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First impressions last forever. How was your first run and install of Blender?


Pierre Schiller is hosting a survey to help better understand the hurdles of beginning to use Blender. He will present the results to the 2.8 sprint developers.

Hi. I´m making a short survey about the user´s first impressions when installing and running Blender. At the end of the survey there´s a link for an EEVEE file! ...With this data let´s create a better Blender experience for the new/experienced user.

Follow this link.


About Author

Pierre Schiller

I´ve been working in commercial advertisement since 2K. I specialize in 3D and VFX animation. You can visit my website: to check out my portfolio.


  1. Panels everywhere, too many settings at different places, need to install python separately, install addon & enable it, couldn't find AppData folder, preset scenes would be good to investigate how things are setup.

  2. I started during July of 2017, and at that time I didn't know firetruck-all about Blender. The user interface was really scary-looking with all its buttons, sliders and tabs. Even scarier was when I started fiddling around and found myself on thos really complex layouts by mistake or got scared because I saw a Python console. Even then, there were a lot of tutorials out there that allowed me to slowly but surely understand what all those scary buttons and tabs did, especially Blender Guru's !

  3. Please don't waste your time on this "survey".

    It's nonsense from start to end, and Bart, if you read this, please take a hard look at it and consider whether to remove the post entirely from Blendernation.

      • It shows clear bias, trying to force answers in a given direction. For example:

        “The first time I opened blender, I saw a friendly intuitive interface: Somewhat familiar? I struggled but managed to use it? Where are the transform buttons?!?”

        I didn't see it as friendly or intuitive, and I closed it as soon as left-click didn't act as expected.

        “After I started Blender, the first thing I saw was a cube and I thought: What am I to do with a cube?? Why is there a cube?? Blender can only create a cube? I should delete this cube?”

        I thought “cool, it's not just a blank scene!” Then I tried to click on the cube, see above. There are a lot of people who are seriously annoyed with the default cube. If you're one of 'em, fine. But please don't make it like variations on cube = bad are the only valid choices, it's annoying.

        Aside from this, Blender 2.8 will have ( the Blender Simple Template ) something like what you seem to be working on. If you were doing this a few years ago (like Sensei Format ) I'd probably be more enthused.

        • Exactly. This is nowhere near a serious attempt at a survey.

          It's as if you presented only three out of twenty parties as choices in a political poll, and those were minor alternatives to boost.

          What value are the (predetermined) results of this pretend-survey supposed to have?

        • So you didn't use Blender in the end? Why bothering your time here then?
          Left-click behaviour is available to setup. That's first. Second, not all programs should or do behave the same way as your preferred ones.

  4. I was overwhelmed at first, but please never change that. The worst Blender could end up like would be Bryce 3D or maybe like an iPhone. Looks easy, but they've removed all the things that got it to where it is today. Pretty, but no functionality. Don't do this! :-)

  5. My first days with blender were cool, I just followed the tutorials from one of them popular guyz on YouTube. By the time i had realized, i was too comfortable with blender to notice anything wrong with it. I still have not noticed.
    Coming from C4D and some other 3D software, i can say that blender is the greatest when it comes to modeling. I hardly need to click on any button on blender, because everything you need is accessible through a shortcut.

    My only issue initially is with animation visualization in blender. that is editable motion paths, ghost frames or onion skin. That is the only reason i use my friends Maya to animate.

  6. Like someone who didn't know how to swim being thrown into the deep end of the pool and being encouraged to "Swim!" I started with tutor4u tutorials on YT, even though I didn't know beans about what I was doing, it was a fun way to begin discovering where things are in Blender and what they do. I then went through BornCG's entire Blender 2.7 Tutorial Series to start learning "how" the base fundamentals work, and then I discovered CG Cookie (the be all and end all of Blender training). It was (and still is) at CGC that I really started to understand Blender. The only thing that concerns me is when the devs remove functions that are essential to my workflow in the justification of "we're making it better" ... or breaking previously good-working functions with the latest builds. If I were to speak to a BNoob, I would strongly suggest not even thinking about anything else and just jumping right into becoming a citizen at CGCookie. Because there you will learn the theory of Blender's functions (i.e. the "why" and "how" of them). You can easily memorize 2+2=4, an not really know math. But teach the math student the theory of math (why 2+2=4) and you've accomplished something amazing. When I was a first time user of Blender, it was this that I was finding hard to find. The majority of tutorials out there are "hey look what I can do" rather than, for instance, "let me show you why and how that node just did what it did. Or, "let me show you the importance of the modifier stack and how that works," etc. Hope this is helpful. And, lastly, "Bravo CGCookie...BRAVO!"

  7. I started in 3D with Strata in 2000, then moved to Cinema 4D around 2004-5.
    I first looked at Blender 2.40 but struggled to figure out the interface and gave up.
    I gave Blender another look when the new interface came in 2.5 and have never looked back.
    Blender is a thing of beauty!

  8. It was a very slow start. :D I didn't understand English and there even was not any tutorials about Blender 2.37 or something like that. (can't remember exactly now which version it was) So I installed the software and was not able to rotate the cube. or select anything. I also had not much idea how 3d is being made in any software. I was able to do an animation in max basic primitive objects, but in Blender, I was not even able to add new primitives. Tho, all my tests with Blender was done during one day. Then I just didn't use it for a long time and I focused more on drawing and photography and video editing.

    The problem with that survey is that there are no multi choices that is reflecting the problems and situation I was struggling with.

  9. steve gilbert on

    I finally got over the hump in the road with 2 things....
    1.the MAX option for navigation in blender as i've used 3ds Max since 1999
    2.a good reason to learn Blender - the fur tutorial with the cat on youtube

  10. It was hard, mostly because didn't know ANYTHING. But tons of tutorials and time invested I was able to do things I dream only, now Blender is part of everything I do in my personal projects, if there is something 3D Blender and other open source tools are my way to go.

  11. started back in the pre-2.5 interface versions... back in 2007-2008 or so.
    i found it very difficult to figure out what does what and was confused by how all i could do was move this little target thing around and there was no right click menu or anything.
    honestly there needs to be a link to some basic tutorials somewhere in the splash screen for new users because after learning the ropes i do find blender's interface quite nice. especially 2.5 and later lol.

  12. Hello, I think this survey is interesting but a bit too biased, so I decided to not answer to it,

    After I started Blender, the first thing I saw was a cube and I thought:
    That's great to have a test scene to play with.

    When I deleted the cube the first time, Blender asked me "Delete cube?" I thought:
    Nothing, that didn't bothered me.

    Also, I think the first impression on every high-end 3D software is to be a bit lost. In fact in many professional software it's the case ( AE, PS, Nuke... ) . There are some software that you can learn without documentation like photoshop (that doesn't mean you're using it the right way) , but for 3D I think you must rely a lot on documentation . I got the same feeling about Blender with Maya or Houdini the first time I open them.

    Does blender should be easier to learn for people coming from other 3D softwares ?
    Does blender should be easier to learn for people new to 3D ?
    Does blender should be the most efficient for experienced users ?

    I'd say yes to these 3 questions, but I don't think it's possible to get an interface that address them all.

    Maybe the 101 project can help to customize blender for different people so they can learn blender with an interface better suited to them.

  13. I tried Blender way back when it was 2.49

    I remember not being able to do anything with it (as though it had no functions) except learn how to move around the environment. I believe it is because Blender is heavily geared towards keyboard shortcuts.

    It took a long time to start using it properly and now I don't want to entertain any other product except zBrush.

    Having learnt most of Blender's functionality I find Maya, 3D Studio , Lightwave, Rhino etc very clunky !
    As in, Blender is so smooth to move from one stage to another (especially editing objects) where all these other products seem so awkward.

  14. started off with wings 3d then ran across blender because of the logo , which looks a lot like the Philadelphia flyers logo ,, caught on to it pretty fast . I think around 2.43 . great program , thanks to all who work to bring it to the world .

  15. First impression Is why I HAVE to select something with right click? Thanks to the option in user preference panel which didnt make things worse. I came from Sketchup community,I learn blender mostly for the easy way of modeling and uvunwraping.What really makes me a blender fanboy Is Animation Node addon.Now I donate to blender foundation and Animation Node each month.Hope them get better And better.

  16. This survey isn't perfect, I agree, but it's important to know what users think.
    I love Blender, it's not only my preferred 3d software, but my preferred software in general.
    This does not stop me from seeing that it needs improvements, mainly in the UI. For instance, when I tipe "Ctrl S" Blender asks me if I really want to save the file. Well, if I type "Ctrl S" it's clear that I want to save it. But when I close Blender or I switch betwen blend files WITHOUT SAVE, Blender doesn't say a pip. Hmmm.
    Blender UI got improved A LOT since version 2.5. And I use tabs interface addon, which improves it even more. But, we still have a long road ahead.
    On the other hand, Blender UI has a resource that (as far as I know) no any other 3d software have: flexible windows.

    • "I love Blender, it's not only my preferred 3d software, but my preferred software in general."
      Agree. After a few hours in Blender, switching over to Adobe Illustrator (or any other Adobe app) is really painful. They're so slow and clunky, even if you do know the shortcuts. Somehow, Blender lets me do far more complicated things than Photoshop or Illustrator, but in half the time.

  17. First impressions:
    Punk art, demoscene-y program, that somehow also manages to be supremely capable. I loved the horizontal layout, the quirky zoomable UI, and the 3D view that took 2/3 of the display and felt so wide open.

    It took me months to figure out how to save...

  18. I tried to casually learn blender.

    It was so weird and unlike any other 3D application.

    As a result, nothing would stick.

    Then, after 5 years, I got serious and devoted a few months to learning blender.

    Now, the short-cuts feel natural. I get the UI. I get the right-mouse select. I can work fast. I get what everyone says they like about the UI.

    I get why people like the UI. You'll like it too if you devote a few months to blender, then use it often enough to not forget the short-cuts and quirks.

    (For me, customization is an Advanced User feature. For beginners, customization can make things confusing when trying to follow tutorials and forum advice.)

  19. Michael Fatianov on

    I was learning 3D modelling for game development a few years ago. Before Blender I used a 3Ds Max cause it was familiar to me. Blender realy impressed me when I have seen some tutorials. Since then Blender my favorite 3D software!

  20. The single thing that killed it for me on the first few attempts was the lack of any built-in material library. Once I'd made a few wacky shapes I wanted to render them, but they were all grey. I spent hours trying to work out how to make them chrome (as all new users surely do?)/... until I found out I also had to learn a whole new language of material properties. To this day (10 years down the line) I still have no idea why Blender does not 'ship' with a material library editor, pre-populated with 10-20 popular material types.

    • Good point!! For an open source software it's vital to keep a great community. Blender community is great in the sense of generosity and solidarity. But not in number of members. Blender is so powerful, it should be used intensively by Hollywood, big publicity studios and thousands of 3d artists, engineers, architects etc. With improvements as this you are proposing, Blender can easily multiply its numbers of users by 100.

  21. After graduating from design school I tried Blender after I had heard about some of the good experiences that people had using it. I had been trained in school to use 3Ds Max but at the time could not afford to buy the program. After opening Blender and finding that I could not even select the cube I was utterly disgusted.

    Later I gave Blender another chance after finding out that you could select with left click instead of right click. I was amazed by the power that Blender had to offer and have since that time have made more than a hundred tutorials about using Blender.
    Blender is now my main design program.

  22. My first time I used Blender I seriously thought, "Allright! I will take an image of a Star Wars ship and I'll make it into 3d and then I'll animate it all awesome! Piece of cake!" I was really that naive. 16 years later I think I can finally manage to achieve what I wanted to do back in 2002.

  23. I love these silly surveys. Everyone wants data on how terrible the Blender UI is. *rolls eyes* Honestly, in 2001 I was thrilled to have something quicker and easier than POV-Ray.

    • only problem with that is the UI isn't terrible. not saying it couldn't be better (and will improve still in 2.8) but it's not bad. blender's just a complex program with a lot of features and people chalk up the learning curve to "bad UI."

  24. Back in 2002 when I started, there were no tutorials and the default cube was in straight on view so I thought it was a plane for the first 3 weeks until I figured out how to rotate the view. It has come a long way. So much of the help has come from all the wonderful tutorials created by the community and shared on this wonderful site. Thanks for all that all of you do.

    • Ha ha ha ha, the same with me. The cube looked like a 2d square. I tried insistently to move that mysterious square with the left mouse button, and nothing happened. I gave up and downloaded Vue, in one of its first versions, extremely user friendly interface.

  25. Honestly Blender is just horrible to learn, you have to watch tuto for everything, even closing a pane !
    I'm not talking about the complexity of 3D modeling, I work on Rhino and Grasshopper all day long. I'm talking about USER INTERFACE !

    First thing : roll-click for rotating camera ? VERYBAD idea. right click for selecting ? VERYBAD too.
    Second thing : nothing is explained, and you never have any feedback. Without online tutorial, you are dead. It would be so nice to have a command line, or some clue when hovering the mouse over a button.
    Third thing : in EVERY complicated software, there are all-purpose tools at first hand, and situational one in menus. In Blender, everything is in menus, and there is a LOT of different menus, and menus depends on which mode you are in, and if you selected cycle render or Blender render, and so on. Very often I have to re-look at the online tutorials to remember where I found a function last time I used it. It's aweful for learning curve, you start with a wall.

    The main problem is that everyone have been adding a little function to the pile, and now after years the monster is totally erratic ! If I hadn't the obligation to work with it for the Khronos GLTF 2.0 exporter, I would pass on that.

    • what else would you use for rotating cameras? honestly it's as good as anything else i've seen just maybe not what you're used to? don't get me wrong swapping programs a lot throws me off a bit too but i can't objectively say one is better than the other rather than i'm more used to one than the other.

      right click select is awesome, you're just not used to it. you are right that it does make the learning curve steeper though.

      for feedback check the 3d view header/footer bar when you actually start a command. in 2.8 it also shows some useful stuff down at the bottom of the blender window like what mouse key does what, useful shortcut/modifiers for commands, ect.

      we do have tooltips that pop up over buttons when you hover them but truth be told blender was made more for hotkey use than button usage. 2.8 makes button usage a little easier.

      as far as everything being in menus rather than close at hand... again, blender was made more for hotkey use. learn the simple hotkeys for the all purpose tools. they are very close at hand.

      g = grab
      r = rotate
      s = scale
      tab = edit mode on/off
      alt+right click = edge loop select.
      ctrl+alt+right click = edge ring select
      x = delete/dissolve
      e = extrude
      f = makes face/edge between selected verts
      w = specials menu
      gg = vert/edge slide
      shift+a = add menu
      shift+s = snap menu
      shift+d = duplicate
      ctrl+f = faces menu
      ctrl+e = edges menu
      ctrl+v = verts menu
      ctrl+r = add edge loops
      h = hide
      alt+h = unhide
      spacebar = search (use it to find the commands you're looking for)
      the hotkeys have changed in 2.8 so the above list may not be exactly the same

      sure they may depend on which mode you're in but having everything available regardless of mode actually makes things more complicated when you consider how many things context sensitive menus put closer at hand than they otherwise would be. it may be a bigger learning curve but it's more user friendly.

      as for cycles and blender render having different options that's not an issue that's actually because different render engines work differently and have different options.
      complaining that the options for the different render engines change is like complaining that AMD's Radeon ProRender has different options than whatever you use in Rhino or Grasshopper.
      or even to some extent directX vs openGL. it can use a lot of the same data but how it's presented to those options is different and what those options can do is different.
      sure that does add extra stuff to learn in blender but if you had multiple options for render engines in other programs you'd have the same issues. in general you pick cycles or blender render before you start your work and don't really swap between them for the project. blender render isn't even in 2.8 it's been replaced with EEVEE.

      one way or another a number of your issues here have been addressed at least somewhat in 2.8+

      • Thanks for your answer, it's helpful.

        I don't mean that Blender is a bad tool. I'm sure that each of the things on which I struggle is indeed more efficient once you get used to it.

        The whole challenge is to find the right balance between making the soft easier for new users, and making it more efficient for experienced users. In general I think that complexity should be in option, so hotkeys for instance should be an option for experienced users. But in fact I must admit that Blender has so many functions, for so many different uses, that it's hard to decide which deserve a button, and which to put in menus.

        If Blender was an Adobe project, it's been long that they had split it in several softwares, for better and worst. In the future, if Blender continues to grow, it should be an option to consider.

        Yesterday I sent this message because I felt a true fatigue with Blender, as it always do things that I don't expect. This time it was about the GLTF 2.0 mettalic-roughness group, in node editor (a Khronos add-on). I worked on preparing materials for some objects in my scene, but when I closed and re-openned the file, all the nodes were unlinked, and I couldn't use the groups anymore. It's seems that the groups are now linked together somehow, and I'm sure it's because of a very useful fonction that I don't know about, but it should be an option. I don't even know what tuto to look for to get a clue about what's going on, and it's often like that.

    • The problem with Blender interface is that important things is hidden under a lot of not so important things.
      Example: in a Blender fórum a new user asked a simple question: when I render an animation, where is it saved? For some reason, he had no answer at all by the old users. He was frustrated and said: "after render, I know how to click on the menu 'play rendered animation'. But after close Blender, I don't find where is the animation on my computer". I told him that the folder is a certain /tmp/, a misterious and obscure folder that often is automaticaly deleted when we close Blender.
      And we should ask: why in the world that important item -- a rendered animation -- is so hidden that a new user have to ask it in a forum? And more: why in the world Blender doesn't ASK the user: "where should this animation be saved?" No, instead of it, Blender choose this horrible /tmp/ folder. At least, Blender should save the animation in the same folder that contains the Blender file which generated the animation. It would be a simple, logical and friendly option.
      Don't get me wrong, I like Blender. But I want to see Blender grows. For this, it's vital a better UI.

  26. First impression about Blender was horse shit. I had used Cinema 4D for 15 years. I worked in architecture office with two Blender gurus who made unbelievable stuff with it because they grew with it.

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