Preparation

Background information

Blender is a remarkable example of free software / open source development, marketing and strategy.

"OK, but… what is Blender ?" -> dive into the Wiki Introduction on Blender.org.

A program, "freed" by 100.000 EUR donations, collected within 7 weeks of campaign, developed by the community, but even more, realizing a strategy that shows the complete power of free, led by inventor and founder Ton Roosendaal (interview)

(For those who are interested in even more background information, Blender's history including its' strategy might interest, or even infect you ;) and describes a real adventure. )

Some days before writing this, the recent Open Movie Project, Sintel, has been released and gives you an impressing image of the technical power of Blender, as well as the collaborative creativity of Blender artists. For more inspiration you can e.g.visit the Blender Artists Gallery or the deviantart community. (Find more examples on our mindmap )

Sintel, like everything Blender, is released under creative commons license, this allows everyone, (but also every-together ;)), to use and build upon the art work…..!

As to Autumn 2010, Blender is in a big transition phase and has just released Version 2.54 Beta. This Wiki will be updated, but earlier Beta releases have proven enough stability to support to start learning Blender using a Beta version.

The complete overhaul reaches you at first through a vastly more user-friendly interface ( - earlier versions (up to 2.49) have founded Blender's fame to be one of the hardest-to-learn programs.)
The new Blender 2.5 interface is highly customizable, and thus allows a fluent transition to Blender for users of proprietary software like Maya, 3dStudioMax or other.
Different interfaces could make teaching Blender, but also to get help in the forums, quite complicated, hence this course keeps the default settings as far as appropriate.


Equipment

System Requirements according to Blender.Org.

Personal computer specifications:(Quoted from http://gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html, his great course will be a main resource for starting with Blender "bit by bit")

System:
Blender will run on the following Operating systems:
Windows 2000, XP or Vista
Mac OS X 10.2 or later
Linux 2.2.5 i386
Linux 2.3.2 PPC
FreeBSD 6.2 i386
Irix 6.5 mips3
Solaris 2.8 sparc

Hardware:
The following are minimal hardware requirements:
1 GHz CPU
500 MB RAM
150 MB free hard disk space
1024 x 768 px. Display with 24 bit color

Additional Hardware:
3 button mouse (You must have a 3-Button mouse. Blender uses 3 buttons on the mouse to navigate the 3-D space and edit objects. Ideally your 3-Button mouse will have a center scroll wheel). Although Blender will work with other mouse arrangements all of the video and PDF tutorials in this course reference the use of a 3-button mouse.

Open GL Graphics card with at least 8MB RAM

Software:
The software used for this course is Blender Version 2.53 Beta (or the latest 2.5X version):

1.) Blender Version 2.53 Beta (or the latest 2.5X version) - Blender is a sophisticated and fully functional open-source 3D software. It is designed cross-platform, with an OpenGL interface. It is available as a free download from http://www.blender.org for Windows, MAC, Linux, Solaris, Irix or FreeBSD operating systems.

1A.) Although it is not required, you may want to download and install the latest version of "Python". Blender uses an embedded Python scripting language (API for Python). The Blender downloaded 2.5X installation includes the Python scripts necessary to run Blender. However, you may want to download and install the latest version of Python (v 2.7). The Python site is located at: www.python.org

Blender Guru (nomen est omen, we will meet him more often :)) compiled The Ultimate Guide to Bying A Computer for Blender


But now: Into deep

Download Blender

here Choose the latest 2.5x version to learn with this wiki.


Install Blender

Installation (quoted from readme file Version 2.54, that accompanies unpacked download zip file)

Windows: The download .zip contains a Blender folder. You may put this anywhere on your hard drive. To launch Blender, double-click on Blender.exe.
Install scripts by putting them in the .blender/scripts folder next to the executable.

Linux, FreeBSD, Irix, Solaris: Unpack the distribution, copy the .blender directory from it to your home directory. Then run the Blender executable.
Install scripts by putting them in the .blender/scripts inside your home folder.

Mac OS X: The downloaded package includes blender.app. Optionally copy this to your Applications folder, and add it to the dock by dragging it from there to the dock.
Install scripts by putting them in the .blender/scripts inside your home folder. If the folder does not exist, you can create it manually.


Open Blender

this is what you see :) …click anywhere on-screen besides the start-link-and-options-panel to face the default interface.

flickr:5048386966

How to use / learn, based on: this Wiki

This wiki aims to become a resource that allows you to learn Blender primarily through video tutorials, but offers deep links to the best complementing comprehensive resources on spot in addition.
The structure and video-text excerpt method of this Wiki aims to allow you to look up things you have forgotten quickly, until they become second nature to you.
When this project, a win-win combination of wiki and network, develops on, our aim is to develop the TUTORIAL Pages (see sidebar) comprehensive and "didactic" (increasing and complementing difficulty level) enough to allow network members to use them as main resource for courses they start.

Then, it will be possible for those who prefer to learn alone, to either create their own learning-path based on these TUTORIAL pages, or follow past or current courses on the network, and use the rest of the Wiki as handbook-like deep linking resource.

Everyone who enjoys the idea to learn by teaching is born for learning networks :), as well as everyone who enjoys to teach and learn even better this way, or to join a learning group because learning is more fun together.

And finally, before you start:


SHORTCUTs

Decide to love keyboard shortcuts….Blender does :)
From the very start, in most tutorials, you will meet keyboard shortcuts - there are hundreds of them and you will internalize them by and by.
I will give my best to alleviate memorizing shortcuts by visual support, you can train to memorize them while still executing via menu commands or finding commands via search ( Spacebar), where they are mentioned - but a Cheat Sheet is still nice to have on your reallifedesk.

…you might want to subscribe to Blender Guru's blog, and receive his printer friendly, up to date, Cheat Sheet, listing them guru-organized, directly to your inbox. There are other resources for Cheat Sheets, online on Neal Hirsig's gryllus site, and you will maybe create your own just to memorize better, but I recommend to subscribe to Andrew Price's blog in any case. He knows the pitfalls and takes you high level.

For an online version, see this list on blendertips

Don't get discouraged, or numquam retro…be patient with your own learning curve and aware, that the start is the hardest part; there is internal search (Spacebar :), there are forums, and there is Google :)

And now we jump.