Can I Use Blender 3D To Earn An Income?


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It’s a question that a lot of us will ask at some point when we discover something that allows us to do so much and has so much potential, that we have access to for free. Is it possible for the average Joe like me to use Blender and create some form of income using it?

Blender can be used in a variety of different ways to help make a profit and generate an income for anyone in the world. It is used to create assets and artwork that can be sold on various marketplaces, and can also be used as part of a larger process of content creation to generate income.

There is no doubt that if you are willing to learn the software, it can become so much more than just another hobby. But exactly how can you begin to earn money while doing something you love like 3D modeling in Blender 3D?

7 Ways To Earn Money From Products Created From Blender And Other Means

There are many ways in which you can use Blender to generate an income from using an application like Blender 3D. It is first and foremost an application used to create 3D models, so a lot of what you can do centers around these models and the industries that are likely to use them.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that we can use Blender to generate our own income…

  • Sell 3D Assets On The Marketplace – The most obvious method of being able to generate an income using the Blender software is to sell the assets that you create in Blender on a third-party marketplace. examples of where you can sell 3D models include TurboSquid and CgTrader, which are both very well-established sites for selling 3D models. You also have the option of selling in marketplaces built for specific game engines like the Unity Asset Store and the Epic marketplace for Unreal Engine.
  • Complete Freelance Projects For Clients – Short of working as an employee for a major company you can choose to use the skills developed in Blender to operate as a freelance artist, taking specific jobs from clients while setting payment terms that you agree on based on what services you want to offer. For example, may artists create 3D logos and logo animations for clients on places like Fiverr and Upwork to help earn a living.
  • Online Courses With Educational Content – If you believe that you are knowledgeable in how Blender works and you want to give back to Blender and the Blender community then you can choose to sell online courses that teach new Blender users how to use the software. You can create your own website that sells your content exclusively or you could use a third-party site like Udemy or Skillshare that already has large audiences to tap into.
  • Youtube Channel For Promotion And Advertising – If the idea of creating full online courses seems a bit too daunting but you remain interested in the concept of teaching Blender using video content, then you may want to consider creating a Youtube channel. You don’t have to be as organized here with your content but if done correctly youtube can generate a reasonable income through advertisements and affiliate marketing, all while you teach Blender in the main video content.
  • Code Addons To Improve Functionality And Sell Them On Gumroad – A small section of you may be interested in coding or learning how to code. Blender allows you to use Python script to add functionality to the Blender software, and this functionality can be stored in the form of an add-on. You are able to sell add-ons or distribute them for free at places like Gumroad or the Blender market. Best of all you can have control over how much your add-ons are worth.
  • Create And Sell Stock 3D Images – The traditional process of learning how to use Blender involves learning first how to create 3D models in the viewport, then applying textures and materials to each model, setting up the lighting of the scene before finally rendering the scene as a single image using one of Blenders two render engines. If you save these renders, then you can sell them as stock photos on sites like usplash and Shutterstock.
  • Design Canvas Prints To Sell Physically – Rather than sell your renders as digital assets, you could decide to be a bit bolder and create full-size canvas prints using your digital artwork. This is great for those who can create landscape scenes and are able to work well with Blenders node system to create their own artistic style. You can set up your own e-commerce store or sell digital prints on a site like Etsy.
  • Use Ecommerce And Print On Demand To Sell Products That Use Your Designs – Ecommerce actually presents a fantastic opportunity to artists that want to create unique physical products that cannot be found anywhere else, because the designs are created by the Blender artists themselves. Print on demand allows you to work with manufacturers to print your designs onto their products and then sell those products to customers through your shopify store or third-party marketplace.
  • Get A Job With A Company – Finally, you have the ability to use the skills developed with Blender to gain employment in a variety of industries. While most people assign Blender to the industries of game design and 3D animation, its reach goes far beyond and you can even use it now to gain employment in advertisement, film, manufacturing, architecture, and VR/AR development.

What Can You Do With The Skills You Learn In Blender?

Learning Blender is a fantastic hobby to take up because the skills that you learn are so vast and useful in many different fields.

For a start, you can learn to create 3D models or even entire scenes in the viewport. 3D models can be used for different purposes depending on how the models are made.

For example, you could learn how to develop video game assets, which generally need to be low poly but also have good topology so that they can be animated correctly. They also need to be UV mapped so that you can apply textures onto them that match the art style of the game they are being created for.

But this is just one reason for creating a 3D model in Blender and just one workflow. If you began modeling assets for manufacturing, or 3D printing, then you would need to learn a different workflow in order to create those types of models.

Basically, every skill that you learn in Blender has multiple different uses, and this applies to other skillsets as well like animation, and video editing.

Learning animation opens up a path in several industries as you learn how to rig characters, produce different lighting setups, and gain an understanding of physics systems, you open the door to working in industries that use animation for their products or their marketing.

Even if you are not as interested in the traditional ways of using Blender, there are other skills that you could learn too. Video editing is one of the most sought-after skillsets for any industry that is based around a TV or computer screen.

Combining the skills that you learn in Blender further improves the scope of what you are able to do with the software, like the ability to combine creating 3D animations with the ability to edit those rendered animations afterward.

Where Can I Sell My 3D Models?

The number one method for attempting to generate an income using Blender 3D is to sell the models that you are able to create, and this is such a common practice that there are simply too many places to count where you can go to sell the assets that you created.

Below we have a list of the different websites that you can go to and begin selling your own 3D assets…

  • CGTrader
  • TurboSquid
  • Unity Asset Store
  • Epic Megastore Marketplace
  • SketchFab Store
  • 3D Export
  • Cubebrush
  • Blender Market
  • Flipped Normals
  • Cults 3D
  • Render Hub
  • Etsy
  • Shopify

Now this is not an exhaustive list and there are at least a few more places that you could try but this list shows the largest, most successful sites for selling content like 3D models.

Which Site Do We Recommend?

There will always be a market for new game assets when creating video games as developers try to streamline the production process as much as possible, and one way to do this is to acquire existing assets that they can position in their games.

We always like to test the waters of stores that center around the more popular game engines, so the Unity Asset Store and the Epic marketplace for Unreal Engine are great starting points to try selling your models as there is always a reliable amount of traffic coming to those sites.

We also recommend sites like cults 3D that focus on models for the use of 3D printing. As it is a growing industry there is a lot of potential in 3D printing and a lot of models to be made for the artists that know how to take the opportunity.

Which Sites Do We Not Recommend Form The List?

Competition in the market means that the market is healthy, and there are those who are looking to purchase the products made available in that market. Too much competition however can close the door on any potential profits that are made.

TurboSquid and CGTrader are two of the older more established marketplaces and as a result, there are already so many products on the sites that there is little room for any new artists to try and make an income, with established models dominating sales with strong reputations and favorable reviews.

How Much Money Do Blender Artists Make?

So if a Blender artist is able to make an income using the 3D software, just how much money is an artist able to make. Well, this depends on a lot of factors, including the methods of using Blender in the first place and what the artist actually decides to create.

If we focus specifically on independent artists who sell their creations on sites like TurboSquid, then it becomes difficult to determine which assets sold were made in Blender and which were made using other applications like Maya.

I myself sell models on various sites, many of which are listed above. So for this, I will offer my results in a table below for how much I earned in the calendar year 2021.

MarketplaceNumber Of Products$ Earned
TurboSquid26$80
CGTrader21$138
Unit Asset Store40$410
Epic MarketPlace27$682
Blender Market55$179
My Sales 2021

As you can see the numbers are not particularly high for the amount earned, but only represent my experience with selling models on these sites.

Your experience may vary greatly from this, and you could for example earn far more on TurboSquid with just a handful of products.

How Much Do Blender Animators Make And Who Makes The Most?

Learning to animate in Blender is an even more valuable skill set than simply knowing how to create 3D models. It also begs the question of what skills in Blender allow you to apply for the best job roles within companies. These are vast and highly variable as there are different job roles in different industries that require similar skills.

There are many websites on the internet that will offer insight into how much money you can earn using the various skills developed in Blender, but many of these will vary because they relate to different job roles. The following data is supplied by payscale.com which is a great site for determining the average salary of various job roles available within a skillset. This is for job roles connected to the skill of learning Blender software.

Job Title Average Salary
Year Average$53,000
General 3D Artist$40,500
Character Artist$54,500
Graphic Designer$65,000
Art Director$41,000
Senior Artist$118,000
3D Animator$70,000
Typical Salary By Payscale

The job roles in this list relate to the two industries in which Blender is most commonly used, video gaming and 3D animation. Aside from the senior artist role, you can see that being a 3D animator offers a higher potential income than the typical roles associated with 3D modeling.

How Much Do Freelance Artists Make Compared To Those Who Work For Companies?

As the name suggests, a freelance artist has the freedom of choosing where and what projects they want to take on. They can choose who to work with, and define a timeframe with the client as well as the cost of completing the project. This does not mean that being a freelancer is not a stressful endeavor, far from it, but it does mean that a freelance artist has more control over what he actually does.

This freedom though often comes at a price, and that price is a financial one. When starting out, a freelance artist has to first build up a reputation through a combination of reviews and building up a portfolio of projects that the artist already completed.

As a result, new artists have to charge a very low rate for what is actually a higher-rated, highly sought-after skill set. Over time as the artist’s reputation builds they find projects easier to come by and can start to gradually charge more for their surfaces.

Freelance artists can make up to $16,000* a year from services and completing projects for clients, but only once they have established themselves on the platform of their choice.

It can take a few years to reach this point and the early stages will be all about gaining a reputation and competing projects at lower price points to build the portfolio.

By contrast, working as an artist for a major company can be a challenge, not because of the work, but because of the heavy workload that comes as part of being a large team working towards a tight deadline.

According to Zippia, 3D modelers can typically earn around $64,000 a year for their skills, rising to a potential high of $79,000 or more depending on their role within the company.

*This figure was gathered from interviewing several freelance artists who worked through Fiverr to complete projects for clients. These artists all had at least a couple of years to build up their portfolios.

What Jobs Can I Get Knowing Blender?

As Blender becomes more and more of a known entity across industries, so too does the number of jobs requiring Blender knowledge increase. For a long time, people have been reluctant to learn Blender because it was not considered to be industry-standard software, and many of the top companies were instead looking for artists who had experience working with Maya instead.

But the term industry standard is almost redundant at this point, and in the video game industry in particular, where most people think about entering when they learn 3D modeling, a growing number of smaller companies and developers are adopting Blender into their production pipeline, because it is not only cheaper to license than Maya but it also now has a larger base of artists that have developed their skills using the software.

In the video games industry, there are various job roles that require the skills learned from using Blender 3D. For example, you could learn how to create outdoor landscapes which would allow you to become an environmental artist. Or perhaps you used Blender to create abstract models, fuelling your creativity, a valuable attribute to concept artists.

You can use Blender to develop skills in motion capture and video effects, which allows you to apply for job roles surrounding the film and television industry. You can help create CGI effects in movies or produce graphics for high-quality advertisement campaigns as a graphics designer.

Another, less-known role that you could take from learning Blender is that of a concept artist. This comes in many different forms, and you could create designs for characters in the next animation for a film company. Or you could create rendered images of products that are placed in-store catalogs. Kitchen manufacturers like IKEA for example will have realistic renders of different kitchen designs in their catalogs because its much less expensive

How Long Does It Take To Master Blender?

This is a very different question from asking how long it takes to learn Blender 3D as a tool. Mastering a tool means becoming an expert in all the different ways to use the tool, understanding different workflows, knowing when to use a specific tool and how to correct any and all issues that may occur.

Mastering Blender involves learning how best to use all the tools available in the 3D viewport for modeling, how all the nodes work for creating materials, how to successfully edit videos in the video sequence editor, etc.

And how long will this take you? About 1000 hours of you want to become an expert in using Blender 3D. That’s a very long time and far too long for most people. However, you do not need to master a skill, rather reach a level where you can perform that skill confidently.

For example, if you wanted to create character designs, you would practice how to create a character model in Blender, and focus on all the tools that surround that task, until you could reach the point where you can create a model confidently without the need to look up Youtube videos or reference material.

How long does this take? Anything can be learned in about 20 hours of practice, which is much more feasible than the 1000 hours that it would take to become an expert on the entire software.

Remember as well that if you don’t think you need to learn a specific tool to do what you need to do, then don’t waste your time learning it.

Instead, devote the time to learning the skills that you need to learn to become good at what you want to do.

Thanks For Reading

We appreciate you taking the time to read through the article and we hope that you found the information that you were looking for. We have compiled a list of additional topics that you may be interested in reading.

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