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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.
When you first start out in modeling and computer graphics, you are presented with this screen that presents a viewport into your 3D world. Now, your 3D world is almost like you are floating in space and you can go in any direction for almost an unlimited amount of distance. And your 3D view shows you this virtual reality. Inside to this reality we have a couple of default objects that are already there to kind of give you a sense of perspective and help you orient yourself.
And we have the cube that's positioned in the center and we have a ground plane here. So, we can kind of think of ourselves as sitting here with the camera, looking out of the cube, sitting on this ground plane and by clicking the middle mouse button, we can view and rotate in any direction that we want. Now a 3D space, you have to have some orientation, some axis. So what we have adopted and what I'd like to work in is the X, Y, Z coordinate system.
You could think of Y as being in front of you and going away from you. X being left and right and then Z being up and down. So, if you looked up you would be looking up into the Z direction, up into the sky. Now a typical CG scene consists of hundreds of objects and the most of the time you are going to be wanting to add the objects into this virtual reality at some point. Now in Blender, the object is always added wherever the 3D cursor is, which is this red and white dashed circle.
So, if we click somewhere we have positioned that 3D cursor somewhere in that space and when we press the Spacebar, we get the Add menu, there's other menu options there that I'll explain later. But here's the kinds of objects that you can add into your 3D space. There's mesh objects. Now Mesh object is like the skin of something and that outside part has a materials and textures and things that we'll get into. And those Meshes, what we call Meshes or other people call them polygonal surfaces, consist of a couple of primitives and we build up a very complicated model from very simple primitives.
Primitives that are readily supported by Blender include a Plane, a Cube, a Circle, a UVsphere, which is a sphere, a regular ball if you will, an Icosphere, which is a special kind of ball that looks like a soccer ball, a Cylinder and a Cone. So if you add say a ball, click on UVsphere and for most of those primitives a sub-menu will come up that allows you to tailor how big the object is initially in Blender units and then how detailed it is.
Let's go ahead and accept the defaults for now. And now we have added a ball into our scene. We can move this ball by pressing G, which grabs the ball, and then as we move our mouse cursor the ball moves with it. If we wanted to make the ball smaller or bigger, we want to scale it. So if we press S and move the mouse towards the object, it scales it down and makes it smaller. If we move the mouse away from the object, it scales it up.
It's almost as if the mouse cursor was pulling on this thing to make it bigger. The other thing we can do is rotate the object and rotating a ball doesn't really show much. So I'm going to right-click on the cube and we are going to press R and then that rotates the cube around whatever perspective the 3D view is in and rotates the cube. If we don't want the cube anymore we can press X and that deletes it. If we select something and we press X by accident and we don't want to delete it, simply move your mouse outside of that pop-up window and that pop-up window will go away and Blender will not execute that action. That aborts that action.
The other way to select objects in 3D views, what we call the bounding box selection and we have let's say these lights here. So if you press B, your cursor changes to a crosshair. I hope you can see that in the training video. If you left click and drag your cursor now, you are actually making a box and when you let up everything that was partially within that box is selected. To deselect the things you press B again, and now this time you can right-click and drag and now everything that falls within the box when you let up on the button is deselected.
Now as you add objects to your 3D scene. it's going to get kind of busy. So here we are going to add a Plane. We are going to add a NURBS Curve, we are going to add some text and as we add these elements our scene can get filled up pretty quickly and get pretty complicated. So Blender supports the notion of layers where we have different objects on different layers and then when we want to work on certain objects that are related, we just select only that layer.
So right now we are going to look at only Layer 1 and as you can see, we have most of our stuff on Layer 1. But when I clicked on Layer 1 some other things went away. That ground plane went away. Where did it go? Well, it's over here and Blender shows you where things are and if there's something is on the layer it shows you by having a dot on that little layer. So, if I just left-click on that layer button, I see that this layer, Layer 10, they are numbered 1 through 5, 6 through 10, 11 through 15 and 16 through 20.
Now this layer has three objects on it, the Plane and two lights. If I want to move something to another layer, I press the M key to move it and then just click the layer that I want it to be on. Now that layer has a little dot that tells me that something is on that layer. To select multiple layers, I just hold the Shift key and select those layers and now everything is selected. I can just very quickly select all of the layers by pressing the Tilde key, which is Shift and then you hit the button on the American keyboard right next to the 1 at the top of your keyboard.
That selects all of the layers. All right so that's basic mousing around objects in 3D space.
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