What is Blender? How to Change Preferences + Interface Explained

Introduction to Blender

Blender is a user-friendly, free 3D modelling program that is you can easily download online. If you have experience using 3D programs such as Maya, learning to use Blender will be simple.

Blender is intuitive and nearly as powerful. Even if you have zero experience, Blender is a great place to begin learning 3D modelling.

Changing Blender Preferences

You can modify Blender’s settings to our desired controls. Go to File > User Preferences. Open the Input tab. Blender’s default for selection is Right click. You can change this to Left.

Enable the Emulate Numpad setting if you are using a laptop or other device that does not have a Numpad. The Numpad controls the viewpoints for our program.

Go to 3D View > 3D View (Global). Choose the hotkey Shift F for View Selected and View Navigation. With a hotkey, you can quickly perform a behavior. To change a hotkey, click on the tab with the current hotkey. Then pressyour desired hotkey, Shift F.

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Save your settings, and close the window. Those are the basic changes we will make to Blender. These controls are now like Maya’s. You can make more changes if you desire.

Blender Camera Controls

Let’s go over the camera controls for Blender. To follow along hands-on, create a new project in Blender.

Blender is set up in a similar fashion to the game development platform Unity. The left window is the Tool Shelf. It contains items or “primitives” that you can create. The center screen displays the scene. This window is known as the 3D View or Viewport.

The right window contains information about the item currently selected. The top right window is the Outliner. The bottom right window is the Properties. The bottom window is the header for the 3D View.

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A default Blender project contains a grid, camera, light, and cube. To zoom in on the cube, scroll the Middle Mouse (MM) wheel on your mouse. To orbit around the cube, hold Middle Mouse Button (MMB).

To pan left and right or up and down in the window, hold Shift+MMB. Drag your cursor in the direction to which you want to pan.  

When you perform a transformation on an object, such as movement, you can press the Left Mouse Button (LMB) to confirm the action or Right Mouse Button (RMB) to undo it.

Note that there are other ways to pan, zoom, and move around the 3D View.

Want to learn more about Blender? You should enrol in our Zero to Hero Blender Course: Make 7 low poly trees for games.

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