BLENDER ESSENTIAL FOR BEGINNGERS

You know, sometimes you just can't find things when you go to look for them and REALLY need to find it a hurry.  Well, my blog seems like a good place to store some of the stuff I have learned about Blender and mesh making for Second Life (SL) so I can find it when I may need it.  Plus...uugghhh...all these notebooks (yes, I still take notes in paper form) with different sets of notes from many classes seems to take forever to flip through the red one...when really the notes I need are in the blue one. 
What does this have to do with you Dear Reader?  Well, if I post some notes, you get to share in the bounty or the curse of learning "How To" take your first steps in Blender.  If you can bear my sporadic journal like journey of writing, maybe you will find something to help you in your learning process.  So here goes!

STUFF

Before we start, I should warn you that I use a track ball, and a Mac.  Most of what I present is easy enough to interpret for a PC and a mouse.  Just have a little patience and experiment.

Also most of what I present will be geared towards those wanting to create in Second Life, although information can be applied elsewhere.

A few things to remember...
  • Don't let the look of the software intimidate you. 
  • Take baby steps and be proud of those steps
  • Learn Blender little bits at a time.
  • Each time you learn something new, keep practicing to remember what you have learned.  
  • Practice, Practice, Practice...and keep practicing!


IN THE BEGINNING...

My first venture was an iTunes University class by Jason Walsh entitled, "13 Lesson 3D Modeling 1 Blender 2.5".  This is probably one of the best FREE beginner's series I have found.  It's easy enough to find if you have iTunes,  just click on the iTunes U button to bring up the course selections and type in search the word, "blender" and will pop-up several courses. 

If you have the storage space, you can download each of the videos to your mobile devices and watch on the go.  Or, download to your hard drive and watch while you work along in Blender. 

While this series is based on college courses he teaches, everyone can follow along.  Have patience!  If he goes to fast, rewind and watch again.  I know I had to do that a lot when I first started. 
These are relatively short videos ranging from a couple of minutes to close to 20.  Each video builds on the prior one, so I would encourage a person new to Blender to watch and follow along.  May watch it the once, then go in and follow along while you are in Blender.  TAKE YOUR OWN NOTES, they will come in handy as you go along.  

The only thing I was not really hip on was Jason has you change a Blender navigation pre-set to a Maya preset for mouse movements since he prefers to model in Maya.  However, Maya is terribly expensive and not something many of us can afford.  While this change in pre-sets is not a bad thing, if you go on to take other courses, you may become confused and/or have to reinterpret the mouse movements.  But, you can figure it out easily enough with some trial and error plus a good does of patience.

Also, if you prefer using Youtube, you can find the same videos plus tons and tons more at 13 Lesson 3D Modeling 1 Blender 2.5 YouTube. While Jason has done a huge service to the modeling world, I don't particularly care to sort ALL his 100s of videos to find the beginner's course.  It is much easier to deal with in iTunes and you can download iTunes for free.

A SHORT CUT HERE...ONE THERE

If you love shortcuts, you will love Blender.  To me, the trackball girl, one of the annoying things about learning Blender has been the TONS of shortcuts available.  I am a point and click user....I like to use my mouse...is probably why I have carpal tunnel.  But Blender is heavy into hotkey shortcuts, especially versions prior to the upgraded user interface of version 2.5.  YES, you can use your mouse, but sometimes, things are easier to via shortcuts.  

You are going to want to have a notebook and pen handy to start creating your own shortcuts (hotkeys)list!   The ones you use the most you will remember and memorize at the time, but save yourself some frustration while learn and write them down as you go.

BLENDER ESSENTIAL FOR BEGINNERS

First off you are gonna need to download Blender you can find the latest version at http://www.blender.org/ Most of the information  I present can be found in the latest version even though I may be showing screen shots from older versions. 

Secondly, you need to know a few things about what you are looking at.  Open up Blender, the latest version will have pre-shot at the opening screen, just click anywhere on the screen and it should go away.  You should see a screen similar to what is below but without all the arrows and green text. 
Morgaine's Customized Blender Screen-Figure 1

This is basically my opening screen; however, I have done some customization to it over time to suit my work flow and navigation needs...your's will not look exactly like the above so, don't work.  However, the essence is the same.  

There are 5 windows...

3D Viewport/Scene/Work Area is the large center area.
  • You will use this area the most.
  • This is your mesh creation will take place.
Tool Shelf on the left.  
  • The options will change depending on the mode are working in (Object, Edit, Pose, Texture Paint, etc.)
Editor Window on the bottom.
  • Normally the timeline is default view, but I prefer to work on my UV maps in this window
Properties Panel on middle to lower right.
  • You will use this a lot
  • Lots of options in this panel  
Scene or Outliner Panel
  • I have not used this panel much as of yet. 



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