Blender 101

From bernie's
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I'm slowly catching up and trying to learn blender so I'm just writing down a few things that frustrate me as an old maya/houdini user, and answer it as i go.

Resources

Some shortcuts

Will sort! Trying to be a GoodBoy and learning the blender standard. God it's hard not to hit the Alt key for navigation and the marking menus are so baked in muscle memory.

function key equivalent to
Add objects shift-a Tab-drop node (houdini)
Frame/focus object . (numpad) f (maya)
Make active camera ctrl-num0 mmb drag and drop cam from outliner to VP (maya)
Toggle object/faces edges/vertices tab 1 2 3 Maya F8 F9 etc...
Search for function F3 Maya's Find Menu but actually looks nice
Change sudbdiv ctrl+0,1,2...(top row keyboard digits) Maya's numpad 1 2 3
Select Linked ctrl-L double click in maya to select shell
Select Edge Loops/Rings alt-LMB, ctrl-alt-LMB double click in maya to select loops, marking menus
Select More/Less ctrl-Num+ Maya's grow/shrink selection </>
Proportional Editing o / scrollwheel (while using it) Soft selection in maya (B/shift MMB)
Isolate Selection Numpad-/ or Alt/Shift-H Shift-i in Maya
Add Edge Loop Ctrl-R + scrollwheel

Some Blender Concepts

Collections

Is kind of like maya's set+renderlayer on steroids. You can have an item in several collections (ctrl drag).

Groups

No such thing, but use a null object

Asset/References

So this one is super weird. When you import an asset, or link it (like a reference in maya or .hda in Hou), you're note linking a .blend file but a subset of the file, could be a mesh/object/material. Kind of tedious TBH, but the blenderheads seem fine with it. It helps if you work with collections, so you just append/link a specific collection.

Help & Community

Amazing how many people have created tutorials. Make sure to search for your version of Blender as I feel it's a 'move fast, break things' software so shortcuts and things might work differently, unlike maya (you can still safely import files from maya 5.0).

Pretty cool that people can vote for what they wish to see: https://blender.community/c/rightclickselect/?sorting=hot (not in the community enough to know if it has some say into newer versions though).

https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/ kind of terse, but works well. Big up to most software packages that take care of their documentations. (<3 Houdini)

Specific Tips

to be sorted once I get a few


Where can I edit the pivot point, what's with the weird cursor that looks like a lifebuoy ?

The cursor which is a bit jarring is actually quite useful. Shift + right click to move it around, Shift + s to send it places (like the origin)

For pivots, top of the viewport, shortcut is '.' dot but apparently not on a french keyboard. Still don't know what the first box does, I'll remove this line once I know ;)

7dXmNgq.jpeg

Rendering

Modeling

  • Bake transforms: Ctrl-A (also work when over modifiers to bake them
  • Extract a Curve from an edgeloop:
    • Select your edge loop, duplicate(Shift-D)
    • Extract using P (separate)
    • Go back to object mode, RMB convert mesh to curve. Done
  • UVs
    • You can mark seams in the 3d view for the unwrap ('U')
    • Faces/uvs selected in UV editor don't show up by defualt 3D view , sync selection must be turned on:

H4M3jci.png

  • Soft selection ('Proportional Editing') has some nice options, but its UI kinda sucks compared to maya. Most of the time the radius of your brush will be outside the viewport window, and you have to scroll the mousewheel to change radius. In maya, you get the big yellowy-orangy-red-black mesh that shows the falloff. Also I think blender doesn't have a 'surface' vs volume falloff.

Rigging/Skinning

  • To apply armature: select objects, select armature, parent (Ctrl P), should create a modifier
  • To access weight painting, it's kinda weird. Select bone that you want to move in Pose mode, select mesh in object mode somehow (doesn't work with shift here), access weight paint mode (Ctrl Tab wheel)
  • To reset bones when moving around when skinning alt+g,r,s
  • Methods for smoothing skinning: https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/58913/simple-methods-to-smooth-out-weight-paints (editing brush in tool tab works too)
  • Mirror skin weights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha_YU5xJsSc in any situation. Sometimes when painting mirrored weights, you'll need to be on the PosX side to work.

Animation

Playblasts

There's no way (?) of creating a simple playblast. It seems you have to use the OpenGL render. Which means going into the render options (workbench), you lose your background viewport image etc... Seems like a big oversight.

Adding expressions

Using drivers! Try it out, it's fairly self-explanatory. Quicktip for rotating an asset:

  • Write '#frame' into rotate Y, edit and write 'radians(frame)' frame number = angle.

How do I animate text ?

Apparently you can't keyframe text easily. That sucks. However you can open up a python script, it seems you have to relaunch the script at every session.

# assumes you have a text object called 'Text'
import bpy

scene = bpy.context.scene
obj = scene.objects['Text']

def recalculate_text(scene):
    text = '--'
    cf = scene.frame_current
    if cf < 1800:
        text = ' '
    elif cf < 1920:
        text = 8
    elif cf < 2030:
        text = 5
    elif cf < 2180:
        text = 1
    elif cf < 2300:
        text = 2
   
    obj.data.body = f'{text}'

bpy.app.handlers.frame_change_pre.append(recalculate_text)

Will modify this if I find a more user friendly way of doing this.

How do I switch cameras during my animation

You can add markers (M in the timeline) and then bind the current camera (Ctrl B in the timeline too)

UI

How do I lock camera to view

This is kinda hidden amirite ? Shortcut to twirl/untwirl that little menu is 'n'

1PW3NEt.gif

Adding a slider in the viewport

There are so many contexts that I understand there's no easy universal way to add a floating UI over everything to drive a rig or anything. For rigging you can use custom drivers on bones and it's show up while animating.

Hair

Right-click and object, Curve>Fur. Check modifiers. Missing attributes (like length) can be added from the Asset Browser (Shift-F1).

Other random notes

The outliner forces sorting by alphabetical name ? Not by creation order.

> Uncheck the 'Alphabetical' option in the Filter menu at the top, objects will be sorted by creation order Custom ordering can't be done though for now.

Add-ons

It's been 5 seconds and I'm already adding add-ons :0