Was your 2023 resolution to come out of your comfort zone and learn how to use a new software? 

If the answer’s yes, you’ve come to just the right place! 

Artists who are both junior and experienced are creating amazing things with the open source software, Blender, and, for the past couple of years, Blue Zoo has began developing a pipeline and using Blender in multiple commercial projects. For example, our BZ Short ‘Sinking Feeling’ - created for youth suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS - used Blender in the poignant short film. 

BZ Shorts film Sinking Feeling in Blender

Someone who is no stranger to Blender happens to be Blue Zoo’s very own Dane Winn. Commercials Director and Animator, Dane, is the brains behind some of Blue Zoo’s major short form and advertising projects and you might have seen some of his work on our Instagram before - just like these ones! 

Clarks Playprints campaign made in Blender


Glenfiddich campaign made in Blender

As Dane is such a pro at Blender, we thought who better to ask for tips and advice than the Blender pro himself! 

What is Blender? 

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software tool set used for creating products such as animated films, visual effects, motion graphics and virtual reality. Some of the software’s noticeable features include 3D modelling, digital drawing, rigging and skinning and rendering. 

Dane’s Top Tips

  1. Set yourself a mini project and dive right in. If you get stuck, google and search to find solutions to specific problems so you aren’t trying to memorise methods without context.

  2. If you’re an artist coming from another 3D package and you’re keen to learn everything about Blender, Dane recommends working backwards through the production process. Start with lighting and shaders because you can utilise other resources for models, rigs, animation, etc. to help you get to grips with the UI.

  3. Experiment. Play with the various tools and techniques in Blender and don’t be afraid to try a different approach to something you know. Great ideas can be born out of unexpected results.

  4. Work natively and try to stick to the hotkeys, it'll make it far easier to follow tutorials and find help if you get stuck and will eventually offer a much more intuitive workflow.

  5. Practice makes perfect! No one can be a pro straight away, you have to persevere and keep going at it. 

Whilst these are our top tips on how to use Blender as a beginner, YouTube tutorials are always a good place to start and we’re always posting animation made with Blender on our socials! 

A couple of tutorials that Dane recommends are:

To help you get familiar and started with Blender. 

Make sure to follow us on all Blue Zoo socials to see some more examples of the fabulous work our artists do using Blender!