Getting started with Blender

🕑 2 minute read

I recently picked up 3d modelling after quite a few years away. I have not used Blender before so learning the basics involved many seaches and skimming videos to fine what I needed. This post is a quick guide to getting started with blender that I have created from my notes.

Hopefully it will enable you to get started more quickly than I did!

Navigation

Firstly if you're on a (mac) laptop without a numpad then you will want to enable numpad emulation. This will allow you to use the normal numbers to navigate different views:

Edit > Preferences > Input > "Emulate Numpad"

Views

Views enable you to look at your models and scene from a range of angles.

Default views

There are some built in defaults like top, right and front. These are mapped to key shortcuts.

  • 1 Front & Cmd 1 Back
  • 3 Right & Cmd 3 Left
  • 7 Top & Cmd 7 Bottom
  • 9 Toggles between front/back, top/bottom and `left/right'
  • 5 toggles wach view between Orthographic (parallel lines like a plan) and perspective (converging/diverging lines like reality).

Rotating, moving and zooming views

To navigate the current view with the keyboard you can use the numpad numbers

  • 2 rotate camera down
  • 4 rotate camera left
  • 6 rotate camera right
  • 8 rotate camera up
  • Shift 4 Rotate view anticlockwise
  • Shift 6 Rotate view clockwise
  • ctrl 2 move camera down
  • ctrl 4 move camera left
  • ctrl 6 move camera right
  • ctrl 8 move camera up
  • + & - Zoom in and out

Trackpad viewing tips

The trackpad or mouse can also be used to navigate a model and scene.

  • 2 finger scroll on trackpad - rotate camera about freely
  • shift + 2 finger scroll on trackpad - move camera about freely
  • ctrl + scroll mouse (two finger swipe) - Zoom in out

Camera and render

  • 0 Toggles between the current camera (in the scene) and the last view.
  • / - Show only the current object(s) (hide all others) - Isolation mode.
  • . On a numpad centers the view on the current object, but with emulation this is not available. I suggest editing the key bindings and assigning another unused key such as ;.
  • Z + 8, 6, 2, 4 to pick the render mode - Wireframe, solid, material and rendered.

Creation and manipulation of objects

  • Tab Switch between object and edit mode. To create objects you need to be in object mode! When in object mode the object will be outlined in yellow.
  • Shift A Add an item - pick from a list
  • X - Delete
  • Left Mouse Button - Select the item
  • G Move. Press x, y or z to lock to that axis.
  • S Scale. Press x, y or z to lock to that axis.
  • R Rotate. Press x, y or z to lock to that axis.

By pressing tab you can then select a vertex/point, edge or face depending on the mode. You can toggle the mode with buttons next to the edit mode dropdown. Holding shift when clicking lets you select multiple. You can then use G, S, R and E to tweak the selected.

Advanced creation and manipulation of objects

  • e extrude used on faces. You can move, rotate and or scale the extruded shape.
  • ctrl r - loop cut. Split an objects faces, vertices and edges in a loop around. Scrolling up/down on the mouse adds/removes the number of cuts to be made.
  • shift s - Move cursor / selection options. The cursor is where now items will be created and

There are many more areas to cover including creating objects along a path, subtracting & adding objects with each other and texturing. These are a bit more in-depth so I will write these up separatly in future posts.