Starting Out: An Introductory Guide to Blender and CG Cookie"

Nov 16th 2022

Discover how to use Blender and CG Cookie with our introductory video below. Whether you're a beginner or just new to either platform, this resource has you covered. For a deep dive into Blender's basics, check out our comprehensive course for beginners, now available for streaming here.

Welcome to Blender and CG Cookie Guide
  1. What is Blender?
  2. What can Blender do?
  3. How could I learn Blender?
  4. What is CG Cookie?
  5. How do I download Blender?
  6. First steps after you open Blender.
  7. A few tutorials to get you started

What is Blender? 

Blender is an open-source software program designed to get the best 3D graphics tools into the hands of artists all over the world completely for free.
Thanks to a huge user base of academics and volunteers who are constantly contributing new features, as well as plenty of tireless full-time developers who are funded by voluntary donations from both people and companies, Blender has evolved into a popular and powerful piece of technology that’s definitely worth learning.
Mechanical fly in Blender

What can Blender do?

The world of 3D design is a broad one, from entertainment like video games and animated films to industrial sector applications like 3D printing and scientific simulation.
Luckily, Blender has an incredible number of features built-in which make it a jack of all trades and a master of one or two.
Of these, its greatest strength is 3D modeling; you can build things in Blender incredibly quickly using mesh editing tools combined with powerful modifiers and procedural nodes, or sculpting for more organic shapes.
Nighttime render of a city in Blender
3D Modeling of a Shark in Blender
Once you have your 3D models, you can rig and animate them, add physics, edit materials, and even combine them with the native 2D animation system with Grease Pencil.
Image 004.jpg
There are also two very powerful render engines that allow you to convert your 3D scene into an image or movie: Cycles, which is a full-on path tracer that simulates light very realistically, and Eevee, which is a real-time renderer like you would find in a game engine.
Image 009.jpg
Finally, you can use the compositor to add effects on top of your image and incorporate real-life footage into it, which can lead to some pretty impressive visual effects shots.
And that’s not even touching on the video editor, Python scripting capabilities, or the abundance of tools created by the community!
Really, once you learn Blender, the sky's the limit.

How can I learn Blender?

The downside of having so much creative freedom in Blender is that the learning curve can be steep to figure out how to take advantage of all of it.
Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert to start making cool things; you can do that today.
What’s more, as we mentioned before, Blender has a huge user base, so you can find tons of high-quality resources and tutorials for free on YouTube and the web at large.
1-08 at 16.32.14.png
As a beginner, you might find combing through these a bit disorganized and overwhelming until you know where to start to get up to speed on the fundamentals.
If you’re looking for something a little more structured and geared towards a user at your particular skill level, then CG Cookie can help you out. (shameless plug since you're on our site 😅)  Playlists are a superpower that helps organize the noise and take you by the hand.

What is CG Cookie? is a Blender training site, and we’ve been teaching 3D computer graphics for years, having fun creating animations and even an iPad game. 🤫
8 at 16.53.50@2x.png
We offer a structured set of larger courses broken down by topic that will guide you step by step through everything you need to know to learn Blender.
Looking for a quick tip or a single Blender tutorial? Our Youtube channel is great for watching. 
If you're interested in becoming a Blender master with in-depth courses, give a Citizen membership a try.
As a member, you'll be able to review progress, ask the instructors questions, speak with other students on our forums, and you’ll even be able to submit exercises and get feedback.
Note that our Blender tutorials can be informationally dense since there’s a lot to learn, so make sure you take your time, go at your own pace, and rewatch and take breaks as needed.
Instead of showing you what buttons to press to create one specific result, we want to teach you the fundamentals of 3D graphics in general, which requires learning a lot of new terminology and concepts and that can be overwhelming.
However, with practice and repetition, you’ll be able to create whatever it is that’s in your imagination and hopefully, in the end, you do not need tutorials!

How can I download Blender?

Page to download Blender

You can download Blender directly from the Blender website here. The website has installers for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you have access to the latest version, past versions, and experimental builds.

First steps after you open Blender? 

When you open Blender, you’ll see the following splash screen (possibly with a different image, depending on your version).
Blender Splash Screen
Go ahead and set your language to whatever language you are most comfortable with, keeping in mind that CG Cookie’s tutorials are in English, so sticking with English may make them easier to follow along with.
I would recommend keeping the rest of the settings as is; you’ll still have the option to change them later if you choose to do so. 
To get past this menu, simply click anywhere other than the options in the menu. You now have a Blender file open and ready to work with!

A few tutorials to get you started

Click around, and don't be afraid to explore on your own. If you're looking for the next step jump to lesson two in our Introduction to Blender tutorial series here
If you're looking for a few free Blender projects to dive into, I'd recommend checking out these three from our Youtube Channel. 

When you're ready to join CG Cookie, we offer a guided playlist here on CG Cookie to take you through all of the Blender Fundamentals. 

Happy Blending! 🍪
p.s. Are you an educator looking to teach Blender? We offer group subscription plans for your classroom and a free Blender educator guide to download to help get you started. Just give us a shout at 👋


Wes Burke

Get the latest

Sign up with your email address and get the latest, straight to your inbox.