Blender Tutorial for Beginners: How To Make A Mushroom

Learn how to make a 3D mushroom in this Blender tutorial for beginners! By Eric Van de Kerckhove.

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Update note: Eric Van de Kerckhove updated this tutorial for Blender 2.9. Vicki Wenderlich wrote the original.

Imagine you’re a game developer getting ready to make a 3D game. You’ve come up with some cool ideas and prepared some sound effects, everything is right in the world. That is, until you realize you have no clue how to create 3D models!
Don’t feel bad though, you’re not alone. In this situation, you have some options:

  • Cry
  • Decide that a 2D game isn’t that bad after all
  • Find free 3D models online
  • Pay an artist to make some for you
  • Create your own!

If you’ve never touched Blender before but want to be able to make some simple objects for use in your game, look no further – this tutorial is for you! Blender is a hugely popular free and open source 3D creation suite. Its main feature set includes 3D modeling, rigging, animating, simulating and rendering. Since version 2.8, Blender has become more streamlined and easier to use than ever. It’s now a perfect candidate for beginners delving into the world of 3D modeling!

In this Blender tutorial for beginners, you’ll learn the basic setup of Blender by creating a cute creature you will recognize from the 8-bit days. :]

This tutorial will only scratch the surface of what Blender can do, the stuff you need to know to get started making objects and using them in your games. At the end of this tutorial you’ll learn how to:

  • Download and install Blender
  • Navigate around the application
  • Add and transform objects in Object Mode
  • Edit objects in Edit Mode
  • Unwrap an object’s UV map
  • Create and use textures
  • Exporting your files to common 3D formats

Getting Started

If you don’t have Blender installed on your computer, download the latest version here. This tutorial uses Blender 2.92, but with any version of Blender from 2.8 onward you’ll be able to follow along just fine.

Like other 3D modeling tools, Blender is a graphically intensive application; check out the system requirements before installing to make sure your rig will run Blender without any hiccups.

Once you have Blender installed, launch it and you’ll be greeted by a splash screen. Click anywhere outside of the splash screen to get started.

You now see the default scene that contains a cube, a camera and a light, as illustrated in the screenshot below:

Note: Don’t see the elements above? Simply select File ► New ► General to generate a default scene.

These objects are located in the 3D view. You can orient yourself in the 3D space using the X, Y and Z axes:

  • The X-axis is red and moves from left to right.
  • The Y-axis is green and moves from front to back.
  • The Z-axis is blue and moves from top to bottom.

To visualize this, Blender has a gizmo at the top right that acts like a 3D compass and colored lines on the grid.

There are five regions on the screen that you’ll use to create your 3D objects:

  • Outliner: Lists all objects in your scene.
  • Properties: Allows you to edit the properties of the selected scene and object.
  • 3D View: Contains a 3D visualization of the objects in the scene.
  • 3D View Header: A top menu with a collection of context-aware functions.
  • Toolbar: Displays relevant tools for the mode you’re in.

Now that you know where to look, it’s time to cover a few more concepts that you’ll need before creating your first 3D model. Hang on tight!

Controlling Your View

Navigating around your 3D view is something you’ll be doing frequently, so you should get really comfortable with the navigational controls.

Navigating In a 3D Space

The primary ways to manipulate your view are as follows:

  • To rotate around: hold the middle mouse button and drag around.
  • To zoom in and out: Scroll up and down.
  • To pan the view: Hold down Shift and the mouse scroll wheel, then drag around.

If you ever lose your way in the 3D view, press Period (.) on your numpad, this will snap your view back to the selected object.

Orthographic And Perspective Projection

There are two ways of projecting 3D objects on a 2D plane like your computer screen:

  • Perspective : Objects further away in your view appear smaller, and lines on your objects display perspective distortion. This is how we perceive things with our eyes in real life.
  • Orthographic: Objects are drawn linearly without any perspective distortion. This is more common for technical drawings and isometric games like SimCity and Diablo .

Although objects look more natural with a perspective projection, it’s easier to design your models using the orthographic projection where you can view and edit objects on a flat plane without any distortions caused by distance.

Perspective is the default projection for new scenes. To switch between projections, click on the projection toggle button at the top right of the 3D view. It looks like a grid:

Alternatively, press 5 on your numpad to do the same.

Hovering over the projection buttons shows a description and the shortcut

Note: Blender is all about knowing the right shortcuts to do what you want efficiently. Just about every common function has a dedicated shortcut. If there’s a button or menu option you often use, try hovering over it for a second and you’ll see a description and the assigned shortcut.

Customizing The Regions

To resize a region, simply mouse over the edge until your cursor changes to a resize icon and drag to change expand or shrink the region:

To create another region, click and drag the black corner at the top right or bottom left of the current region inwards. To merge it with an existing region, do the same but drag the corner outwards to another region. Here’s a demonstration:

Adding regions like this can be useful to get multiple angles of a 3D model at once while you’re modeling. This way, you can have a front view in one 3D view, and a side view in another!