Admittedly coming from a 3D Studio Max user background the world of Blender was new and unknown just a few years back. I had questions of; Who is using Blender, how can I learn Blender and what sort of quality is it able to produce? To my surprise it can do quite a bit more then the average industry artist may think.
But how does one get started or is there a road-map to follow to get drink of Blender and become a full-fledge Blenderhead?
Background / History of Blender
Blender has roots all the way back to 1988, and has transversed through time and a few roadblocks to get where it is today. Ton Roosendaal founded the Blender Foundation back in 2002 and has since then started the Blender Institute which has produced 4 major productions. The latest one “Sintel” premiered to a sold out crowd at Netherlands Film Festival. To get the granular details of this fantastic story read the history from the source itself http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/history/
How to get Blender?
You may download the latest official “Stable” release from the download page at Blender.org. Or, if you prefer to live on the edge you will find that most up-to-date, development builds at http://graphicall.org.
Blender is available for Macs, Linux and even Windows!
Where to learn Blender?
Here of course! Hah, but if you are tired of our sexy voices then these guys below are just as cool.. if not cooler. Give these guys a visit and check out the education they are producing for the rest of us.
Kernon Dilion - From Blender Newbies and has been rocking some tutorials with us for some time. Kernon was one of the first industry guys I met online and has been a fantastic educational resource to the Blender community for years.
Andrew Price - Is crazy good and pushing the wow out of blender and into your vocabulary when viewing the results form his tutorials. Andrew is awesome at controlling the elements and nature inside of Blender. Visit Andrew over at BlenderGuru.com
David Ward is one of our own, but also has his own bag of Blender Contributions that are worth noting. His youtube.com channel is full of great educational and he has a central website you can find him hanging out at: http://blender101.com/
Sebastian Koenig has taken a huge step and now teaches Blender Workshops. He also has several fantastic tutorials for purchase at cmiVFX
Jason van Gumster - Whom has been featured in 3D world Magazine, and has had two books published. Including his recent update version of Blender for Dummies. Jason is quick to help and is even helping us on our support ticket system! Visit Jason over at Hand Turkey Studios
There are several Blender educators stepping up each day to help spread their knowledge to others of Blender. Here are just a few that are worth taking a look at:
Here are some large resources as well that are worth keeping an eye on. Below links are filtered for Blender Tutorials.
Of course there is also education materials available for purchase from the Blender Foundation directly at: http://www.blender3d.org/e-shop/ Purchasing from the E-shop helps support the foundation.
The Blender Network
There are several sites that help serve up Blender news, Galleries and general community hangouts. The community is a very unique and close-nit community that all has one shared obsession.
Blendswap – Blend Swap was created after becoming frustrated searching through forums of broken links, and model websites full of ads. It is a great resource for people to download and post .blend files to share with others.
IRC – Yes this is still around and it is the place where you can find Blender discussions a plenty. There are specific channels for discussion types found here.
BlenderArt Mag – The magazine was started for the blender community, having the aim of publishing a bi-monthly PDF magazine; free for download. The goal of the magazine is to provide quality learning content for the blender community, from the efforts of the community itself.
People to know
Along with the people and sites mentioned above, it is good to become familar with some of the community members.
- Ton Roosendaal – Chairman of the Blender Foundation and the recognized head of Blender.
- Tony Mullen – Perhaps the most prolific Blender book author
- Brecht van Lommel – One of the awesome Blender developers that is currently working on modernizing the Blender shading and rendering system.
- Campbell Barton - Another incredible Blender developer that is currently employed by the Blender Foundation to help maintain Blender.
- Ben Simonds – Is a fantastic artist and has put together several very good tutorials that demystify SSS skin shaders and lighting.
Of course there are many other excellent artists, teachers and developers that we haven’t mentioned here. If you spend much time in the Blender Community you’ll come to find many people that you’ll want to follow.
How to help Blender
Blender is a living entity that changes from day to day, but there are things that you can do to help out. Things as straight forward as donating to the foundation HERE if able, or as simple as visiting the sites above. Supporting these sites and the people behind them, helps keep education fresh and filling up the Google search engine results.
Contribute back to the community whenever possible. This could be in the form of offering a critique back on an image, or helping out a newer artist that is looking to get their feet wet over at the Blender Artists forums.
Thank you guys and if we missed something just mention it below and we will work to get it added. Happy Blending!