In my previous articles I tried to spark your interest in 3D building software, like Google Sktechup, and 3D modeling software, like Sculptris. If you are ready to dive deeper into the computer generated 3D world, the next step for you is Blender.
Popular applications similar to Blender kind are 3D Studio Max, Maya 3D and Cinema 4D. All of these are expensive programs developed for commercial use. Blender is a free alternative. It has all the features you’d need to create a complete 3D world, static or animated, even movies and games. Of course, the learning curve is not as simple as for Sketchup or Sculptris. Butm Blender is a complete, free suite of solutions for building whatever you want in 3D. A lot of work and patience is required to master this app, though. However there is a lot of support available to guide you.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, so your journey begins here.
Download Blender from here. After you install it and run it for the first time, you’ll see this window. Click on the picture to close the welcome screen.
The interface may look a little intimidating at a first sight. After you get used to it, you will find it very well-organized with one goal in mind: productivity. Let’s have a look.
This is the place where all the action happens. Here you will build, sculpt, paint, rotate, move, scale and render your models.
Every time you start a new project, a default cube is added to your workspace. You may work starting from it or delete it and add whatever 2D or 3D shape that suits your needs. Just hit DEL and confirm by pressing Enter. A camera and a light are also there.
Don’t delete it yet, keep it for later, when you’ll learn how to add and modify materials and how to do a simple render.
The navigation is pretty much the same as for Sketchup. The mouse wheel allows you to ORBIT around your scene. Holding SHIFT while using the mouse wheel lets you PAN the view in every horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction. Clicking an object with the right mouse button will SELECT it.
In the upper-left corner you have the menu.
Here you may create a new scene, open an existing one, set the preferences, import and/or export 3D models and more. The most used menu button will be the “Add” button.
Using this menu you will be able to add all kind of objects including surfaces, text, cameras, lights and many other useful things to your current scene. Ready to start creating? We’ll start a simple project in part 2 of this tutorial.