In the early days of 3D modeling coding was an important skill to learn if you wanted to even create basic shapes as you had to program your computer directly to create your designs. But is this still the case when using 3d modeling programs like Blender today?
You do not require any coding knowledge at all to learn how to use Blender 3D. Blender uses the visual scripting language python to run all of its features. Instead of using code, artists use tools that can be activated at the click of a button or by using a simple hotkey.
While it is not required to use python for the majority of tasks that you can perform in Blender, there are still a few reasons why learning to code may be beneficial to you as the user.
How Do We Normally Use Blender?
Blender is constructed as a series of panels, each containing its own editor type which houses tools for specific tasks. For example, the 3D viewport offers the user complete visual control over the scenes that they create.
Many of the tools related to creating these objects and scenes can be found within the 3D viewport itself in various forms, such as the drop-down menus at the top of the viewport, buttons found on the tool shelf, or hotkey combinations that the user can type in, like Control + B to activate the bevel tool.
These tools are all there to enhance the user experience on the front end. The reason for using Blender may differ from person to person but the way the tools are accessed remains the same. if you want to create 3D models, you can use the tools in the 3D viewport to build your assets.
If you want to edit videos, you can use the built-in video sequence editor to edit your content. While they are two very different use cases neither requires the user to code or possess any coding knowledge.
Blender has a wide variety of use cases and is increasingly used across multiple industries from gaming to animation to 3D printing, but the beauty of modern technology is that all the hard technical stuff is done for you, allowing you to focus on the more creative elements of your work and this case, actually creating your 3D models and scenes.
If you want to learn about the various ways in which we can use Blender then you can check out our article on the topic here.
All Actions Are Run Based On Python Script?
A reason why you may want to learn python using Blender is that it is a great way of being able to visualize what the lines of code can do. The scripting workspace is available to users who may want to perform tasks using Python script to perform an action or analyze how it works. The workspace allows you to create your own scripts using the file editor, test and identify individual lines of code in the console, and preview the effects of said code in a smaller 3D viewport.
Again this is all optional and not at all required to perform tasks like modeling a castle with some knights overlooking a grassy field. That’s the best thing about learning Python with Blender, as it’s easy to start learning if you want, but it’s entirely your choice.
Creating Add Ons To Improve Functionality?
The number one reason why you would want to learn coding with Python script in Blender is to begin creating your own add-ons. An add-on is a set of tools that have been created to improve Blenders’ functionality in a specific way. An example of this is the node wrangler add on which makes it much easier to work with the node system when creating materials.
Creating add ons DOES require you to learn the specific version of Python used by Blender. The best way to get started here is the copy and paste method. When you perform an action in Blender that action is recorded in the python console, found in the scripting workspace. For example, if you delete the default cube the following line of code will appear in the python console.
If you were to copy and paste this line of code into your file editor and then select your object and click that run script button. Then that object would be deleted. This is a very basic example but it’s a good starting point for learning how code works in Blender.
What Is Visual Scripting And How Is It Different To Coding?
Some aspects of Blender are a little more technical than others. For example, the creation of photo-realistic materials cannot be done with a simple press of a button. Instead, a node system is used when the user creates a tree of nodes all connected at some point in the chain, leading to the output node which takes all the information it has been supplied and outputs the final result in the scene.
Visual scripting is a much easier entry point to accessing data than raw coding and in the case of the nose system, allows Blender to store various parameters in each node type. When connected, many of these parameters can be individually altered changing the final output.
If I Do Start Coding, Could I Brake Blender?
When coding in the scripting workspace, the addon that you are creating is an independent section of code that is activated only when a specific requirement is met. If the code is unoptimized, then it won’t run anyway. It’s very unlikely that any code you create could actually cause Blender to crash or become unusable because the script is normally going to be based on the functionality that Blender already has.
In the incredibly unlikely scenario that Blender does become unusable, you can delete Blender and then redownload it from blender.org. All projects are saved independently so you won’t lose anything if that’s the case.
So while there are reasons as to why you could choose to learn coding with Blender, it’s more a case of using Blender as the tool for coding, rather than coding to use Blender.
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