How to use Blender: Lately you have rediscovered your passion for 3D graphics: a topic that you would have liked to deepen properly but which, unfortunately, you had to put aside (at least for a while) due to your numerous work and family commitments. However, from time to time, you’d like to try your hand at some small 3D modeling project, possibly using free resources, such as the hugely popular Blender.
I must say that you have made a very good choice: Blender is a professional software that, over the last few years, has built a reputation as the best free and open source solution in the field of 3D modeling. Appreciated by many professionals in the sector and even used for the production of some famous cinema films (including Spiderman 2), this program is certainly an excellent resource to start from to cultivate your passion for three-dimensional graphics.
How about, then, to delve into the subject and understand a little more closely how to use Blender? I assure you it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next lines and, above all, implement the “tips” that I will give you. You will see: thanks to my suggestions, you will have no problem using this program and you will be able to revive your passion for 3D modeling, albeit in your spare time. There is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and, above all, have fun!
Before explaining to you how to use Blenderit is my duty to guide you inprogram installation. I already anticipate that installing this software is not complicated at all, whether you have a PC Windows that a Mac. Basically, what you will need to do is connect to the official Blender website, download the program installation file, open it and then follow the instructions displayed on the screen to complete the setup: you will find everything explained in detail right below.
For starters, connect to the download page present on the official website of Blender and press the green button Download Blender which is located at the top center. The download of the software installation file should start automatically.
Once the download is complete, if you are using a PC Windowsthen open the file .msi you got, press the button Nexttick the box I accept the terms in the License Agreement to accept the software license, press the button again Next twice in a row and, finally, press the buttons Install, Yup And Finish.
If you use a Macinstead, open the package .dmg you downloaded from the Blender site and drag the folder Blender in the path Applications of macOS. Then, open the folder Blenderright click on the software icon and select the item You open (twice in a row) from the menu that opens: this operation, which must be done only at the first start of the program, serves to “override” the restrictions imposed by Apple on software from non-certified developers.
Once you have downloaded and installed Blender, you can launch the software and start using it right away. However, if you plan to use it for professional purposes, chances are you will have to resort to the programming language Python (if you are not very familiar with 3D graphics, however, I recommend that you resort to this language when you are a little more experienced).
If you decide to install Python, connect to This Page and presses the yellow button Download Python xxx (instead of the “x” you will find numbers corresponding to the current version of the software). When the download is complete, if you are using a PC equipped with Windowsopen the file .exe you got, press the button Install Nowthen on Yup And Close.
If you use a Macinstead, open the file .pkg you downloaded and follow the procedure you see on the screen: then press the button Go on three times in a row, then on the buttons Accept And Install. Insert, below, the password of the Mac administration, click on the button Install softwarewait for the procedure to be completed and, finally, press the button Close.
After installing and starting Blenderyou can finally start use the program to familiarize yourself with its extensive set of 3D modeling tools. Even if at first glance the software interface may seem a little too complex or even “messy”, I guarantee you that, as you become familiar with it, this feeling will disappear completely.
As you can see, the Blender interface is divided into some well-defined sections. At the center is theworking area on which the various objects to be modified are placed; on the right there is the panel through which to manage the scenes and the characteristics of the various objects, while on the left there is the panel containing some of the main tools for making 3D drawings, which is in turn divided into various tabs: Toolwhich contains the main tools to rotate, resize and move the objects in your project; Createfrom which it is possible to select the various basic shapes to add in the work plan (Plane, Cube, Cylinder, Coneetc.); Animationsfrom which objects can be animated, and so on.
When you first start Blender, you will see three example figures: a cube, a lamp and a room. To remove them and replace them with a figure of your choice, press the key TO on the keyboard, then the key X and click on the item Delete that appears on the screen. Now, I suggest you to select the unit of measurement from the right panel to use as a reference in your project: then click on the button Scenes (the icon depicting the cylinder with the ball and the light), open the menu Units and, from the drop-down menu Units Presetsselect the reference unit of measurement (eg. Metersi.e. Meters).
To insert a solid into the work area, press on the card Create present in the panel on the left, find a solid figure you want to model (eg. Cylinder) and presses on it. To model the figure you entered, you will need to change Blender’s display mode: then open the drop-down menu Object mode located at the bottom and select the item Edit mode from the latter.
At this point, the chosen figure will be characterized by some dots (called in jargon vertices): deselect the object by pressing the key again TO on the keyboard and click on the icon depicting the square with white dots which is placed in the bottom menu.
Now you can finally shape your figure – do it right click on one of the vertices of the object to be modeled, so as to highlight it in orange, and drag the blue / green / red arrow (depending on the direction and shape you want to give the object) by left clicking on it and dragging the cursor to the desired position.
If you want to change the position, size and space occupied by the object you are modeling, open the tab Tool located at the top left and choose the action you want to take: Translateto move the object anywhere in the work area; Rotateto rotate or flip it or Stairsto resize it.
As soon as you have completed the work, perhaps after adding other objects following the steps I have indicated above, save the project you worked on by opening the menu File and selecting the item Save from the latter.
If, on the other hand, you intend to export the work, always open the menu Fileselect the item Export from the drop-down menu and select the export format that seems best suited to your needs (eg. .3ds if you want to save it in 3DS format; .stlif you want to export it in STL format, perhaps to create 3D prints, etc.).
Did you see that it wasn’t that difficult to use Blender? Of course, the more you work on complex and articulated projects, the more you will have to familiarize yourself with the countless tools and functions of the program. For this reason, I urge you to keep practicing with it to make further progress. I also suggest you take a look at the video guides that you can find on the official website of the software, because they will be of great help and will allow you to speed up your progress in the world of 3D graphics.