Start learning Blender from scratch and complete your first project!
This course will take you through how to use blender from scratch to the rendering of your first project.
If you haven't already, check out my intro to Blender to find out why its great!
You will need:
The patience to get through get through the boring bits...
Blender is like any other 3D software as it has a workflow.
This is an overview of a basic workflow in Blender and some of the aspects we are covering in this course.
- Polygonal modelling
- Import models
Lights and Cameras
- Physical Lights
- Physical Cameras
- Cloud rendering
1. With blender open, you can see the splash screen, from there you can create new documents and open recent documents.
2. Clicking away from the splash screen will close it.
3. The default startup file contains a single cube and a basic UI. As we continue, we will introduce what each of the panels do.
4. Feel free to hover over things and look at some of the tools.
1. Blender modelling uses different modes to control objects.
2.Object mode allows you to control objects, add more objects and more.
3. Left click to select the cube and move it with the move tool or the shortcut G.
Tip: A list of useful keyboard shortcuts can be found at the bottom of each tutorial, here.
4. Confirm the movement with a click or with the Enter key.
5. To snap the object back to the origin simply press alt-G.
6. We can use shortcuts to lock the movement into certain directions. Simply press x,y or z.
7. With the movement locked, you can type in a number like 1 and it will move by that number of units.
Tip: Blender defaults to the dimension in meters but this can be changed any time in the scene panel (UI breakdown).
8. You can add more objects to the scene by pressing the add button on the bottom right of the viewport or pressing shift-A.
This brings ups a list of primitive shapes as well as some other options.
1. The view can be controlled with the middle mouse button.
2. The "gizmo" and buttons at the top left control the view. This is particularly useful if you don't have a mouse or a keyboard with no Numpad.
1. Edit mode allows you to change the points of the selected object(s).
1. The mode can be changed with the button on the top left of the view-port.
2. You can then select the points that make up the shape.
3. The same movement shortcuts can be used (translation G, rotation R and scale S)
4. Using the selection toggle, you can select point, lines or faces.
5. There are many actions that can be done in edit mode like extruding (e), Beveling (ctrl-b), loop cutting (ctrl-r) and more....
We will look at these in detail here.
Modifiers are a big help in high quality 3D modelling as well as saving time.
We will look at only 3 modifiers here but you can continue finding out about this here.
1. Select the object in object mode. Modifiers don't normally show up in edit mode. We can think of edit mode as underlying geometries and modifiers as making non-destructive changes.
2. The subdivide modifier will take the object, split the faces and smooth the resultant geometries. A sub divide level of 2 is usually high enough. As you add more, it will slow down blender.
3. The bevel modifier takes the edges and will split them into two or more edges spaced apart, smoothing the edges. We can (and very often do) limit the bevel to only act on edges of more than a specified angle.
4. The array tool will add instances of the object at a set distance apart.
Modelling a mug
Lets try applying this by modelling a mug.
1. Delete the cube.
2. shift-A add a new circle.
3. Enter edit mode
4. Select all with A, and add a face with F
5. Press E to extrude.
6. Move mouse and click to confirm.
7. Loop cut with crtl-r and scroll mouse wheel to increase number of cuts.
8. Select each ring with alt-click.
9. Scale to heart's content, adding in proportional editing with O.
10. Delete face with delete and then select faces.
11. Select a loop cut on the green line and slide with GG.
12. Select all with A, Go into mesh -> Clean up -> Merge by distance.
11. Select 4 vertices in a quad and press E to extrude. Selecting vertices parallel to a direction makes controlling points easier later.
12. Extrude and rotate around X or Y axis (R -> X/Y) till shape is desired.
13. Add Solidify modifier and adjust thickness
14. Apply bevel modifier and adjust settings. Set the limit method to Angle.
15. Apply Subdivide modifier set both divisions to 2.
16. Go into object mode, right click and Shade Smooth
And we are done!
1. Now that we can model simple things, we should consider adding textures to it.
2. The best way to begin texturing is to switch to the shading work space. This changes the UI and switches the view mode to Look Dev.
2. There are two main options for texturing objects.
A. We can create very simple materials by changing the Principled BSDF node.
B. We can unwrap the object and apply image textures to make a realistic material
To find out about more about texturing visit:
The principled shader has a number of different settings, these can just be changed to certain values that will change the appearance. Experimenting with this will show you what each slider does.
By unwrapping the model we can start mapping images on and creating PBR (physically based rendering) textures.
Download a carbon fiber texture here
You will see that there are 5 different images.
During the intermediate course you will learn what these mean (here).
For now we can simply add them to the node array and connect the points.
To make this simpler, the Node Wrangler add on was created.
To enable this addon, simply open edit -> preferences -> Addons -> Node wrangler.
Now we can select the Principled BSDF node and press crtl-shift-T.
Navigate to the file and press A (not ctrl-A) and click Principled Texture setup.
This automatically assigns the nodes.
1. To show the texture on the model we need to tell the texture how to sit on the geometry.
2. Enter edit mode of the object we want to unwrap.
3. Select all the points with A and press U (for unwrap).
4. Smart unwrap is the easiest option and will often do an adequate job of unwrapping.
5. For a more custom unwrap, click here.
What is unwrapping?
When we unwrap, we flatten the shape out into a 2D shape (dimensions U and V rather than X and Y) that Blender uses to map on an image texture.
Lighting and Cameras
1. Before we render out a final image, we need to add an environment, lights and a camera.
2. The default scene has one camera and one point light source.
3. To simplify the process and get great images I often use pre-built studios.
4. I would recommend starting with this one: Download here
5. To use it, just copy the 3D model you are working on (object mode, left click, crtl-c)
and paste it onto the studio studio file (ctrl-v).
6. You may have to scale your model and move it. (Object mode, S for scale, G for move)
7. If you would like to learn about creating your own custom lighting. Visit the intermediate lighting course here.
1. Cameras in Blender work very similar to cameras in real life.
2. We can move them in object mode like any other object.
3. To look through the view of the camera, press the camera button or press crtl-numpad0
4. You can add depth of field in camera options.
4a. Tick the depth of field box and expand the selection.
4b. Use the focus on object eyedropper tool on the object you want focus on.
4c. Set the aperture's f-stop to a low number (1.2-2.8). You can experiment.
1. Rendering is the final step of the process.
2. Using the view options we can change how the scene is displayed.
3. When set to rendered, we can see a preview of the final scene when it will be rendered.
4. We won't worry too much about rendering settings right now. This is explored more in intermediate course here.
5. First we should change from EEVEE (a real time game-like engine) to Cycles (a ray-tracing engine)
6. Your ready to render! Open the render tab and press the render button or just hit f12
7. The render window should open and when the render is complete, click image -> save as to save the image where you want!
Finishing the project
Follow brackets for more understanding
(1. Select all vertices in Edit mode.)
(2.Get your mug and Unwrap it with U and smart UV unwrap.)
3. Open up shading, Click new materials and change settings in principled shader.
(4. Select shader and press crtl-shift-T, with the node-wrangler addon enabled, and select all on the carbon fibre texture images.)
5. Set up lighting (manually or by copying in mug to the studio).
6. Set up cameras with focus on the mug and depth of field set to default.
7. Select a camera and set it active with ctrl-num 0.
8. Set scene rendering to cycles
9. Render out scene
You have finished the beginner's course
Now you are done you can keep experimenting or move on to the intermediate course!
Try practising the process of modelling with items on your desk.
Translate - G
Scale - S
Rotate - R
Duplicate - Shift D
Duplicate Linked - Alt D
Hide - H
Show - Alt H
Select All - A
Deselect All - Alt A
Box Select - B / Click + Drag
Copy - Ctrl C
Paste - Ctrl V
Add new mesh - Shift A
Reset - Alt G
Extrude - E
Unwrap Menu - U
Loop Cut - Ctrl R
Bevel - Ctrl B
Edge Menu - Ctrl E
Face - F
Face Menu - Ctrl F
Proportional Editing - O
Camera view - Numpad 0
Set Active Camera - Ctrl Numpad 0
Toggle orth/persp - Numpad 5
Undo - Ctrl z
Redo - Shift Ctrl z
Toggle menu (Right) - N
Toggle menu (Left) - T
Render - F12