Getting Started With Blender For Virtual Worlds

Blender For Virtual Worlds

A Free Tutorial by Remona Stormborn
Edited by Labyrinth Stormborn
© Remona Stormborn 2014, 2015, 2016, all rights reserved

Visit Gaia Foundation on Atlantis in the Great Canadian Grid for inworld support information.


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Basic Modeling

In this chapter you’ll learn to create new objects, how to manage them, and start modeling mesh objects.

3D View
     Shelves
     Interactive Modes
Basic Navigation
     Perfect Views
     Center
Perspective
Axis
     The Grid
     Display Settings
     Mini Axis
Objects
     Active Object
     Origin Point
          Move The Origin Point
     3D Cursor
          Move The 3D Cursor
     Add Objects
     Operator Panel
     Manage Objects
Basic Selection
Undo and Redo
Escape
Delete
     Lamps and Cameras
Mesh Geometry
     Low-poly Mesh
     Vertices
     Edges
     Faces
Basic Modeling
     Select Geometry
     3D Manipulator
     Add Geometry
     Location
          Translate by 3D Manipulator
          Translate Shortcut Keys
     Scale
          Scale by 3D Manipulator
          Scale Shortcut Keys
     Rotation
          Rotate by 3D Manipulator
          Rotate Shortcut Keys
     Extrude
Project:  Properly Rotating Door
     Model a Door
     Center On Hinge
Questions?


3D View

The 3D Viewport is the editor that you’ll do your modeling in. It’s the center of the Blender universe.

This is the one essential editor that you’ll have open most of the time. Most of the other editors contain tools for directly working on the objects in your 3D Viewport.

The first thing you’ll notice is the mesh cube that Blender opens with by default. You can create a number of shapes, similar to inworld building.

In addition to the cube, you’ll also notice a lot of gadgets: menus, shelves, panels, widgets, what-nots, and whimseys. Ok, maybe no what-nots or whimseys.

These are some powerful tools with which you’ll be able to create mind-blowing things. You’ll grow to appreciate all these magical gadgets.

There are different ways to view your objects, navigate around in the 3D Viewport, and select your objects and their geometry.

I encourage you to play around and practice. Like in your virtual world, you will soon be zooming and orbiting around, hammering away and building great creations without a single thought about it!


Shelves

Shelves

Some editors have Shelves that can be opened to give you access to tools and settings or closed to make more workspace available.

3D View Tool Shelf

Hover your cursor over any area in the 3D Viewport and press the shortcut key T to open the Tool Shelf on the left side of the 3D Viewport. It’s a toggle shortcut key, meaning it opens and closes the Tool Shelf.

3D View Properties Shelf

Hover your cursor over any area in the 3D Viewport and press the shortcut key N to open the Properties Shelf on the right side of the 3D Viewport. Like the Tool Shelf shortcut key, it’s also a toggle that opens and closes the Properties Shelf.

Panels in each Shelf contain information, settings, options, check boxes, buttons, sliders, widgets, and other gadgets.

Blender +Grip

Open and close them with the +Grip you’ll see on the border where shelves are hidden (yellow arrow).

You can resize shelves by mousing over the border until you get a black double arrow cursor and left click and dragging them.

Blender Panel Controls

Inside the shelves, you can close or open each panel with the triangular Arrow Opener (yellow) to the left of the title of each panel.

Rearrange the order of panels by left click and dragging the rectangular Panel Grip (green) to the right of the title of each panel.

Resize the contents of a shelf by pressing control middle mouse button and dragging the mouse in the shelf area.

NOTE:  The contents of panels change depending on what tools you may need under various circumstances.


Interactive Modes

There are six interactive modes. Each one gives us a unique way in which to work on our objects.

One of the two modes you’ll use most of the time is Object Mode, which is the default mode that Blender opens up in.

Blender Object Mode

In Object Mode you can create and work on whole objects. You can move, scale, and rotate objects. Any actions taken will affect all the objects selected together, much like working with a multiple selection of prims or a linked set of prims inworld.

Blender Edit Mode

The other mode you’ll use a lot is Edit Mode.

Edit Mode is where most of the magic happens. In Edit Mode you’ll be able to view and modify the geometry of the active object. You can move, scale, and rotate individual or selected groups of faces, edges, and/or vertices. Here you can add geometry, slice, dice, mirror, and perform a huge variety of special modeling techniques.

You’ll mostly be using Object and Edit modes for now. In later chapters I’ll cover other useful modes.

The shortcut key to change between these two modes is Tab. You’ll use it a lot so take note of it.

If you change to one of the other modes, the Tab shortcut key will switch between the selected mode and Edit Mode.

Blender Interactive Mode

The other Interactive modes are:
Texture Paint Mode: Tools for painting textures onto objects.
Weight Paint Mode: Tools for rigging mesh clothes and avatars by defining the bone influences.
Vertex Paint Mode: Tools for painting color onto objects.
Sculpt Mode: Tools for sculpting your objects in creative ways much like a sculptor would carve and shape sculptures.
Edit Mode: Tools for working with whole objects.
Object Mode: Tools for working with the geometry of your objects.

You can also use the Interactive Mode Selector to change modes. It’s the first widget after the menu items in the 3D View Header.

Object and Edit Mode Headers

The 3D View Header, Tool Shelf, and 3D Properties Shelf content changes, depending on what Interactive Mode you are in, to tools that are relevant to the tasks performed in each mode.

TIP:  In the default theme selected or activated items in the Header are lighter gray than unselected or deactivated items.


Basic Navigation

There are different ways to view your objects and navigate in the 3D Viewport.

We’ll cover the essentials here and add to your skills in later chapters. Find more view options in the 3D View Header > View menu.

Zoom:  control middle mouse and drag or scroll the mouse wheel
Orbit:  middle mouse and drag
Pan:  shift middle mouse and drag or shift alt left click and drag


Perfect Views

Perfect views are centering your view directly from the selected angle:  front, back, top, bottom, or either side.

3D Viewport View Menu Perfect Views

View From Top:  number pad 7
View From Bottom:  control number pad 7
View From Front:  number pad 1
View From Back:  control number pad 1
View From Right:  number pad 3
View From Left:  control number pad 3

You can also change to any Perfect View in the 3D View Header menu > View > select the view you want (red).

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Blender View Status

The top left corner of the viewport tells you which view you are in or ‘user’ if not in a perfect view.


Center

3D Viewport View Navigation Menu Other Views

Center on selected object(s):  number pad . (period)
Center on all Objects:  Home
Center on Cursor Position:  alt Home
Center Cursor and View All:  shift C
Center View to Cursor:  alt Home
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Perspective

Perspective & Orthographic

You can view objects in the 3D Viewport from different perspectives.

Number 5 on the number pad toggles between the two perspective types.

Perspective view (Persp) is more realistic. It has a vanishing point so, things that are farther from you appear smaller. Despite being more realistic, it’s more difficult to work in.

Orthographic view (Ortho) is easier to work in although not as realistic. There’s no vanishing point so things farther from you do not grow smaller. In this view, if you look at a cube straight on, the face farthest away will appear the same size as the closest face.

Blender Persective Status

The top left corner of the viewport tells you which perspective you are in.


Axis

Blender Grid & Axis

An axis is a line that defines coordinates in a given direction in space.

NOTE:  Each vertex has a X, Y, and Z coordinate by which we instruct computers how to draw our objects. The coordinates tell computers where in space a particular vertex is located in each of three directions. That’s the 3 in ‘3D’ or ‘three dimensions’.

Represented by red, the X axis goes from left to right.
The Y axis, represented by green, goes from front to back
And the Z axis, represented by blue, goes from top to bottom.



The Grid

Blender Grid Negative & Positive

Inworld building is always on the positive scales of the X, Y, and Z axis because the 0, 0, 0 point is in the corner of the grid (region).

Blender’s 0, 0, 0 point is at the center of the 3D View Grid. You will be moving objects or geometry on both the positive and negative scales on all three axis.


Display Settings

Blender Display Settings

You can turn off or on the X, Y, or Z axis line(s) on the grid or even the grid itself.

Open the 3D View Properties shelf (N) and in the Display panel tick or untick Grid Floor and/or the corresponding X, Y, or Z button(s) (red).

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Mini Axis

Mini Axis

Another tool is the Mini Axis.

In the lower left corner of the 3D Viewport you will see a little gadget that works much like a compass, indictating what direction you are facing in the viewport.

To the right of that is the name of the active object.


Objects

The first thing you’ll notice is the mesh cube that Blender originally opens with. This is similar to a prim cube that you might rezz inworld.

You can modify this cube and other shapes in an infinite number of ways. That’s the beauty of mesh.


Active Object

Blender Active Object

When more than one object is selected, the last object selected becomes the Active Object.

It will be highlighted in a lighter yellow-orange (if using the default theme) than the other selected object(s).

Any actions taken that can be applied to only one object will be applied to the Active Object.

You can only edit the geometry of one object at a time. When you enter Edit Mode, it will be for the Active Object if more than one object is selected.


Origin Point

Blender Origin Point

All objects have an origin point—the point of reference for it’s location, rotation, and scale.

When you first create an object, it’s origin point is at the center of it’s geometry. It’s the yellow-orange dot (red arrow) in the center of your cube.

The origin point is used for many actions including rotating and orbiting objects.


Move The Origin Point

Blender Displaced Origin Point

When you modify the geometry of an object in Edit Mode, the origin point remains in it’s original location. Because of this, sometimes it ends up being way off from the center of it’s geometry.

When the Origin Point is located off the center point, some actions might not behave as you’d expect.

Blender Origin to Center of Mass

To get an origin point to return to the center of an object, go to Object Mode, select the object, and press control alt shift C. In the pop-up, select Origin to Center of Mass.

You’ll see in the pop-up that you have more options for moving the origin point.


3D Cursor

Blender 3D Cursor

The 3D Cursor is the red and white dashed circle with black cross-hairs. Newly created objects will appear at the location of the 3D Cursor.

Left clicking anywhere in the 3D Viewport will move the cursor to where you click. Because it’s difficult to determine the depth on a 2D monitor screen this is not very useful.


Move The 3D Cursor

Blender Cursor to Center

Press shift S for options to move the 3D Cursor.

Choose Cursor to Center to reposition the cursor to the middle of your grid at 0, 0, 0.

You’ll see in the pop-up that you have more options for moving the origin point.

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Blender 3D Cursor Location

You can also move the cursor to precise coordinates in the 3D Cursor panel of the 3D View Properties shelf (N).

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Add Objects

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Blender Create Object

When adding objects they will be placed at the position of the 3D Cursor. Position the cursor where you want your object placed.

If your Tool Shelf in the 3D Viewport is closed, press T to open it.

Go to the Create tab > Mesh panel for a list of shapes you can add.

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Basic Shapes Object Mode

The basic default mesh shapes available are:  Plane, Cube, Circle, UV Sphere, Ico Sphere, Cylinder, Cone, Torus, Grid, and Monkey.

The Cube, UV Sphere, Cylinder, Cone, and Torus you may be familiar with from building in virtual worlds.

You have an extra sphere shape, the Ico Sphere, and you’ll learn later how this and other add-on sphere choices can help you with unwrapping (determining texture layout) and texturing options.

The Plane, Circle, and Grid are flat geometry options that can be useful.

Monkey is the Blender monkey Susan. She’s handy for practicing modeling and unwrapping.

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Basic Shapes Edit Mode

When adding objects while in Object mode the new shape will be a new separate object.

When in Edit mode, your created shape will be added to the object you are editing.

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Blender Add Mesh Object

Another way to add shapes is by way of the 3D Viewport Header in the Add menu item.

Or, use the shortcut key shift A to get the Add menu.

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Create Menu

There are also objects other than mesh.

Some serve as tools for more advanced modeling and some can be converted to mesh shapes.

They will add some nice treats to your bag of tricks.

We’ll get to those as we need them.

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Operator Panel

Blender Operator Panel

When you create a new object, look in the Operator panel. It’s at the bottom of the 3D View Tool Shelf (T).

Operator Panel +Grip

If you don’t see it, look for the +Grip at the bottom of the Tool Shelf and left click it to open the panel (red).

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Hover over the Operator panel’s top border to get a double arrow cursor and drag the border up or down to resize it.

The Operator Panel automatically populates with settings that pertain to the most recent action when appropriate. Some of these options are not available at any other time and cannot be accessed otherwise.

When adding shapes it will contain various parameters for the particular shape you chose.

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Blender Operator Panel Cylinder

For example, in this image, you can see that you can change the number of vertices, the diameter, depth, location, and rotation of a cylinder shape.

Blender Cylinder Triangle Fan

You can also change the type of ends on the cylinder. Choosing Triangle Fan will triangulate the ends and add a vertex in the center of each end.

NOTE:  Operator Panel settings will contain the same settings you used last for each particular action.


Manage Objects

Blender Outliner

The Outliner editor is located in the top right frame in Blender’s default layout.

It will tell you what objects you have in Blender and allow you to de/select, rename, and un/hide them.

Use the search box at the top right of the Outliner to locate objects. Narrow your search or locate specific types of objects with the drop down filters to the left of the search box.

To keep the individual objects organized, name each object with a name that’s indicative of what it is.

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Rename-Objects

There are three locations where you can name objects.

In the the Outliner (green), in the 3D Properties Shelf > Item Panel (blue), and in the Properties editor (red) > Object tab (yellow).

It doesn’t matter which you use, changing one will update the others.

To rename objects in the Outliner, double left click it’s name in the list of objects.

In the Properties shelf and Properties editor, click in the object’s name box.

TIP:  The name of the active object is in the lower left corner of the 3D Viewport and at the far right end of the Info Editor (main menu bar).


Basic Selection

Blender uses right mouse click for select instead of the typical left click.

This can be confusing at first and takes some getting used to. This prevents accidentally selecting and potentially borking things.

If you can’t handle right click selection, you can change the behavior in the User Preferences > Input tab or control alt U.

Select All:  A toggles selecting and deselecting everything. If you already have a partial selection, you’ll need to press A twice to first deselect all then select all.

Select:  right click objects in Object Mode, geometry in Edit Mode.

Add to Selection:  shift right click objects in Object Mode, geometry in Edit Mode.

Deselect:  shift right click selected objects in Object Mode, geometry in Edit Mode.

Selected object(s) or their geometry are highlighted in yellow-orange when selected.


Undo and Redo

Undo:  control Z to undo the last action.
Redo:  control shift Z to redo the last action.
History:  control alt A to view the actions history.

WARNING:  It’s common to press Z without the corresponding Control key for Undo, in which case, you’ll end up in wire mode. If this happens press Z again to get back into normal view.

Blender Undo Redo History

You can also use the 3D View Header menu.

In Object Mode go to Object > then either Undo, Redo, or Undo History.

In Edit Mode go to Mesh > then either Undo, Redo, or Undo History.

Buttons for these operations are in the History panel of the Tool Shelf > Tools tab.

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TIP:   Since every mouse or keyboard click is registered as a step, you will need more than the default number of steps saved. If you didn’t skip the Customizing Blender chapter, you’ll know that you can increase the number of Undo History steps in User Preferences > Editing tab (control alt U).


Escape

Sometimes, especially with accidentally pressed shortcut keys, you may enter commands that you no longer want to complete. Press the Escape key to cancel the command.

TIP:  If things are acting oddly, not responding, or what-have-you, press Escape to see if that clears things up.


Delete

Blender Delete

You can delete selected objects in Object Mode, or selected geometry in Edit Mode by pressing either the X or the Delete shortcut keys.

You’ll get a confirmation popup. Click Delete in the popup to finalize the operation.

Or, in Object Mode go to the 3D View Header and, in the menu, go to Object > Delete.

And if in Edit Mode go to the 3D View Header and, in the menu, go to Mesh > Delete.

A third way to delete selected object(s) or geometry in either Edit or Object Mode, go to the Tools tab in the 3D View Tool Shelf (T) and locate and click the Delete button.

WARNING:  When deleting whole objects be sure to delete them in Object Mode. If you select all geometry in Edit Mode and delete it, you still have an object, although it’s an object with only an origin point and no geometry.


Lamps and Cameras

Lights & Camera

The Lamp and Camera are also objects though not mesh.

They are not much use for virtual world content creation except in some advanced skills. They are just clutter at this point.

Go ahead and select and delete them for now. You can always add them again if you do need them.

TIP:   You might even consider saving a new user window without the Lamp and Camera so you don’t have to deal with them all the time. Open a new instance of Blender and click ‘File’ in the Info editor (main menu bar) and select ‘Save Startup File’ or press the shortcut keys control U.


Mesh Geometry

Mesh is made up of geometry—various parts used to create the shapes of your objects. Understanding these parts is essential to good mesh object creation for virtual worlds.

The BlenderForNoobs channel on YouTube has a good video discussing 3D geometry.

Blender for Noobs #6 – Understanding basic 3D geometry


Low-poly Mesh

Mesh gets a bad rap for being hard on servers. It’s not mesh that is the problem but mesh objects that contain way too much geometry.

Inworld, the locations of vertices on the X, Y, and Z axis are kept track of by the servers so they can draw and redraw shapes as we navigate around in 3D space. The more vertices we have in our objects, the more work virtual world servers are doing to correctly draw our objects.

Our goal in creating 3D content for virtual worlds is to give our objects details that look great but, without using more geometry than is absolutely necessary to achieve our goal. This is called low-poly mesh.

TIP:   When you download mesh objects from the internet it’s important to know if the object is made with low-poly techniques like you’ll be learning here. And, by the way, well made low-poly mesh items, like you’ll soon be creating, are in high demand for good prices!


Vertices

Delete all the objects in your scene and create a new cube shape.

Select the cube (right-click) and go to Edit Mode (Tab). Deselect all the geometry (A).

Blender Vertices

Vertex or Vertices:  You’ll see small dots at each corner of the cube. These are called vertices and are the points in space whose location is noted on the X, Y, and Z axis.

TIP:  When in Edit Mode, press Z to toggle in or out of wire view to better see the vertices of your object.


Edges

Blender Edge

Edges:  The lines that stretch from vertex to vertex. All edges are straight lines.

TIP:  When in Object Mode, press Z to toggle in or out of wire view to better see the edges of your object.


Face

Blender Face

The flat planes stretched between edges and vertices are faces. Faces are used to apply textures to. They are the visible geometry of our inworld mesh objects.

Face:  A plane, stretching between edges and vertices.
Tri:  A triangular face with three edges.
Quad:  A face with four edges.
Polygon:  A face with 3 or more edges.
Ngon:  A face with more than four edges.

Blender Polys 250

When uploading mesh objects, all faces are triangulated.

You should avoid, as much as possible, using poly faces with more than four edges. On triangulation, polys can end up warping your shapes in odd ways.

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To triangulate faces, select the faces and press control T.

Most people prefer working using quads. To turn tris to quads select at least two connected tris and press alt J.

TIP:   Only pairs of tris can be turned into quads—it won’t work on polys. A quick trick to turn all your geometry into quads is to turn the geometry to tris first and then to quads.


Basic Modeling

Transform is Blender’s term for making changes to objects and their geometry whether that change is to location, dimension, scale, or rotation.

When in Object Mode, Translate (move), Scale, and Rotate work on selected whole objects.

In Edit Mode they work on selected geometry.


Select Geometry

Like selecting objects, selecting geometry is done by right clicking. Right click the parts of geometry you want to select. Hold Shift and right click to add unselected geometry to the selection or subtract selected geometry.

TIP:   In Edit Mode you can only edit one object at a time. If you have more than one object selected in Object Mode when changing to Edit Mode, the active object (last object selected) will be the object that opens in Edit mode.

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Vertex Edge Face Selector

Found on the 3D View Header in Edit Mode, the Selection widget controls whether faces, edges, vertices, or a combination of geometry types are selected during selection actions.

Left click the appropriate box for the type of geometry you want to select. Hold shift to select more than one choice.

Now, when you right click geometry, only the type(s) of geometry you have selected in the selection widget will be selected.

Selected items will be highlighted in orange. The last selected item will be highlighted in white.


3D Manipulator

3D Manipulator

The 3D Manipulator works similarly to the manipulator inworld.

It’s the red, green, and blue gadget that allows you to move, rotate, and scale your selected objects by dragging the arrow heads, pulling or pushing the block ends, or rotating the rings. More on that in a bit.

The shortcut key to toggle visibility of the manipulator is control Space.

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Add Geometry

While in Edit Mode, faces can be added between two or more selected edges or three or more selected vertices by pressing the shortcut key F.

If only two vertices are selected then an Edge will be created instead of a face.

If many connected edges are selected this will create a polygon face. To get multiple triangle faces instead press the shortcut keys alt F.

Blender Make Face Tool Shelf

Or, with the 3D View Tool Shelf (T) > Tools tab > Mesh Tools panel > press Make Edge/Face button (red).

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Blender Make Face Menu

Or, in the 3D View Header Menu > Faces > Make Edge/Face.

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Location

Translate means to move or change the location of selected objects or their geometry.


Translate By 3D Manipulator

Blender 3D Manipulator Translate

In the 3D Viewport Header locate the 3D Manipulator widget and left click the Arrowhead icon to translate (move) selected items.

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Blender 3D Manipulator Closed

If you don’t see the Arrowhead icon, left click the 3D Manipulator icon (red) to fully open the widget.

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Blender Translate

Just like with inworld building, you can use the arrows of the 3D Manipulator to left click drag your selected object or geometry on an axis.

Now you can left click and drag the appropriate arrowhead or tail in the 3D Viewport to move on the chosen axis.

To translate (move) on two axis hold shift as you left click drag on the axis you do not want to translate.


Translate Shortcut Keys

Despite this daunting list of shortcuts, you’ll soon be using them frequently without a thought. There’s a pattern to how they work. Just study the lists, trying each out in Blender and it will quickly make sense.

G is the translate (move) shortcut key.

Press G and move the selection freely by left click and drag.

Press G in sequence with the axis key, X, Y, or Z to move the selection on the chosen global (relative to the grid) axis:

Translate (move) selection on the X global axis:  G, X, left click and drag on global X axis
Translate (move) selection on the Y global axis:  G, Y, left click and drag on global Y axis
Translate (move) selection on the Z global axis:  G, Z, left click and drag on global Z axis

Translate (move) selection on two axis by indicating the axis to not include:

Translate (move) selection on the Y and Z global axis:  Shift G, X, left click and drag on Y and Z axis
Translate (move) selection on the X and Z global axis:  Shift G, Y, left click and drag on X and Z axis
Translate (move) selection on the X and Y global axis:  Shift G, Z, left click and drag on X and Y axis


Scale

Blender uses the terms Scale and Dimension for resizing selected objects or geometry. In later chapters I’ll discuss the difference between Scale and Dimension. For right now don’t worry about it.


Scale By 3D Manipulator

Blender 3D Manipulator Scale

In the 3D Viewport Header locate the 3D Manipulator widget and left click the Blockhead icon to resize selected items.

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Blender 3D Manipulator Closed

If you don’t see the Blockhead icon, left click the 3D Manipulator icon (red) to fully open the widget.

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Blender Scale

Similar to inworld building, you can use the blockheads of the 3D Manipulator to left click drag your selected object or geometry to resize it on an axis.

Left click and drag the appropriate blockhead in the 3D Viewport to resize on the chosen axis.

To scale on two axis hold shift as you left click drag on the axis you do not want to scale.


Scale Using Shortcut Keys

The S key is the Scale shortcut key. Just like the translate shortcut you’ll soon see the pattern and will be using them frequently without a thought.

Press the S key and left click and drag to scale the selected on all three axis.

You’ll see a dotted line and arrow to show where to drag:  drag toward the selected to scale down, away from selected to scale up.

Use the S shortcut key in sequence with the axis key, X, Y, or Z to scale the selected along the chosen global axis:

Scale selected along the global X axis:  G, X, left click drag black dashed line
Scale selected along the global Y axis:  G, Y, left click drag black dashed line
Scale selected along the global Z axis:  G, Z, left click drag black dashed line

Scale selected along two global axis:

Scale selected along the global Y & Z axis:  Shift G, X, left click drag black dashed line
Scale selected along the global X & Z axis:  Shift G, Y, left click drag black dashed line
Scale selected along the global X & Y axis:  Shift G, Z, left click drag black dashed line


Rotation

Protractor

Rotation in Blender is based on the 360° full circle.

Note that 360° lends itself well to the most common rotation increments:

A quarter turn is 90°, a half turn or about face is 180°, and a three quarter turn is 270°.

Five increments for a full turn is with 72°, 144°, 216°, 288°, & 360°.

Rotating in six moves is with 60° turns: 60°, 120°, 180°, 240°, 300°, & 360°.

One eighth turns are in 45° increments: 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225°, 270°, 315°, & 360°.

One ninth increments is with 40°, 80°, 120°, 160°, 200°, 240°, 280°, 320°, & 360°.

One tenth slices are: 36°, 72°, 108°, 144°, 180°, 216°, 252°, 288°, 324°, & 360°.

Rotating in twelve increments is with 30° turns: 30°, 60°, 90°, 120°, 150°, 180°, 210°, 240°, 270°, 300°, 330°, & 360°.

That’s probably the most commonly used rotations you’ll use. Do write them down in your notekeeping system (which you are using—right?) for reference. They’ll be very handy.


Rotate By 3D Manipulator

Blender 3D Manipulator Rotate

In the 3D Viewport Header locate the 3D Manipulator widget and left click the Curve icon to rotate selected items.

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Blender 3D Manipulator Closed

If you don’t see the Curve icon, left click the 3D Manipulator icon (red) to fully open the widget.

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Blender Rotate

Like inworld building, you can use the rings of the 3D Manipulator to left click drag your selected object or geometry in rotation on an axis.

Now you can left click and drag the appropriate ring in the 3D Viewport to rotate on the chosen axis.

To rotate on two axis hold shift as you left click drag on the ring you do not want to rotate.


Rotate Using Shortcut Keys

Rotate selected on two global axis:
The R is the rotate shortcut key. Just like the translate and scale shortcuts you’ll soon see the pattern and will be using them without a thought.

Press R and left click and drag to rotate the selected on all three axis. You’ll see a dotted line and arrow to show where to drag:  drag in the rotation direction you want around the selected.

Use the S shortcut key in sequence with the axis key, X, Y, or Z to scale the selected along the chosen global axis:

Rotate selected around the global X axis:  G, X, left click drag black dashed line around global X axis
Rotate selected around the global Y axis:  G, Y, left click drag black dashed line around global Y axis
Rotate selected around the global Z axis:  G, Z, left click drag black dashed line around global Z axis

Rotate selected around the global Y and Z axis:  Shift G, X, left click drag black dashed line around global Y and Z axis
Rotate selected around the global X and Z axis:  Shift G, Y, left click drag black dashed line around global X and Z axis
Rotate selected around the global X and Y axis:  Shift G, Z, left click drag black dashed line around global X and Y axis


Extrude

Play Doh Extruder 500

I like to explain extrusion by reminding people of the playdoh extruder that many of us had as children. It was a plastic device that allowed you to press a lever to push playdoh clay through a hole creating a long rope of clay in the shape of the hole it was pushed through.

That’s how extrusion works in 3D modeling.

Blender Extrude

Select geometry then press E and drag to perform basic extrusion.

I could give you a bunch of gobbledegook about face normals, limits, orientations, ad infinitum but that wouldn’t be very helpful.

Instead I’ll give you the shortcuts and let you play with each of the moves to see how they work. You’ll learn a lot more that way and it will help you build some muscle memory for this essential tool.

Try each with vertices selected, then edges, and then faces to see how each performs on different types of geometry.

Extrude on the global (relative to the grid) axis:

E, X
E, Y
E, Z

E, Shift X (Y and Z, not X)
E, Shift Y (X and Z, not Y)
E, Shift Z (X and Y, not Z)

Extrude on the local (relative to the object) axis:

E, XX
E, YY
E, ZZ

E, Shift XX (Y and Z, not X)
E, Shift YY (X and Y, not Z)
E, Shift ZZ (X and Y, not Z)

Select two or more pieces of geometry and press Alt E instead of E in each of the combinations above. Again, try each one with vertices selected, edges selected, or faces selected.

Extrude is a fast, effective tool for adding geometry to your objects, giving you the ability to quickly create more complex shapes.


Project: Properly Rotating Door

Real doors pivot on one edge of one side.

Blender Pivot Center of Mass

Inworld, when mesh objects are uploaded, the origin points of your mesh objects are reset to the center of the object’s geometry. This is used as the point on which both prim and mesh objects rotate inworld.

1x500

Blender Pivot Side

Inworld, we have tricks we can use to make a prim door rotate on one side basically by slicing off half the prim.

1x500

Blender Pivot Edge

In blender we use a trick that not only gets the door to rotate on one side but, more precisely, on the edge where the hinges should pivot. Your mesh door will look more realistic when it opens and closes.

1x500

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Remona Stormborn

Co-Owner of Gaia Foundation in the Great Canadian Grid. Owner of the Builders Resource Center, Rose City Design, & IDEA! in the Great Canadian Grid & InWorldz.

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