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A tutorial on using Blender for new users, focused on creating well made, low-poly mesh objects, rigged clothes, avatar animations, & more for virtual worlds.
Now that you know the basics of modeling let’s learn how to add objects and geometry to your creations.
You can add new objects in Object Mode or add a new shape to an object that you are working on in Edit Mode.
If your Tool shelf in the 3D Viewport is closed, press the ‘T‘ toggle to open it & look at the tabs along the left edge of the Tool shelf. Left-mouse-click the Create tab & you’ll find a list of shapes you can add.
The basic default mesh shapes available are: Plane, Cube, Circle, UV Sphere, Ico Sphere, Cylinder, Cone, Torus, Grid, & Monkey. The Plane, Circle, & Grid are flat geometry options that can be handy. Monkey is the Blender monkey Susan. She’s handy for practicing modeling and unwrapping which we’ll cover soon.
The Cube, UV Sphere, Cylinder, Cone, & Torus you are probably familiar with from building in your virtual world. You do have an extra sphere shape, the Ico Sphere, & you’ll find later how the sphere choices can help you with unwrapping & texturing options.
There are also objects other than mesh. I’ll get to those in later chapters. Some serve as tools for more advanced modeling & some can be converted to mesh shapes. They can add some treats to your bag of tricks.
Another way to add shapes is by way of the 3D Viewport Header in the Add menu item in either Object or Edit Mode.
And, of course, Blender gave you a shortcut key to add shapes quickly: Shift-A
In Object mode adding a new shape will add a new object.
In Edit mode, it will add the new shape to the object you are editing.
When you create a new object, look in the Operator panel. It’s at the bottom of the Tool shelf, ‘T‘.
If you don’t see it, look for the +Grip at the bottom of the Tool shelf and Left-mouse-click it to open the panel.
[alert heading=”TIP:” type=”info”]The Operator panel is important to watch for. It will populate with settings relevant to the most recent command used. Some of these options are not available at any other time & cannot be accessed otherwise.[/alert]
When you add shapes, you can change various parameters for the particular shape you chose in the Operator panel. For example, in this image, you can see that you can change the number of vertices, the diameter, depth, location, & rotation of a cylinder shape.
You can also change the type of ends on the cylinder. Choosing ‘Triangle Fan‘ will triangulate the ends & add a vertice in the center of each end.
Name your objects!
It’s wise to create complex builds with many separate objects that you can then modify inworld. This gives your builds more flexibility.
To keep the separate parts organized, name each object with a name that is indicative of what it is.
There are three locations where you can name objects. In the ‘N’ 3D Properties Shelf: Item Panel, in the Outliner, & at the top of the Object panel (yellow cube icon) in the Properties editor. It doesn’t matter which you use, changing one will update the others.
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Extruding geometry is expanding new geometry from selected geometry. You can extrude selected vertice(s), edge(s), and/or face(s).
Create new geometry in Edit mode with the shortcut key: E.
Go to Edit mode & make sure your mouse is in the 3D Viewport. Select the geometry you would like to extrude new geometry from.
You can then drag the newly created geometry with your mouse or, for more control, press Enter to finalize the Extrude command and force the new geometry to be in the original geometry’s location. Use your translate, scale, & rotate commands to move and shape your new geometry as needed.
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To create a new face between edges, in Edit mode, select the edges bordering the area where you need a new face and press ‘F’.
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ADD INFO ON CHANGING THE DIRECTION THE FACE IS FACING
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To duplicate selected objects in Object mode or selected geometry in Edit mode press Shift-D and press Enter. You can then modify your duplication as required.
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IS THERE A SHORTCUT KEY TO SUBDIVIDE?
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Loops are another form of geometry – sort of. They are geometry that goes around an object. They can be edges or faces. Blender has some tools that use loops to perform actions on geometry. In objects with complex geometry, loops are sometimes nonsensical but, in most cases, they can be a good shortcut to achieve actions that otherwise would take many steps.
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Loop Cut & Slide
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Bridge Edge Loops
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Here’s a good practice project from BornCG on YouTube. It will give you a good workout using the skills you’ve learned so far.
Getting More Shapes
Go to your User Preferences (Ctrl-Alt-U) & in the Add-ons tab look down the left hand column. In the Supported Level section Left-mouse-click ‘Community’ then, in the Categories section, click ‘Add Mesh’. You’ll get a list of three items in the right hand column. These are additional mesh shapes that you can add to Blender. On the top right of each item’s box tick the selection box then click the ‘Save User Settings’ button on the lower right of the User Preferences window.
Add Mesh: Extra Objects
Extra Objects gives you a bunch of cool shapes that you can have fun exploring & using.
It also includes a third sphere type, the Polyshere, for another texturing option for spheres. No more settling for beach ball distortions for your sphere objects inworld!
Add Mesh: BoltFactory
Bolt Factory adds two interesting shapes you may find handy especially if you are into mechanical devices or Steampunk design.
ADD A MESH ANT LANDSCAPE PIC HERE ADD A MESH ANT LANDSCAPE PIC HERE ADD A MESH ANT LANDSCAPE PIC HERE
Add Mesh: ANT Landscape
ANT Landscape will take a chapter all it’s own some time later. Meanwhile, you’ll find it fun to play with or to create a huge plane for something big.
[alert heading=”TIP:” type=”info”]Note that the new shapes you added don’t show up in the list of available objects in the 3D Viewport Tool shelf’s Create tab. When adding shapes other than the default shapes use either the Add menu item in the 3D Viewport Header or use the Add shortcut key, Shift-A.[/alert]
Any Questions? Just post your questions in the comment section below & I’ll answer it as soon as possible. Please be specific so I can figure out what it is you are asking.