Interior Design and Architectural Tools

Should You Be “Using Blender for Interior Design”

“Using Blender for Interior Design”

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.

Eric Hoffer

Introduction

I know many professionals and students wonder as I once did. At some point most will want to know if using Blender for Interior Design is viable. Well, that depends!

I’ve seen software applications come and go over the past 40 years. Come to think of it, that is the equivalent of starting off in the horse and buggy days! 😂 Yikes! And, in that time I’ve seen only a handful of applications that have truly excited me. Blender is one that has taken it spot within at my top three lists, thus far. Although, I should point out – that wasn’t the case in the very beginning. Blender started off the race like a rock stuck in the surf, but it has become a breath-taking Cheetah! Especially in the past few years. In fact, Blender has gotten within ear-shot of some of the top paid for (Very Expensive!) 3D Modeling software packages out there. Should they be worried?

Note: Throughout the article, I share links to some of the books I have in my home library and found very useful.

looking scared of the competition



Can an Interior Design use Blender with Good Results?

Absolutely! When I hear the question “Should interior designers be using Blender?“, I find a grin on my face while a barley audible chuckle escaping my breath. If you only knew what was easily accomplished using this FREE opensource application, and all the free available addons/plugins there are, and the abundance of quality -information (free and paid ) available to the end-user – you’d become an instant fan!

There are sites like Blender Model , Blender Kit and Blender Boom that allow Blender users to upload, and download a model. Some are good, and others that need more work, but nonetheless they’re great places for beginners.

You’ll find a treasure trove of sites where you can find almost any textures you need. I would bookmark 3DXO, 3D Textures, 3D Total, and Environment Textures. This is an awesome place to start!

Reading and having a great library of books is extremely important. I dedicate a certain percentage of income towards purchasing books for my home office, and company office. While there is a lot of information on the internet, as well as digital books like Kindle (which I always purchase books from when I am on the go), there is still something very useful about having a real book in your hands to really focus comfortably. Well, at least for me it is. Below is a list of books (I actually use and are in my library) worth investing in if you’re going to add Blender to your Tool kit. I’ve put them in the order I feel they are the most beneficial. This is solely my opinion, so always research enough to see which book may be best for you currently. You need to be honest with yourself about your skillset and be willing to actually read the book in full, as well as follow on tutorials within. You know the old saying “You get out what you put in”. That’s a fact, and it’s one that will never change!

I don’t care how much money you have, free stuff is always a good thing.

Queen Latifah

modeled and render in Blender

What can I do with a Free App like Blender?

You could make make award winning films and animations! You could produce 2D works of art, or 3D pintables. You could create professional architectural and interior models and then, render out high-quality images for presentation. You could create visual effects, and computer games. Or, perhaps it would just be far simpler to say that “there is very little a professional artist or designer could not accomplish using Blender”.

A Brief Bit of History on the Origins of Blender

Blender was the brain-child of Ton Roosendaal, a self-taught developer and art director from the Netherlands . He started NeoGeo (a 3d animation company) back in 1989 and it quickly developed into a quality company. Ton created the first opensource files of Blender in the beginning of January , 1995 as an inhouse toolset, and by early 1998 the first Free version of Blender was set free to the internet. Note:  In October 13th, 2002, Blender was released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, the strictest possible open-source contract. Not only would Blender be free, but its source code would remain free, forever, to be used for any purpose whatsoever.

Blender-founder-Ton Roosendaal

By 2007 Roosendaal helped to create the Blender Institute, which is a studio to oversee the research and development done on Blender. They went on to create a series of short films using Blender, and by 2008 one of these short films “Big Duck Bunny“, became a massive hit among children/family animated shorts. This was a jaw dropping moment for artist and film makers everywhere. Especially, once they clearly understood that this short film was produced and rendered within a piece of free software. I can hear Bill and Ted screaming “No Way!”.

bill and ted adventures "No Way!"




If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.

Larry Page

Using Blender for Interior Design

Start off by downloading the most recent stable version of Blender for your operating system. Then download the Reference Manual and actually take the time to read the entire thing. Yes, that’s right! Read it! I find people who actually read manuals, usually have a faster workflow, and overall comprehension of the software they’re using. Go figure!

Oh My God! Slapping your head!

Focus on learning the very basics before you even begin trying to model anything or using Blender for Interior Design. The better you know how to get somewhere within the application, the better you will be able to follow tutorials. While this may seem boring, it only takes a short time out of your schedule each day to study. Go through the Reference Manual in the order that it is written. Learn the correct labels for each section of your application screen. Then, learn the top menu, and all the sub categories. Study what each one actually does. Once you can get around the Blender App comfortably and can customize Blender to the way you like it, you’re ready to start learning to make shapes and place them in 3D space.



Take the time to learn shortcuts and how to use the mouse with each command. Trust me when I say that you will become much quicker and proficient if you have the patience to learn all the tiny things first. But, who am I to tell you what to do? If you can read this article without someone holding your hand, then you’re old enough to learn the way you want to. Just don’t let me catch you crying like a newborn on some forum 😂 simply because you lack the patience to learn the essentials of an application that is important to your livelihood.

I have a saying that I taught my self years ago out of my own frustrations with learning. Maybe it can help you too. “You can walk slow and get there faster, or run like hell and keep passing it by!”

Examples of 3D Modeling & Rendering using Blender

Here is an example I found at Evermotion of the wire model and then the finale results after render. I for one am a big fan of wireframe renders for artwork for the office and home.

wireframe-of-kitchen-model-in-blender

You can see how natural the layout looks and how it seems everyone just got up from the table to go somewhere. A nice tutorial by Michal Franczak called “Blendered Interior Rendered In Cycles”.

In the next image, we see it rendered out with all the colors and textures added.

finale render in blender

In the next piece of art we see a render by Augusto Cezar on the ArtStation Website. I find this one very wel done! Bravo!

livingroom rendered in blender

In the next image we can see Augusto setting up his interior design model layout. We see the lighting and materials all added, camera set, and the scene ready to be rendered out. Superb job!

blender screen shot of model ready to be rendered

How do I choose the Right 3D Application?

If you’re going to make a lifelong career out of being an interior designer or architect, then you should put your most effort into learning the top applications used by medium to large size Interior Design firms. Keep Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on these list of tools as well, they both play an important part of the post process. Here are my top choices globally.

I also feel that Blender should be added to this list, but not as the primary ones you should learn first. Keep in mind that bigger firms invest a lot time and money in training on specific systems and applications. That being said, it will be quite some time (if ever) that Blender will become the staple of the Interior Design and Architecture Industry.

If you are looking to be a freelancer or start a small firm, then Blender is a great way to go. It’s free and produces results like the big boys of the industry. Even so, I would still keep at least two of the top ones under your wings, just for rainy days. As standbys, I suggest 3D Max or Sketchup for 3D modeling with rendering and AutoCad for your Building plans and layout. This will help you if you need to find work in the future. Revit is a great choice for those involved with doing BIM (Building Information Modeling); Infurnia is similar in some ways. Something that all inspiring students should keep in mind is that AutoDesk seems to be pushing Revit as the go-to software for modeling and cad within the Interior Design and Architecture industry.

Remember that all categories encompassing the full design process, take skill in each individual area. You may model great, but know very little about lighting and so on. It’s definitely a balancing act if you’re the whole team. Rendering, lighting, texturing, modeling, animation, and post-work, all take skill, and time to acquire it. It’s better to take a realistic approach to learning from the very start. Step by step! Begin with the application itself, and then get proficient enough at each skill before moving on to learn more. “Hast makes waste”.

Where do I find some Good Blender Tutorials?

There are many good tutorials out there and some not so good ones. I know! I made the rounds myself when first taking a serious look at Blender. The list that follows are the sources I found to be the very best for beginners to advanced-intermediate. If you found a source that is very good , but not on the list – kindly leave it in the comment below. I am sure that others will appreciate your help.

The Blender Guru ( Andrew Price), by now he is well-known for his Doughnut Tutorial series. He is a lovely guy, with a matching personality, and a cheerful Australian accent. Tons of YouTube Tutorials and tips that are well-worth watching!


Grant Abbitt is a great resource and a pleasant individual to watch. He provides another side of Blender from Andrew and is a bit more business-minded in his approach to teaching. Although he is more involved with gaming side of modeling, there are still some very useful videos to learn from. His Stylized Cottage series is great place to start.

Egneva Designs is a bit more intermediate and fully interior design related. However, be warned that his accent may be difficult to follow by Westerner standards. I turn on the sub-titles and slow the videos down slightly in the YouTube settings. I find that it is worth it to watch his tutorials.

The CG Geek is a joy to watch. His is delightfully funny and helpful in his unique approach to teaching. I believe he has the ability to make most people feel good about learning. His Create a Modern Bedroom is a bit advance-beginner. but a good one to try once you get down all the basics of Blender.

Of course Blender has it’s own Channel with a lot of videos. All are dedicated to learning all the basic working of Blender and work well along with reading the Reference Manual. The Fundamental Series is an awesome learning experience, and a must watch for all who are new to Blender

A “must” in my book, is joining Blender Nation. I would get on their mailing list immediately! They provide free models, tutorials, suggested books to purchase, reviews of addons and plugins, and much more.

Blender Artists is a great resource for inspiration from other Blender users around the world. It provides an up-to-date list of available jobs, tutorials, suggested learning materials, contests and challenges, news, events, and a highly-useful forum, which provides a treasure trove of helpful information

I think I know what you’re all thinking … that’s a lot of learning baby! There is! But, the pleasure you get from it is exhilarating

WOW!

Conclusion

Should Interior Designer be using Blender? A big YES! Should they make it their main application? Well, that depends! Yes, if you are a freelance designer, or you are starting a small local Interior Design company. No, if you are a student looking to enter into the field of Interior Design and work for medium to large companies. Should you learn Blender as an addon application, and to your portfolio? Yes, if you have at least 3 of the ones I suggested in the bulleted list above.

Blender is a great application for 3d modeling, animation and rendering. It’s free and it works spectacular! There are very few things in this world that are free and provide world class results. Blender is on that list, so learn it and use it!

It’s best to think about the path you’re on and focusing your immediate efforts on the right tools. It hardly makes sense to learn something that you will not be using the majority of the time, at least in the beginning. Once you’ve added all the major applications to your resume, you’re free to continue adding on new skills and applications.

I’ve personally made it past that stage in my life. So, I find the value of using Blender, highly-significant in quite a few areas. Hey, I can always open up Maya, 3Dmax, Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, or AutoCAD in a heartbeat and feel at home enough to knock out a design. So, why not venture into new territories! I might be older gray, but I still love to learn and have a great time doing it!



Question for you

Let’s get my main question out of the way first! “Which application did you learn first; and how did you go about learning it?”

Some other questions you may like to ponder and share on are: Did you find this article helpful? If not, please leave me some helpful suggestions or tell me what you’d like to read about. Do you have a question you think I can help you with? Great, leave it below and I’ll do my best for you. Do you have any advice you’d like to share? I am sure everyone would love to hear it.

thank you for reading our blog article.

Kind Regards

Jack Anthony LaBarck