I’ve been interested in raytracing and 3d graphics since I was a teenager, and I’ve played with a few bits of software over the years, but never sat down and tried to learn it properly. Often I had “dodgy” copies of the software, or free limited trials (Real 3D on the Amiga off a magazine cover disk for example).
It comes with a real-time rendering engine which gives great results for the casual eye, and another free but more accurate ray-tracer engine for ‘proper’ rendering. With today’s speedy tech, single-screen renders which would have taken hours back in my teen days appear to take 10 seconds. Blender can make use of either (or both) the CPU or 3d graphics card in your PC – even use two Nvidia cards if that’s the poke you have under the bonnet! The newer RTX models with ray-tracing support really improve performance too. My 2070 super Nvidia card in my laptop with a series 10 I7 rendered each of the 300 frames in the video below in about 10 seconds, the whole thing took under an hour to render and turn into a video. Blender even has a built-in video editing module.
I found some amazing tutorials online – check out this chaps stuff; www.youtube.com/c/BlenderGuruOfficial and you’ll find the 15 or 16 part tutorial on how to do the above. You do EVERYTHING – from modeling the organic looking doughnut to post effects and compositing.
If you’ve not tried it – 3d modeling in Blender (or any tool) is a mix of math, science, understanding colour and distance and cameras (a bit) – and obviously a good eye and creativity. I’m a terrible artist – I cannot draw at all, but 3d work allows me to create images and animations that I’d never believe possible.
While this doughnut is stylised somewhat, the Blender software can render photo-realistic images which look as good to my eye as anything you’ll find with other tools. Not bad for free software.
My next step is to read through and work through this suggested way of learning Blender (in 4 weeks). www.blenderguru.com/podcasts/episode-4