Need some advice and encouragement

I’ve been using Blender off and on for a couple years, but all together probably only have a handful of hours actually doing anything. Mainly the ‘job and 3 kids’ thing takes up most of my time. But, my 2yr old son is getting easier to handle and i’m finding myself with more time to sit at the computer.

What im having trouble with now is just exactly what direction to go as far as learning Blender properly. I’ve started untold number of projects, and never finished for various reasons. Mainly because of time and trying to model things i’m not skilled enough to tackle yet.

Im curious how others here went about learning.
I have a pretty good grasp of the interface, and generally understand how to push around pixels and so on. I guess i’m looking for some structured way to pursue bettering my skills.

The company I work for sells a line of products that can be tailored to a customers preference. That is, we can make them an item from scratch. One of the sales guys was pitching a design to a ‘Big’ restaurant chain and found out I was learning to model so he had me model it from his sketches. It’s a simple shape and I made and AVI of it spinning. They actually sent it to the customer to see and are gonna pay me for my work. YIKES!!

They said they would have some more projects for me soon, so I need to get busy. And yes, they know i’m a beginner.

Anyway, I know a lot of you here are putting out some fantastic stuff, just like to know how you guys went about the learning process.

Congrats on your first professional Blender “gig”? (Why not post the image in the finished projects section ?)

I guess you shoudl base what you’re interested in learning (first :slight_smile:everything would be nice but …) on what you’re interested in doing with the program.

Since it looks like modelling is your interest, you might take a look at the recent Intro to Modelleing on the Wiki under the Summer of Documentation section (Summer of . link in my signature)

Colin Litster’s materials and textures might be your next read. (Again in the Summer of… section). His tutors on ocean effects / clouds … others on are outstanding !

And maybe carry on with the Summer of … with the Lighting … Physical Simulation / Particles / Effects …

If you’re going to want to do any animation AndyD has a nice tut on “the bouncing ball”.

For char animation and modelling Ryan Dale’s Intro to Char Animation is great.

Then there’s the new composting nodes for creating scenes from multiple images / effects.


Walker, there is no road.
The road is made as you walk.

I really really didn’t get handy with Blender until I had a real need to do so, namely to create a 60-second TV commercial. Then I found I had a concrete need with a deadline with the motivation, and could break it down into eatable chunks, and had a visual goal to reach. Until then, it was just “play when I had time” and I never did. I have a saying Never confuse activity with motion. My brother says “Focus and Succeed.” Activity is just bouncing around, poking here and there, trying this and that, doing some renders of a cube and sphere (how cute), making one purple, etc. Lots of fun but leads nowhere. Motion is a force (motivation) operated on an object (using Blender) in a specific direction (a product) with an intensity (deadline).

Speciifcally, how then? Alvaro says it all. For your motiviation, it sounds like mesh modeling with some basic materials is fine; a spinning model is all you need. Be advised tho, mesh modeling can get quite complex (time consuming). So just getting good at that is something right there. Witness the pros at work at Siggraph or BlenderCon or RedHat U (Roo), and you can see where you need to go.

Dead on. Ive been going for a year and a half(fairly constantly) and Ive only gotten better. Once you know the controls(the hardest part in my opinion) the rest is up to you.
Its all creativity, ambition, and just how interested you are.
Good luck in your future endeavors

well as you say this is what you are doing

I’ve started untold number of projects, and never finished for various reasons. Mainly because of time and trying to model things i’m not skilled enough to tackle yet.

this is the “best” way to learn blender. just because you tackled something to hard doesn’t mean you didn’t learn anything (even if you didn’t finish it). the nest time you did it, you would do it faster i would assume. so its all good.

just keep going, its the same road i took, and i’m not doing to badly, i have never finished a blender project in my life.


My best growing experiences have come from projects with deadlines, just as RogerWickes spoke of. When you are under the gun you “find” ways to accomplish what you need to do. Usually I end up taking the long way around with the limited knowledge I have. The great thing is that later on down the road you find out a new tool, and instantly think “man, I wish I knew this back when…” It is these constant up-hill challenges that force you to grow and learn.

A great set of tutorials can be found here:
and are downloadable. They will get all of the basic tools and items that blender will do. After that it is a matter of practice and imitation of what others have done. You can learn all you want about modeling a person’s face, but until you do it about fifty times you really don’t learn it. The deadline of a project is what will motivate you to try the fiftieth time.


Everyone, thank you. I definately see a lot of what i’ve already been doing in your comments.
Guess I am on the right ‘road’ :slight_smile:

It was definately different when I had a deadline, I spent about 4 hours on the project for my job, and had to teach myself to animate it. "Pucker factor’.
If the customer chooses to buy it, it will be a trademark thing. So, I cant post it yet. But when it’s in service with them, I will.
I think, not finishing things was getting me down. But I have for sure learned something from the various projects.

Thanks for the links, not sure how I missed the one JABayne posted. Good stuff on that site.

My main interest in modeling is for my own fun, making stuff for myself, friends, my kids. If it makes me a few dollars, all the better. I hadnt expected it to go that way, but they bought me a flashdrive ‘in case’ i needed to take stuff home and gave me a 512mg stick to upgrade my PC. They’re a very in-house type of company, so they would rather pay an employee to do something than go to an outside source. I’m slave labor I guess :slight_smile:

you can approach in two ways:

technical: you can learn blenders function and focus on mastering them, not creating something with them. this way the creative part, the harder one can be cut out.

you can try to find information about how to do this and that what you see in movies for example. or when you like cars you can try to look up car modeling. but do not see a car as a unit. you can only do tires, or frames, or seats. do not fill pressured to finish a car.
props are good as well.

the second way is to try to use you technical skills with doing something creative.
this is the harder one and i found one rule: what ever you do you need to do it because you want to do it and not because you see others do it and find it great so you want to be part of that. this road often ends in failure because you are not behind it, technical, conceptual and more important emotional !!!

i learned 3d first with just playing with the technologies how do animate a bone, how to model a face, how to texture a magazine clip and and and

after that i felt strong enough to be able to create something i want to be told.
i think in terms of stories. what ever you do it is a story and you need to know what you want to say. not knowing that is like trying to make a fire only with gasoline. it burns away fast.

it took me quite some time many many failures but I do not want to call those failures.
one major rule i try to teach my students at the university here is that there is no failing in art. what ever you do even when it does not work out, means gaining knowledge and practical skills for you. it is a win win situation. :wink:

with that thought in mind doing 3d is much more fun.