Recently we have decided to create an absolute beginners tutorial, because so many people hesitate to at least try out blender due to rumours about complex GUI and non intuitive behaviour …
So, here it is… The blender beginners tutorial is published.

intended audience:

  • blender noobs


  • none

related tutorials from other sites:

  • none

We are not showing any fancy techniques, or complicated stuff by any means. It only covers the absolute basics, like how to select vertices, move,scale, border select …
So we encourage you to watch the video, then (hopefully) decide to try out blender.

If you have the feeling, this video is too long, too trivial, or needs other enhancements, or things are missing (definitely there are things missing … 😉 ), please tell me/us…
BTW: if you want to learn more about sculpted prims with blender, you can watch our subsequent videos (see our video tutorials page for the links).


Welcome to the exciting world off blender.

Everybody is talking about blender’s non intuitive user-interface.
We have been curious, and so we spent some time to work with this software.
And in complete contradiction to the expectations we have found,
that this program is an amazing tool with very high potential.

we will now show you some of the very basic features of blender.
At the end of this tutorial,
you will be able to use the object modification tools,
and find your way through the program.
And you might see that blender indeed is designed
for usage in a very intuitive way.

so, after installation, blender runs out of the box, and upon start,
you will see the following window.

This is the modelling view.
it is a bit like the swiss army knife for blender workers.
It provides a 3D-view for your objects,
and it provides an area with a set of buttons,
for context dependent functions, and settings.

There are other views available. At the top of the screen,
you find a pull-down box,
where you can select different views.
You even can customize your own view here.
Lets go to the material view for demonstration purposes.
This view contains 6 windows. When you move the mouse over thescreen,
sometimes the cursor changes to a double headed arrow.

Everytime, when this happens, you are crossing a window border.
you can now click the left mouse button,
and while holding the button down,
drag the window separation line, up, down, left or right .
This behaviour is unique over the whole application.
And this uniqueness is true for almost everything inside blender.
The idea is simple: learn once, and apply everywhere.

But lets get back to the modelling view for now.
by the way, this view contains 3 windows. One window is almost fully
hidden. It contains a whole bunch of system configuration parameters.
You do not need to know the full details at this time.
But it is good to remember that this window is here.

Now, lets do something, before we all fall asleep.
so what is this square, here in the middle of the window?
this is a primitive object.
in fact this is a 3D-cube. We just look at it from the top.
You want to see the other side ?
no problem, click your middle mouse button and drag the mouse.
immediately your view is rotated according to the mouse moves.

This happens until you release the middle mouse button.
You can reposition the mouse, click again and drag again.
Hence you can look at your object from any viewing angle you like.

When You want to go closer, just move your mouse wheel.
or use the plus and minus signs on your number-pad,
to zoom in and out.

Lets remove this object now, and then create a new one.

So, where do we find the object manipulation functions ?
Well, You get the most important functions,
by hitting the space bar, inside the 3D view.

Immediately a pop-up selector box opens,
and gives you all you need to proceed.

ets see, where we can find the delete-function.
ok, it is in the edit-section.
Look at the right side of the pop-up box.

The expressions you see there, are keyboard-shortcuts.
Here you see, that you also can delete the object by pressing: x.
lets do this and confirm,
that we definitely want to delete the object.

ok, you might say, this is not intuitive! Why can’t we simply
use the delete-key on the key-board? Well, you can!
Just press the delete-key. It works too.

Now get back to the function menu, by pressing the space bar again.
enter the add-section,
then jump to the mesh-section,
and there, choose a cube.

This new object is not different from what we had before.
But now, you know how to create new mesh-objects with blender,
And that was worss the effort, wasn’t it ?

Now lets go to edit mode,
and modify the object a bit.
You can select the modification mode from another pull-up box
within the 3d-view.
or just hit the tab-key on your key-board, .

By the way: almost every function in blender,
can be called either from the key-board,
or by selecting from menu options.
Once you get used to it, keyboard shortcuts will make you working much faster.

But the really amazing thing is,
that you can use the keyboard and the mouse in parallel.
And it is even possible, to use the space navigator from 3d connections,
which is a fabulous navigation hardware for 3D en-vironments.

So look at the object a bit closer now.
You see small dots colored in yellow,
straight lines also colored in yellow,
and some surfaces in a dark pink color.

The dots are called: “vertices” ,
the lines are named: “edges” ,
and the surfaces are called: “faces” .

This is the standard notation in 3D-content-creation.
So remember again:
vertices are points in space,
edges are lines in space,
and faces are surfaces in space.

by the way, in blender meshes, we only work with, square faces and triangle faces.
All objects are made out of them.
Square faces also are called: quads.
And triangle faces are named … well, they are just named: triangles.

Remember that our object is displayed, with all edges and vertices colorised in yellow?
This means, at the moment the object is fully selected.
And so, your now proceeding work will be applied to the entire object?

But we only want to select one single point now.
So we first have to de-select all vertices.
let us hit the space bar again ,
then probably we will click on : select

yes, here we find select and de-select all.
Aha, this sounds promising. let us click here.

Now the object is fully de-selected.
So, how can we select only one single ver-tex ?

As always, there are many possible ways to achieve that.

we choose a simple approach: place the cursor near to the vertex
which you want to select, then press the right mouse button.

there you are! you got your vertex selected.
Let us select an additional one.
ok, that works too, but now the first vertex gets deselected.

Let us try it again,
but lets also press the shift-key in parallel ?
yes, that was a correct guess.
Watch also, how the edges get high lighted in yellow,
when two adjacent vertices are selected.
Now select a whole quad

And as soon as all 4 vertices are selected,
the quad turns from gray to dark pink.
so far, this behaviour meets our expectations.
Now an entire side of the cube is selected.

So, how can we shift, scale, and rotate,
the selected vertices relative to the object?
We can look into our function pool again,
and search for suitable tools.
These tools will probably be located under the
transformation tab ?

But there is a much more intuitive way to go.
We can use 3D-manipulators.
Currently the translate manipulator is active.
Just click on one of the arrows,
and move your vertices along the choosen axis.
click again, to stop the translation mode.
You also can click at the white circle
at the center of the manipulator,
and move your vertices within the entire plane.

What about rotation? switch to the rotation manipulator,
and select your rotation axis.
Now the vertices will rotate,
around the weighted vertex center.

Move the mouse away from the object while scaling.
You will then get more fine control on the rotation angle.

Click on the white circle, and the rotation plane will be exactly
the same, as your current viewing-plane.

And scaling ?
Just select the scaling manuipulator and go ahead,
and as i said before: learn once, apply everywhere

that’s nice! but the object runs a bit out of controll now, don’t you think.
So what can we do ?

First, we can go and clean up this mess.
guess what ?
yes, there is an undo-function in our function pool.
But, of course there is also a keyboard-shortcut here.
just use control-z for this.
That is quite familiar, isn’t it ?

ok, so lets hit control-z, until we are back at the original shape.
by the way: of course there is also a redo, which can be accessed with control-y.

A few moments ago, i mentioned, that the transformation tools
can also be found in the function menu ,
and again there are key-board-shortcuts available.

In short, you can select: Grab, which is a synonym for shifting
or moving the vertices, just by pressing “g”, on the key-board.

Then you can scale: In this case, press “s”

And finally you can select: rotate, by pressing, “r”.

You see, that working with the key-board shortcuts,
can speed up your work significantly.

Now, lets go back to the top view,
from where we have seen the object at the beginning of its life.
So open the view menu.
Currently we are in user view mode.
That means: we have selected an arbitrary viewing angle.

You have the choice to switch to top view, front view, or side view.
I select top view.

and then try the transformation tools again.
lets move some vertices.
as an example we will take the lower left edge of the cube.

Just clicking the right mouse key, only selects one single vertex. We already have
seen this before.

well, after changing the viewing angle a bit, we can
select the 2 vertices by holding the shift key,
while clicking the right mouse button again.
But there is a much better option here.
we do have a border select mode, in our function menu.
As soon as you select this tool, you will see a cross hair cursor.
Now move the cross hair to any beginning position,
then click the left mouse button,
and while holding the button down, drag the mouse.

a rubber band opens up and follows your mouse.
As soon as you release the mouse button again,
all vertices inside the rubber band get selected.
Note, that the previously selected vertices do not get de-selected here.

Since, select, de-select, and rubber band select, are so commonly used,
they are associated to very prominent key-board short cuts, .
namely a, and b.

Pressing a, while other vertices are selected,
will de-select everything.

Pressing a, while nothing else is selected,
will select everything.

And finally, pressing b, opens the rubber band tool,
or in the blender notation: the border select tool.

so i go back to top view ,
then i press, “A”, to de-select all vertices.

i press, “B”, then drag the rubber band around the lower left vertices,
and ? indeed! They are selected!

now i want to move the vertices.
again press the space bar,
and search the move function.
remember, we find this tool under: transform, grab.

or, as we got a little experience by now, we directly use the keybord shortcut:g, and go ahead.

or, as we even got more experienced, just use the transform manipulator!

lets create a simple ramp now.
de-select all vertices by pressing: a,
then select the upper-left vertices by pressing: b,
and use the border select tool.
and finally use the transform manipulator, to move the vertices around.

And at the very end, scale up the lower part of the ramp a bit,
by de-selecting all vertices again,
then select the lower-left vertices using the border select tool,
then press: “s”, and scale the ramp

Now it is very important to know,
that all vertex-moves and rotations,
only take place in the current viewing plane.
So, if we look from the top, vertices will be moved in the X-Y, plane.
Look at the bottom-left corner of the 3D view.
There you see exactly, in which plane you are currently operating.

If we look from the front,
we are working in the x-z plane, and finally, when we are
looking from the side, we work in the y-z-plane.
And consequently, when we are looking from an arbitrary view,
the tools work again in exactly the corresponding plane.

Hence it is very important to select the correct viewing plane,
before moving and rotating your vertices.

It often is desirable to watch from an arbitrary viewing angle,
but restrict the position changes to a different plane.
again you simply can use the transform-manipulators in that case,
by first selecting the whole object by pressing: a, and then go ahead.

But you can also speed up your work significantly,
by using key-board-shortcuts and the mouse in parallel.

This can be achieved as follows:
Now you can move the object along the x-axis
by pressing: g, followed by, X.

Or, move the object along the y-axis,
by pressing: g, followed by, y.

And of course the same can be done along the z-axis.

And last but not least, these rules also apply to
rotation and scaling.

You think, that’s enough for now ? let me tell you a last goody, before we quit this tutorial?

try this: click somewhere into the view.
While holding the mouse button, drag the mouse along a straight line.
Then release the mouse button again.

Now the object follows the mouse on the viewing plane.
This is just another way to move the object.
Another left click will stop the transformation.

Now left click, and then move the mouse along a circular path.
then release the mouse button.
Now you are in rotation mode.
And again, the next left click, will stop the transformation.

left click again,
and move the mouse forwards and backwards along a straight line.
Then release the mouse button.
Now you are in scaling mode.
left click to stop the transformation again.

Until here, we have covered the most basic functions of blender.
Of course, there is so much more to say, but i think,
we should take a break now, and maybe watch the tutorial a secnd time,
or simply start doing a lot of practicing in blender.

If you want to know more about the usage of blender, we invite you, to watch our subsequent tutorials.
have a nice day!