Blender use for beginners

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May 27, 2021

Learn how the powerful software Blender works


We all know that Blender is a world apart, full of keyboard shortcuts and famous for swimming against the current, especially if we come from any other modeling software.

But aside from this, it is a very powerful software in which we can do millions of things.

The Mission

In this guide, we will focus on how blender works, how to use it, keyboard shortcuts and the general layout of this program.


#1 User interface


Workspaces are essentially predefined window layouts. It is often useful to quickly switch between different workspaces within the same file.

Blender's default startup shows the "Layout" workspace in the main area.

It also has several other workspaces added by default:

  • Modeling → Modification of geometry by modeling tools.

  • Sculpting → Modification of meshes by sculpting tools.

  • UV Editing → Mapping of image texture coordinates to 3D surfaces.

  • Texture Paint → Tools for coloring image textures in the 3D Viewport.

  • Shading → Tools for specifying material properties for rendering.

  • Animation → Tools for making properties of objects dependent on time.

  • Rendering → Viewing and analyzing rendering results.

  • Compositing → Combining and post-processing of images and rendering information.

  • Geometry Nodes → Modify geometry by Geometry Nodes.

  • Scripting → Programming workspace for writing scripts.

In "Layout" workspace we can see diferent Editors:

Yellow → 3D Viewport

Green → Outliner

Blue → Properties

Red → Timeline

This Editors are distributed in Areas, this zones can be Resized, Splitted and Joinned.



  • By default, Blender don’t show the Gizmo, but we can locate it at the Top-Left of the screen, on the Toolbar system.
  • The Annotation Tool is available in multiple editors. It can be used to add notes.

Properties Tab

This panel will help us to work with the Active object transforms(1) and with the Active Tool(2) and General View settings(3).

Transforms Settings

On the upper part of the screen, we will see several toggles that shows different settings:

  • Transformation Orientation. Align the transformation axes to world space.

  • Transformation Pivot Point. Pivot center for rotation/scaling.

  • Snap. Snap during transform.

  • Proportional Editing Objects. Fallof type for proportional editing mode.

Viewport Settings

The viewport settings will help us to manage how the model and environment look like, as well as handle the different shadings.

  • Object Types Visibility. Change the display of object types in the scene.

  • Viewport Gizmos. Show gizmos of all types.

  • Viewport Overlays. Display Overlays like gizmos and outlines.

  • Transparent Scene Display. Allow selecting through items.

  • Viewport Shading. Method to display/shade objects in the 3D View.

There is four types of Shading:

  • Wireframe. Display the object as wire edges.

  • Solid. Display in solid mode.

  • Material Preview. Display Materials Preview mode.

  • Rendered. Display the render preview with our selected render engine.

#2 Basic movement controllers

However since Blender is very hotkey based. So in case you want to learn the default settings, we're going to post small guide of the basic movement controllers:

ALT + MCRC = Right Click
LC = Left Click
MC = Middle Click
MC Rotate Camera
ALT + MC Rotate Camera
CTRL + MC Up/Down Zoom In, out
SHIFT + MC Pan camera

#3 Editors

The editors are so usefull, they are divided by tags (General, Animation, Scripting and Data) the most important editors that we could use frecuently are:

  • Image Editor
  • UV Editor
  • Compositor
  • Geometry Node Editor
  • Shader Editor
  • Dope Sheet
  • Timeline
  • Graph Editor
  • NonLinear Animation
  • Outliner
  • Properties
  • 3D Viewport

#4 Properties

We have the Properties Editor, this will help us in so many cases.

Here we can modify most of all the properties from our scene, word, object, etc.

  • Active tool → Workspace and current tool Settings.

  • Render → Modify Render settings from the current Scene (we can choose between two Render Engines, Eevee or Cycles).

  • Output → Before export a render, we can modify the output settings like the range of the image, aspect, resolution, compression, color depth,...

  • View Layer → Here we can check the passes from the render to modify them in the Compositor Editor.

  • Scene → We can change the Units of Scale, Rotation, Lenght and the main camer (used for render).

  • World → Change the parameters of our word.

  • Collection → Change the parameters of our word.

  • Object  → All the properties of the selected object.

  • Modifier → This could be the most important tool, there you have modifiers to apply for the objects you have selected. Ex. Mirror, Array, Remesh, Subdivision, Solidify, Decimate, Smooth and more interesting tools.

  • Particles → Settings of particles and hair.

  • Physics → Here we can add physics to the object selected like Soft bodies, Rigid bodies, fluid, cloth, force fields (wind, heat, vortex,...).

  • Object Constraints → We can add constraints to our object like Copy Transforms, Copy Location, Solvers, Tracking,...

  • Object Data → We can create groups of vertex from an object, this gives more facilities to modify the mesh or do Shape Keys.

  • Material → We can add as materials to an object as we want, choosing the mesh or masks to change the material.

  • Texture → Usually used to create textures for example, bumps, clouds, noise, etc.

#5 Modifiers


These are tools similar to the Deform ones, however, they usually do not directly affect the geometry of the object, but some other data, such as vertex groups.


These are constructive/destructive tools that will affect the whole Topology of the mesh. They can change the general appearance of the object, or add new geometry to it…


Unlike Generated ones, these only change the shape of an object, without altering the topology.


Those represent physics simulations. They are automatically added to the modifiers stack whenever a Particle System or Physics simulation is enabled. Their only role is to define the position in the modifier stack from which is taken the base data for the simulation they represent. As such, they typically have no attributes, and are controlled by settings exposed in separate sections of the Properties.

#6 Keyboard Shortcuts

Dragging Shortcuts
 Ctrl  While dragging, snap to discrete steps
 Shift   Gives precision control over the value
 Shift + Ctrl  Precise snap will move the object with high precision along with the snapping constraint

Modeling Shortcuts
 1, 2, 3  Change between Vertex, Edge or Face edition
 S   Scale
 R   Rotate
 E  Extrude
 G  Grab and move
 K  Cut
 J  Join vertices with edges
 F  Fill (Vertices/Edges/Faces)
 P  Separate
 A   Select All
 U  UV Mapping Panel
 Alt + LC  Select edge loop
 Shift + A   Menu add
 Double G  Snap vertex, edges or faces along the mesh
 Ctrl + R   Cut and create an edge loop
 Ctrl + B  Bevel
 Ctrl + Shift + B  Bevel Vertices
 Ctrl y RC  Selection of several vertex, edges, or faces
 Supr or . (Numpad)  Focus selected
 Ctrl + Alt + Q  Change of view and perspective
 Ctrl + V, E o F  Displays the menu of Vertices (V), Edges (E) or Faces (F)
 Shift + RC  Selection between the active vertex, edge or face, to last choose
 Ctrl + X  Disolve vertex, edges or faces
 Ctrl + +  Selection of next polygons surface that have contact with selected
 Ctrl + -  Deselection of next polygons surface that have contact with selected
 S + Z + 0 Set all vertices selected in the same position, we can change Z for X or Y

Object Shortcuts
 RC  Object Content Settings.
 S  Scale.
 R  Rotate.
 G  Grab and move.
 Ctrl + A  Apply Transforms Menu.
 Shift + A  Menu add.
 Supr or . (Numpad)  Focus selected.
 Shift + S  Origin settings
 Shift + C  Set origin in center.
Ctrl + L  Select connected Data.

Viewport Shortcuts
 Numpad  Orthographic view (front, lateral, top) Nº 0 → Enter main camera
 Shift + C  Clear 3D Cursor transforms
 F3  Menu Search
 F2  Rename Object
 F9  Adjust last operation
 F11  Show Render window
 F12  Render the current frame
 Q  Quick access (favorites)
 Tab  We can swap between Object Mode and Edit Mode
 Ctrl + Tab  Change the Interaction mode
 Shift   Manual selection of several objects
 Shift + F  Enter camera mode
 Shift + H  Hide everything except the object we selected, H → hide just the selected
 Alt + H  Show every element hidden previously
 Ctrl + I  Invert selection
 Ctrl + P  Set parent
 Alt + P   Clear Parent
 Ctrl + J  Join selected objects in one
 Shift/Alt + D  Create a copy/creeate an instantiate of selected
 Ctrl + S  Save project
 Z   Shading Menu
 N  Toggle Properties Tab
 T  Toggle Toolbar

Animation Shortcuts
 I  Insert a keyframe
 Alt + I  Clear the keyframe
 Shift + Alt  Clear all keyframes (removing all F-Curves)
 Ctrl + D  Assign a driver
 Ctrl + Alt + D  Clear the driver
 K  Add a Keying Set
 Alt + K  Clear the Keying Set

#7 Add-ons

There is several add-ons that you can activate in Edit → Preferences → Add-ons, they could make you happy.

Try to get the following addons:

  • Import-Export glTF 2.0 Format
  • Mesh: LoopTools
  • Node: Node Wrangler
  • Object: Texel Density Checker
  • Rigging: Rigify
  • UV: UV Toolkit
  • Add Curve: Curve Tools
  • Add Curve: Simplify Curves+
  • Add Curve: Extra Objects

#How to Render

There is more documentation that can help you with Render settings and technical issues.

#Export for Maya (freeze transforms)

If we are working with blender and our partner is working with Maya, we have to touch a couple of settings so that when we export it in Blender and import it in Maya the transformations are freeze and the scale to 1.

We only have to set the Unit Scale to 0.01 and in the “Export Window” change the scale to 100.

#Export FBX to GLB

Select all objects to export and go to file, export, export to glb. Before exporting, activate limit to: selected objects on the right side.

‼ If you have any problems with the textures, select the shading icon at the top of the screen. Go to file, external data and find missing files. By this way, you can manually search for the path file.‼

Remember, if you work at different brunches, make sure you're at the right one.

If you still don't see the texture, select the model and enter the material properties on the right side.

To the left of the base color select the icon and expand it, select the file icon. By this way select manually images too.

If the alphas don't work, go to the “Shader Editor” at the top and join the alpha nodes if needed. Make sure in settings on the material properties, Blend mode is correct.

#Delete duplicated materials

When you import an fbx with the same materials that you already have in the blender scene, they are imported as duplicate materials (e.g. Material, Material.001, Material.002, etc).

To avoid this, we will open a new Tab with the “Text Editor”.

Click on “+ New“ Text Editor and paste the following code into the New data block.

import bpy # only search on own object materials mat_list = [x.material.name for x in bpy.context.object.material_slots] remove_slots = [] # the following only works in object mode bpy.ops.object.mode_set(mode='OBJECT') for s in bpy.context.object.material_slots: if s.material.name[-3:].isnumeric(): # the last 3 characters are numbers # that indicates it might be a duplicate of another material # but this is pure guesswork, so expect errors to happen! if s.material.name[:-4] in mat_list: # there is a material without the numeric extension so use it # this again is just guessing that we're having identical node trees here # get the material index of the 'clean' material index_clean = mat_list.index(s.material.name[:-4]) index_wrong = mat_list.index(s.material.name) print(index_wrong, index_clean) # get the faces which are assigned to the 'wrong' material faces = [x for x in bpy.context.object.data.polygons if x.material_index == index_wrong] for f in faces: f.material_index = index_clean remove_slots.append(s.name) # now remove all empty material slots: for s in remove_slots: if s in [x.name for x in bpy.context.object.material_slots]: print('removing slot %s' % s) bpy.context.object.active_material_index = [x.material.name for x in bpy.context.object.material_slots].index(s) bpy.ops.object.material_slot_remove()

Click on the Play button to run the script.

This script merge all materials that are EXACTLY the same.


As we have seen, blender is a fantastic program in which we can have a linear workflow from 3d sketch through blockout, modeling and texturing, to animation and rendering without having to leave the program.

The only requirement is to have 6 fingers on each hand, just to have more fluidity with the keyboard shortcuts.

Javier Vicén Lucia
3D Artist

Enthusiastic about videogames, 3D impression and photography

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