to know, it is easy to track an answer.

Thank you very much for this! I see what you mean and that I could be considered an advanced Blender user but not an advanced 3D developer. I will definitely practice more on 3D Models for now and ask for advice too. Your response was very helpful. Thanks!

I agree with Zeauro, from what you said you have to start some personal projects to improve your skills.
Now that you know blender, concentrate more on the CG art. It’s two different things to master a software and to be able to make great pictures from it.
You may know all the tools but still be a poor artist, and you can be a great artist without knowing all the tools in the software.

Also, bear in mind that a great part of the CG artist job is to solve technical or artistic issues. Sometime you can find some information online, but many times you need to find solutions from yourself or people around you. Many time you need to do some reverse engineering on what you see to apply it to your project. This is not something easy to explain with tutorial, it comes with practice.

Hope that can help, in fact it’s natural to get to this point when you’re learning CG .

Keep up the good work !

Have to agree with the two comments above.

You got the basics. The next part is to just start creating and working on projects. That’s how to reach the next step.
That’s the big secret. It’s as simple as that.

It will be fine and an adventure. Everyone else you see who you might consider advanced has been there.
Every new project will always have it’s own unknown’s and fresh new challenges. It’s always going to be a learning process.

All the best.

Thank you, that helps a lot! This clears things up for me quite a bit! :slight_smile:

Thank you very much! Now for the most difficult part of all, deciding what to make. I wish you luck on your projects as well! :slight_smile:

My recommendation is to take whatever you are interested in and combine it with your passion for blender. If you are into military shooter games, make a gun. if you are into star trek, make your favorite ship. If you are into tennis, model a racket and ball.

I use blender as a way to explore my passions deeper. You really get to know something when you model it from scratch.

Good luck on your journey, and congratulations for graduating from tutorials. You’re ready for the real deal.

My money would be on becoming an advanced artist with advanced needs.

The fact that you are asking how to become an ‘advanced blender user’ and not how to accomplish a particular advanced task indicates that you are focusing on the tool. Blender is an awesome art creation tool but it is not an end on to itself. When you have advanced needs, you will ask advanced question regarding what is possible in Blender and stretch the tool to suit you, or run up against it’s limitations.

Try to create advanced art/models/rigs/animations whatever it is you want to make. Do research about how to accomplish your goals, ask questions of the other users and your skill will increase.

What do you want to make? What inspires you?

Branching off some of the above posts, in order to become an “advanced user” you will need to be solving real-world problems, on real-world projects, on real-world schedules. You’ll almost never get to that on personal projects - it’s too easy to accept a sub-par solution, or take a little more time than you might otherwise, or build a test problem with the ultimate solution already in mind. Dealing with problems created by others (especially those who “get a case of the clevers”) does a better job of forcing you to look at solutions which fit the problem, within the available schedule.

How you go about that, is something you’ll have to figure out. Maybe pick up some freelancing work; maybe contribute to some open projects.

Thank you very much for the advise! Maybe I will create Voyager from Star Trek lol.

Thank you for your advise! I probably will learn modeling first as it seems to be the most valuable thing to know but eventually I hope that I can do animation/visual effects. I am young and not even in college yet so I really just want to learn everything CG related (I know it is unrealistic but I still try) and when I find something I enjoy the most I will stick with that. Most likely I’ll start with creating realistic environments. Thanks!

Thanks! I find when I work on personal projects I can usually find a solution for it but there are somethings that aren’t necessarily technical issues like recently I started modeling a frog and I could not figure out how to create the legs and eyes but when I was doing VFX for the most part my issues were more technical based and I could fix them in 10-45 minutes depending on the issue. I guess I’ll just have to practice and I’m sure if I work hard on my projects I can learn a lot. Thank you!

I have a similar problem. Many tutorials on the blender and other software show the same thing year after year. And almost no have lessons on fundamental knowledge. I found two very useful things, you need to try to make the workflow as iterative as possible, try to stay as long as possible at low subdivision levels, low number of polygons, try to focus on proportions and forms

Hi, I’ve found myself in the same situation. I know blender itself, but I still have a long way to go before I’ve built up enough fundamental knowledge to call myself a master. There are a couple of resources online that helped fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. First is a really old tutorial series called Guerrilla CG. It explained a lot of simple concepts that tutorials don’t mention. The second place that has helped me a lot is CG Cookie. They gave me a free one week trial when i signed up for an account.

I originally just signed up to CG Cookie to gain access to an old tutorial that was advertised on their youtube channel, but I found that a lot of what they have to offer goes beyond what you get out of the free tutorials online. The users in the community grade each other’s work, so it has a similar feel to getting public feed back in a forum, but there is an ordered structure to it, so it feels more like a class.

You subscribe to a “Learning Flow” which helps you focus on a particular area until you are done with what they have there. When you mess up in an exercise in that flow, the feed back you get is usually from people who had the same trouble, so their explanations are normally spot on. For example one modeling exercise was done with an older version of blender that had a “Polish” brush, but the closest thing I had in my version was a flatten brush. I smoothed it out the best I could, and one of the users who “graded” my exercise mentioned that the “polish” brush the guy was using was exactly the same as the flatten brush, but with autosmooth set to max.

I’m not sure if they still offer you the free trial when you signup, but full access is just 30 dollars a month and its worth looking into if you want an experience that is closer to what you get from learning in school.

First, you have to decide if you mean, skill as an artist or knowledge of the process and in particular as it relates to Blender or other software.

There are basically three areas here. 1) becoming a better artist, meaning, just better at having a vision and bringing that in to reality creatively. If it is self conceived or if you are going from references in the real world. This is a skill in any art form. And this can be hindered by 2) understanding the process of creating/realizing something in 3D which is pretty much purely technical. Obviously there is quite a lot of room for preference. But basically, it is technical. I mean it comes down to, it is working or it isn’t. You either know about depth of field and can focus a camera in the real world or you don’t. How you go about taking pictures from there will be your skill as an artist. But a picture is either in focus or it isn’t. It is not really a question or open to opinion. And there are a lot of things in 3D just like this. They are purely technical and factual. And it is often a matter of understanding many different skills and how they relate to each other in a process from start to finish. Modeling, UV mapping, Baking, painting and materials for example. From there understanding how modeling relates to rigging and eventually animation. Rarely are you just modeling to model. It has to have an end goal. Even if you are choosing to make a game or to make a film/video. If you are animating or not. And finally your skill can further be enhanced or hindered by 3) The tools you are using. Your software. And your understanding of it. This should ideally be thought of as a triangle that must stay in balance. And any weakness in a corner of it can bring down the other two corners. Two much emphasis on any one of the three can also make the other two suffer.

It is also often a good idea to separate technical learning from the creative side. In other words, set time aside to purely master the technical side. Just to get to a point that you understand it. Give yourself the freedom to screw things up creatively. You don’t care. Just toss a sphere in the scene and mutilate it with modeling tools. Your goal. Understanding just how those tools work. Or just learn about one aspect of the program like UV mapping. Crack open the manual and go through the entire UV interface. Then apply that knowledge to a real project.

Try not to mix intense learning with production. They often don’t mix. Being in the middle of creating something can stifle your pure interest in learning. Having to stop and learn something can also stifle your creativity. Most professions work this way. And there is a good reason for it when you stop and work it out.

Basically this is a very technical field that requires you master technical issues in usually very exact ways.

When you are creating you don’t want to be hindered by things you don’t know. And the more technical stuff you know, the tricks, the tools, and so on the faster creating will be. And you will be more free to create. Work smarter not harder as they say. :slight_smile:

Just don’t let any 3 points of the triangle go ignored for too long.

Best of luck.

About 2 years ago I was in that situation and than I decided I was going to spend a year with a major focus on anatomy, just anatomy, getting the forms down and learning what skin looked like where on the body, and the nice thing about that focus is that not only did I learn anatomy I also learned how much more I could learn about other aspects of blender.

This year I decided that I’m going to learn UE4, and you know what, with the first mini game I made I discovered a few dozen things that I needed to learn about making assets and say what you will there is something to be said about having your learning process guided by your needs.

I will offer one advice though for this journey, take notes, save dated examples and once in a while look back and revist what you have learned and do so with an eye looking for whatever crutch you are using, look for trends of things that you tend to do poorly at, look for trends of what you are doing well with. And something to keep in mind is this, while you may want to do X with your life you may find that you have a natural talent for Y and while some people say settling for doing what you are good at rather than what you want to do is a bad thing, there is something to be said about job satisfaction and keeping food on the table.

Visit forums of general 3D art, don’t aim to be a Blender artist, aim to be a 3D artist

Try to earn something width blender, use it at work (if you got a job) for a presentation or so.
Then let others compare your work vs your normal activity; if its beneficial then maybe you can get transfered to marketing, or do something for them once in a while. (that would mean your current wage while working width blender).