View Full Version : Blender Crash Course 2.- Your Modus Operandi

10 October 2003, 04:14 AM
Let's talk about the many "modes" you can use when working with blender. There are two types of modes that you should be aware of... the "object" mode you are in, and the "visualization/drawing mode" you are in.

Object Modes

At any given time, an object is in one of this two modes, "Object" Mode or "Sub-Object" Mode.. there are only 2 choices and you are always in one of them.

Object Mode: When an Object (remember what an Object is from Crash Course 1, don't you?) is on the so called "Object Mode" all transformation you do to it take place on the object itself.

Let's say you have a nice plane and you are working in "Object Mode".. now you decide to rotate it 90 degrees. When you apply the rotate command, the roration is recorded on the object. To better see what I'm talking about do this little exercise:

On the default scene (that only has a plane and a camera) make sure that the plane is selected -it is draw in pink lines) and press N on your keyboard.. you are seeing the transformation information regarding the selected object. Notice that all the rorations are in zero. Move the cursor away from the window that poped up to close it.

Now press R on your keyboard and move your mouse around, you'll see the plane rotating. Click with the left button on your mouse the stop the rotation.

If you press N again you will see that the rotation has been recorded on the object.

Sub-Object Mode: When you are working on the sub-object mode (that is often called "Edit Mode") every transformation or change that you do are stored on the Data Block (remember Crash Course 1?) but the Object itself is left untouched.

To understand this let's do a variation of the previous exercise... before we start press Ctrl+X and Enter to reset the scene.

Now, with the plane selected (draw in pink lines) press Tab on your keyboard... you just entered in the "Edit Mode".

You can see that now, instead of seeing the plane as a whole you are seeing each vertex that makes up the plane and the edges formed by those vertex.

Right now none of the vertext is selected, so press A to select them all (they turn into yellow). OK, now press R and rotate them as before. (You need to left-click to end the rotation).

Now exit the Sub-Object mode by pressing Tab again. So far the plane looks like in the previous exercise... but wait a moment!!!!

Press N to see what transformation the object has applied... what? there is no rotation recorded? :shrug: That is right!!!! Because the object wasn't changed, it remained the same it was before we entered into Edit-Mode. We did change the mesh associated with object, but not the object.

Visualization Modes

This is about how your stuff is presented on the screen.

Wireframe Mode: Perhaps the more common of all the visualization modes.. every mesh/NURBS/Curve/etc. etc. is drow as control points and it's conections.

If you check on your "Edit Buttons" (invoke by pressing F9) the rightmost colum of buttons is all about how the Wireframes are presented. The names of the buttons are quite descriptive, so I won't go into details.

There isn't a special kotkey to enter wireframe mode because the hotkeys for "solid" and "shaded" modes swicht back and forth from Wireframe to the desired mode.

Solid Mode: Everthing is shaded based on the Z-Buffer... no textures are present but basic material colors are. The standar OpenGL lighting is used unless you define your own lighting.

This is a good mode to inspect the surface of your mode and also to work with sub-division surfaces.

Hotkey: Z

Shaded Mode: Now everything is presented Gouraud shaded. You need to define your lightihing, otherwise all you see is black.

Hotkey: Shift-Z, and Ctrl-Z to force a recalculation of the view.

Textured Mode: Take the shaded mode and add a preview of your textures.

With projection mapped textures, you see an aproximation of your textures. The more dense/sub-divided is your mesh the better is the approximation. UV-Mapped textures are presented as they are, without any aproximation needed.

Hotkey: Alt-Z

BoundBox Mode: Everything is represented by it's surrounding box cage... the actual shape of the object is not presented. This mode is more usefull for real-time and game developers because they usually need to work with collision detection.

NOTE: When working on any of the modes, you can allways view the boundbox of an object. Just go to the edit buttons, make sure that your object is selected, activate the option "Draw Extra + Bound" and then choose with type of bound box to present (Box, Sphere, Cylinder, Cone or Polyheder).

There is no Hotkey for this mode, you can only enter BoundBox Mode by using the "View Draw Mode" icon. (Located about the center of the header of the 3D Window).

Psss... remember that by default, the 3D window has it's header located at the bottom of the window, don't confuse it with the drop-down menus :p

Face Select Mode: This mode is usally called the "Potato Mode" because you need to be in this mode to perform UV-Mappings. (UV-Unwrapping is quite simillar to pealling a potato, thus the name).

In this mode you don't work with individual vertex, just with the faces they form. Many options can be set on this mode, most notable the UV-Mapping and the special rendering options (i.e. invisible faces)

Hotkey: F

This mode is linked with the Sub-Object mode ("Edit Mode"). If you are in Face Select Mode and FROM THIS MODE swicht into Edit mode, any selection you made while working in the Edit Mode is passed over when you exit back to Face Select Mode.

Paint Modes: Not officially a mode, but on the practice it behaves like one. Blender has 3 paint modes, namely:

Vertex Paint Mode
Weight Paint Mode
Texture Paint Mode

The common thing of them is that the mouse cursor becomes a paint brush. With a Left-Click you add/substract color information to spot where you clicked and a Right-Click works as the color picker of many 2D programs.

All the controls of the painting brush are located on the "Paint Buttons" (that you can invoke by pressing the 14th icon from the left on the header of any "Buttons Window"). They are quite complex, so let's avoid them for the time been.

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That is all for now, see you on the next Crash Course. :wavey:

Crash Course 1. - The Theory Side (

10 October 2003, 05:08 AM
Good work, Apollux!

10 October 2003, 08:19 PM
Nice work, but generally speaking: Pics usually do wonders to tutorials :)

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