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Blender Basics Book- 3rd Edition


blender-basics-bookAfter more than three years, the popular (and free!) classroom tutorial book 'Blender Basics' has received a thorough upgrade.

Jim Chronister wrote:

After a long break in updates, I've just finished the 3rd edition of the Blender Basics book and it is available for download.

I've been debating when to update the book and decided the time was now with all the recent changes in the newest releases. The best part- it should reflect the soon-to-be-released 2.49 because I have been using the testing builds to make sure everything was current. It has grown from 118 pages to 146 with new and expanded information, screen shots, and some new detailed activities.

I have been amazed at how many emails I still receive weekly from individuals finding the book and using it personally or in schools. The best part- it's free to use however you wish!

About Blender Basics:

I developed this manual for use in my own classroom in an effort to streamline the Blender learning curve into some kind of sequential order. I have tried to keep most chapters down to less than 4 pages and each chapter can be covered in 1-2 class periods (our classes meet for approx. 45 minutes every day). This is my contribution to the Blender open-sourced cause. Please feel free to use this manual in your own labs. You may copy any or all parts you wish!


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. And thank you again. I've bought a few blender books (I'm looking at 3 right now), yet there is still great information in this free e-book that isn't in the others. From the past, I've found the book to be well written, and a great resource for those starting out.

    Thanks again!

  2. Excellent, I have read all the other earlier versions. There were excellent. I think I even put a link to it on my main page it was so useful.

    Thanks for the books :)

  3. Thank you very much for your effort. I find it amazing to make it available for free, that's very generous and selfless. Keep up the good job.

  4. Great! I think this book is a classic. It's great to see that it's still being updated and looks better than ever! Nice work.

  5. Thanks for you effort !
    I can't say anything about the content, but I don't doubt that it has great content,

    BUT the layout of the book is a shock for every professional grafic designer who's seriously interested in blender ;-)

    Tipp: If you want to get blender popular then you MUST pack everything about blender in a professional corperate design (as you mostly do yet!), even if its free, else the image of blender stays in some kind of software for "freaks" but not for real prof. designers. I know for you the content counts but to make it popular the package counts alot as well! I'm sure there are enough good grafic designers to help you for that. Maybe I can help you as well, so contact me if you like :-)

  6. Alain, you are missing the point of Jim's book.

    It's all about content, and if you actually read the book (instead of just critiquing its design or eye-candy appeal), you will find that the content -- per your hunch -- is indeed terrific.

    The manual is for people to use in order to try to get all of the basics down. It is very technical, but it explains technical things in step-by-step fashion. It is not designed to sell copies. It's like a good newspaper: designed to inform. Compare the New York Times front page layout (designed to inform) to something like the Enquirer (designed to sell). Chronister's book is like the New York Times.

    And he knows how to spell "graphic", among other words misspelled in your post -- as should you, if it's really your occupation!

  7. I am so excited that you have done this once again! I look forward to reading this new version this afternoon. I believe your first edition was the first time I had seen everything needed to get started in Blender, layed out in an order that made sense to beginners. You are a great teacher, and a generous human being. Thank you.

  8. @Sequoia

    I guess you didn't understand the main point of my posting and it doesn't matter if I write "grafic" or "graphic", because in my posting the content and not orthgraphical mistakes counts (by the way: english is not my motherlanguage, so please forgive me for being a bit unprecise in this language ;-)).

    And a mention that I have no doubt about the content of this book, so what's your problem ?
    And even the NY Times has a layout design, a very reduced one but it has one, but the cover of this book makes everything wrong what you can do wrong in graphic design.

    My goal is to make blender more popular for professional use and I guess that should be your goal as well, fighting against each other makes no sense in this case.

    It's very important that everything about blender (books, websites, flyers, wallpapers, etc.) have corperate design rules. It's imporatnt for the image of blender, else it will end in a freaksoftware. In general I think blender is on a very good way, and it follows the rules of a corperate design in maybe 80% of all cases.

    So let's concentrate on that goal to make blender as popular as possible and forget this little "missconversation" here, ok ?

    Thank you :-)

  9. teachtech123 on

    Thanks so much for the wonderful comments... All for the Blender good.

    Now as long as the foundation doesn't release 2.5 for at least a year, I'm OK......

    Thanks again.

  10. radialronnie on

    Incredible work Jim, Though I consider myself more advanced in blender, I actively help people new to blender out and this is a great resource. Will use it heavily!

  11. Documenting blender is always a good initiative. But it is unfortunate that, at least on the cover as I can see, does not have a minimum of aesthetic concern, and it was ignored the importance of design in a book that talk about a design tool.

    The content may be favorable to blender, but the design (that affects any product), disfavour it.

    I maybe preferred see and do not talk anything, but once it is the most awful cover I've seen in my life, I had to say it.

    Note: English is not my native language too.

  12. Jimmy_Chron_4Life on

    From a graphic design standpoint this book has nothing to do with blenders. All I want to do is find out how to chop up food for my protein shakes and thought this book would help.

  13. Wow, this is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. I wish I had gone to a high school that offered classes like this.

  14. An excellent resource!

    The chapter format makes it easy to work through in manageable chunks. And providing the option of single chapters is like icing on the cake.

    Thank you for making these course materials available to the rest of the world.

  15. I have to agree with Sequoia; in fact, if somebody (Alain) doesn't care so much about how to spell his dang job title -- why in the heck should aesthetics on a reference book cover mean anything? A double standard fer shur.

    Jim's cover was obviously designed to scare the artsy-types away (and it appears that he succeeded -- bravo!) because what's inside is too technical for them. They'd rather draw scenery than machinery.

  16. Actually, I think the book was designed to teach Jim's high school students Blender. Since the first edition was around before any third-party Blender book was ever even published (at least in English, as far as I know) the fact that he gave it away for free to the public made it an incredibly important resource. A lot of people who learned Blender with this book have gone on to do great stuff.

    The book isn't aimed at CG and graphics professionals, it's not even for sale, and so there's no need at all for corporate design slickness. It's made to teach Blender, and it does an excellent job of that. In fact, for classroom use, it may still be the best book available, corporate slickness or no.

    The idea that everything connected with Blender needs to always be up to professional CG standards in order to impress non-Blender users is nonsense. Blender is used by students, hobbyists, and professionals alike, and that's nothing to be ashamed of. It's common sense that the power of any software must be judged by what highly skilled users can do with it. The important reasons for people to consider choosing Blender have to do with the software itself and the fact that it is open source.

    Blender's reputation improves as the software improves and as more people discover how to use it. Jim's book has been instrumental in helping at least one generation of Blender users pick it up. People seeing this book here for the first time now may not realize how much of a contribution to Blender education this book has been over the years.

    Keep up the great work, Jim!

  17. Jim, you are the MAN! My son is in high school, and he uses your second edition "MAN"ual all the time. He is currently working on an animated Blender design for a competition (tech teacher chair races, of all things; too complicated to explain...).
    That boy cut his teeth on your second manual...I'm so proud of what he has done, and you have been part of it!
    Thanks again!

  18. Jim, your book is terrific! I talked the tech at our school into downloading Blender onto all of the computers in our computer lab so that my English students could use it in their Macbeth projects. It's great to be able to use the manual -- it's a perfect tool to assist Blender "newbies" like my kids.

  19. Thanks - once again Jim..for all the time and energy you have put into helping folks better understand and explore the Blender world. I have used your 1st book in my classes working with Blender and am just downloading your 3rd version. Much appreciated!!! Deltawing

  20. @Gizzy

    OK then, if you want us designers keeping away from blender, do it ! we can use cinema, max, sketchup, etc. as well, cause they are great tools to vizualise design.
    You are shooting in your own foot with your posting.
    Again: If Blender wants stay popular you must keep it simpel an attractive for everyone, especially for designers and artists (not only for technical interested engineers). Blender has some very good functions, but don't do the same mistake as max does, don't make things more complicatet than nessecary, keep it as simple as possible.
    And do care about it's UI-Design, and the Design of every little flyer, book and website about blender !

    I'm still open layout that book, it's an offer.

    Kind regards

  21. I haven't read any of the earlier editions (or this one) but if it really IS this good - then the cover is a real no-go. It looks pretty unprofessional. Sorry.

  22. Most amazing! thank you so much! I love people who share their knowledge with other people and are this generous!

  23. teachtech123 on

    Thanks for all the positive comments. In an effort to keep from single-handedly destroying the Blender cause by publishing a book with a bad cover, I've updated it with something more conservative. (can't judge a book by it's cover...??) When I was working on the cover, I had about 10 textbooks around me for inspiration... all designed by professional graphic designers (must have been bad designers)...

    Bart- if you're reading this, can you change the screen shot on the article so we don't burn out anymore eyes from viewing it? :-)

    Thanks again for all the support from the community


  24. This is awesome - thanks again for another release!

    This is Jim's own classroom resource, offered for anyone else wanting to teach blender in their own classes. Pure and simple.

    I made multiple copies (a class set) of an earlier version and have found things so well explained that it has been a useful reference for when I've been a bit rusty in areas.

    ...thanks a heap for this amazing effort!

    P.S. I'm not sure why you'd want to use the "elefont" program in chapter 10... perhaps it's "come a long way" since you looked at it, though I think Blender's own text tool is just as good.

  25. teachtech123 on

    Hi Lancer

    Glad to hear the book's been helpful.

    Elefont's been in there since the 1st release when the Blender text wasn't that good. I thought about taking it out since Blender's text commands are great, but Elefont can give a few more effects... so I decided to keep it in there.. for now. (also, I felt a bit lazy about removing it ;-)


  26. Thank you very much for this. It saves me trying to distill information from several books and creating lessons. You serve the community well.

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