Top 7 Tips for Beginners Learning Blender: Start Your 3D Journey Right

Mar 18th 2024

Over the years our beloved Blender has grown and matured to become, in my opinion, the best 3D software available. With over 17 million downloads via, according to the 2022 Blender report, I don't think I am alone with my opinion.


Instructors Assistants (IA's), Martin, Omar and myself have the privilege to be a part of CGCookie interacting with our awesome community. As part of our daily tasks we answer many questions from our community on, our Discord server and I also respond to CGCookie related questions on the Blender Market.

We often see the same questions repeated by new members to CGCookie and the wider Blender community starting out on their journey into 3D CG with Blender. So with many years of experience, here are some of our top tips to help you take the first steps on the road to success...

    1. Which Blender Version to use?
    2. Enable these Preferences
    3. Fundamentals
    4. Practice Practice Practice
    5. Experiment
    6. Take a Break
    7. The CG Cookie Road to Success

    Tip #1 Which Blender Version to use?

    Many of the questions related to Blender version we see are often titled as "My Blender is different, this course is useless to me." or "When are you going to update this course to the latest version of Blender?".

    Every Blender version is available to download from Blender Releases. My advice is to consider each Blender version a separate tool for learning the lessons in the course or tutorial you are currently studying.

    The latest stable release is recommended for general use and production; it's not necessary for learning 3D CG with Blender.

    The core concepts of 3D remain pretty much the same throughout time, and in Blender versions, all our courses and tutorials still hold relevant knowledge on the subject of the course.

    I suggest you try and prioritise grasping the concepts of 3D over learning with the latest Blender version.

    Now I'm not saying you shouldn't be aware of Everything New in Blender, you certainly should, for the production of your own projects when the time comes.

    Learning 3d Through Various Blender Versions

    Tip #2: Enable these Preferences

    Probably, in every course and tutorial you watch, the instructor will use the Node Wrangler add-on.It's a free add-on and included with Blender, you just need to enable it.

    The Node Wrangler add-on utilises additional hotkeys when working with both shader nodes and geometry nodes.

    To do this, click on the Edit menu on the top header menu bar and select Preferences.

    In the Preferences window click the Add-ons tab on the left and in the search box, top right, start to type 'Wrangler'.

    The list of add-ons will filter and you will see the Node Wrangler add-on, all you need to do now is enable it by clicking the check box.


    As well as enabling add-ons, the preferences is where you will set up Blender depending on your needs.

    For example, if you have a 2 button mouse, you can enable 'Emulate 3 Button Mouse' under the Input tab. This will enable ALT+Left Mouse as an alternate for the middle mouse button.

    How to Optimize Your Blender Preferences: 10 Tips for the Best Experience

    Tip #3: Fundamentals

    Now we are ready to get started creating in Blender, but wait...

    A very common question we see is often something along the lines of "I am new to Blender, where do I start?" or "In what order should I follow the courses?".

    Major advice here... Start at the beginning.

    The temptation to jump straight to Game Character Modeling, because that's what you are most interested in, should be resisted.

    The Blender basics should be your very first baby step into 3D CG with Blender, and we want to make your first week with CGCookie as easy as possible, so we have curated collections of related learning material, aka.. Playlists.

    Your First Week With Blender and CGCookie is the perfect playlist to get you started.

    On completion of your first week, you are probably still wondering, even feeling a little overwhelmed, on what to tackle next with all the course options available.

    The answer is Fundamentals.


    All neatly packaged in another playlist are all the fundamentals for each discipline of 3D CG with Blender, including 3D modeling, Digital Sculpting, Materials and Shading and much more.

    The Fundamentals to become a skilled Blender artist playlist is designed to lay the solid foundations for your future with 3D CG in Blender.

    If you want to become a 3D Animator, you maybe thinking "I don't need all this, I only need to learn the fundamentals of rigging and the fundamentals of animation", however, your understanding of other disciplines will give you an advantage to understanding the requirements of a character model for rigging, and how it will deform when animating, for example.

    Tip #4: Practice Practice Practice

    Three little words, OK, one word repeated three times, Practice, Practice, Practice.

    If you want three different words, how about, Eat, Sleep, Practice, and one more for luck, repeat.

    With the fundamentals mastered, SESSIONS: Minimalism and SESSIONS: Macro could be exactly what you need to be inspired to practice.

     A daily dose of Blender is exactly what the doctor recommends.

    Often, we get home from a hard day's work and feel we don't have the energy or time for Blender, but an hour or two a day is better than nothing and enough to keep us motivated.

    7 Tips to find time to Learn Blender

    Tip #5: Experiment

    Now you have a couple of courses under your belt, experiment a little with what you have learnt.

    Press Start from your first week is an excellent course to follow along. Now, as part of your practice routine, modify your model to your taste. Change the color, try a different screen image, or your favorite game art for the cartridge.

    Also, as you progress along your journey, while following future courses, stop for a few minutes at the end of each lesson and play with some of the settings used in the lesson.

    Seeing different behaviors by playing with settings in the shader editor or on a modifier, for example, will go a long way when creating your own projects without instructions to follow.

    You could even redesign your console for a completely different look, if you're feeling confident.

    9 Simple Blender 3D Projects for Beginners


    Tip #6: Take a Break

    Be in no doubt, there will be times when things just don't seem to work as they should, you done precisely what the instructor did in the course, but it's just not happening.

    Frustration begins to creep in and even self doubt in your ability to complete the task, and have a negative affect on your progress.

    This is the perfect time to take a break. You may be stubborn and think you're not going anywhere until you get through this lesson. An hour or two later, red-faced and with steam coming from your ears, you are no further along.

    Take that Break...

    Don't forget those other two words from earlier, eat and sleep, these are just as important for your brain to retain the knowledge you are trying to learn.

    And coming back with fresh eyes, we often spot a silly mistake we overlooked because we were staring at it for too long.

    The doctor also recommends exercise, go for a walk, you may see something that can spark your creativity in your own projects.

    Fueling Artistic Creativity: Insights from 3D Artists

    Tip #7: The CG Cookie Road to Success

    Here at CG Cookie we go way beyond video tutorials. We are a community of creatives who are passionate about learning 3D and supporting each other on our Blender journeys.

    Don't take my word for it; have a read of some Success Stories.

    Think of CGCookie not only as a vehicle to steer on the roads of your Blender journey, but you'll also find a road map in the glove box.

    We have provided some targeted Playlists to help you achieve your goals. With the ability to create your own playlist, you are free to plan your own route.


    Search our extensive Library of Courses to find the precise topic you need, either as an extra curricular activity or as a refresh on a topic previously explored.

    You'll be amazed at all the fun over on the CG Cookie YouTube Channel as well.

    Most of our courses contain exercises to give you the chance to test your skills during or at the end of the course. You will also have an opportunity to submit your submission for grading and valuable feedback direct from the course Instructor or an IA ( Instructor Assistant ) or, if you are lucky, both.

    We have a treasure trove of Downloads to assist you with whatever you need. Models to scrutinise, Blender Rigs to animate, Add-ons to use, even PDF handouts to read and help hone your 3D CG Blender skills, and a lot more too.

    With regular Posts added, you always have information on the latest hot topics at your figure tips. You'll find a wealth of info and tips and tricks from both professional and hobbyist 3D CG artists.

    The Gallery of Student Projects is open for viewings 24/7. A place to share your own work and receive adulation and love for your efforts.

    Our Community Q&A is monitored constantly by the small team of Instructors, IA's and also knowledgeable community members to answer your questions, find solutions to your problems, and general guidance with 3D CG and Blender.
    Be patient though, we need to eat sheep too, I mean eat and sleep.

    And that brings us to the most important and valuable benefit of all...

    YOU, the awesome community.


    Adrian Bellworthy
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