This blog post lists a number of tips I have found useful when using Blender. The tips are tested in Blender 3.6.4 or later.
Free PDF Tutorial
Blender 3D : Noob to Pro – Free 700 Page PDF Book.
View and Flip Normals
Show face orientation – in Object Mode use the down arrow (V) on the Overlays icon near the top left and tick “face Orientation”. Blue faces point towards you, red faces point away from you.
Select a mesh in Object Mode then in Edit Mode ensure that “Face” selection is selected (versus vertex and edge) and then select the faces to be flipped and use Mesh > Normals > Flip.
You can show the direction and strength of normals in Edit Mode bu selecting one of the options via the down arrow (V) on the Viewport Overlays icon near the top left
Fill Holes in Mesh
Mesh clean up – Select mesh in Object Mode then in Edit Mode use Mesh > Cleanup > Fill Holes. Or mesh holes can be patched in various other ways in Edit Mode, e.g. Alt + left mouse click on one vertex and it will select a “loop” of vertices round a hole which you can fill in various way using Ctrl + “F”. For more information see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vApGpkd05x4
Change an Object’s Material and Transparency
In the Outliner (usually on the upper right) select the object and the details of it appear in the Inspector below. Open the materials tab (beach ball icon) and it will show any material attached. You can remove (“-“) the current material and add (“+”) another. Use the drop down (“V”) on the material selector to choose from one of the existing materials or add a “New” material.
Having selected the object in Object Mode, switch to Edit Mode with face select option. Select the face/faces to be coloured with the second material. Select the material from the choices already added to the object and then click the Assign button.
Transparency in a material can be enabled using the Material tab when inspecting any item. Changes affect all users of that same material. Under “Settings” enable a blend mode other than “Opaque”. Use something like “Alpha Blend”. Then apply an “Alpha” under the Surface > Alpha setting. Note changing the “Base Color” alpha does not have the desired effect.
For HDRP the “Cutout” option is not directly available. The material’s Surface > Alpha Clipping option controls whether your Material acts as a Cutout Shader or not. Enable Alpha Clipping to create a transparent effect with hard edges between the opaque and transparent areas. HDRP achieves this effect by not rendering pixels with alpha values below the value you specify in the Threshold field.
Remove Unused Materials
Unused materials show with a “0” when no objects use the material. In the Outliner/Inspector you can change the “Display Mode” from its usual “ViewLayer” to “Blender File”. Open Materials and right click on any you wish to delete.
UV Mapping of Textures
- Edit Mode and Select > All.
- Enter UV Editing Mode and delete any current UV Maps.
- “U” key brings up UV options. Choose Cube Projection (or some suitable mapping).
- Stretch the Texture in the left hand window to change the repeats. Rotate if needed.
Adding, Duplicating, Renaming and Parenting Objects
When a new object is added it may be placed in its own “Collection”. You can move it to within a current Collection by selecting it and using the “M” key and the choosing the collection to move it to.
You can rename an object in Object Mode by selecting it and using Edit > Rename Active Item.
Collections and Items in the Inspector can also be renamed by double clicking over the name and changing it there.
An object can be duplicated within Object Mode by selecting it and using Object > Duplicate Objects.
Objects can be moved within a Collection to have a new Parent by selecting it and dragging it over the item to be the parent. Before releasing select BOTH “Shift” to select the option to parent (rather than link) and “Alt” to preserve all transforms (positing, rotation and scale).
Add a Texture to a Material
Select the object with a material, or add a new material to it. In the Material tab for the object look at “Base Colour” and click the yellow dot next to it. There the type of the texture can be selected as “Image Texture” and you can assign a texture via “Open”.
You must tick File > External Data > Automatically Pack Resources before saving the/blend file to ensure the image is incorporated. Otherwise it relies on the external file being present when reopened (it my show as a pink/magenta material otherwise). This option will also remove any unused materials when the .blend file is saved.
Selecting all Objects in a Hierarchy
Normally when you hide an object in the inspector with the “eye” icon it just hides the single item, selected and not all those hierarchically below that. Use Shift + click on the eye icon to hide/show the whole hierarchy.
Moving the mouse over a corner of the current viewport (where there is a curved corner and a “+” mouse cursor will show, you can drag a new viewport into existence. You can do the opposite to remove a viewport by dragging a corner of a viewport over the one you want to remove.
When you press the Ctrl + Alt + Q keys, Blender toggles the Quad view on and off. The Quad view gives you three Orthographic views and the Camera view, while the Ortho views do not change. When you press the 5 key on the NumPad, the camera window does toggle between the Ortho and Persp views.
Diagnostics and Console
To display or hide the console, go to Window > Toggle System Console.
Merging or Importing Blender (.blend) Files
There is no menu option to import one .blend file into another. This can be done using File > Append or by dragging the .blend file to merge into the other and selecting the “Append” option. You can then select what you want to import (e.g. Object > …). Bringing in objects also pulls in any materials, textures, etc that are involved. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s24kSjRAUNo
Exporting via FBX to Unity
Select the objects to be exported and use File > Export > FBX. Tick “Selected Objects” only and you can also untick “Bake Animations” for static objects.
Import to Unity suggestions: create a new Assets folder to contain the items. Upload all the textures into a sub-directory “Textures”. Drop into the folder the FBX file. This should associate the textures where they are used in the model’s materials automatically. Click the model to open it in inspector. In the Materials Tab select Location > “Use External Materials (Legacy)” and Search > “Local Materials Folder” and click Apply. That will create a Materials folder locally which will allow the materials to be edited or adjusted.
If you have previously customised the materials you can keep the previous copy. If you exit Unity you can replace the newly cerate d Materials folder with the previous one and restart. The the previously customised materials will be used. If pink materials show up, some were not properly linked. You can just drop others into the pink objects.
How do I hide the sidebar in Blender?
The tool sidebar of the Preview can be toggled with the menu: View ‣ Sidebar or with the shortcut “N”.
Render an Image
To render a still image of the current view within Layout Mode, use View > Viewport Render Image.
The top menu Render > Render Image uses the renderer for a high resolution image. Using properties set in the “Scene” tab (second from top with an icon like the back of a camera). Here you can set the renderer to use such as “Cycles”.
Beginners Guide to Rendering at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APmw2Q8kBOM
Polyhaven.com provides some HDRI backgrounds which can be used around a render… See https://polyhaven.com/hdris. An example used in the video above is “Abandoned Slipway” an HDRI .exr equirectangular image with an overcast sky at https://polyhaven.com/a/abandoned_slipway. Load in such a background using the “World” tab (like a globe with an axis through it). Select Surface Background and click the yellow dot on “Color” to select the type “Environment Texture” and then “Open” the background to use.
In Second Life, and OpenSim the new (PBR) default midday can be simulated in 3D modellers using a “Cloud_Layers” HDRI background – see Second Life Wiki: PBR Recommended Application Settings [HDRI .exr file itself is available on GitHub]. This itself is based on the Polyhaven “Cloud Layers” HDRI environment: https://polyhaven.com/a/cloud_layers.
3D Character Modelling Tips