Special Subject Investigation – Blender Tutorials and Methods

Today (01.03.13 – )
I needed to familiarise myself with the program ‘Blender’ as it is the program I intend to use for my SSI project. With the help of a youtube tutorial I have reminded myself of the basics of 3D modeling and now plan to continue (with the use of tutorials) to understand the basics. From there I will come up with my own document that will express; the keys; shortcuts; methods and techniques to 3D modeling. This will not only help me in my search toward the project but will also be an interface that I will be able to use in the future; one that will tell me exactly what I need to do to 3D model if I so chose to do so.

Getting started:
Moving / Manipulating / Selecting is all done by the key arrows at the bottom of the screen. These three options will let you select, change and move a model.

Keys and Shortcuts:

  • TAB – Change from ‘Object Mode’ to ‘Edit Mode’
  • SHIFT – Pressing SHIFT and the middle mouse button will move your view either vertically or horizontally
  • Ctrl + R – Will cut a model (scrolling the mouse will select more than one cut)
  • A – Will ‘deselect’
  • B – Will Select
  • E – To ‘Extrude’ or to extend or pull the selected face inward
  • E + Left Click – Will make a small indentation (instead of extending a face)
  • E + Left Click + E – This is how you create an extrusion that has a ‘lip’ added to in; instead of just a hole in the dimension
  • Right Click + SHIFT – Will select more than one face
  • D – Will ‘duplicate’ a point or face
  • F – Will create a face after a number of points have been selected (The shape of face will depend on how many points are selected)
  • X – Will bring an option to delete
  • S – Will ‘scale’ a selected area
  • Ctrl ‘+’ – This will select an area outside of a selected extrusion. This is to control one or more areas of depth that the extrusion may have bi-passed
  • Ctrl ‘-‘ – Will select an area inside of the selected
  • SHIFT; E; 1 – to remove sub surf (take away smoothness / The larger the number the more subdivision is removed)
  • Hold ‘Y’ – This correct a movement or an extrusion to the axis
  • R – to ‘rotate’

Tips and Controls:

  • B + Vertices mode + Arrow (Select Mode) – To model an area in terms of size and shape
  • Translator, Scale Tool and Select – are all different ways of affecting a model.
  • Translator – Will let you to bend and morph selected areas
  • Scale Tool – Will let move and reshape an object i.e. make an area smaller or bigger (thin / thick)
  • Vertices Mode – Will let you angle off an area. So for instance instead of selecting an entire face to extrude you will now be able to select by point meaning you can shape of an area to make a point or help to make a curve
  • Extruding with mirror mode – This can sometimes create a new face which isn’t wanted because of the accommodating skill of mirror mode. You will need to turn mirror mode off and select and delete the new face so as there is not two faces touching in the middle and instead half a face that the mirror reflects – making a whole
  • Vertices and Scale tool – By selecting the outer points can be a useful way to extrude areas in detail
  • S + Z,Y,X Axis – By selecting ‘S’ for scale then entering one of the axis is a detailed method to reshape an area. S+X+0 is a way of pushing the X axis to zero in scale mode. Also you can direct a shape to turn 90 degrees by entering the S + (Axis) + 90
  • Modeling Separate Pieces – You may have parts in you model that are disconnected (or need to share a similar function) and will need to be separated from your model: After selected the area or faces this is done from ‘Vertices Mode’; ‘Mesh’ (bottom menu) ; ‘Vertices’; ‘Separate’; ‘Selection’. ^ This separation will mean that the area is treated as a separate model and a new title will come up in the top right menu. You can name the new part of the model to save confusion and optionally click the ‘eye symbol’ to best view the model or separated component. Also the new areas may need you to create a face: This is done by selecting in ‘Vertices Mode’; linking the faces or ‘Duplicating’ and pressing ‘F’ for a new face
  • Fixing Broken Vertices – Sometimes when deleting faces you are left with space. To correct this you must select an individual point (in Vertices Mode) and line up in axis: This is done by a pull out menue from the top right corner; it will be labled as ‘Vector’ underneath ‘Transform’: You will now see the option of the three axis and by finding the one nearest to zero and correcting it (to zero) will stretch the vertice – closing the gap


  • Mirror Mode – make sure you select an option to see right through the model so as you select all faces before deleting 
  • Reshaping a Model with ‘Select’ – By the use of ‘point mode’ and selecting outer vertices is a technique to ‘squeeze’ a shape inward or outward in order to reshape a model
  • Making Ridges and Lips – By using E + Left click is a way to create an intent into a face. The next process is to use ‘S’ to scale; this will make a extrusion into the indent in stead of the entire face. The next tip is to left click to finish and select ‘E’ one more to create a new extrusion into the extruded area;- making a ridged effect into the extruded areas
  • Squaring off Extrusions – Select both the inner and outer part of the extrusion (Ctrl & ‘+’); use the scale tool to squeeze in the shape to make it more box like and then on your bottom tool bar select: ‘Mesh’ – ‘Edges’ – “Edge Crease” This will sharpen the edges to make the extrusion seem more square
  • Extruding Multiple Areas – ‘Right Click’ + ‘SHIFT’ + ‘Right Click’ to multiple areas to select the areas you want to work on simultaneously  then select ‘E’ and this will extrude multiple areas
  • Selecting Multiple Areas – ‘B’ to select over and over will select multiples
  • Making a Wing or Flap – ‘E’ + ‘Left Click’; Scale down using the ‘Scale Tool’; ‘E’ to extrude outwards then the ‘Select Tool’ to bend upwards. Extrude a number of more times to create the cut effect (Ctrl + R)
  • “Loop Cut” – use Ctrl + ‘R’ at the base of an extrusion to give it more of a ‘boxed off’ image. Also a lopp cut will give more control over an area; as the effects like extrusions will now not bother the other faces giving you more freedom over a selected area
  • Making Sphere Edges – By selection the vertices in point mode you can make the area seem more spherical. This is done by selecting then; ‘Mesh’ – ‘Transform’ – ‘To Sphere’
  • Controlling Extrusions – You can re-position and re-extend an extrusion by simply using ‘B’ to select and moving with ‘Select’
  • ‘Select’ – using the ‘Select’ control can sometimes be a better way of shaping corners (In point mode)
  • Duplicating Method – A good control to dublicate part of the model to another is by ‘B’ to select; Ctrl & ‘+ +’ (this will finer select the area) ‘D’ to duplicate and use the X, Y or Z axis to bring the duplication into position. Once the part is in place you will need to merge it: This is done by using point select to select the vertices one at a time i.e. top left with top left. Then select ‘Mesh’ – ‘Vertices’ – ‘Merge’ – ‘To Last’: This will join the corners together making the face act in a similar way to an extrusion. WARNING: Make sure you follow the cuts (Ctrl R) as if it’s not symmetrical the joins will not act in the correct way
  • Movement Range to Areas – you can create areas which have movement range. Like joints in the body they will be able to swivel and turn. First make sure the area is separate to your mesh then after modeling the area select the central vertices in ‘Edit Mode’ and go: ‘Mesh’; ‘Snap’; ‘Cursor to Selected’. Now from ‘Object Mode’ select: ‘Object’; ‘Transform’; ‘Origin to 3D Cursor’. Now when selecting the area and using ‘R’ you will find the new part of the mesh will have a movement range and be able to rotate
  • Symmetrical Duplication – By selecting an area and using ‘D’ to duplicate you can position it in a symmetrical fashion by selecting the axis and typing a minus symbol in front on the number. Of course this will position it at an equal distance to the original placement (This effect will not work well unless the model has true symmetry on either side)
  • Inserting Images – Sometimes you may wish to insert an image to trace round; you can achieve this by setting up two windows done by stretching out the window from the top or bottom corner. One done, you may select two different view points for each i.e. ‘Top’ and ‘Left’: This will give you a better view and more control over the modle. To insert a picture click the small ‘plus’ symbol at the top corner; ‘tick’; ‘Background Images’; ‘Insert Image’


  • Subdivision Surfa – Is a way to give a 3D Model texture and more detail. An idea would be to turn ‘Sub Surf’ on and raise the ‘View’ to 3 and the ‘Render’ to 4 to create more detail (Too much enhancement will crash a program). Then in ‘Object Mode’ (TAB) select ‘Smoothing’
  • Fixing Faces – Where you see a cut through your mesh will decide one face from another. In other words you will need to create a separate face on each side of the cut so as the face is not distorted

Problem Solving

  • Smoothing and Fixing – if for some reason you find a part of the model that has had its ‘Subdivision’ switched off you can do this in ‘Object Mode’  by ‘Selecting’ (B) and using “Smooth” on the left side bar. Now the area is smoothed you make experience cracks or holes in the mesh; and you can fix this by selecting ‘Mesh’; ‘Normals’; ‘Recalculate Outside’

I made my own 3D model spaceship by using these tips and methods. I found the experiment rewarding and it was good to have a go. When I came home I began to document these techniques and methods and began to watch my way through other tutorials so that when I attempt to 3D model again it will be fresh in my mind.
So far I have watched on how to model a spaceship and a space station and will watch more videos so that I am giving my self a broader knowledge of using the program Blender. One problem that is in mind is finding tutorials that use the same version of Blender that I will be using. I found myself getting half way through a tutorial and having to pause to find a different method of achieving the same stage of the video.

This entry was posted in SSI. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Special Subject Investigation – Blender Tutorials and Methods

  1. Pingback: 3D & Animation Tutorials – March 5th 2013 « DDMBOSS

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