The smaller window, located below the 3DWindow, is the ButtonsWindow
where you can edit the various settings of selected objects, and the
Each window has a Header. Here you can control aspects of the window
that contains this header. The Headers are described in detail in the
reference section of this manual. Here I will only explain the basic
funtions that will allow us to get started on the first tutorial.
In the header of the InfoWindow, normally located on the top of
the screen, you will find a menu. It offers you standard operations
like File Operations and Changing of Views.
The main part of a FileWindow is the listing of directories and
files. Filetypes known by Blender are allocated a yellow square. A
click with the LMB
selects a file and puts the name into the
filename-input. A RETURN
will then load the file. A LMB
-click on a directory enters it. A shortcut to load files is the
, which quickly loads the file. You can also
enter the path and filename by hand in the two inputs at the top of
The button labeled "A/Z" uses an alphabetical sorting, the clock
button sorts by filedate, and the next button by the file size. Right
of these Buttons there is a piece of text that shows what kind of
operation the FileWindow will do, e.g. "LOAD FILE". The next button
selects between long (size, permissions, date) and short
filenames. The little ghost hides all files beginning with a
dot. After that button, you have information about the free space
remains on the disk, and how many megabytes big the selected files
All Blender screens consist of Windows. The Windows represent data,
contain buttons, or request information from the user. You can arrange
the Windows in Blender in many ways to customize your working
Every Window has a Header containing Buttons specific for that window
or presenting information to the user. As an example, the header of the
3DWindow is shown here.
The left-most Button shows the type of the Window, clicking it pops up
a menu to change the Window type.
The next button switches between a full screen and a tiled screen
window. The Button featuring a house graphic fills the window to
the maximum extent with the information it is displaying.
-click on the Header pops up a menu asking you to place the
Header at the "Top", the "Bottom", or to have "No Header" for that Window.
Click and hold with the MMB
on the header, and then drag the
mouse to scroll the header in case it doesn´t fit the width of the
Every time you place the mouse cursor over the edge of a Blender
window, the mouse cursor changes shape. When this happens, the
following mouse keys are activated:
Drag the window edge horizontally or vertically while
holding down the LMB
. The window edge always moves in increments
of 4 pixels, making it relatively easy to move two window edges so
that they are precisely adjacent to each other, thus joining them is
Clicking an edge with MMB
pops up a menu prompting
you to "Split Area" or "Join Areas".
"Split Area" lets you choose the exact position for the border. Split
always works on the window from which you entered the edge. You can
cancel the operation with ESC
"Join Areas" joins Windows with a shared edge, if possible, which means
that joining works only if you don't have to close more than one
Window for joining.
Buttons offer the quickest access to DataBlocks. In fact, the buttons
visualize a single DataBlock and are grouped as such. Always use a
LeftMouse click to call up Buttons. The Buttons are described below:
This button, which is usually displayed in salmon colour, activates a
process such as "New" or "Delete".
This button, which displays a given option or setting, can be set to
either OFF or ON.
This button can be set to off, positive or negative. Negative mode is
indicated by yellow text.
This button is part of a line of buttons. Only one button in the line
can be active at once.
This button, which displays a numerical value, can be used in three ways:
- Hold the button while moving the mouse. Move to the right and
upwards to assign a higher value to a variable, to the left and
downwards to assign a lower value. Hold CTRL
while doing this to
change values in steps, or hold SHIFT
to achieve finer control.
- Hold the button and click MiddleMouse to change the button to a
"TextBut". A cursor appears, indicating that you can now enter a new
value. Enter the desired value and press ENTER
to assign it to the
button. Press ESC
to cancel without changing the value.
- Click the left-hand side of the button to decrease the value
assigned to the button slightly, or click the right-hand side of the
button to increase it.
Use the slider to change values. The left-hand side of the button
functions as a "TextBut".
This button remains active (and blocks the rest of the interface)
until you again press LMB
. While this button is
active, the following hotkeys are available:
: restores the previous text.
: deletes the entire text.
: moves the cursor back to the beginning of the text.
: moves the cursor to the end of the text.
This button calls up a PupMenu. Hold LMB
while moving the cursor
to select an option. If you move the mouse outside of the PopUpMenu, the
old value is restored.
Button type "But", it activates processes.
Button type "TogBut", it toggles between two modes.
As button type "RowBut", only one button in the row of buttons can be active at once.
This button is actually a "RowBut", but only the active button is
displayed. Hold the button while moving the mouse horizontally to view
the available options.
For browsing the data structure of the scene, and selecting objects
Main window while working in the 3D-space. Visualizes the scene from
orthogonal, perspective, and camera views.
Creating and manipulating of so called IpoCurves, the animation curve
system of Blender.
The ButtonWindow contains all the Buttons needed to manipulate every
aspect of Blender. A brief overview follows after this section; for
a more detailed explanation see the reference section of this manual.
Post-processing and combining animations and scenes.
The OopsWindow (Object Oriented Programming System) gives a schematic
overview of the current scene structure.
With the ImageWindow you can show and assign images to
objects. Especially important with UV-texturing.
The header of the InfoWindow shows useful information, it contains the
menus and the scene and screen MenuButtons. The InfoWindow itself
contains the options by which you can set your personal preferences.
A simple texteditor, mostly used for writing Python-scripts, but also
a useful means by which you can insert comments about your scenes.
Lets you browse and select images on your disk. Includes thumbnails
For the visualization and loading of sounds.
The ButtonsWindow contains the Buttons needed for manipulating objects
and changing general aspects of the scene.
The ButtonsHeader contains the icons to switch between the different
types of ButtonsWindows.
The 3DWindow settings for a Window. It only features buttons if
selected from a 3DWindow.
The LampButtons will only display when a lamp is selected. Here you can
change all of the parameters of a lamp, like its color, energy, type (i.e. Lamp,
Spot, Sun, Hemi), the quality of shadows, etc.
The MaterialButtons appears when you select an object with a material
assigned. With these clutch of Buttons you can control every aspect of the
look of the surface.
These Buttons let you assign Textures to Materials. These Textures
include mathematically generated Textures, as well as the more
commonly used Image textures.
The AnimationButtons are used to control various animation
parameters. The right section of the Buttons are used for assigning
special animation effects to objects, e.g. particle systems, and wave
These Buttons are part of the real time section of Blender. This
manual covers only linear animation.
The EditButtons offer all kinds of possibilities for you to manipulate the
objects themselves. The Buttons shown in this window depend on the
type of object that is selected.
Set up global world parameters, like the color of the sky and the horizon, mist
settings, and ambient light settings.
These Buttons are used for coloring objects at vertex level, and for setting
texture parameters for the UV-Editor.
The radiosity renderer of Blender.
Assigning of Python scripts to world, material, and objects.
With the DisplayButtons you can control the quality and output-format of
rendered pictures and animations.
Screens are the major frame work of Blender. You can have as many
Screens as you like, each one with a different arrangement of
Windows. That way you can create a special personal workspace for every
task you do. The Screen layout is saved with the Scene so that you can
have scene-dependant work spaces. An example of this is to have a Screen
for 3D work, another for working with Ipos and, a complete file manager to
arrange your files and textures.
Scenes are a way to organize your work. Scenes can share objects, but
they can, for example, differ from each other in their rendered
resolution or their camera view.
Together with the SequenceEditor, you can then compose videos in much
the same way as in a TV-production.
While you are adding a new scene, you have these options:
- "Empty": create a completely empty scene.
- "Link Objects": all Objects are linked to the new scene. The layer and selection flags of the Objects can be configured differently for each Scene.
- "Link ObData": duplicates Objects only. ObData linked to the Objects, e.g. Mesh and Curve, are not duplicated.
- "Full Copy": everything is duplicated.
[subsection]Setting up your personal environment
With the possibilities listed above, you can create your own personal
environment. To make this environment a default when Blender starts, or
you reset Blender with CTRL-X
, use CTRL-U
to save it to
your home directory.
[section]Navigating in 3D
Blender is a 3D program, so we need to be able to navigate in 3D
space. This is a problem because our screens are only 2D. The
3DWindows are in fact "windows" to the 3D world created inside Blender.
[subsection]Using the keyboard to change your view
Place your mouse pointer over the big window on the standard Blender
screen. This is a 3DWindow used for showing and manipulating your
gives you a view from the front of the scene. In
the default Blender scene, installed when you first start Blender, you
will now be looking at the edge of a plane with the camera positioned
in front of it. With holding the SHIFT
key, you can get the
opposite view, which in this case is the view from the back (SHIFT-PAD1
|Remember that the window with the mouse pointer located over it
(no click needed) is the active window! This means that only this
window will respond to your key presses.
returns you to the view from the top. Now use the PAD+
to zoom in and out. PAD3
gives you a
side view of the scene.
switches to a camera-view of the scene. In the standard
scene you only see the edge of the plane because it is at the same
hight as the camera.
only shows selected objects; all other objects are
zooms to the extent of the selected objects.
Switch with PAD7
back to a top view, or load the standard scene
. Now, press PAD4
four times, and then PAD2
four times. You are now looking from the left above and down
onto the scene. The 'cross' of keys PAD8
are used to rotate the actual view. If you use these
keys together with SHIFT
, you can drag the view. Pressing PAD5
switches between a perspective view and an orthogonal view.
followed by RETURN
to get a fresh Blender
scene. But remember, this action will discard all changes you have made!
You should now try experiementing a little bit with these keys to get
a feel for their operation and function.
If you get lost, use CTRL-X
followed by RETURN
yourself back to the default scene.
[subsection]Using the mouse to change your view
The main button for navigating with the mouse in the 3DWindow is the
middle mouse button (MMB
). Press and hold the MMB
3DWindow, and then drag the mouse. The view is rotated with the
movement of your mouse. Try using a perspective view (PAD5
while experimenting -- it gives a very realistic impression of 3D.
With the SHIFT
key, the above procedure translates the view. With
, it zooms the view.
With the left-most icon, you can switch the window to different window
types (e.g. 3DWindow, FileWindow, etc.). The next icon in the line
toggles between a full screen representation of the window and its
default representation. The icon displaying a house on it zooms the
window in such a way that all objects become visible.
Next in the line, including the icon with the lock on it, are the
LayerButtons, which we will cover later.
The next icon switches the modes for the local view, and is the mouse
alternative for the PAD/
key. With the following icon you can switch
between orthogonal, perspective, and camera views (keys PAD5
The next button along toggles between the top, front, and side views. SHIFT
selects the opposite view, just as it does when you use the keypad.
This Button switches between different methods of drawing
objects. You can choose from a bounding box, a wireframe, a faced,
a gouraud-shaded, and a textured view.
With these icons you can translate and zoom the view with a LMB
click on the icon and a drag of the mouse.
This overview should provide you with an idea of how to look around in 3D-scenes.
[subsection]Selecting of Objects
Selecting an object is achieved by clicking the object using the right
mouse button (RMB
) This operation also deselects all other
objects. To extend the selection to more than one object, hold down
while clicking. Selected objects will change the color to
purple in the wireframe view. The last selected object is colored a
lighter purple and it is the active object. Operations that are
only useful for one object, or need one object as reference, always
work with the active object.
Objects can also selected with a `border'. Press BKEY
this, and then draw a rectangle around the objects. Drawing the rectangle
with the LMB
selects objects; drawing with RMB
[point]Selecting and activating
Blender makes a distinction between selected and active.
A single RMB
click is sufficient to select and activate an
Object. All other Objects (in the visible layers) are then
deselected in order to eliminate the risk of key commands
causing unintentional changes to those objects. All of the relevant
buttons are also drawn anew. Selections can be extended or shrunk
. The last Object selected (or deselected) then
becomes the active Object. Use Border Select (BKEY) to more
rapidly select a number of Objects at one time. None of the Objects
selected using this option will become active.
- Only one Object can be active at any time, e.g. to
allow visualisation of data in buttons. The active and selected
Object is displayed in a lighter color than other selected
Objects. The name of the active Object is displayed in the InfoHeader.
- A number of Objects can be selected at once. Almost all key
commands have an effect on selected Objects.
Most actions in Blender involve moving, rotating, or changing the size of
certain items. Blender offers a wide range of options for doing this. See
the 3DWindow section for a fully comprehensive list. The options are
, Grab mode. Move the mouse to translate the selected items,
then press LMB
or ENTER or SPACE to assign the new
location. Press ESC to cancel. Translation is always corrected for the
view in the 3DWindow.
Use the middle mouse toggle to limit translation to the X, Y or Z
axis. Blender determines which axis to use, based on the already
and hold-move. This option allows you to select an Object and
immediately start Grab mode.
, Rotation mode. Move the mouse around the rotation center,
then press LMB
or ENTER or SPACE to assign the rotation. Press
ESC to cancel. Rotation is always perpendicular to the view of the
The center of rotation is determined by use of these buttons in the
3DWindowheader. The left-most button rotates around the center of the
bounding box of all selected objects. The next button uses the median
points (shown as yellow/purple dots) of the selected objects to find
the rotation center. The button with the 3DCursor depicted on it
rotates around the 3DCursor. The last Button rotates around the
individual centers of the objects.
, Scaling mode. Move the mouse from the rotation center
outwards, then press LMB
to assign the
scaling. Use the MiddleMouse toggle to limit scaling to the X, Y or Z
axis. Blender determines the appropriate axis based on the direction
of the movement.
The center of scaling is determined by the center buttons in the
3DHeader (see the explanation for the rotation).
While in scaling mode, you can mirror the object by pressing XKEY
to mirror at the x- or y-axis.
To input exact values, you can call up the NumberMenu with NKEY
-click to change the Buttons to an input field
and then enter the number.
When you add a new object with the Toolbox, you are in the so-called
EditMode. In EditMode, you can change the shape of an Object
(e.g. a Mesh, a Curve, or Text) itself by manipulating the individual
points (the vertices) which are forming the object. Selecting works
with the RMB
and the BorderSelect also works to select vertices.
While entering EditMode, Blender makes a copy of the indicated
data. The hotkey UKEY
here serves as an undo function (more
accurately it restores the copied data).
As a reminder that you are in EditMode, the cursor shape changes to
that of a cross.
Last modified: Fri Nov 3 13:11:54 CET 2000