In this introductory tutorial on Blender 3D 2.8, aimed at absolute beginners, we will take a look at the main tools for selecting, moving, rotating and resizing (in short: the basic transformations) the objects; obviously we will not consider ALL the selection and transformation functions, because they are so many, but we will see the main ones..
In this tutorial we will see, in particular, the basic selection tools and the "first part" of the operations of moving, rotating and resizing the objects, in particular in "free" mode and following the axes of the global reference system of the scene; in the next tutorial we will see how to perform the same transformations by specifying numerical values, then we will talk about the pivot point of transformations and the difference between global and local reference system, when these operations are performed.
A final premise, before starting: in this tutorial we will examine the operations of selection and transformation that concern objects in their entirety, or in "Object Mode"; these operations are common to all objects in the 3D scene, so the things said here will be valid for selecting and transforming geometries, curves, surfaces, light sources, Text or Lattice objects, virtual cameras, and so on.
Well, let's get started!
In Blender 3D 2.8, by default the selection is done by clicking the left mouse button on the element that interests us, in the 3D Viewport, or by choosing it (if it is a scene object, as in our case) from the list in the Outliner editor.
To deselect an object, simply click with the left mouse button at an empty point in the virtual universe.
It is possible to set, as a selection key, the right mouse button, as was done in previous versions of Blender, choosing the "Right" option in Edit - Preferences - Keymap - SELECT WITH.
Since we are in the Blender Preferences window - and, in particular, in the Keymap tab - I give you a little advice: at least until you have memorized, with practice, the position of some tools or their shortcut keys (shortcut) , set "Search" (ie "Search") as an action to be performed when the space bar is pressed; in this way, when this key is pressed, a search box will open in which you can start typing the name of the instrument you are interested in and, when the suggestion appears, press Enter to execute it.
Remember to save the Preferences, if Auto Save Preferences is not active, by clicking on "Save Preferences" at the bottom left of the window, in order to find the settings just set also for the next Blender starts.
MULTIPLE SELECTION: A, B, C, INVERSE
In Blender it is possible to select several objects at the same time, by multiple selection, and indeed this operation will be fundamental to move the objects to groups or to relate them to each other; multiple selections can be made with various criteria, listed in the Select menu of the 3D Viewport: as you can guess by opening this menu, the modes are several, so here I will list only the basic, fundamental ones:
- to select all the objects in the virtual scene, press A (All, all);
- to deselect everything you can press the combination ALT A or click on an empty point in the scene;
- left click and drag (shortcut B, which stands for Box Select) to define a rectangular selection area;
- C (which stands for Circle Select, circular selection), then click and drag, until confirming the selection with Enter; you can also zoom in or out on the circular selection area with the mouse wheel;
- invert the current selection (then selecting all the objects and deselecting those currently selected) with the key combination CTRL I.
I will talk about other modalities in other tutorials, perhaps using them in practical examples, to show real uses.
You can add an object to a selection (either single or multiple) by using the SHIFT + click of the selection button (left, in my case); on the contrary, you can remove an object from the multiple selection to which it belongs by SHIFT and one or two clicks of the selection key on the object (in another tutorial we will see why it is sometimes necessary to make two clicks, in this mode). There are also other ways to perform these operations (for example, to remove an object from a multiple selection you can select it with a rectangular selection while holding down the CTRL key); however, to avoid putting too much on the flesh it is enough to know the two clicks on the object, for now.
Ok, we've seen a couple of tools that allow us to select one or more objects; the time has come to transform these objects into the virtual scene, with the three basic operations: moving, rotating and resizing (or "scaling")!
First, if it is not already open, open the Tool View panel of the 3D Viewport, on the left; we can open it by dragging the arrow that appears on the top left of the 3D Viewport or by pressing the shortcut T (Tools, tools). Note that this panel can be shown in compact mode or, by dragging the edge, in extended mode, in which we will also see the names of the instruments; to practice you can keep the panel in extended mode, then gradually reduce it to hide it because, for the basic operations, you will go directly to the key combinations, which I will certainly name in my tutorials with practical examples.
The first panel icon is Select Box and it's the one we've used so far: it allows you to define, by clicking and dragging, the rectangular selection area in the 3D Viewport.
We ignore, in this tutorial, the second icon, Cursor, focusing instead on Move, Rotate, Scale and Transform.
We select an object of the scene, for example the cube, then we click on the item Move in the Tool Shelf.
On the cube three colored arrows will now appear, which recall in colors and orientation those of the global reference system of the scene, visible in the upper right corner of the 3D Viewport ... and, in fact, refer to those axes, but in this case, by left-clicking on one of the arrows and moving the mouse, we will be able to drag the object along the relative axis!
Here is what happened: to move the selected object we entered Move mode, in the Tool Shelf; in this mode, the click of the left button with mouse drag no longer defines a rectangular selection area but, as shown in the suggestion at the bottom of the Blender window, allows us to move the object in the scene. To move the object in a constrained manner, along one of the global directions (XYZ, positive and negative, of the scene), click on the relative arrows and drag.
The shortcut to make a translation or displacement of the current selection is the G key, abbreviation of Grab ("drag") and is one of the keys that I strongly suggest you to memorize.
Begin to practice putting together what you have seen in this and other tutorials published on my website up to this point: change the point of view in the scene, change the representation mode (between Perspective and Ortographic), select one or more objects and move them freely with G; for example, try placing the light source icon (Light object) above the cube. Small suggestion: to carry out this operation quickly, I suggest you use the views in Orthographic mode.
The second fundamental transformation we can do is the rotation of the object or selection. Click on the Rotate icon, in the Tool Shelf: instead of the arrows we will now find a new interface element (or "transformation manipulator") composed of three semicircles that we note are colored according to the axes scheme of the global reference system of the scene, in particular identifying circles perpendicular to the axes ...
… that is: the global Z axis, the vertical one of the scene, is the blue one, so the horizontal circle, which allows us to rotate around the vertical axis, is also blue.
In short, for all the axes: depending on the color of the circle on which you click to rotate, this will happen AROUND the corresponding color axis (red for X, green for Y, blue for Z).
The shortcut for free rotation is the R key (Rotate, of course).
When making a rotation (both in free mode and using the translation manipulator), take a look at the value in the upper left corner of the 3D Viewport, which shows you the value of the rotation in degrees; this indication is also present for translation and scaling, where in the first case it will identify a distance, while in the second a scale factor ...
… and, indeed, I take advantage of it for a small parenthesis concerning the units of measurement of the scene: these must be set in the Scene tab ("Scene") of the Properties editor, section "Units"; here, through the various drop-down menus, we can specify the system to be used for the various measures, for example Metric with Rotation in degrees, lengths in meters, mass in kg and time in seconds.
Also in this case, practice with the elements seen so far, for example by moving and rotating the Camera object (the virtual camera) so as to make them frame a face of the cube; in this case, I advise you to make extensive use of the rotation manipulator (to be activated with Rotate), rather than free rotation with R.
The third fundamental transformation to master is the scaling of objects, which we can do by clicking on the Scale icon in the Tool Shelf or by pressing the S key (Scale, in fact).
In particular, the transformation manipulator for scaling has three colored and oriented squares like the axes of the translation manipulator, plus a gray circle; intuitively, clicking and dragging one of the squares we will resize the object along a single axis, in a non-uniform way, while clicking in another point of the 3D Viewport and dragging will result in a uniform resizing on all dimensions.
In the Tool Shelf we also find the icon of a manipulator called Transform which, as we can see after selecting it, is a "total" manipulator, in the sense that it shows the axes for translation, the circles for rotation and the squares for scaling, at the same time, for the selected object or objects; personally I DO NOT use it, because I find it confusing (as you often risk clicking on a tool other than the one you want) and because I use mostly shortcuts, especially in combination with axis letters and numeric values ... but we'll talk about this again!
As anticipated at the beginning, in fact, in the next tutorial we will see how to perform the GRS transformations (Grab, Rotate and Scale) specifying numerical values, so we will talk about the pivot point of the transformations and the difference between global and local reference system when they are carried out such operations; for this tutorial, instead, it's all!
See you soon!