Introduction: Blender Basics
Hello everybody! I have come up with a new instructable covering the basics of the free 3d modelling software BLENDER 3D.
Well most of you may think that I am talking about the blender you use in your kitchen, but this is way better. It makes you think and unleashes your creativity, and the best part is, "it's FREE !".
Many hobbyists and artists use BLENDER 3D. It is used for making images, animations (short movies), advertisements, video editing, modelling, etc.
There are many other software such as Autodesk MAYA, Autodesk 3DS MAX, Z Brush and Cinema 4D, but Blender 3D is the software that is free and the best when it comes to the "free" category.
Blender has many versions and I will be using version 2.71. If there are many versions ahead of the version I'm using, please use the latest version.
You can download blender for Mac, Windows and Linux.
NOTE: Go through the whole instructable before launching Blender.
Step 1: Downloading Blender
To download Blender you should go to Google and type in " blender 3d ". Click the first result, which is “ www.blender.org “. There will be a blue link with a cloud icon on the side of the screen with the version number. If you click it, it will take you to a page where it shows the download settings where you can choose what type of OS you are using, 32 bit or 64 bit etc.
Step 2: Interface
Firstly you will be seeing a pop up box displaying the version number, an image and your recent projects. If you click anywhere on the screen the box will disappear.
The part of the screen where you see the cube is called the 3d view.
You will see a cube in the centre of the screen. This is a mesh object.
On the left hand side, you will be seeing a transparent object with a black triangle on the top of it. This is your camera. On the right hand side you will be seeing an object, which looks like a sun, this is your lamp.
Next to the 3d view (to the right hand side) you will find many settings and options. I will teach this to you as we proceed. Above the setting and options (top right corner above the symbols) you will see something like "render layers”,” world", etc. This shows you what is inside your project (mesh objects, camera, text, lamp, etc.).
On the left hand side of the 3d view you have the tool bar where you can bring in mesh objects (create), change the place of your mesh objects (transform), animations and many more...
Below the 3d view you will see lots of lines with numbers under them. This is a timeline and it is used for animations.
There is a properties panel, which can be accessed by pressing the N key on your keyboard. This panel shows you the size of your mesh object, the location and much more.
Blender provides " themes " which changes the color of your blender workspace.
To change the color, you have to go to "file"-"user preferences"-"themes"-"pre-sets" and select which ever theme you want. You can also create your own custom themes. I use the theme "Elysiun"
If you use a keyboard that does not have a number pad you have to go to "file"-"user preferences"-"input"- and on the left hand side you will see " emulate numpad ". There is more to this so I will make another instructable on this.
I use an iMac so I can navigate though the 3d view using the touch-pad on the apple magic mouse.
To rotate in a horizontal manner in the 3d view, you have to swipe horizontally with one finger.
To rotate in a vertical manner in the 3d view, you have to swipe vertically with one finger.
To move around in the 3d view you have to hold SHIFT + swipe horizontally and vertically in your touch-pad.
To ZOOM in you have to hold CONTROL and swipe FORWARD on your touch-pad. To ZOOM - OUT you have to swipe backwards while holding CONTROL.
There are many types of views like:
We will be focusing on SOLID and RENDERED views in this instructable.
Solid view is you regular 3d modelling view. Whereas rendered view is your completed model with lighting colors etc. To switch between these views you have to go to the panel above the TIMELINE- click the icon, which is next to the mode-changing icon (it will be a circle with white on one side and red halfway)
Your 3D view is set to perspective view (default). To switch to orthographic view you have to press 5 on your number-pad or the number 5 above the alphabets if your using the settings " emulate numpad "
Step 3: Basics - 1 - Mesh Objects
Mesh objects are cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, etc.
In the 3d view you will see that your cube has three arrows that have different colors.
Blue arrow - z-axis
Red arrow - x-axis
Green arrow - y-axis
To move the mesh objects all you have to do is select the object by clicking it and either click and grab on of the axis or press the G key and select the axis X, Y, Z. That is G+X or Y or Z. (G stands for grab)
To rotate the object all you have to do is select the object press the R key, select the axis at which you want to rotate it at and finally enter the angle at which it should be rotated. That is R+X or Y or Z + Angle
SCALING MESH OBJECTS:
To change the shape of your object you can extend or shrink the object in the X, Y, and Z-axis.
To scale the object as a whole - S + size (default scale is 1. If you set the scale to 2, it will be double the size)
To scale the object ( X – axis ) - S + X + size.
To scale the object ( Y – axis ) - S + Y + size.
To scale the object ( Z - axis ) - S + Z + size.
DUPLICATING MESH OBJECTS:
To duplicate an object (create an exact copy of it) all you have to do is press SHIFT + D (D stands for Duplicate) + X or Y or Z or G (press G to just simply grab)
While duplicating a lot of mistakes can occur. If you duplicate an object and you forget to move it, it will be there where the original object is so delete the duplicated object or undo (CONTROL + Z - UNDO, CONTROL + SHIFT + Z - REDO)
To bring in more mesh objects:
There are many ways to bring in mesh objects.
One way is to go to the tool bar click "create" and you will see a list of mesh objects. If you click one they will be displayed on the 3d view above the grid.
You can also click SHIFT + A to bring up the menu where you can select what type of mesh you want in your 3d view.
To bring back your objects to their default location, rotation or size you do the following:
Location - ALT+G
Rotation - ALT+R
Size - ALT+S
To delete objects:
Select the object and press the X key.
While doing any hot-keys (more like formulas or algorithms that you do to make something easier, for example the hot-key G + X or Y or Z where you can grab the object) press the key only once do not hold the keys and do it.
Step 4: Basics - 2 - Edit Mode
Well there is a lot of things, which you can do in, edit mode and I will be introducing you to the very basics and I will make separate instructables on the rest. Edit mode is where you start modelling your object from the given set of meshes.
You can go into edit mode by doing the following:
On top of the timeline you will see an option known as "object mode" if you click it will bring another list which has many other different modes. Click "Edit Mode", once you enter Edit Mode many of your object mode settings would have changed. Your Cube or mesh will be highlighted in an orange color and have small balls on the edges. This is called a vertex (plural - vertices). There are three modes, which you will be working with:
Face select mode
Edge select mode
Vertex select mode (default)
You can change between these modes by pressing CONTROL + TAB and selecting which mode or go down above the timeline and you will be able to find the options.
In face select mode the balls on the edges will disappear and there will be dots on the faces of the object.
In edge select mode the balls will be gone and the cube's edges will be highlighted.
In vertex select mode - click on the small balls.
In edge select mode - click on the edge to be selected.
On face select mode - click on the face that needs to be selected.
If you go into edit mode and want to delete the face of an object, you should go into face select mode, select the face, press the X key and it will ask you if you want to delete the vertices faces edges etc. (you can also do this in vertex or edge mode but you need to select the side of the face and it takes a lot of time).
I will teach you the 2 basics of modelling:
Grabbing and modelling
Extruding and modelling
To do grab modelling all you have to do is select the face and grab it (G + X or Y or Z). The mesh will extend it self or shrink itself as you grab. This is the very basic modelling of blender.
To do extrude modelling all you have to do is select a face, edge or vertex and press the E key, left click to finish extruding. To cancel extruding you have to click the right mouse button. You can also rotate the extruded part (do this after finishing extruding), R + X or Y or Z + angle. You can also scale the extruded part by pressing S + value or pulling your mouse forward or backwards (do this after extruding).
I will give you some exercises on modelling at the end of the instructable.
Step 5: Object Mode COLOR
What is the point of creating an awesome model in blender that has no color?
There are two types of render engines in the blender software that we use.
1. CYCLES RENDER ENGINE
2. BLENDER RENDER ENGINE (default)
To switch between these two engines you have to go to the top part of your screen above the 3d view, near the blender logo on the top there will be your settings for changing the render engine. I will be using the cycles render engine for all my blender instructables. NOTE: turn on your cycles render engine before modelling. Nothing will happen if you turn it on later but the material setting of the color will change and you will get a different result.
To change the color of an object, you have to go the symbols panel and select the symbol which is circular and which is after the triangle symbol with the three vertices.
After you have selected this, you have to create a new material.
Under the subdivision: Surface all you have to do for now is change the color. (It will show an RGB color wheel)
Go to the rendered view and you will see that your object has color on it.
Step 6: RENDERING Your Object
So once you have applied color to the object that you have created, you have to position your camera because blender will only render what the camera sees.
TO POSITION THE CAMERA:
To see what the camera sees you have to press 0 on you number-pad or for people who don't have number-pad have to press the 0 on top of the alphabets.
You can position the camera by dragging the X, Y, Z-axis and rotate it by pressing R + X or Y or Z + angle.
Another way to position the camera is to go to the view that you want your camera to see and press CONTROL + ALT + 0.
If you like the view of the object your camera see’s, it's time for rendering!!!
TO RENDER AN OBJECT:
Go to the symbols panel where you will see a symbol, which looks like a camera.
Set the resolution of the image (default is 1920 x 1080)
Set the sampling
If you set the render to like 1080 or 2048 or higher you get HD images. Set the preview to 150 and hit the render icon on the top next to the animation and audio.
WARNING: do not keep the lighting too close to the object otherwise you will see white spots on the object in the final rendered image.
You will be taken to a new view where the image is rendered, this view is called the UV image editor. You can save the image by clicking "image"-"save a copy"- and choose a folder to save it in or hit F3 and choose a folder to save it in. You can switch views by clicking the icon on the far left above the timeline and near the view option. To switch back to the 3d view you have to click the icon, which looks like a cube.
CHANGING BACKGROUND COLOR:
If you render your object you will see that the background color is a dark greyish color. To change this color all you have to do is click the symbol that looks like and earth in the symbols panel, enable the use nodes option and change the color to whatever you want. After you have changed the color, if you go into render view the background color will be changed to the color that you picked.
Step 7: ASSIGNMENTS
Now that you have learned the basics of blender I will be giving you some small assignments, which I will help you in.
I would like you to color a cube and render it.
Cube color - RED.
I have given a reference image where I have created the cube with color.
I would like you to scale a cube and render it.
Cube size - 2
Cube size (X axis) - 0.5
Cube size (Y axis) - 2
Cube size (Z axis) - 0.75
Cube color - GREEN
I have given a reference image where I have created the edited cube.
I would like you to create an edited mesh of your own choice and render it.
Mesh object size - your choice.
Mesh object color - your choice.
I have given some reference image where you can get some ideas maybe?
As it is the Christmas season I would like you to create your own blender Christmas tree on top of a plane surface.
Tree leaves color - GREEN
Tree bark color - BROWN
Plane color - RED
World color - WHITE
Number of trees - 3 (all of different sizes)
I have given a reference image where I have created my own Christmas tree on a plane surface.
CREATE A PLANE
TAKE 3 CONES AND STACK THEM ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. YOU WILL HAVE TO SCALE THE CONES DOWN TO AS THE HEIGHT OF THE TREE INCREASES. (PLACE THE TREE ON THE PLANE THAT YOU HAVE CREATED)
TAKE A CUBE SCALE IT DOWN ON THE X AND Y AXIS AND SCALE IT UP ON THE Z AXIS TO CREATE THE BARK.
SELECT ALL THE PARTS OF THE TREE AND DUPLICATE IT AND SCALE IT UP OR DOWN TO MAKE IT LOOK DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.
ALIGN YOU CAMERA TO GET A GOOD VIEW OF THE TREES.
You can post your pics on the comment box below. You can also post you doubts and feedbacks on the comment box below or send it to me via the private message (To send private messages to people on the instructables website, you have to go to the person's profile and click " Private message ").
I will make more instructables on Blender and Arduino.