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.
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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: