If you are new to Blender, you may be thinking … Why is there a monkey head in the add mesh menu, amongst the planes, cubes, spheres and other primitives? Well, my friends, you have just met Suzanne the infamous Blender Monkey.
Created in 2002 for Blender version 2.25 by 3D concept artist Willem-Paul van Overbruggen, aka SLiD3, Suzanne is basically a slightly more complicated three-dimensional mesh than most primitives, consisting of 500 faces and capable of casting shadows and reflections on itself, in a similar fashion to many other 3D test objects such as the ubiquitous Utah Teapot or the quirky Stanford Bunny, perfect for quickly testing textures, reflective materials, animation rigs and complicated lighting setups.
Suzanne, who was named after the orangutan in Kevin Smiths 2001 movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back has become a firm favourite at the Blender Foundation quickly being adopted as the company’s mascot and being instantly recognisable amongst the Blender faithful.
To add a Suzanne monkey head to your Blender scene simply press shift+a to open up the mesh menu, scroll down and select monkey. If you require the new 2D Grease Pencil version of Suzanne press shift+a go down to grease pencil and select monkey.
for outstanding 3D art and animation
Suzanne’s popularity amongst the 3D fraternity has led to the monkey being used as the symbol of Blenders own version of the Oscars, an annual event recognising the achievements of Blender artists from all over the world.
The Suzanne award has been given to artists and filmmakers for creating exceptional 3D visuals ever since the second Blender Conference of 2003.
Categories include animation, design and short film, with the free open-source 3D application Blender being used as the primary creative software.
Blender Monkey Art Gallery
the many faces of Suzanne
As you can imagine putting a monkey head in the available meshes of Blender has led to a lot of talented artists using Suzanne as the base model for their creativity, coming up with some exceptional and hilarious 3D renders and animations all involving various incarnations of our favourite 3D monkey.
So, if you are looking for inspiration for what to do with a monkey head, here are some great ideas to get you started.
An amazing image of Suzanne the Blender monkey mesh head, with her golden locks blowing in the wind. Created by Indonesian artist Artorian Nova as an example of what can be achieved using the Principled BSDF shader.
A rather cool looking Suzanne taking a break from being the worlds most famous 3D chimpanzee. Wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap and smoking a cigarette. Created by Jere Haapaharju for a CGCookie art challenge.
A rather toothy Suzanne shows what a happy little monkey she is. Artist unknown.
Hilarious animation of Suzanne the Blender Monkey dancing to the hit 2012 record Gangnam Style. Created by animator and YouTuber Linil Komban
Grease Pencil provided the starting point for this 2-dimensional version of Suzanne the Blender mascot. Created by Blender artist Julien Kaspar as a reference for a speed sculpting presentation at the BCon and CTN.
Suzanne gets an Iron Man makeover from the talented freelance artist and Blender Foundation Certified Trainer Alan Zirpoli.
A rather cool animation inspired by Suzanne the Blender she-monkey and a neon Las Vegas cowboy sign, affectionately known as Vegas Vic. Check out the Youtube XMT Channel for more info.
It appears the fiendish BatRat is winning the battle against a legion of Blender monkey heads. Created by Irinel Alexandru Radut as a personal project using the free open-source 3D modelling program Blender.
Blender Monkey Tutorials
what to do with a monkey head
Create a Flaming Monkey Head
The monkey head mesh is ideal for testing quick effects in Blender such as smoke and fire.
Learn the complete process of creating fire and smoke effects within the free 3D application Blender and mastering the physics and animation settings in this excellent three-part tutorial by technology teacher David Brewer.
No animals were injured during the making of this video, although Suzanne did get a little hot under the collar.
Make a Hairy Monkey
Naked apes are all well and good but to preserve Suzanne’s modesty we will need to learn how to create and place hair on our favourite Pan Troglodyte character, within Blender itself.
Fortunately, help is at hand with this excellent Quick Hair creation guide by Blender artist and tutor 3DTudor.
Aimed at beginners this quick yet concise Blender tutorial will get you started creating hair for great apes or any other 3D character you can imagine.
Free Blender Monkey Models
ready-made alternate versions of Suzanne
If the basic Blender monkey head isn’t enough for your modelling requirements and you don’t have the time, or the inclination to create something truly unique, then maybe a free Suzanne monkey model could come in useful.
Fortunately, our friends at BlendSwap have curated a number of alternative Suzanne heads that are free to download and use in your Blender scenes and animations and here are just a few of our favourites.
Suzanne Angel and Demon
Suzanne the Blender monkey re-imagined as a classic angel and demon head.
Suitable for 3D printing, put a bit of monkey good and evil on your desk.
Suzanne for Testing Materials
A highly detailed version of the monkey mesh, designed primarily for testing materials in the node editor.
A grumpy looking Suzanne that could easily be used as the base of many a character model.
Cyberpunk comes to Blender in the form of this futuristic Suzanne model.
Designed to be rendered in the Eevee render engine this cyberpunk Suzanne is free to download.
Suzanne Rigged Monkey
The Gangnam Style Blender Monkey from the animation mentioned in the Blender Monkey Gallery above.
Now fully rigged and yours to own and use in your very own Blender animations.
Robozanne, a futuristic rendition of our favourite monkey turned into a robot ape.
If sci-fi renders are your thing then this futuristic chimp is yours to download under the CC0 license.
Well, we hope that has satisfied your curiosity about the famous Blender mesh and mascot Suzanne, probably the most unique and cute semi-complex test primitive out there.
If you have created any outstanding images or Blender 3D models utilising the monkey head mesh, then let us know and we will feature it here if we feel it would be useful or inspirational for our readers.
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