II. Precautions: Non-Medical

  1. Not for Medical Care
  2. The author uses several software packages and programming languages to develop FPnotebook content
  3. For convenience, a dozen pages in FPNotebook are dedicated to quick notes on content creation

III. Technique: Viewport Navigation

  1. Mouse
    1. MMB: Tumble or Rotate
      1. Rotate viewport around the selected object (in perspective view)
    2. Shift-MMB: Track or Pan
      1. Pan the viewport left, right, up and down
    3. Ctrl-MMB: Dolly or Zoom (or use scroll wheel)
      1. Zoom in and out of viewport
  2. Frame Object
    1. Numberpad Period (.)
      1. Frame selected object in active panel
    2. Home Key
      1. Frame All Objects in Scene
  3. Toggle Quad View (View from Top, Side, Front and Perspective)
    1. Ctrl-Alt-Q
  4. NumberPad
    1. Top View or Z-View (Numberpad 7)
    2. Opposite Side of Object (Numberpad 9)
    3. Orthographic View (Numberpad 5)
    4. Front View or Y-View (Numberpad 1)
    5. Right View or X-View (Numberpad 3)
    6. Frame or Focus Object (Numberpad Period)
    7. Camera View (Ctrl-NumberPad 0)
  5. Gimbal (XYZ Navigator, upper right corner)
    1. X - Right View (or NumberPad 3)
    2. Y - Front View (or NumberPad 1)
    3. Z- Top View (or NumberPad 7)
  6. Selection
    1. Click or Shift-Select items in the Outliner
    2. Drag box around objects to select
    3. Use CTRL + Select drag around objects to deselect
  7. Commands
    1. Command Pop-up Menu (F3)
  8. Reference Image Technique 1
    1. Add Object (Shift-A), and select image
    2. In the Reference Image Properties Panel > Object Data, modify size (Z), opacity, offset...
    3. Orient the image plane to the proper axis (use rotation, move)
  9. Reference Image Technique 2
    1. Edit > Preferences > Add-Ins > Import Images as Planes (enable if not already enabled)
    2. File > Import > Images As Planes, and select image
    3. Select Viewport Shading to see the imported image on the plane
    4. View image in orthographic view (e.g. Right, Numberpad 3)
    5. Modify scene units (properties > scene > units > length)
    6. Resize the image plane to the proper scale
  10. Shaping a mesh to a reference image
    1. View image in orthographic view (e.g. Right, Numberpad 3)
    2. Add a mesh (shift-A) and align with the image plane
      1. Single object mesh may be set to wireframe (Properties > Object > Viewport Display > Display As)
    3. Edit mode (tab) > edge mode (2)
    4. Insert edge loops (Ctrl-R) and move the key points (most wide, most narrow) along the reference image
    5. Scale (S) the edge loops to fit the contours of the reference image
    6. Select one edge loop at a time and use Bevel (Ctrl-B, see below) to round edges
  11. Windows
    1. Splitting Window
      1. Hover over the upper right corner of the window, until a "+" appears
      2. Drag down to split the window
      3. Choose window type from the upper right menu
    2. Toggle Sidebar Menus (N or click the barely-visible chevron)
      1. Show or hide side bar

IV. Technique: Object Transformations

  1. Tool Dialog (T toggles the dialog)
    1. General
      1. Shift-Spacebar
        1. Show a popup menu for all tools
        2. Release the keys, and then press one of the keys below (e.g. B, SPACE, or G, R, S, T, or D, M, 9)
      2. When a tool is selected, the keyboard can be used to type transforms
        1. Press G (move), R (rotate) or S (scale)
        2. Press X, Y or Z to constrain to one axis (or shift-X, Y or Z for not X, Y or Z), and then
        3. Type a number (e.g. 5 or .5), or drag along that axis (use Ctrl to constrain to integers), and then
        4. Minus may be added after number to reverse the transform (e.g. rotate in the opposite direction)
        5. Press Enter to commit (or escape to cancel)
      3. When a tool is selected, the mouse may also be positioned to scale, rotate or move the object
    2. Cursor (Shift-Spacebar, release, T)
      1. Move the control point
      2. Shift-RMB places cursor at clicked position
      3. Shift-S brings up a marking menu to choose where the cursor is positioned (including at origin)
    3. Move or "Grab" (G)
      1. Move an object
    4. Rotate (R)
      1. Rotate an object
    5. Scale (S)
      1. Scale an object
    6. Transform (Shift-Spacebar, release, T)
      1. Move, Scale and Rotate with a single tool
  2. Transform Dialog (N toggles the dialog)
    1. General
      1. Follow nearly all rotation and scale transforms with Object > Apply (Ctrl-A)
  3. Repeat Last Action
    1. Shift-R
  4. Duplicate
    1. Object (Shift-D)
    2. Instance (Alt-D)
  5. Link Objects
    1. Link objects as instances of a source object
      1. Shift-Select Objects (last object selected is source) and press Ctrl-L > Link Objects
  6. Add Objects
    1. Add Menu (top left) or Shift-A
  7. Delete Objects
    1. Confirm Delete (X) or
    2. Delete without confirmation (Delete key)
  8. Transform Tool Menu (F9)
    1. Menu allows for parameter changes to a new object, or a transformation (e.g. extrude)
    2. The menu will no longer be available after the object is further modified or a new transform is applied
  9. Apply Transformations (Ctrl-A)
    1. Select which transformations to apply
    2. In most cases, apply scale and rotate transformations (location does not usually need to be applied)
    3. Failing to apply transformations may cause later geometry modification problems
  10. Local View (Isolate object or solo)
    1. Menu View > Local (or Numpad /)
  11. Outliner and organization
    1. New Collection (M)
      1. Puts selected objects into a new group (collection)
    2. Parent (Ctrl-P)
      1. Select objects and key select the main object, then press Ctrl-P > Object
  12. Pivot Point
    1. Press "." (period) to bring up a marking menu to select the type of pivot point OR
    2. Select from the drop down at screen top (next to the snapping drop down)
  13. Origin
    1. Setting Origin in Object Mode
      1. Object > Set Origin (or Right Click Object while in Object Mode > Set Origin)
    2. Setting Origin in Edit Mode (setting origin at a selected vertex, edge or face)
      1. Mesh > Snap (or Shift S > Marking Menu) > Cursor To Selected AND
      2. Object Mode (Tab) > Object (or Right Click Object) > Set Origin to Cursor
  14. Normals
    1. To see inverted normals (change to Edit Mode, Press Tab)
      1. Viewport Overlays Dropdown > Face Orientation (pink is inverted)
      2. Viewport Overlays > Display Normals
      3. Materials > Backface Culling (inverted normal faces will be hidden, as they would be in Unity 3D or other exports)
    2. To correct inverted normals
      1. Mesh Menu > Normals > Flip Normals OR
      2. Make Normals Consistent
        1. Select all faces AND
        2. Recalculate Outside (Shift-N) or Recalculate Inside (Shift-Ctrl-N)
  15. Bezier Curve
    1. Typically used with a reference image (see above)
    2. Add Object (Shift-A), and select curve > bezier
    3. Select the bezier and delete > vertices
    4. Choose the orthographic view to draw the spline (e.g. front - x)
    5. Place the starting point using the Draw Tool (Shift-Spacebar-9)
    6. Extrude (E) for each next point to place, drag the cursor to position, and click to set the point
    7. Select all points of the curve (A), then press "V" to edit the handle types, and select Automatic
    8. Use the multi-function gizmo tool to rotate, move and scale the handles
    9. Reduce the number of bezier points to the minimum number that smoothly defines the shape
    10. Use the Tools (left toolbar) such as spin and then apply shade smooth
  16. Array Modifier (Properties > Add Modifier, wrench icon > Array)
    1. Add a repeated number of instances of a selected object
    2. Choose relative (spacing based on source object size) or absolute (spacing by absolute x,y,z parameters)
    3. Add additional array modifiers to add dimensions (e.g. column, row, depth)
    4. Apply the changes as needed
  17. Recipes
    1. Sphere without Poles (alternatively, choose IcoSphere Mesh, e.g. 3 divisions)
      1. Create a cube
      2. Properties > Add Modifier (wrench) > Subdivision Surface (Catmull-Clark, 3 subdivisions) > Apply
      3. Mesh > Transform > ToSphere (1)
      4. Shade Smooth
    2. Smoothing Sharp transitions options
      1. Select Object and in Object Data Properties > Normals > Auto Smooth checkbox OR
      2. Transform (Edit Mode) > Mean Crease (e.g. set to 0.6 to 0.8)
      3. Properties > Add Modifier (wrench) > Subdivision Surface (Catmull-Clark, 3 subdivisions)
      4. Select Edges and Edges > Bevel Edges

V. Technique: Vertex, Edge and Face Transformations (Edit Mode)

  1. Toggle between object mode and edit mode (Tab)
  2. Edit Vertex (1), Edge (2), Face (3)
  3. Delete or Dissolve with option menu (X)
  4. Toolbar
    1. Menu on the left can be expanded to visualize full button titles
    2. Shift Spacebar brings up a context menu of component functions that offers same functionality as the toolbar
  5. Selection
    1. Select All (A)
    2. Deselect All (Alt-A or A-A)
    3. Select edge or face loop (alt-click)
    4. Select in between two polygons (click on first, then ctrl-click the last)
    5. Expand or contract selection (Ctrl Numberpad + or -)
    6. Shift select to add to the selection
    7. Select Mesh Linked Subgroups
      1. Press L while hovering cursor over part of target mesh
      2. Deselect by pressing Shift-L while hovering over part of target mesh
  6. Move
    1. Proportional Editing
      1. Allows for a smoother transition when multiple components are moved
      2. Click the target button at top right of menu, and adjust the cursor size
    2. Use the same move keyboard shortcuts as for objects as above
    3. Use snapping as with objects
    4. When constraining to an axis, pressing Z, X, or Y again toggles between local and global coordinates
      1. Constraining to normal, however, is not among the cycled modes
  7. Sliding (G-G)
    1. Allows for sliding a vertex, edge or face along the surface of other geometry
  8. Merge by Distance (M - select by distance in dropdown)
    1. Removes overlapping vertices and edges
    2. Previously known as "remove doubles"
  9. Extrude (E)
    1. Extrude a face or edge
    2. Move the mouse up or down to extrude surface and LMB when done
    3. Works well in combination with increment snapping
    4. Level end of extrude, by scale in one direction set to 0
  10. Inset (I)
    1. Inset a face
    2. Press i followed by a decimal between 0 to 1 or simply move cursor
    3. Modify the transform panel parameters
    4. Alternatively can press E to extrude, and then immediately S to scale
  11. Insert Edge Loop (Ctrl-R)
    1. Modify loop number in tool parameter dialog
    2. Press 0 to center the loop cut
    3. Move the cursor to modify the line location and click or press enter to set the position
    4. Press Ctrl while dragging to move the edge loop in fixed increments
    5. After placing the initial orange cut marker, use the mouse wheel to increase or decrease the number of cuts
  12. Bevel (Ctrl-B)
    1. Choose edge mode, select an edge loop (alt-click)
    2. Press Ctrl-B and move the cursor up and down to expand and contract the size of the beveled area
    3. Use the mouse scroll wheel to increase and decrease the number of edges within the bevel
  13. Subdivide
    1. Subdivides the selected faces into quarters, eighths
  14. Scale
    1. Scaling face, edge or vertices to 0 forms steeples or house roofs (constrain scale to an axis)
    2. Merge by distance after Scaling when overlapping vertices and edges (see above)
  15. Separate Faces
    1. Select faces to extract, then P > Selection
  16. Fill Hole (F)
    1. Select two edges and then press F

VI. Technique: Materials, Lighting, Rendering

  1. Assign Material to other selected objects
    1. Select group of objects and set the key object's material the one to be source
    2. Ctrl-L > Link Material
      1. Copies the source material to all selected objects
  2. Camera Viewport
    1. Viewport Shading Options (upper right toolbar)
      1. Wireframe
      2. Solid (default)
      3. Material Preview
      4. Rendered
    2. Select Camera View
      1. Select Camera and then View > Cameras > Set Active Object As Camera OR
      2. Click the Camera Icon below the Gimbal (XYZ navigator) OR
      3. Numpad 0
    3. Camera Navigation
      1. Option 1: Select Camera, then M (and select View Tab) > Lock Camera to View
        1. Arrange the camera view as you would with scene navigation
        2. Remember to turn off the "Lock Camera to View"
      2. Option 2: View > Navigation > Walk Navigation
        1. Use the A, S, D, W, X keys to navigate the view
      3. Option 3: Convert the Perspective View to Camera View
        1. Ctrl-Alt Numpad 0
  3. Lights
    1. Shadows
      1. Select each light to modify the shadows that specific light casts
      2. Light Settings (Properties > Object Data Properties - bulb icon)
        1. Add Contact Shadows (and adjust) if shadow too soft near base of object
      3. Render Settings (Properties > Render Properties > Shadows)
        1. Modify shadow softness and resolution
    2. HDRI Images
      1. Download HDRI (e.g. polyhaven.com, 2K file is sufficient)
        1. Save to a folder where you intend to keep all the HDRI files (all projects)
      2. In the shading workspace, node editor, choose shader type: WORLD
      3. Find the Background and World Output Node (click HOME key within the node editor to frame all)
      4. Add (Shift-A or menu) a texture > environment
      5. Click OPEN within the environment texture node, and select a HDRI (HDR or EXR)
      6. Connect the environment node color output to the Background node color input
  4. Rendering
    1. Render camera view (F12)
    2. Objects in outliner may individually have camera view visibility toggled off (will not render)
    3. Render Engine (Properties > Render Properties - camera icon)
      1. Eevee
        1. Faster renders, but less accurate
      2. Cycles
        1. Slower renders, but more accurate
        2. Allows for optional GPU Rendering
          1. In preferences, choose CUDA for Nvidia card (OPTIX if RTX)
        3. Given the same light setup, Cycles will be darker than Eevee
        4. To reduce render time, a time limit can be set (e.g. 5 seconds) or max render samples can be reduced
    4. Reflections
      1. Darker materials show reflections better than light materials
      2. Materials should have roughness decreased to increase their glossiness (may adjust specular, anisotropic)
      3. In Render Properties, check "Screen Space Reflections"
    5. Miscellaneous Options
      1. Ambient Occlusion

VII. Review: Features

  1. Advantages (features I like)
    1. Keyboard shortcuts (e.g. G-Z-1, S-X-2...)
    2. F3 Function Search
  2. Disadvantages (features I dislike)
    1. Interface differences from other software (e.g. Maya, ZBrush)
      1. Navigation shortcuts (G, S, R instead of W,E,R)
      2. Z-Up (instead of Z forward)
      3. More difficult than Maya to visualize location in 3D
      4. Need to build your own 4 panel layouts and similar
    2. Bezier Curves
      1. Limited and non-intuitive functionality (e.g. extrude to add points, cursor does not follow well)
    3. Materials
      1. Materials that are not assigned to an object are lost saving a file and reloading the file
        1. Unless you click "Fake User: Save this data-block even if it has no users"
      2. Assigning a material to multiple objects requires a link operation (why not just selection?)

VIII. Resources

  1. Udemy: Create Blender Creator Course (Michael Bridges, Grant Abbitt, Rick Davidson)
    1. https://www.udemy.com/course/blendertutorial/
  2. Blender Guru 3.0 Cheatsheet
    1. https://www.dropbox.com/s/jg4fs4i8zw5bxt7/Blender%203.0%20Shortcuts%20v1.2.pdf?dl=0
  3. Image Sources (textures, HDRi)
    1. https://polyhaven.com
    2. https://textures.com

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