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Blender shortcuts for common tasks


05.29.08 Posted in 3d by admin

I’ve had to deviate from Flash a little over the last few weeks and return to creating some visual work for a project I’m involved in at present.  The change has been very welcome because it’s given me an opportunity to play around with Blender in the workplace.

Blender is an open source 3d creation suite that I’ve been dabbling around with from time to time over the last few years mainly as a hobby.  I am very interested in the world of 3d and, after some research a few years back, I thought I’d invest some free time into learning Blender.  After seeing it’s rate of development over several releases and experiencing the community ethos that Blender is synonymous with, I feel vindicated for choosing Blender as my focus for all things 3D as opposed to the more obvious commercial alternatives.

Great features:

It’s been a while (version 2.37) since I tried to produce anything in Blender and I have found that there are lots of new modelling and texturing features that have made life a lot easier;

  • Vertex snapping is a great aid for positioning meshes.  This used to be a real chore because the only real mechanism for arranging objects precisely (besides the transform properties pane) used to be the options on the Snap menu and this was based around positioning of the 3d cursor.
  • The modifier system totally changes workflow and allows you to non-destructively manage objects.  This has got to be one of the most important developments!  I found myself using the array modifier a lot when modelling an ancient temple!  The cast modifier also proved useful when I wanted to get acanthus leaves to better fit around a Corinthian capital.
    The bevel modifier and the bevel tool help to add realism to objects in seconds – a slight bevel can make a world of difference to a final render.  I completed an AutoCAD class a few years ago and was bevelling everything back then :-) .
  • The UV unwrapping toolset makes unwrapping meshes in preparation for texturing almost pleasurable.
  • Render layers has proved very useful in managing what actually gets rendered without having to hide layers in the 3d viewport.

Look what I made!

Temple of Athena

Temple of Athena made with Blender 3d

This is a screenshot of the Temple of Athena that I’ve made for an education project.  I’m reasonably pleased with it but I’m even happier with what I’ve learned in the process of creating it.

Where to start

Blender can seem insurmountable when launching it for the first time but the same can be said for any application that is so feature-rich and capable. I resorted to a document I wrote a couple of years ago to help me get back up and running with it.  The document is a compilation of the keyboard shortcuts that I needed to learn in order to complete common tasks and I jotted them down as they were encountered.  I’ve also updated it to reflect the latest release.  Feel free to download it.  Please note that this document covers, for the most part, only shortcuts for basic operations.  Go to the online documentation for a more comprehensive guide (http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual).

Blender shortcuts document

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