Introduction to Blender

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Blender's interface is a mix of the good and the bad. The good is that it is very responsive, loads very quickly and that it shares interface elements which are common to most other 3D authoring apps. The bad is that it is very quirky, with its own particular way of doing things.

Blender's Interface

The default Blender layout is composed of a number of clear regions called Editors.

A: The '3D View Editor'. This is the main window in this particular screen layout.

B: The 'Properties Editor'. This is where the values of a thing are located. Select a thing (object, camera, light etc) and its current values will be outlined in its Properties.

C: The 'Outliner Editor'. This is a list of all the things in the scene: cameras, lights, objects etc.

D: The 'Info Editor'. This is where high level stuff is done, e.g. changing layouts, importing / exporting etc.

E: The 'Timeline Editor'. Its a timeline isn't it?

Nuke blender 10.png

Aside from these editors, we will also make light use of the 'Text Editor' (for running import scripts) the 'File Browser' (for importing, exporting, opening and saving), and the 'UV/Image Editor' (for rendering).

At the corner of every Editor is an 'Editor Type Selector'. From this menu, the editor type can be changed.

Nuke blender 11.png


At the bottom or top of every editor is a 'Header'. This contains a menu of options which are specific to that editor.

Nuke blender 13.png


The '3D View' Editor is further divided into three regions. It is likely that you cant see all of them. If so, then try pressing the letters 'L' and 'T' after each other:

A: The 'Toolshelf' Region (hotkey 'T'. This is where tools are stored (move, scale, rotate etc) and also where things can be created (cameras, lights, objects etc).

B: The 3D View Region. This can be changed using the 'View' menu of the '3D View' Editor Header.

C: The 'Properties' Region. Should you edit the object, using the tools from the 'Toolshelf', the values of that edit will be shown here. Some of these values can also be found in the 'Properties' editor.

Nuke blender 12.png


More info on the editors can be found in the Blender manual here.

Navigation in Blender

Navigation in any editing/authoring app is very important. Being able to easily navigate a file can make a substantial difference to how pleasurable the creative experience can be. In a 3D app, navigation is never easy, for the simple reason that you are navigating a 3D volume using a 2D computor screen.

Blender's navigation is very keystroke-based. The keystrokes and navigation conventions that it uses are far from being 'normal'. Here they are:

External links

More info on navigation in Blender in the Blender manual: here.

A quick tutorial on Blender'sinterface].

Getting Started with Blender - Interface and Navigation

The first in a series of intro movies]