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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the most common complaints about Blender is that it just doesn't look like any other application I use, and it doesn't just divide up. It doesn't have floating panels. It's just weird. There are certain things about Blender that I admit, they are strange, but you have to just understand that it was developed over a dozen years ago. The original interface concept and the way it works was developed back under the UNIX and Linux environment. So it doesn't look like a Windows application.
It doesn't look like an Apple application. It looks like itself. So it's kind of a unique beast in that respect. How everything is arranged with all of these windowpanes, things are strange. They may not be familiar to you. The other complication is that it is a 3D graphics image manipulation program and that's just a very complex topic to try to embody and codify in a program. There are lots and lots of different features and functions that you're not used to, if you're just used to doing word processing or working with a spreadsheet.
There is no similar metaphor for Blender and what it's trying to do. So in doing this course we've come up with a couple of things that have tripped up people right off the top when they are trying to watch this video tutorial series. One of the first things is this Buttons window here. Programs like Maya have hundreds and hundreds of these panels/ Blender has fewer of these to deal with. But one of the things that happens is, and it's a feature of Blender, is that this window is a general-purpose window that holds these things called panels.
And these panels can be arranged or floated. The issue is that they can float off the screen and you can see that this panel up here, which is the Anim panel, is actually floated way up off the screen. So if in a video, I say click the Anim panel and your Anim panel is floated up here, you're not going to be able to see it. In fact, the Render panel is like nowhere to be found. You'd be looking for the Render panels like where is the Render panel? If things happen to line up just like that, you're totally faked out, because you think there is no Render panel.
You can't find it in the list. The only real absolute way to reset this is to right-click in any empty area of the panel and select, in this case, Vertical, because these panels align vertically. If you select Horizontal, then Blender thinks you want the panels selected and arranged this way, which is really going to throw you off. The other thing that happens with these panels is they can tab over one another. That's a tabbing feature.
So now these two panels take up the same amount of screen space. Remember that 5-10 years ago, CRTs and display devices were really small and screen real estate was at a premium. A lot of things have been done in Blender to really condense everything down and make everything really tight as far as screen space goes. Nowadays, and I'm working on some 21- inch monitor with screen space, it's not that much of a consideration. But there are leftovers like this tabbing thing.
The bad thing about the tabbing thing is of course you can't see this Format panel right now. The other bad thing about tabbing is that if I minimize this panel to be able to put it away, so that I get nice stacking thing, look what happened here. The Format panel isn't even mentioned, so you wouldn't even be able to find the Format panel unless you just happen to do that. So you have to really keep track of what's where and you'll see me every now and then throughout the videos doing little bit of housekeeping to try to make sure that I don't overlap those panels, because I often lose them.
Then I'm going to go ahead and expand a couple here. When you resize the window, what Blender tries to do is it tries to proportionally resize all of these different windowpanes so that they all take about the same amount of space. When you open my exercise files, what's going to happen is your windows and panes and the contents of them won't look like mine in the video. In particular, the Buttons window thing here will be scrolled, so these options that are up here, you wouldn't be able to see.
When you open up your file, it may like down here or something like that. So this window won't look exactly the same way, and again the only real way to be absolutely sure is to reset it to Vertical, and then all of the panels will line up. Another thing that will trip some people up is when there is a File Browser or Image Browser window loaded, you may not have the same directory structure as I do. So when you open up the exercise file, even though in the video this will have some path in here, you won't have that path, because that path doesn't exist on your computer.
So it will reset to your Volume ID or on Mac it will reset to something else. Because of that, then these images that are shown in this window will be different, because it's pointing to a different folder and so the contents of that folder are different on your machine than are on my machine. Another Blender oddity is what I call the Render Carry Over. The last time or last file that I was working on when I was recording this series and I'm doing test renders and everything, I'm going to have let's say this image here.
When I open up the next file and I haven't shut down Blender and everything, Blender remembers that render and tries to bring that in and shows that sometimes in an UV/Image Editor, when it is set to be showing the render result or the result of a viewer node or something else like that. If you haven't done that, then you won't see this image. This image is not really that important. During the course of the exercise, we'll be generating our own images, but just don't let it throw you off that when you first open up the Blender file, you may not get the same image that you see in a render result or a viewer node.
The other thing as we get in to compositing, and I realize that's way down there in Chapter 8, but I want to go ahead and mentioned it now. When you first open up an exercise file, which has a Render Noodle in it, and this is called a Render Noodle inside the Node Editor window, you're not going to see these thumbnails in your display, because the noodle has not been executed. You always need to press E to execute the noodle. When you do that, then it will read in those images. It doesn't actually read it in until it needs it.
Now there is one bug that is known on Macs with NVIDIA cards. The Apple driver's not quite up to snuff. So these thumbnail images will not appear for love nor money. There is nothing you can do to get them to appear. That's just a bug in the driver, and if you own an Apple with an NVIDIA card, we ask that you write to Apple and ask them to update their driver for that card to the latest OpenGL standard. Otherwise, if you're running like a Windows box and you have an NVIDIA card, chances are it will run just fine.
So please take all of these things that I've said about the floating panel here, the Render Results or Carry Over Results and these directories and keep them in mind as you're using Blender to make sure that you're not tripped up by these things and that you can carry forward with the exercise and get to know and learn and love Blender as much as I do.
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