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How Long Does It Take to Learn Blender?

Feb 28th 2023

Attending a class or watching a video course implies there is a time-to-learn expectation. For example, enrolling in a three-month animation class means I’ll know animation in three months, right? 

The time it takes to learn Blender 3D varies depending on the individual and their prior experience. It could take several months for someone new to 3D modeling, but only a couple of weeks for someone experienced. Learning Blender is an ongoing process as new features and updates are constantly released. In brief, the process of learning never stops. 
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How long does it take to learn something?

Learning Blender is no different from learning anything else. It takes time, repetition, and a persistent drive. Think back to a younger version of yourself and all the things you’ve learned over the years. How long did each take? When did you seem to learn things faster, what took a long time and why? 

After doing some research I found a few things that may help us understand how we learn as humans in the context of Blender. 

Learning something new or creating a new habit? 
Within the subject of learning, we’re presented with familiar names and their ideas on how we as humans can learn and create better habits. Habits that we can apply to learn Blender.  

  • Josh Kaufman has written a book about the first 20 hours of learning anything new and the importance of these initial hours surrounding the “Power Law of Practice”. In brief, stating that we learn the first 50% of anything considerably faster than the remaining 50%,
  • Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers talks about the 10,000-hour rule as the magic number of greatness to become good at something with intentional practice.

With all of this research, then the path or time to learn something new should be pretty clear, right?

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I think the most accurate answer here is, “Well it depends”. Not the answer we’re looking for, I know. But if we know what we’re trying to learn, and we have the performance goal in mind we can make a few assumptions. 

The first question to answer is, “What is your end goal?” Are you looking to simply learn how to model a Cookie in Blender, create your own Blender Add-ons, or work in the 3D industry as a 3D Environment Artist?

What’s the difference between being familiar, proficient, or amazing at working with Blender?

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We could generalize that you could be considered a beginner Blender user during your first year of using the software, after two to three years move up to the intermediate level, and after four to five years get into more advanced topics and techniques. 

Again, the speed at which you learn entirely depends on the pace and quality of learning and is not an automatic graduation. I’ve seen artists go from beginner to advanced artists in a year, and some people are completely comfortable hanging out at the beginner level for what they’re doing with Blender.

For example, I’ve snowboarded on and off over the past 20 years of my life. I’m still most certainly a beginner at it.  

How long does it take to become familiar with Blender? (Beginner)

If you were looking to become familiar with Blender, streaming our Blender Basics course would have you at least familiar with Blender in under a week, or an intense weekend. This would enable you to talk about Blender, understand some fundamental concepts, and even have enough to go model something around your home. 

  • You’re just starting out to learn and use Blender and or 3D Software for the first time
  • You’re familiarizing yourself with the Blender interface and tools within,
  • You’re able to create basic 3D animations and models,
  • May not have a strong understanding of more advanced features and techniques,
  • You may feel comfortable modeling, though other areas of Blender are still a mystery,
  • If we had to put a number on it, I’d say you may have 10 or fewer personal projects completed. 

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When can I say I'm proficient in Blender? (Intermediate)

The definition of proficient means to be, “competent or skilled in doing or using something.” In the optics of Blender, this entails quite a bit of knowledge and experience. 

At this level, you’ll find yourself feeling more confident and comfortable with the software. If somebody asks you to create a realistic street intersection and render a car driving through it, you’d have an idea of how to approach that task, but still lack some ability to pull it off in an efficient manner. 

  • You have a solid understanding of Blender software and its features,
  • Acquired a certain level of proficiency in 3D modeling and animation,
  • Creating more complex models and animations,
  • You’re able to troubleshoot and solve problems within your own projects,
  • You might have the confidence to begin freelancing, or publishing your own Blender content to Youtube or sites like the Blender Market, Keep in mind you don’t need to be an expert to be valuable, just need to be more proficient than the people who hire you.
  • Less than 50 personal projects

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Okay, so when will I reach a master's level in Blender? (Advanced)

Candidly, if you have a growth mindset you never will. Blender is constantly changing and evolving month-to-month, and sometimes week-to-week. There are always new things to learn, new add-ons, new techniques, and technologies such as AI that will change the nature of the landscape 3D artists operate in. 

  • You have a high level of proficiency and expertise with Blender,
  • Have a deep understanding of the software’s capabilities and are able to create highly detailed and complex models and animations,
  • You’re comfortable using advanced techniques and workflows,
  • You can create your own advanced materials, lighting, and effects,
  • Experienced in problem-solving, troubleshooting, and optimization,
  • You’ve given talks/presentations on using Blender at a user group or conference,
  • Not only do you know which buttons to press to do a thing, you know why you’re pressing them,
  • You’re using Blender’s tools to do things that maybe they never intended to be used for. 

How to learn Blender. 

It will be hard in the beginning. This is okay and expected. 3D is an incredibly overwhelming thing to learn, yet is highly rewarding if you’re able to stick with it. The beginning is the crucial phase where you’ll be asking yourself how much you really want to do this. 

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Here are some quick tips on how to get started learning Blender

1. Start with the basics: Learn the user interface and how to navigate the 3D space before diving into more complex tasks.

2. Watch tutorials: There are many excellent tutorials available here at CG Cookie or online elsewhere that cover a wide range of topics, from beginner to advanced. 

  • Blender Basics - Learn more about Blender and how to navigate the interface,
  • Press Start - Your first simple Blender Project

3. Practice, practice, practice: The more you use Blender, the more comfortable you will become with its tools and features. This should really be the top and most important tip to understand. 

4. Join a community: Such as Blender Stack Exchange or Blenderartists.org to connect with other Blender users and learn from their experience. Members of CG Cookie here also have a vibrant growing community of Blender fanatics to connect with. The point is to get involved with others. 

Try to focus on specific tasks or projects and try to finish them as soon as possible, it's a good way to learn and apply the knowledge. If you begin trying to conquer too much, you’ll get discouraged and more likely to quit. 

  1. Model and texture your first scene in Blender [YT Video]
  2. Animate your first scene in Blender [YT Video]

Finally, don't get discouraged if you encounter challenges or difficulties. Learning any new software takes time and practice, but with persistence and determination, you will be off and running with Blender. 

Happy Blending! 🍪

__________

How long have you been learning Blender, what level would you consider yourself? 

Related reading: 


Author

Wes Burke
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