Blender 3D editor has a lot of advantages, and we already told 3DNews readers about this wonderful program (see the material "Blender 2.45: free 3D editor"). Since the writing of that review, the program has changed a lot – it has many useful functions, it has become much more powerful, more convenient, but still remains free. Today we will talk not so much about its capabilities (for listing all the options and settings of the application it would be necessary to write not an article, but a weighty reference volume), but rather about the difficulties that will have to face the one who will launch this 3D editor for the first time. ]
At the moment Blender can not boast of a long list of well-known projects, wherever it is used. Of more or less worthwhile work done with this 3D-editor, it comes to mind except that "Spiderman 2" and a full-length animated film "Brandan and the Secret of Kells". Well, the best way to reveal the possibilities of the program is the project Llama Drama – these are two short animations about the Lamu, made by the Blender team of professionals.
The lack of a "portfolio" of the program can only be explained by the fact that professionals in large companies are very cautious about a free product that is distributed "as is." For solid animation studios it is very important that the product not only had a powerful arsenal of funds, but also developed and had good support. In the case of Blender, everything is built on solid enthusiasm. In addition, renowned studios are strongly tied to commercial software, which can not be abandoned for a variety of reasons – from problems associated with compatibility with other software, to the apparent reluctance to abandon the variety of workpieces in the familiar tools and many years of experience with a professional expensive application .
Nevertheless, with each new version of Blender is gaining increasing popularity among professionals. At the moment, it has already been used by dozens of animation studios that successfully use the toolkit of the program for the production of multimedia presentations, commercials and screen savers on TV. The potential of the program is so great, one can confidently state that the appearance of more serious projects is almost certainly a matter of time. For example, relatively recently the creator of "angry birds" Rovio Stars in conjunction with the English studio Midoki was released a multi-user online strategy Plunder Pirates. To produce this colorful and memorable game, Blender was used.
The growing popularity of 3D-editor is natural, because of the virtues of Blender you can talk for a long time. This program is very powerful, but at the same time rationally uses system resources. Early distributions of the editor "weighed" only a few megabytes, and even then Blender could be used as a full-fledged professional tool for 3D modeling. Now the size of the installation file has become larger, but, in comparison with distributions of other packages for 3D modeling and animation, it still has a much smaller volume, and functionality is not inferior to the eminent programs. Doubt? Then watch the next video – it's all done in Blender.
Three-dimensional editor – the program is interesting, but complex. If you really are fascinated by the 3D world, you need to be patient, especially when it comes to the free Blender editor. It is very difficult to learn by the method of "scientific poking," and this is for many 3D lovers an irresistible problem. So, for example, the program lacks a full-fledged main menu in the form to which all are accustomed. Many tools and application commands are hidden somewhere deep in the interface or in general can be caused only by keyboard combinations. To study Blender, the animator and the designer will definitely take time to get used to and get used to the new environment.
It's ironic, but it's this kind of application architecture, made for you, that captivates you. The first skills of working with Blender are acquired quickly, and after a few days of intensive training comes the understanding that the main strategy of this program is to get the maximum result with a minimum amount of actions. That's why the Blender interface is stripped of optional icons, buttons and other elements.
If you decide to study Blender, you will come across a lot of questions, even if you have already done 3D creation before. In Blender, much is done differently than the users of Maya, 3ds max and other commercial applications have become accustomed to. Fortunately, Blender is accompanied by good documentation (there is even a version of the translation into Russian, though not quite correct). And yet, as you get acquainted with the commands of Blender, the screen now and then will pop up hints with fragments of the official documentation. But this, of course, will not be enough. Therefore, in this material, we will try to help beginners in the development of Blender, focusing on some important features of this three-dimensional editor.
⇡ # Interface
The uniqueness of the 3D editor is that Blender combines a complete set of tools for animation production. Theoretically, you can create a short animation from beginning to end, using only the tools of this program. The functions of Blender impress with its diversity. There is also a module for animation, and a means of video editing, and 2D-drawing, tracking, and tools of three-dimensional modeling, and much more. We suspect that it was this "rattling mixture" of the most diverse means for creating three-dimensional graphics and visual effects that prompted developers to give the name to the Blender program (in English – "mixer", "mixer"). And all this variety of tools could not but affect the interface of the program – the appearance of the three-dimensional editor can vary depending on the task.
When working with Blender, you will have to learn a long list of keyboard shortcuts. Without knowledge of hotkeys, work in the program is simply impossible, so pay attention to them in the course of this article. Almost any function of the program corresponds to its own combination. In addition, hot keys in the program can change their purpose depending on the selected tool of the program. For example, if you are working in Object Mode control mode, the G key allows you to quickly move an object in the viewport. But if you turn on the 3D sculpting mode, the same key will call up a certain brush profile.
3D editors often have a similar interface – projection windows, a panel with the settings of the selected tools, etc. All this you will find in the interface Blender, but "intuitive" it can not be called. It has many features, so even those who have a good experience in creating 3D graphics in other programs can not immediately get to work. You need to spend more than one hour to learn the main components of the editor, the location of the tools, and some commands for managing the interface.
When starting a new project, the three-dimensional people are used to starting everything from scratch – filling the scene with objects, selecting their parameters, etc. In Blender, an empty scene already contains a number of objects: a cube, a light source and a camera. The program interface is not overloaded with unnecessary information, so you will not find the buttons for navigation in the projection window. The view is controlled by the middle mouse button (simple pressing of the middle button – rotation of the scene, pressing while holding the Shift key – displacement). To zoom out or zoom in, use scrolling.
Notebook owners who work with the touchpad may encounter a problem when controlling the view in the projection window. On most mobile PCs, the touchpad is not equipped with a middle button, so some commands in Blender can not be executed. Sometimes the driver to the touchpad provides the ability to programmatically emulate the middle mouse button, but this option does not always work properly on the laptop. Fortunately, Blender provides a solution to this problem. Open the application settings window by selecting File> Preferences, go to the Input tab and check the Emulate 3 Button Mouse option.
After that, Blender will turn on the mode of emulating the middle mouse button with the help of optional keys. For example, to rotate the view in the viewport, you must press the Alt key and the left mouse button at the same time, and to move the view in the viewport, press Alt + Shift and the left mouse button. Also in the settings, you can enable the emulation of the numeric keys of the additional keyboard.
If you already have some experience working with 3ds max or Maya 3D editors, you can activate the desired profile in Blender preferences, which will allow using the usual keyboard shortcuts for many teams.
When working with 3D graphics it is very important that the user can configure the program "for him." The Blender interface is very flexible, it can be customized as it suits you. You can control the elements of the editor interface, for example, you can resize windows and panels.
The Blender workspace can be divided into conditional zones. Zones can be considered a 3D view editor (3D View Editor), which includes the projector windows, the editor of the settings (Properties Editor), as well as two panels – the settings panel and the toolbar. The default settings panel is hidden. To see it, click on the plus sign in the window with the scene view or use the N key.
The toolbar can also be quickly hidden or displayed using the T key.