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.
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.
This panel will help us to work with the Active object transforms(1) and with the Active Tool(2) and General View settings(3).
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.
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
ALT + MC
CTRL + MC Up/Down
Zoom In, out
SHIFT + MC
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:
Geometry Node Editor
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.
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
While dragging, snap to discrete steps
Gives precision control over the value
Shift + Ctrl
Precise snap will move the object with high precision along with the snapping constraint
1, 2, 3
Change between Vertex, Edge or Face edition
Grab and move
Join vertices with edges
UV Mapping Panel
Alt + LC
Select edge loop
Shift + A
Snap vertex, edges or faces along the mesh
Ctrl + R
Cut and create an edge loop
Ctrl + B
Ctrl + Shift + B
Ctrl y RC
Selection of several vertex, edges, or faces
Supr or . (Numpad)
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 Content Settings.
Grab and move.
Ctrl + A
Apply Transforms Menu.
Shift + A
Supr or . (Numpad)
Shift + S
Shift + C
Set origin in center.
Ctrl + L
Select connected Data.
Orthographic view (front, lateral, top) Nº 0 → Enter main camera
Shift + C
Clear 3D Cursor transforms
Adjust last operation
Show Render window
Render the current frame
Quick access (favorites)
We can swap between Object Mode and Edit Mode
Ctrl + Tab
Change the Interaction mode
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
Ctrl + P
Alt + P
Ctrl + J
Join selected objects in one
Shift/Alt + D
Create a copy/creeate an instantiate of selected
Ctrl + S
Toggle Properties Tab
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
Add a Keying Set
Alt + K
Clear the Keying Set
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
Node: Node Wrangler
Object: Texel Density Checker
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.
# 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
for s in bpy.context.object.material_slots:
# 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)
# 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
# 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)
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
Enthusiastic about videogames, 3D impression and photography