View Full Version : Blender Crash Course 1.- The Theory Side.

10 October 2003, 01:05 AM
Time after time people complain about Blender is hard to learn... maybe it is, maybe it isn't. This small series of post is aimed to help Blender newcomers to find their way around Blender ASAP. ;)

First, let's discuss about how blender manages and see the 3D data, I am sure that after you understand this everything else will be a lot easier.

Blender works based on data layers, creating a hierarchy. Let's go from the top to the bottom.

1.- The ".blend" File - Blender's default file format. Everything else is stored here.

Blend files can be used as libraries to link/retrieve specific data from them. For example, you could reuse the animation data of a character you made earlier into a new character you are currently working with.

2.- Scenes - Each .blend file is made of "scenes". You need to have at least one scene and you can have as many scenes as you whish. Scenes are by default independient of each other, but you are given to option to link one scene to the other, so that both share the same sub-data.

By default you are given just one scene.

2b.- Screens - A screen is the arrangement of "windows" into your computer monitor. You can create as many screen layouts as you need. Usually one work with certain layout when modeling, then switch into another layout to animate, etc. etc. etc. Each screen can be infinitely personalized to fit your particular needs.

By default you are given 3 screens. You can switch by pressing Ctrl+Left/Right arrow on your keyboard.

2c.- Windows - Windows are the way to visualize your 3D data. Actually there are 14 types of windows within Blender. Since a "window" is just a visualization of your data, each window can be turned into another type of window with just a mouse click or hotkey. By doing this you are only changing the way that you see the data, you are not changing the data itself.

For example, you are working on a "3D window" (the usual viewports on other programs) and you have a mesh selected. Then you change the 3D window into an "IPO window" and you are now seeing the animation curves/data related to that mesh you previously selected on the 3D Window.

Of course, instead of turning your 3D Window into an Ipo window you could also left your 3D window as it was and create a new IPO window. Both windows are syncronized, so selecting data in one window automatically updates the others windows.

3.- Object - This one is hard to explain:shrug: An object is like an "entity" than can asume many personality traits/qualities.

To put it in simplier words, you (the reader) are an object. As an "object" you have a physical body (a mesh), a skin color (textures), uinque personality traits (scripts). You also have parent/child relationtionships, and you are physically located somewhere in the universe. You (the person) are the sum of all this but you are much more than the sum of those qualities. You have a consciousness/identitly that holds together all the peaces and make you work as a whole person.

Well, that consciousness/identitly is what Blender calls an "Object". An object has his own associated meshes, materials, textures, animation data, scrips, parent and child objects, animation efects, etc. etc. etc.

4.- Data Blocks - If you understud #3, then this one should come easy. A data block is everything that you link to an "Object" in order to provide "him" with the qualities that you desire.

A texture is just one type of Data block, so are the materials, the meshes, Ipo curves, animation particles, RVKS ("morphing Targes" in other apps), armatures, bones, lamps, etc. etc. etc. (Please note that a material and a texture are not the same).

For almost every type of data block there is one type of "Window" or a sub-window within the so called "Butons Window".

Data blocks can be shared by two or more "Objects".

For example, to different characters of a game can share the same body mesh, but still they are both driven by totally different AI sub-systems. Even better, during a game a character could change his body without changing any other of his attributes, and that could be done by changing the mesh currently associated with his "Object"

ULTRA IMPORTANT NOTE: Data blocks that aren't linked to any object are not preserved when the .blend file is saved.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That is all for now. If you consider that this serie of post is a good/bad idea please post your oppinions.

Till Later :wavey:

10 October 2003, 02:24 AM
Nice, Apollux. Thanks.

10 October 2003, 01:50 PM
please keep this thread updated im completly new to blender

10 October 2003, 04:37 AM
Crash Course 2 was just published at

02 February 2005, 12:14 PM

Thanks for the #3, i better understand Blender now.:)

02 February 2005, 11:11 AM
:thumbsup: I'm glad you like it.

The Blender Crash Course is been spiced up and will be re-published (with pictures and expanded text) on BlenderMan.or. Stay tunned.

02 February 2005, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the info. I'm somewhat new to Blender and have been pouring through the manual, reading the online docs, visiting the forums and struggling to grasp those very same concepts. Your explaination makes it a lot easier to understand them. Keep up the good work.

02 February 2005, 07:51 PM
:) The first 2 chapters of the Crash Course has been published on images didn't make it, altought they aren't that necesary for this 2 chapters.

Bjorn on MacOSX
02 February 2005, 08:01 PM
If anybody reading this post has any information on how to install Blender 2.36 on MacOSX 10.3 I'd be very grateful. Feel free to contact in this matter on
I'll be glad to go back and actually understand this thread once I've managed to install the program.
Best Regards
Bjorn Nilsson

02 February 2005, 08:44 PM
how to install Blender 2.36 on MacOSX 10.3
humm... there is the Blender downloads page with a Mac os 10.3 release......
there is an installation guide too...
What's you problem? Anyway ... better to open a new thread.

Hi Apollux, thank you for your work. It is a must read doc. :thumbsup:

02 February 2005, 03:54 AM
Nice document Apollux. :)

CGTalk Moderation
02 February 2006, 04:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.