Blender is a free open-source program provided by the Blender foundation. It is one of the fastest developing 3D toolkits currently available and also one of the fastest growing online communities in the technology space. But if you were to download Blender what exactly could you use it for?
Blender is primarily used as a 3d modeling suite that allows you to create 3d scenes and models for several different industries including animation and game design. Below is an extended list of what Blender could be used for….
- 3D Assets And Environments For Video Games
- 3D And 2D Animations
- Sculpting For Visualization And High Quality Renders
- Architectural Design
- Built In Video Editor
- Motion Capture
- Logo Design
- Motion Graphics
- Realistic Scene Creation
As Blender continues to develop more use cases will become available, but even now the list of reasons why you would want to use Blender is extensive.
The Primary Use
The primary use of Blender is to create three-dimensional objects and scenes using the 3D viewport and a suite of modeling tools that allow the user to create any object and any scenario that they want to create in 3D space. Basic objects and environments can be created using mesh objects constructed from three types of geometry. These are vertices, edges, and faces. By manipulating the geometry we can control the form of any 3D object we create. There are different methods to creating objects in Blender and different toolsets to accommodate those methods.
For example, when creating character models of high detail the artist can use Blenders suite of sculpting tools by switching to sculpt mode. Creating models in Blender opens the door to several industries. low poly models and environments can be created in Blender to be exported into video game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.
Note that all projects in Blender use the .blend file extension. While you can use this file type in unity by saving it directly to your unity asset folder, the standard method would be to export the object as an .FBX or .OBJ file when moving over to a game engine.
Most users of Blender will at first probably fall into this category and will need to learn the skills for creating objects that can be optimized and used for those game engines. While there are many skills to develop in Blender there is often little need to learn all of them. If you are a designer for environmental assets then you probably won’t need to learn how to sculpt highly detailed characters.
Blender is also used for creating animations of various lengths. There is a wide array of settings for controlling how you want to render those animations such as the frame rate and file output options. Where for video games Blender is a part of the process for creating the assets of a video game, an animator could create an animation using Blender 3D exclusively. It is possible to create near Pixar quality using Blender though this can be dependent on the hardware to an extent as well as your own skillset.
In addition to the above, the software can also be used for architectural visualization. You can design floor and building plans to precise measurements for home improvements or construction projects and demonstrate your designs to clients with a render of your plan. You could even now go one step further here as Blender can be integrated into a virtual reality headset allowing clients to view your layout as if they were actually there.
Blender allows the use of addons that provide additional functionality depending on the use case as the default set of tools available may not be as intuitive or as in-depth as the user would like. For example, the Archviz addon can be used to very quickly create wall plans using a small library of assets like walls, floors, doors, and windows to quickly build a base design for your floorplan. This is much faster than creating, extruding, and scaling each object and then positioning each object into your scene
Note that while some add-ons are enabled by default, most are disabled to keep the interface sleek and usable.
Not only are you able to create fully 3D scenes for animations, but you can also create 2D animations as well. To do this Blender uses a tool known as the grease pencil. Think of it as a brush used to draw in both 2D and 3D space. The lines created by the grease pencil can be both edited and animated as required.
As with many other use cases with Blender, learning to use the grease pencil is very different from other areas of Blender like building scenes from 3D objects.
The sculpting toolkit is used to add significant amounts of detail to 3D objects in far less time than what would be needed for standard modeling tools. Sculpts can be created for video game characters, although additional steps may need to be taken for a sculpted character to be usable in a game.
This process is called baking and it involves mapping the details of a high poly model onto a low poly one. That said modern game engines are much more efficient at handling large amounts of geometry and this process is becoming less and less important.
Beyond that, sculpts can also be used for high-quality animations, as well as very high-quality renders. However, when using sculpted models in animations keep in mind that the amount of geometry in a scene strongly influences the amount of time it takes to render the scene.
With single renders, artists can add as much detail as possible through sculpting to achieve maximum levels of detail. These renders can then be sold as works of art on appropriate websites.
Blender is a fantastic tool for creating logos, either in two dimensions with the grease pencil or 3D logos in the standard viewport. They’re also basic text tools that allow to create 2D and 3D text. This allows you the freedom of not only creating traditional static logos but also animated intros for YouTube and course videos. More and more YouTubers are now beginning to turn to Blender to create their own unique intro videos.
If there is a single word that you could use to describe Blender 3D, that word would be versatile. Not only does Blender allow you to create animations, but you can also make edits to those animations with the built in video sequence editor.
In fact, the video that you want to edit does not even need to be a rendered animation, but any standard video format like an mp4 can be added and edited. Now Blender will not compare to a more established video editing software like Davinci Resolve, but it still has all the basic tools needed to get the job done.
As you can see there are many reasons as to why you would choose to use Blender. It’s a jack of all trades software that gets better and more versatile as time goes on.
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