Data, lights, camera, action! Scientific visualization done beautifully using Blender @SURFsara

VK1/VK2 (SURFsara)



Science Park 140, 1098 XG Amsterdam


Would you like to make 3D visualisations that are visually more attractive than what ParaView or VisIt can provide? Do you need an image for a grant application that needs to look spectacular? Would you like to create a cool animation of your simulation data? Then this course may be for you!

The goal of this course is to provide you with hands-on knowledge to produce great images and basic animations from 3D scientific data. We will be using the open-source package Blender 2.8 (, which provides good basic functionality, while also being usable for
advanced usage and general editing of 3D data. It is also a lot of fun to work with (once you get used to its graphical interface).

Example types of relevant scientific data are 3D cell-based simulations, 3D models from photogrammetry, (isosurfaces of) 3D medical scans, molecular models and earth sciences data. Note that we don't focus on information visualization of abstract data, such as graphs (although you could convert those into a 3D model first and then use them in Blender).

We like to encourage participants to bring along the data they normally work with, or a sample thereof, and would like to apply the course knowledge to.

Topics covered:

- Blender UI and workflow, scene structure
- Basic importing of data
- Simple 3D mesh editing with modifiers
- Basic animation
- Rendering, lighting and materials


This course was previously given in a single day, but we have now split it into a Basics and Advanced part each a full day. The course described above is the Basics part. The follow-up Advanced course with more in-depth information and a few extra topics will be held in Q1 2020.



If the course gets fully booked, no more registrations are accepted through this website. However, you can be included in the waiting list: for that, please send an email to and you'll be informed when a place becomes available.

    • 09:00 09:30
      Welcome & overview
    • 09:30 10:30
      Blender basics
    • 10:30 10:45
      coffee break 15m
    • 10:45 11:45
      Blender basics (continued)
    • 11:45 12:45
      lunch 1h
    • 12:45 13:30
      Basic importing
    • 13:30 14:00
      Mesh editing with modifiers
    • 14:00 14:15
      coffee break 15m
    • 14:15 14:45
      Basic animation
    • 14:45 16:00
      Rendering, lighting and materials
    • 16:00 16:15
      coffee break 15m
    • 16:15 16:40
      Rendering, lighting and materials (continued)
    • 16:40 17:20
      Work on your own data
    • 17:20 17:30