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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Let's get started by taking a look at the default Blender interface. Now, this is the interface you should see when you first open Blender. Now, if you've opened an existing Blender file, you may see a different layout or a different interface, that's because the layout is actually saved with the file, but just know that you can always get back to this default interface, and I'll show you how to do that in a little bit. Now, the interface is composed of individual panels, and inside each panel is what's called an Editor, and you can tell what the Editors are because they have an icon either on the top-left corner, such as this, or at the bottom-left corner, such as here.
Now, those little icons in the corner tell you what type of Editor it is. So let's go to the very top-left corner here, and we see this little icon here with the letter I in it. In fact, if we left-click on this and pull this down, you can see these are all the different types of Editors we have, and the one we're using here at the top of the interface is called the Information window or the Info window. Now, this window is pretty straightforward, it just has a File Menu, which allows us to Open, Close, Import, and Export files.
It also has what's called an Add Menu, which allows us to add objects into the scene, such as Meshes, Armatures, Cameras, Lights, pretty much whatever you want. We also have a Render Menu, and the Render Menu allows us to render images or animation. And we also have a Help Menu, which brings up web-based help from Blender. Now, next to this we have our Layout Menu. Now, as you can see, we're on the Default Layout. If I go over here just to the left of this, you'll see I have a pull-down menu, and this actually allows us to choose whatever type of Window Layout is appropriate.
Now, these are just some of the presets that come with Blender, but you can also make your own. So for example, if I was using Animation, I could just click on this and it would reconfigure the Windows so that it was easier for me to animate. If I was working with UV Editing, again, it would change the Window Layout. Now, let's go ahead and go back to our Default Layout. If you can't find the Default Layout, we can always reset Blender to get to this.
So all I have to do is find the File Menu and just do Load Factory Settings. Once we do that, it loads all default preferences and it basically resets the package. Be careful when you do this, because if you have custom hotkeys set up, it will revert them back to the original settings, so just be aware of that. Again, along the top of the Information window, we have a Scene Menu here, this is just a pull-down menu, allows us to select different scenes. We have a place where we can select which Renderer we're using, and if you have plug-in renderer, it would show up here.
And then we also have basically an Information Panel here, which shows us the Version of the Blender and information about the object that we have selected. Now, along the right side of Blender we have two Editors. The first one here on top is called the Outliner. The Outliner is basically a list of everything in the scene and it allows us to choose whatever objects we want just by clicking on them. Now, if you notice here, I'm having to scroll up and down through the Outliner window because it's kind of sized a little small. We can resize any one of these Editors simply by clicking over the edge and dragging.
So if I put my cursor over the bottom edge of the Outliner, left-click and drag, you can see how I can expand it so I can see everything in the scene. We can also expand it horizontally, so if I left-click and drag over this window here, I can actually drag this open as well. Now, this brings us to the Properties Panel, which is the one below the Outliner. And you'll notice how this window is contextual; it changes a little bit depending upon the object that we have selected. So for example, if I select the Cube, I get a number of different icons here.
In fact, let me bring this out a little bit so we can see all of these. So you'll see a number of different buttons here, and each one of these buttons is a tab. So this one here allows us to see the Render properties; this one here shows us Scene property, if we want to see properties about the object itself, and this will change depending upon what we have selected. So these are basically just properties attached to whatever we're working with. So in this case we have Materials, because it's actually a physical object; if we're working with a Camera, well, Cameras really don't have Materials applied to them, so this will change.
Now, along the bottom we have a Timeline, this is where we can scrub animation, we can also set keyframes and do playback. Now, above here is this really big window and this is called a 3D View. And the reason it's a 3D View, well, it's because this is where we see our 3D objects. This is really the main part of Blender, this is where we can do most of our work; we can do modeling, animation, rendering, a lot of that happens in this 3D View.
Now, if you haven't noticed, we can actually take these icons that tell us what type of window it is and actually change the type of Editor that we're working with. So as you can see here, we're working with a 3D View, but if I want to, I can change that into any other type of Editor. So if I wanted to I could change this to a really big Outliner or I can change it into what's called a DopeSheet. So I can change these into pretty much anything that I want. But I'm going to go ahead and change this back to a 3D View.
So those are some of the basics of the Blender interface. As you can see, the interface can be very configurable, but we can always get back to our default settings, which is what we're going to be using for most of the course.
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