Thread: 3D Software?
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Old September 13 2009, 10:04 PM   #156
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Re: 3D Software?

jamestyler wrote: View Post
I'm determined to stop using a pen and paper and go back to using my laptop to make pretty pictures.

I've read through this thread, took some notes and downloaded whatever was free. Seeing as I'm extremely impatient, which would be recommended for getting used to reasonably quickly? Blender seems to be one of the best here, but I assume I'd pull my hair out before being able to draw a circle.
How to draw a circle in Blender:

  1. Open Blender.
  2. Position one hand on the keyboard, and one on the mouse (I'm serious here, the interface was originally designed for speed and to maximize the benefit of this posture. That's less true today, but still a good rule of thumb.)
  3. The default cube is probably highlighted. Delete it by hitting the x key (the delete key will work too) and confirming the operation. The confirm menu choice should be directly under the mouse pointer, just click. One hand on the keyboard, one on the mouse.
  4. Hit the space bar. A menu will appear with the Add option under the pointer. To the right of this (usually) will appear a sub-menu with the entries "Mesh", "Curve", "Surface", "Meta", "Text", "Empty", "Group", "Camera", "Lamp", "Armature", and "Lattice".
  5. Move your mouse pointer over to "Mesh". You'll see a new sub-menu appear containing the entries "Plane", "Cube", "Circle", "UV Sphere", "Ico Sphere", "Cylinder", "Cone", "Grid", "Monkey", "Empty Mesh", and "Torus". Obviously, you want to select "Circle".
  6. A dialog box will appear asking for details about the circle. By default, your new circle will have 32 vertices (points between lines or edges), a radius of one Blender unit (an arbitrary scale that can mean one meter, one inch, one furlong, one light-year, etc.), and a toggle button for filling the circle with faces so the circle becomes a flat disk. Leave the default settings for now and just click "Ok".
  7. You have a circle ... or, rather, a 32-sided polygon that in many instances looks smooth enough to stand in for a circle. If you need smoother edges, add more vertices. Yes, there are tools for creating true, perfect circles, and they're just as easy to use, but for many modeling needs, this works fine.

You might notice your circle exactly circumscribes a smaller cross-hair type cursor. This is your 3D cursor. New objects and other operations will be placed based on its location.

Your circle should be a pinkish color, unless you've changed preferences. You're in object mode, and the pink color indicates this object is selected. Now hit the tab key, this puts you in edit mode and you can now edit your shape. You can exit edit mode and return to object mode by hitting the tab key again, but stay in edit mode a moment longer. You'll see the circle has turned yellow with 32 small yellow boxes equally spaced around it. Each of those little boxes is a vertex. RIGHT-click on one. Hit the g key and move your mouse around. You no longer have a circle. You could also have grabbed that green and red arrow structure thing that appeared around the vertex you right-clicked on and simply dragged that. This was a relatively recent addition to Blender that I usually turn off as soon as I start modeling because it's just not how I'm used to doing things, dang nabbit!

Anyway, welcome to Blender. Feel free to move more vertices around. You can also drag edges or faces, extrude new vertices, edges, or faces, rotate them, scale them, color them, texture them ... but, that's all for another post.
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