Learning a skill is not the same as learning a fact. It can take seconds to learn the answer to a question and a few minutes to understand why that is the correct answer. With skills we spend time improving our abilities so that we can become better at performing that task. In Blender, the most common skill to practice is 3D modeling, but how long will it take to become good at this skill?
You can develop proficiency in 3D modeling but focus on specific workflows such as polygonal modeling. If you focus on a particular style, you can learn to use that style for projects in around 4 hours of practice. This can increase substantially, depending on the methods used to learn the skill.
The more you practice a skill, the better you will become at that skill so long as you are adopting the right habits. Within around 4 hours of practice, you can learn how to use all of the core skills that surround 3D modeling and begin to create simple objects on your own without assistance.
What Can I Learn In Four Hours?
So how have we come to the answer that it takes four hours to learn how to create 3D models? Well, to clarify, first of all, four hours of practice will not allow you to create a replica of the millennium falcon, which may take more than four hours to model itself if you are going for scale and want to model the interior.
Instead, four hours refers to the point where most artists feel confident that they can build simple objects and shapes without needing to look up an article on the tool or a Youtube video.
We also gathered this data from students who have taken some of our courses on Udemy and Skillshare as they completed challenges and built up their modeling skills.
Around two, three, and four hours into the course, we challenge students to make a series of objects independently, with the rule that they cannot look up reference videos or lectures during the challenge. Using their developed skills, they have to create the objects themselves without assistance.
By the four hour mark, artists can use all of the basic tools to select the geometry of the models and navigate the viewport comfortably to focus on their object. They can predict which tools they will need to create a specific shape and the general order that the tools will be used.
The 20 Hour Rule
We believe in the statement that it takes approximately 20 hours to learn a new skill, whether that skill is learning guitar, singing, coding, or 3D modeling. So what is the difference here between practicing for four hours and practicing for twenty?
The difference is the complexity of objects that you can create. The process remains the same: we practice new tools by creating new objects and shapes. As time passes, we learn more tools and can create more complex designs.
Once you have practiced 3D modeling for 20 hours, you can comfortably say that you are no longer a beginner and can even describe how Blender works to someone else.
You have the sense that when it comes to modeling objects in Blender, you know what you’re doing and that if you need to create a model of any shape, you will have an idea of how you will build it.
A Rough Timeline Of Becoming A 3D Artist
To make things a bit easier to understand, let us break down the phases of learning 3D modeling and where we expect to be at each phase.
In the first four hours of practice, we are learning the fundamentals of Blender in terms of the user interface, how to navigate the 3D viewport, the various means of selecting the model’s geometry, and the tools needed to edit the shape of the object.
From hours 5 through to 20 we are building on the foundations that we learned in the initial learners phase, and are making a transition from learning tools to developing skills.
Now you are always learning, all of the time, but in this second stage, we are learning by practicing the knowledge that we have already gained, being introduced to new problems as we create models, and then finding solutions to these problems using trial and error, or if required an external blog or video on the topic.
It’s never taboo to look up some help if you get stuck, but in this second phase of learning, we should always try to find the solution ourselves first.
From 20 – 40 hours of practice is where we begin to develop our own workflow, building a preference in how we go about creating new objects.
We can use more tools from other areas of Blender, like the node editor, to further enhance our models. We are also much better at finding solutions to our own problems at this point.
During the third phase of learning, which I call the habit phase, we develop what will eventually become our style of 3D modeling.
From hour 40 to 100, we enter the specialist phase. Up to this point, we would have been gradually increasing the number of tools we can use and then finding which tools are best suited to our workflow.
Now comes the time when we decide to focus on a specific theme for our modeling. For example, you could decide to specialize in sci-fi models using hard surface modeling techniques.
Alternatively, you could choose to become a character designer and begin creating your own characters within Blender for use in other projects.
By the end of 100 hours of practice, you should be able to specialize in creating assets based on your specific theme and have the ability to adapt those models as you require.
0-4 Hours – The Learner Phase
4-20 Hours – The Development Phase
20-40 Hours – The Workflow Phase
40-100 Hours -The Specialist Phase
Disclaimer Of Time
Everything above is a guide based on our findings here on Blender base camp as a result of almost 10 years of using the software alongside the experiences of the 1000s of artists who have taken our courses to data.
Depending on how you approach Blender, you may find that your timeline is either faster or slower.
One tip from us, if you adopt a copy the instructor approach and only create models by copying exactly what the instructor does in your video, then your timeline WILL be much longer than hours. Be sure to practice in your own time, creating as many objects as you can.
Practice does not make perfect, but it makes permanent.
Thanks For Reading The Article
We appreciate you taking the time to read through the article, and we hope you found the information you were looking for. To learn more about how to learn Blender, try some of the blog posts below.