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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.
So let's walk through the default scene that opens up because it can be kind of daunting to some people. Blender doesn't have nearly as many buttons and options and controls as other complicated 3D CG modeling programs, but it's got a fair amount. So let's go through it. We have understood that each window pane has a header and on this header, you have the Selector type where you can change type of the window it is or see what kind of window it is. The next thing you have is this Expand/Collapse arrow that expands and collapses the menu.
The menu is shown right here and the menu changes based on the mode or based on what's selected and what's appropriate to whatever it is you are working on. Next, comes out Mode Selector that I touched on earlier that varies based on the window type and then based on the mode that you are in, different tools come into play on your toolbar here, and what I just did is I clicked the middle mouse button and dragged. So here we changed the viewpoint of the kind of view that we are looking at.
We can also change our rotation center as well as invoke this little widget here that's used to enable us to easily grab and change the location or the rotation and/or the scaling of the particular object or in this case, since we are in Edit Mode, the vertices that make up this mesh. Blender also has a Proportional Editing tool as well as a Snap tool and allows you to look at this editable mesh in terms of the vertices that make it up, the edges that make it up and/ or the faces that make it up.
You can click on either one of those or Shift-click to multiple-select them. So the default scene consists of this cube and I'm going to press Tab now to tab out of Edit Mode. It consists of that cube, a couple of lights. This is a spotlight here shining down on the cube. The camera of course, the all important camera. So we can take a picture of this wonderful scene that we'll be constructing and a couple of other hemisphere lights as well as the ground plane. This grid kind of gives us an orientation and kind of a view part of where the world begins and ends and what's up and down and like that.
You can turn that off by going to the View and View Properties and disabling Grid Floor. You can also disable the X and the Y axes that are also shown by default. You can change the Grid Spacing as well as some information about where the 3D cursor is. The 3D cursor is an important thing to talk about right now. It is replaced in 3D space every time you just left-click and it's this red and white dashed kind of circle with the cross-hairs. It's designed to be pretty visible and pretty unmistakable whatever view you are in.
So depending on where you click and in what window you click, you then activate and position that 3D cursor. That 3D cursor is used for a lot of things. When you press space and you want to add some other objects, let's say we wanted to add a UV sphere and we go ahead and click OK to confirm that, that object is created and put where the 3D cursor is, the center of the sphere now is where that 3D cursor is. So that's why it's pretty important for that 3D cursor. There's a lot of Snap tools as well that allows you to snap things to the 3D cursor and like that.
So every CG scene has to have at least a camera, so you can take a picture of the CG scene and some lights to light it up and then of course something to actually see within the CG space. Lastly, I would like to cover layers. Now, different applications cover layers in a different kind of a manner and Blender has its own approach. A layer is a way of organizing your information and all the objects that are in this sometimes very complicated scene.
So we use layers and we have 20 of them selected here and by default, they are numbered from 1 through 5 in this little first group and then they do just a little visual break and then there is number 6 through 10 and then the bottom layers, layers 11 through 15, and then 16 through 20. So almost with everything in Blender, you can select one of them or hold the Shift key down to select many of them. Now, these layers are so important, the number keys at the top of your keyboard select a particular layer.
So for example, I'm going to press 5 on my keyboard and that selects layer 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. If I want to Shift+Select and select many of them, I hold the Shift key down and I guess it's supposed to be like the @ sign above the 2, hold, then I'm going to do it by actually Shift+ Selecting Layer 2 as well. So each object is assigned to one or more layers. So this cube right here, if I press M in the 3D View to map out what layers this cube is member of, I can see that the cube is on layer 1.
So as long as I have layer 1 selected down here, I'm going to see that cube. If I click on let's say Layer 3, I don't see anything because nothing in this particular scene is a member of that layer and I can tell that because there is not a little dot. There is a little dot on the Layer button. It means that something is on there. So that's an overview of the default scene and what it means to you and how to organize and select different things, and see what's in a particular scene. When you open up somebody else's scene, it's like Wow! What's all this stuff here? Well, that's how you can navigate around and start to break it down.
I would suggest you start with the layers, go through each and see what kinds of things are organized on the different layers, and try to get a feel for all of the different objects that come together in a 3D scene to produce the actual rendered output.
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