How long did it take for you to be comfortable with Blender? Brand Newbie

I am sorry if it’s the wrong question or the wrong place, I am a very new person when it comes to anything CGI.

I have a dream to make a short animation spot for a story I wrote as a teenager. I decided to jump finally (now that I actually have a job with days off) and work towards my dream. I downloaded Blender and 10 online tutorials, but still feel and incompetent as ever.

I know I can’t ask how long it will take me to be comfortable with Blender, but I’m trying to get an idea of what other people have done, especially those with no real background in computers (besides email). I’ve spent about 6 hours on it (nothing I know), but I feel like I am exceptionally slow with my learning curve. Even the tutorial on how to move the cube around and use the X, Y, Z axis shortcuts are still giving me trouble.

Sorry to ask as such a newbie, just wanting to see how other’s have gotten on with it.

Thanks in advance.

A project, or goal with a deadline is a great way to gain ground with Blender. I remember my first project was making a cat walk through a kitchen. I was already familiar with 3DSMax so I understood some 3D but the company I was working at had no 3D software. I started using Blender and felt very clumsy in it. But that project laid the ground work for importing models, adding materials to them, camera moves and rendering. I did the side view of the cat walking in After Effects and brought that into Blender as an image sequence. I was using Blender 2.43 at the time so there was no Ambient Occlusion, or I was unaware of how to use it. Lighting was the biggest challenge in that projects and by today’s standard, it looked like crap.

It is not really about how long it takes, it is about chopping through projects to create solutions for deadlines. You could doddle in your basement for years and never really get anything done. But the moment you have to deliver, is when you will gain the most ground in the shortest amount of time.

It was pretty hard to get used to blender for me too. I did quite alot of tutorials and most of them were from . That really helped me get started and I learned quite alot there. But then I started my first project which was a car. Even though it didn’t come out perfect ( ) I learned A LOT from it. After that car project things started going easier and easier. About 6 months later I tried to do a car and it came out WAY better ( ). Now, about 7 months from downloading blender I can do projects like the one in my signature in a week. I suggest you just do lots of proffesional tutorials like the ones in and once in a while do a project of your own. In a few months when you start to remember all the shortcuts and tricks you’ll be able to do anything. That’s my opinion. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I’m 14 and kids learn everything faster. But just don’t give up and you’ll be posting finished projects in no time.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Basics & Interface”

The best thing you can do is start small. Don’t do your big animation dream project first. Do something small first… a walking scene, a 15-second joke… something you can easily accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.

I learned more about my former trade two days into a company hiring me and hanging deadlines over the possibility of continued employment then I did at a semester at college using the same software. Nothing helps like a fire under you ass, but the employment never would have happened without the training beforehand to show me what and where the tools were.

Welcome…The time to get comfortable really depends on the amount of effort you put into. But its not the only factor. You need a smart decision making alongside hard work to really accelerate your progress. As you mentioned you are new to CGI, so I believe the current job you have is not CGI related. So it all depends on why you want to learn 3D. You said you want to make a short movie, so first thing, what is your goal with that movie ? Is it all about fulfilling your dream or you want to make more of your movie, like using it as a demo reel to land a job in CGI industry?

Well in the first case, it’ll be much easier journey for you, but again smart decisions are needed even in learning. Mostly what happens is beginners usually get stuck in the tutorial land and its much more prevalent in Blender community. Don’t go about searching tutorials in random but go through the basics and make your way up. You’ll find some very good tutorials especially for beginners in Blendercookie site. And another advice regarding tutorials is once you learn something, don’t go into another tutorial without actually doing the previous yourself. It makes a whole lot of difference. 3D is a complex thing, and you’ll realize it can be really hard to actually memorize and understand the tools and fundamentals by just watching them. And take it from the very basics, not just the Blender, but about general CG. You might find the tutorials very much scattered all around the web but don’t just search and watch anything you find. Do care about the author and his/her experience as there are lots of videos out there that don’t deal with how’s and why’s of things but rather just present a way to do a thing. And before doing something, make sure if it is the intended way of doing it; its good to know workarounds and hacks but you should be clear about what a tool is meant to do in the first place. After that its just a matter of how much time you can give to learning.

From what Ive seen, the beginners who are from the second category seem to take a lot more time learning blender than it actually takes. And the reasons are very indirect. Its when someone wants to work professionally in the industry, and comes across blender, all sorts of problems arise. Even if someone starts fairly well, the progress halts when he comes across sorts of things, like the usual comparisons between softwares, X is better than Y things, this sucks and that rocks kind of things, and the most decisive stopper being talks about very low chances of getting a job with the knowledge of blender. And so most of the progress takes a major halt and in some cases perpetual halt. And many jump ship here and there trying other apps, and end up without a sound knowledge of one. But once you have an advanced knowledge of even a part of the whole process of CG, say for example modeling, it would be much easier for you to transfer your skills into other softwares, so don’t leave something at the middle. Go advanced and once you reach that level, it’s usually matter of months to transfer your skills to any other apps.

I’m still learning blender myself, I would put myself at an intermediate level, or early intermediate lol. I’ve Known blender for about 4 years now, but only seriously went into it from a year back. I mostly work in Photoshop, making matte paintings, and have now learning to integrate 3D elements more and more into paintings. So it takes time, depending on what you want out of the blender.

I hope this helps. have a good time learning.

It took me around 6 months. I had a little bit of prior experience with Lightwave 7. However I wasn’t really dedicated to learning blender as fast as possible. I’d do maybe one tutorial a week or so.

Learning 3d from scratch will take time, there are a lot of tools to deal with, and they may not always be intuitive to people who have never done 3D before.

I felt more or less comfortable after half a year of practicing it. I had no experience with 3D and CGI, I just wanted to create a project, like you. So I tried almost every day in the evening after work. In my personal opinion, it was good that I had no deadline. Blender is a really complex software and to use it you should have one hand at the keybord and the other hand on your mouse. It takes time to learn all the shortcuts.

I also had troubles to reproduce the first tutorials. You should first learn the basics of the interface. I can tell you: This interface was totally new to me, although I am a programmer myself. But once you get used to it, you will be incredible productive with that. Today I often miss Blender’s schortcuts even when I am arranging my files or writing text documents :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Blender for … roughly 75 hours and I’m finally getting a hang of one aspect of it, modelling. I had practically no prior experience with 3D or CG before embarking on teaching myself Blender, and I’ve already almost completed my first model (and it looks really good, too). I expect that getting to the point where you feel, if not comfortable, at least orientated in any aspect will take about 100 hours, and to be able to use it confidently you’ll need to devote 1000 to any specific feature. The common wisdom is that it takes 10 000 hours to master anything.

I suggest that you take your idea- to make a short animated movie- and start on a very small, relatively simple aspect of it. Maybe your movie needs a character, or a pot plant, or a house. Learn how to model that thing, then how to unwrap, texture and bake it, then how to animate it. Then repeat that process with the rest of your story’s elements until you feel comfortable enough with the various (necessary) parts of the programme to really let yourself experiment with and prod at the various features of Blender.

Good luck and happy learning. I know I’m enjoying it.

I have switch from 3ds max recently and i start in the CG industry 15 years ago i was also teaching 3ds max and photoshop for game design in college for 5 years here in Montreal.

When i start each new class i always told my students that it was not going to be easy and that before one can really be comfortable with the workflow it would take at least a good 6 month to do something that look decent!

It also depend on what you want to push yourself in some prefer modeling other texture or animation. Like you mention if you dream of making a short movie then it mean that you will have to become more of a 3D generalist if you are to be alone in the project.

And this will take a lot and i mean a lot of time and keep in mind that i am talking about professional quality work and maybe you don’t want to make your short movie to rival Toy story or Ice age but rather just a simple and funny 3d short with stick figure.

So if your goal are modest you will be able in less than a year to do a short movie(including the learning time) but don’t put your expectation too high since i saw many in my career who just abandon before completing anything serious.

Also to take in consideration is the kind of social life you have, if you are the type that need to spend a lot of time with your buddies and girlfriend then the learning curve will be very slow.

My most successful students were loner’s and dedicated all their free time to mastering their art and some of them work on prestigious triple AAA title like Prince of Persia, Assassin creed, Mortal Kombat etc.

Try some beginner tutorials to see if you really like doing 3d since i realize after teaching it for 5 years that many didn’t like the tedious repetitive task involved in the process.

A good 3D artist is exactly like a pianist it take dexterity and years of practicing before becoming a master.

After 15 years i am still learning new techniques and stuff it will never stop…

2 years,then came the new interface which took a month or so to get used to.

I’m still learning things though.

Yeah, it helps to be obsessive. The more passionate you are about it, the easier it’ll be to push through the difficult learning curve. Learning complicated software requires dedication. That said, Blender’s a lot clearer and more user-friendly than many other artist software, so there’s that. :slight_smile:

Really, poly_slave’s got the best post in this thread.

I remember in my early day in CG crying of frustration because i was not able to create the exact vision i had in my mind!

3D is a passion for me since the very beginning and the number #1 quality of a 3d artist is patience, lot of it.

By the way don’t believe the myth that one absolutely need to be good in drawing to become a good 3d artist it will surely help but not required to become successful. Many of my students became pro without having any skills at drawing.

Fellow Noob that is jumping in from the 2D world (Corel Draw) into the 3D world (blender) and it’s a big complex ocean. It’s very daunting. You just have to jump in. Start out with the simple tutorials online and do everyone you can get your hands on. If it’s the snowman tut. with a simple animation, then do it and pause the tut. until you get it right. The learning curve on Blender is a monster because it’s so powerful. Can’t have one without the other. Welcome aboard and make a big splash when you jump in!