Is Blender Actually Hard to Learn?

Some thoughts on the subject. I’d like to know yours!

In general, no. But the materials/textures part is harder than other software.

If Blender cost 5000$€ then it would be industry standard. Stigma is still that it’s “just” a free software. Luckily some in the industry have caught wind about Blender and use it in their toolset.

It’s easy enough to learn if, and only if, you are humble enough to read the instructions. Radical notion, I know, but sometimes ya gotta do it.

The way I described it to someone the other day is that Blender starts out feeling counter-intuitive, but rapidly becomes very intuitive.

Edit: I found the Noob to Pro tutorials invaluable. IMO they make getting started very easy.

It has a steep learning curve, but I’m hopeful the 2.8 series will simplify it.

Anything its easy if you really want to learn so yes blender its easy to learn

No. Some things really are hard to learn, even if you do really want to learn them.

IMHO It depends, there are three situations:

1.- You know nothing about 3D and 3D software: In this situation Blender is as hard as any other package, maybe even a bit easier because it follows lotus in it´s way of work.

2.- You are an expert in other package and are willing to make the change, and you have the proper motivation: once you jump through the first part of the curve, that is embracing Blender way of doing things, like RMB and cursor, keyboard and shortcuts to operate, etc… then Blender is one of the easiest tools I´ve had the pleasure to use, and I´ve used all the main ones with the exception of C4D and Modo.

3.- You are an expert in other package and you are just passing by… in this situation Blender is one of the hardest tools to learn because there is not enough motivation to start thinking in a Blender´s way and stop thinking in an Autodesk way, so… pretty hard.

BTW IMO materials are easy since the inclusion of Principled shader and textures are as hard as in any other package, not too different here.


It’s been an awful long time since I used any Autodesk products, so I’m not qualified to comment on those. I do, however, still jump into C4D from time to time (usually when I want an old model and need to export), and at first I found the workflow between the two so different that I thought I’d never switch to Blender.

Roll on 3 years, and here I am, using it almost daily with barely a second thought given to the UI workflow, materials creation etc.

As others have said, if you want to learn, you will learn, and then muscle memory kicks in.

Bear in mind that blender is more than just a 3D modeller, though, incorporating other aspects that, for users of other software, would be separate applications. VSE, Image editing, compositing etc. and so “yes”, there is more complexity than there may be in other 3D packages, but no, it is not more complex that the sum of packages needed to achieve the same ends.

If you don’t try to transform blender into another app it’s ok, the rmb can be changed and the rest is as simple as other software.

I tried several times to learn blender and didn’t knew it was possible to use LMB, after that, I used the proper tutorials and it was really easy for me who came from Maya.

It’s always better to learn with a complete formation, not only some tuto on the net.

Why do many people want to turn a blender into May, Max or Modo? Well with modo they are a bit similar. It’s enough to read the basiс blender or documentation and everything will become clear, the blender interface is more convenient than many programs. Panels with tools are needed only at the first time, since the blender from the very beginning accustoms to hot-keys. If you turn a blender into a max or another software, it will be two very similar software and one of them will have to disappear
Compare with games is silly, especially with such as overwatch. One could understand the comparison with urban simulators. Or such a comparison. Some people went through basic training in the game, while others immediately began to play, now the latter have some difficulties with the game
You can click rmb anywhere and select the “online guide”. Once he started to learn max it was hard, but to learn the blender was easier. Now, just like you do not understand other programs, with own interfaces and layouts

In what kind of industry?
To be a “standard” in a certain industry you must fit its specific technical requirements.
Being a great generalist software, free or paid, is not enough to rule the market.
But I’m with you about the lack of information people have about blender.
Its learning path is not much harder than any other software. The matter is only why someone should start learning a new software.

It’s hard to learn because it break some basic concepts of the interface and new people have problems with some widgets that they don’t have in any other software.

From an experience of person who has extensively tried pretty much every single mainstream 3D package around (even Truespace 3D back in the day), Blender is the second hardest to learn right after Houdini. Of course it depends where you start from. For example, I’d rate Lightwave to be 3rd one, right after Blender, but someone who started with Blender or Lightwave as their first 3D software may see it differently.

The problem is not that Blender’s user interface is complicated, or that the workflows are too different. The only problem is flat out terrible mouse and keyboard mapping out of the box, which is further complicated by only semi-functional hotkey editor that is very prone to corrupting your entire hotkey customization if you accidentally hit a wrong button.

The main difference is that Blender’s keyboard and mouse mapping throws all common sense conventions out of the window, and I don’t mean only in the context of 3D softwares, but in the context of computer usage in general. Here are some examples:

1, In Windows, if you left click a file, you will select it. If you left click and drag, you will select multiple files. If you left click and drag a selection of multiple files, you will start dragging (moving) the files.

2, In Linux, same applies.

3, In any text editor in any OS, if you left click a letter you cursor will pop right before the letter. If you click and drag, you will select multiple letters, if you click and drag selection of multiple letters, you will start dragging (moving them)

4, If you play any realtime strategy game, if you left click a unit, you will select it. If you left click and drag, you will draw a rectangle to select multiple units.

4, In any CG package except Blender, if you left click an object, you will select it. If you left click and drag, you will start drawing rectangle to select multiple objects/mesh elements.

5, In Blender… well, you know how it goes… Especially the mind numbing moment of selecting multiple nodes in node editor, and then dragging with your select mouse button to discover that only the node under your cursor is the one moving.:eek:

The main problem is that people do come into a software with an expectation that they will have to customize something, but no one expects to be customizing completely basic things that always should work right out of the box.

Imagine buying a car. You always expect to customize some parts of it, like picking an engine, premium kit, interior color, etc… Now imagine you come to a Blender car dealer and find out that the cars they sell have two of the 4 seats mounted on the ceiling and a square shaped wooden steering wheel mounted on the rear of the car, requiring you to pay extra and spend extra effort to customize the car just to behave like a normal car should. That’s what Blender feels like. :slight_smile:

It’s extremely rewarding to find out how powerful it is once you spend 2-3 days patiently finding out a hotkey customization combination that doesn’t corrupt something and make something stop working, but no one should go through such process. It’s like the worlds most awesome theme park but whoever wants to get in has to climb over smooth 3 meters tall concrete wall with a sharp barbed wire on top.

The reason there are many folks who don’t like Blender is that this wall is the very first thing they come into contact with :confused:

The worst thing to do is try to mimik your other software in blender…using your previous knowledge as a headstart to get into this…doesn’t work and does add a lot of frustration for new users. Because you constantly bash some unique decissions (like the modeless interface) blender has made. Also the interface does you present with a hudge amount of buttons wich are hidden in other software behind different dialogs. it is confusiing and adds doubts for users comming from another packages.
Don’t get me wrong those design decissions are not bad. They are things wich makes things fly in blender once you adapt to it. But they are often false friends for users comming from another software.

@rampa… I would say the crown for hardest texturing program goes to modo for its shader tree wich is, similar to blender, pretty unique, and very powerfull once you get it but very frustrating for new users.

No harder than any other 3D package, it tends to feel more difficult if you come from another package as your bring with you the expectations of similar workflow. I came from Lightwave to Blender, once I sat down for a couple of afternoons and learned a few important mouse actions, keyboard shortcuts and commands, it quickly became very intuitive for me to work in Blender.

I made a point of not just spending a few minutes getting to grips with the move / scale / rotate and basic editing actions, but went over them until they are second nature, (it really doesn’t take long). Remembering to apply scale if working in object mode, so modifiers and editing behaves correctly was a big thing. Once I had the basics, it’s striaghtforward. Which really is the case for any 3D package.

I think what daunts people is the scale of the program, but you can learn pretty quickly. I actually prefer doing materials via nodes than trying to use the materials panel, again, once I understood the basics.

Coming in “cold” with no preconceptions helps, I didn’t get anywhere until I stopped trying to make it behave like Lightwave, those just getting into 3D won’t have that issue.

I sort of took to it like a duck to water. But that was after many years of working with Max Maya and a few others. I never really had that much problem with right click select either. Just got used to it. These days I often work in house with Blender and Maya side by side and jump between the two constantly.

I took the attitude to just keep an open mind and learn things the Blender way rather than try to fight it. I switched Softimage to Maya mode when I needed to learn it fast for a job and it just made things much harder in the long run. Especially following advanced tutorials or if if I needed advice from more experianced users. So I didnt want to begin Blender the same way. For me it seems to work best to get any unfimlliarity out the way right at the start.

So I’m not sure Blender is any harder than anything else of similar complexity. Especially as it encompasses such a wide remit. One of the beauty s of how its set up though is a broadly consistent logic across each discipline and a very fast and fluid workflow and interface once grasped.

l think a link in Blender that points to a definitive official begginers tutorial series could be hugely beneficial. There is just so much tutorial content out there. So possibly it might be a problem of over supply that can seem overwhelming to a newcomer. I avoided that a bit when I started with Blender by getting a beginner’s book and very slowly and carefully working through the first few chapters of that.But if I had just been looking at video content I think I might have felt a bit lost.

@rawalanche - Bingo!

3D in general is not the easiest of things to learn, as for Blender, it relies heavily on shortcuts, which confuses a lot of peoples in my opinion, you can do pretty much anything with it, if you know all the workarounds, workarounds that are not in the manual most of the time, my hope is that 2.8 will streamline the interface!

I agree that the windows can be confusing and can be cumbersome, because it is not really intuitive in all situations. Instead of having modal windows, which would be very much in contrast to the current Blender standard, there are some low hanging usability fruits in my opinion.

  • The first one would be a closing button for each window. Even though this can already be done, it is quite counterintuitive, because you know this view has to be removed and instead of clicking once in that view, you need to find another view which can be dragged into the one that you don’t want anymore. I am working in a very chaotic way and I adjust and add windows as needed, but I rarely close windows and I assume that with a close button I would actually do it.
  • The other one would be drag and drop for the windows. This can be done without having modal windows. A simple decision to have a window at the top right can be very cumbersome. You have to remove the current view through the counterintuitive dragging, then you need to create the new window and switch the type and maybe move the header.

Those two small UI adjustments would make my workflow in Blender a lot more comfortable. The implementation changes would certainly not be that small :slight_smile: