Blog Post

Use Blender to Create Eye-popping 3D Graphics

Who doesn’t like to get something good for free? The open source community offers all kinds of resources that go beyond free applications, including free books on mastering the top open-source applications.

In this post, I’ll cover an excellent book about Blender, available for free online. Blender is a robust 3D graphics and animation application that can help you create eye-popping graphics for web sites, blogs and documents.

If you’re unfamiliar with Blender, take a look at the gallery posted here for the quality of graphics you can produce with this free application (available in Windows, Mac and Linux flavors). It’s actually been used to produce respected full-length 3D movies but is also more than capable of helping you give a web site, a blog or documents a distinctive, eye-catching look with still 3D graphics. The screenshot above was created by a member of the Blender community, and it’s a drawing, not a photo.

Learning to use Blender is a lot of fun and adds a useful tool to your graphics repertoire. “Blender Basics, Second Edition” is an exhaustive, free online book, downloadable as a 120-page PDF here. It takes you through 2D and 3D graphics creation, how to add lighting effects, and much more. The animation aspects of the book won’t necessarily be of interest to all web workers, but still might be fun to try out.

On OStatic, we also recently covered Linuxtopia, a site that houses a huge number of tutorials. Don’t let the name fool you if you’re not a Linux user. The site includes very complete guides on many free, non-Linux applications and platforms.

For example, you can find thorough guides on virtualization (useful for running dual operating systems), beginning Java programming, the GIMP (a powerful open-source graphics application), web development tools, and much more. Look down the left rail of Linuxtopia for the many free online guides that are available.

Share your Blender tips and tricks in the comments.

6 Responses to “Use Blender to Create Eye-popping 3D Graphics”

  1. The documentation disparity has been my biggest headache in learning blender. 3-d graphics are a different animal than 2-d and that also accounts for some of that six months. I’m at about 3 months. I could create a nice, simple graphic (like my blog banner) but I don’t have a professional grasp of the software.

  2. OcasoProtal

    Yes, the blender interface is not following any standard guidelines. But when you follow some simple rules (“one hand on the keyboard, the other hand on the mouse”) you will get used to it very fast. The 6mon-2yrs michael talks about is the time to become an advanced blender user knowing all the features blender has to offer (UV-editor, IPO-editor, built-in sequencer, …). IMHO you need nearly the same time to master all the other advanced 3d packages out there.

  3. michael

    Also note that to get really proficient in blender takes around 6months – 2 years (according to blender forums). The interface doesn’t follow your standard guidelines, its the weakest point of the package

  4. One very, very, very important thing to note is that Blender’s interface can change drastically between versions. It’ll take some internet searches to map what’s in the book to what’s in the current Blender.

    Not to detract from either, of course. Blender is a fantastic piece of software, but without knowing about this, someone might close Blender 2.48a and this 2.42a-based book in frustration otherwise. :)