Blender 3D 2.8 fundamentals - Interface and windows
This is my first tutorial about Blender 3D 2.8, but I'm not writing "lesson 0" or "first episode", as I'm not using a summary, indeed; I plan to create additional tutorials, which in some cases may be preliminary to previously published tutorials.
Ok, let's start!
- THIS TUTORIAL
- SPLASHSCREEN AND INTERFACE AT START-UP
- HOW TO RESIZE, SPLIT AND JOIN THE EDITORS
- HOW TO SAVE A LAYOUT FOR NEXT SESSIONS
- THE WORKSPACES
- TRANSFORM AND PROPERTIES PANELS
- PREFERENCES (USER PREFERENCES)
Voice: ITA - Subs: ENG In the video embedded below there are (my) Italian voice and English subs; be sure to turn on the CC and set the subs (font, opacity, etc.) as you like.
Voice: ITA - Subs: ENG
In the video embedded below there are (my) Italian voice and English subs; be sure to turn on the CC and set the subs (font, opacity, etc.) as you like.
This tutorial is aimed at absolute beginners of Blender 3D 2.8 or who already knew this program but, like myself, has suffered a little trauma with the transition to the new interface!
If you are here, you already know that Blender is a free and open source software that allows you to create 3D models and renderings (i.e. images or animations, created by appropriately combining geometries, materials, textures, light sources and post-production effects). Both the three-dimensional models and the images or animations can be made with different styles (from stylized / cartoon to photorealistic) and for various purposes (from the creation of video games to the visualization of architectural projects)... but before reaching the result - and, indeed, before inserting or moving our first object into the virtual scene - we need to understand how it is structured and how the interface can be modified: so here is what we will talk about in this tutorial!
At startup, immediately after installation, Blender 3D 2.8 comes with a splashscreen (a welcome screen) containing some interface customization options; for example, it will be possible to quickly set the shortcuts to use the native ones of Blender 2.8 or to go back to those of the 2.7x versions, or set the mouse button to be used for the selection and which function to call with the space bar. I advise you to leave the settings as default; however, we will see how to access these same parameters in the Preferences window, later in this tutorial.
As we can see right away, the Blender interface is populated by what we see as two distinct menus (the basic menu and the list of some interface configurations, called "Workspaces"), after which we have four different panels, called "Editors": the large "3D Viewport" (our "window" on the 3D virtual scene) positioned above the "Timeline" (useful for animations), then at the top right we have the "Outliner" Editor (containing a list of objects present in the scene) and, below, we have the "Properties" Editor, in which we can identify different "tabs" related to various properties and settings of the scene, rendering and objects.
At the bottom of the window, then, we find some suggestions on keys and functions (such as the indications on the keys to press to make selections or modify the point of view) and some information on the current scene, such as the program version (2.80.75, in my case), the selected object (more precisely: the Active one, which is the last of the selected objects, in the case of a multiple selection), the number of objects present in the scene and the number of vertices, faces and triangles in the scene.
It is possible to change the type of Editor by clicking on its selector, typically located at the top left of each panel; for example, we can change the "3D Viewport" in a "Text" Editor, listed in the "Scripting" column of the "Editor Type" window, or in a "Shader" Editor, etc.
You can resize the Editors by left clicking on their edges (both vertical and horizontal) and dragging; by clicking on the corners and dragging, it will be possible to subdivide an Editor into two (Splitting, clicking on a corner of an Editor and dragging towards the inside of the Editor) or, on the contrary, it is possible to join two Editors together (by clicking on a corner of an Editor which borders another and dragging towards the other Editor); in this way, you can configure the layout as you prefer, depending on your needs.
By left clicking on a corner of an Editor while holding down the SHIFT key, you can then create a new unhooked ("floating") Blender window, very useful for example if you work with two or more monitors, because in that case you can keep two separate layouts at the same time.
Once you have defined your preferred layout, you can save it so that you can find it again at the next sessions; to do this, open the File menu and, in the Defaults section, click on "Save Startup File". Attention, however: "Save Startup File" saves not only the Layout, but also any objects or other parameters set in the current scene!
As an example of custom layout, I tell you how I set mine.
I use Blender with two monitors, mainly for modeling and texturing; plus, I always use the same image as background for the virtual universe when I do rendering previews; for these reasons, I set my Startup Layout like this: in a display I have the main window of the program, as it is found at the start of a new installation of Blender, but in the second monitor I put a second window, created with SHIFT and left-click on the corner of an Editor, changed to an "UV" Editor; regarding the background image, I loaded and set it in the World - Surface panel of the "Properties" Editor, then I saved this Layout with File - Defaults - Save Startup File. Even if it is still early to talk about illuminating images and other settings of the virtual universe, you can get an idea of the settings that you can ... set, in fact, as default.
Anyway, you can easily re-set the original Blender layout by clicking on "Load Factory Settings" in the same menu.
Blender allows you to make different types of products and operations; for example, it can be used to create 3D models for export to game engines or for 3D printing, or to apply textures to geometries, or to create animations, etc .; however, depending on the use you want to make of it, some editors will come back to you more useful than others.
By now you know how to change, split and join the Editors to customize the interface, but Blender also provides you with some Layouts, called Workspaces, suitable for the main needs, listed at the top of the main program window.
These Workspaces list some Editors and, for each Editor, special settings; for example, in the "Layout" Workspace we have the objects shown in their entirety ("Object" mode, as we can verify by having a look at the "Object interaction mode" drop-down menu, top left in the Editor).
Switching to the "UV Editing" Workspace, instead, we will find the "3D Viewport" in "Edit Mode", i.e. modification mode, because in the UV Editing phase the objects are shown in structure ("Wireframe") mode, so Blender makes us find the work table ready for that purpose. This is an introductory tutorial that presents an overview of the interface, so - for the moment - this is what we need to know about Workspaces.
Some Editors also provide additional panels, hidden by default: you can identify them, if provided by the Editor, using the small arrows at the top left or right in the Editor; for example, let's switch to the "Shading" Workspace, where we find these arrows in the "3D Viewport", in the "Shader Editor", in the "Image" editor and even in the "File Browser", so we can click and drag to open or resize these panels.
The panel on the left is generally called "Tool Shelf" and its shortcut is the T key, while the panel on the right is called "Properties" and its shortcut is the N key; depending on the Editor where the mouse cursor is located, Blender will open the related panels (if provided for that Editor) by pressing the T and N keys.
The tools will change, even within the same Editor, based on the tools or modes selected, but I will talk about this in the other tutorials, depending on the topic.
The main menu of the program provides some typical tools of a software, so for example in File we will find the items to save or open projects (Blend files) or to insert objects in the current project (with the Import, Append and Link items, which I will describe in other tutorials); among the entries we have, in the "Edit" menu, the "Preferences" item, which will open a new program window.
In this window we can set, by accessing the various tabs listed on the left, some interface elements; I will not list them all (there are so many and a list made now would not be useful), but I will show some and I will tell you, in general, where to find some global tools and settings.
In the Interface tab, for example, by varying the value of the "Resolution Scale" parameter you can set the size of the texts and buttons of the program interface; you can also decide whether to enable suggestions for Python commands when you hover over an interface element (useful if you want to program scripts and Add-Ons for Blender).
The Add-Ons section presents, in fact, a list of scripts and plug-ins that can be activated in Blender; it is here that you will have to come, for example, to install an Add-On, by clicking on Install and activating it, then, by selecting the relative checkbox.
In the Themes tab you will have access to virtually all the colors of the program's interface elements, to customize them as you prefer.
Particularly important are the options of the Input, Navigation and Keymap tabs, which I invite you to examine in detail, because they contain some settings related to the hotkeys / shortcuts (customizable in Keymap) or, in Input, to emulate the numeric keypad with "Emulate Numpad", or the three-button mouse (with "Emulate 3 Button Mouse", in fact).
In Blender 2.8, by default the selection is made with a click of the left mouse button on an object; to new users this will say nothing, since this is what happens in almost all existing software, but for those like me who come from previous versions this is a real novelty... however, you can choose which mouse button to use for the selection in Keymap - Preferences - Select with.
In this same section you can also set the action to be performed when pressing the space bar; the default entry is Play, which starts the animation preview in 3D Viewports, but for example I changed this setting to Tools, since I don't make animations and, for me, quick access to the "toolbox" is much more important.
By default, the changes made in this window will be valid only for the current session; to find them also at the next Blender starts, click on "Save Preferences" at the bottom left of the window.
Well, for this general, introductory overview of the Blender 2.8 interface, that's all; as you may have noticed, I didn't even show how to move in the virtual universe, nor did I examine in detail all the menu items or preferences, but I think I gave you enough information to get familiar with the interface, its windows, its Workspaces, etc.. See you soon!