Exercise 1: Blender animation

The following are a series of exercises in Blender for beginners. Start here and follow each until you complete the last one. 

Also available as a Udemy Course:

CoverImage

Exercise 1

Manipulating the Camera

1 Go to File Select New then Select Reload Start-up File

2 Select the Camera with the L.M.B (Left Mouse Button)

CameraView

(Notice an orange outline around the object once it has been selected)

3 Press Zero (Camera View) with the Cursor in the 3D view

4 Roll Your MMB Once or Twice. Notice the Camera View is Fixed in Position

ZeroCamera

5 Press > N (Properties Shelf)

6 Put a Check Mark in the “Lock Camera to View” Box

CheckBox

7 With the Cursor in the 3D View you can now roll the MMB to zoom in and Out.

8 Press and Hold the MMB and slowly drag the Mouse to Rotate the Camera View to a position you require.

NewCameraView

That completes the exercise

Summary: You Can Toggle back and forth between the Camera view and the previous view by pressing zero. When there are multiple cameras in the scene, select the camera and press Ctrl + Zero to make it the active Camera.

 

Exercise 2 Saving Your Work

1 Go to > File > Select Save

2 Choose the Location you wish to save to

3 Enter a File Name

4 Select the Save Blender File Button on the Top Right of the screen

SaveYourFile

That completes the exercise

Summary: Save your work often. Blender has a nice feature when you save your work; it saves a copy with the file extension .Blend1. This contains the data prior to you saving your work and can prove very useful if something gets corrupted or deleted by accident.

 

Unit of measurement

UnitofMeasurement

To set up the unit of measurement in Blender go to the Properties Panel and select the scene tab. The unit panel contains the unit type. By default the units are set to blender units with a scale of 1.

The image above shows the cube in front orthographic view. (Press 1 for front view, press 5 for orthographical view, and roll the mouse wheel to zoom in.) You will notice the screen is divided into grids of equal length and height. The cube on screen measures 2 meters and equal in length to two large grid divisions, each one measuring 1 meter. Zoom in further to reveal each grid divided into ten equal parts, each measuring 10 centimetres with these divided into 1mm divisions.

The view info is located at the top left hand side of the screen and displays the current view type and unit range.

 

Mesh Selection Mode

FaceSelect

The first picture above shows the selected cube in Edit mode (With the cube selected in object mode press: Tab > Edit mode). You will notice the header of the 3D view will change to include Vertex, Edge and Face select.

SelectMode

Take the cube in the second picture as an example of selection methods within Blender. The default cube is a mesh object consisting of three basic elements. The Cube has 6 Faces, 12 Edges and 8 Vertices. The vertex is a point in 3D space while 2 connected vertices form an edge and four edges connected form a face. Each element of the structure Face, edge and vertex are used to edit the cube.

 

Exercise 3

Manipulating the Cube

1 Select the Cube LMB

2 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

The cube will be highlighted in orange indicating all parts of it are selected. If not press A once or twice. (Pressing A selects all or deselects the current selection)

EditMode1

3 Press S (For Scale)

4 Press Y (Restricts the scaling to the Y Axis)

5 Press 2 (Scales the cube in the Y axis by a factor of 2)

6 Press Enter (Confirms the operation)

EditMode2

7 Press Ctrl + R (Insert a loop cut)

Bring the cursor near to the edge you want to insert the cut

In this case along the X axis

8 Left click once you have the correct position

(Left click again to place in at its current location. Notice that after the first left click you can edge slide it into position. To be sure of the correct position right click to place it at the centre of the cube, press ctrl + Z to undo an operation)

9 Right click to place it at centre

10 Press Ctrl + tab (Mesh Select Mode)

11 Select Face

12 Select the top right face on the cube with the LMB

EditMode4

13 Press E (Extrude)

14 Type 2 and Press Enter

This command extrudes the face in the positive Z direction by 2 units. By default the cubes dimensions are 2 blender units x 2 x 2

EditMode5

15 Press Tab and Select Object mode

16 Press N (opens the properties shelf)

(In the Transform panel you will find the dimensions of our cube)

MetricSizes

17 Press Ctrl + S (Save your Work)

That completes the exercise

Summary: The dimensions of the cube can be modified in object mode. It is possible to change the x, y and z dimensions. The scale of the cube must be applied once these dimensions have been changed (Ctrl + A calls up the apply menu. Then select apply) By applying the scale you are essentially telling Blender this new size is the cubes actual scale. In Edit Mode however every face edge and vertex can be extended without having to apply the scale.

 

Viewport Shading

ViewPortShading

The View port Shading menu (Pictured below) and set to solid as default, can be accessed through the shortcut key Z. The shading menu options display the object depending on the material applied and or the lighting setup. The most commonly used shading options when modelling are solid and wireframe shading.

The 3D Cursor

The 3D Cursor is Blenders placement and pivot tool. The properties shelf holds the 3D Cursor panel with its x, y and z coordinates. To accurately place objects within the scene or to one another use the snap menu Shift + S.

Pivot Points

Pivot Points allow for the rotation, scaling and mirroring of objects around a point in space. The Pivot Point menu provides a list of 5 to choose from each with their own uses. The Medium Point is the default Pivot Point, uses the center mass of an object for determination and is the most commonly used.

PivotPoints

Exercise 4 Wireframe Shading

1 In Object Mode Select the Cube

2 Press Tab and Select Edit Mode

3 Press A (Once or twice until everything is deselected)

4 Press Z (Viewport Shading Menu)

5 Select Wireframe

6 Press Ctrl + tab (Mesh select mode)

7 Select Face

(Notice how the small black dot now represents each face of the mesh)

WireFrame

8 Press Ctrl + tab (Mesh select mode)

9 Select Edge

Now notice how all the edges of the modified cube become the selectable regions

10 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh select mode)

11 Select Vertex

Notice how the all the vertices become selectable

12 Select one Top Left Vertex with the LMB

13 Press and hold the Shift key

14 Select the second top Vertex

15 Press G (More or Translate)

16 Press Y (Restrict the direction to the Y direction)

17 Press 1 (Move 1 Unit or 1 Meter)

18 Press Enter (Confirm the operation)

DragVertices

That completes the exercise

Summary: This exercise highlights the difference between the mesh selection methods and what can be selected when one of the options is active. It is possible to have all three methods active at once (On the 3D view editor header, with the shift key held, select the first, second and third)

 

Exercise 5 Pivot Points

We continue on in Edit Mode:

1 Press A once or twice to deselect everything

2 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh select Mode)

3 Select Edge

4 Select the Bottom right side edge with the LMB

BottomEdge

5 Press Shift + S (Snap Menu)

6 Select Cursor to selected

7 Press the Period Key (Or Full Stop key for Pivot Menu)

8 Select 3D Cursor

Next we will now duplicate the object and use the 3D Cursor as the pivot point

9 Press A once or twice to select everything to mirror with

SelectAll

10 Press Shift + D (Duplicate)

11 Press the RMB (Right Mouse Button) to snap the duplicate to its origin

12 Press Ctrl + M (Mirror)

13 Press Y (Selects the Axis to mirror along)

14 Press Enter (Confirms the Operation)

MirrorObject

Next we need to delete unwanted internal walls

15 Press Ctrl +Tab

16 Select Face

17 Select the two internal faces in the centre by holding the shift key and selecting both.

18 Press X (Delete)

19 Press Z and Select Solid (Notice how the new faces are a darker shading indicating their normal’s are pointing inward)

InternalFaces

20 Select all the faces by pressing A once or twice

21 With all the faces selected Press Ctrl + N (Recalculates the direction the faces are pointing)

That completes the exercise

Summary: When an object is duplicated in Edit mode the duplicate becomes part of that object. In Object Mode when an object is duplicated it becomes an individual object. To join two separate objects in Object Mode simply select them by press and holding Shift, once selected press Ctrl + J (Join). To separate an object or part of an object in edit mode select the piece you want separated and press P (Separate Menu) and select selection. When you tab back to object mode this separated part will now be a separate object.

Using the 3D Cursor as a pivot point allows rotation, scaling, mirroring etc around a chosen point.

 

Layers

Layers

Layers are used as a way to separate objects within the scene and provides the user control over how an object is lit, how forces affect them and how they are rendered and the properties applied. In this way layers help organize the objects within the scene allowing efficiency and creating the ability for uncluttered workflow. The Active layer has a darker shade when on. When an object is selected a small orange circle indicates the layer the object is placed on. To move an object to a different layer select the object, press M and select the layer you wish to move it to.

Proportional Editing

ProportionalEditing

Proportional Editing Shortcut key “O” is a transformational tool for editing faces, edges and vertices. Using proportional editing on one or more parts of the mesh causes connected mesh elements to be affected depending on their location relative to that element being transformed. Mesh elements will be affected greater or less depending on the area of influence being exerted. The area of influence can be adjusted with the Middle Mouse Button. Proportional editing allows for smooth deformation of the mesh without leaving bumps and uneven patches that can happen when using the normal transformation options. Proportional editing has Falloff options that provide many ways to deform the mesh. The smooth option is set as the default option.

Snap Options

Snap

There are two Snap features in Blender. The first one we discuss is contained on the 3D Editor’s Header and is represented by the magnet icon. This feature is referred to as Snap during transform and when enabled the selected object will translate, scale or rotate in increments based on the zoom level and the element selected. Snap is set to increment as default and can be changed to the other options through the menu.

The second snap feature allows your selection or cursor to be placed at a chosen point by using the shortcut keys Shift +S or from the 3D Editor Mesh menu Snap. This option is very useful for setting origin points of objects or accurately adding mesh objects to a predetermined point in the scene.

 

Exercise 6 Snapping

To begin put the 3D cursor back to Median Point

1 Press the period key > choose > Median

With the object selected

2 Press Tab and Select Edit Mode

3 Press A once or twice to select everything

4 Press T to open the Tool Shelf (Unless already open)

5 With the tool tab selected scroll down and Select remove doubles (This removes any extra mesh geometry like faces or edges etc that get created by performing the same operation such as duplicate or extrude more than once)

RemoveDoubles

Notice the Info editor on the Resource Information tab that 6 Vertices have been removed. Extra geometry can inhibit our ability to select the edges or vertices we want to and should be removed when possible.

6 Press Ctrl +Tab

7 Select Edge

8 Press Z and Select Wireframe and Press A to deselect everything

9 Press and hold the Shift key and Select the two edges shown in the picture

TwoEdges

10 Type 3 (Right Perspective)

11 Type 5 (Right Orthographic)

Turn on Snap (Select the magnet icon on the 3D View Header)

TurnOnSnap

12 Select the Z directional arrow on the 3D cursor by selecting it and holding down the mouse button. Drag the cursor upwards and notice the edge snapping to the grid divisions. Please note that depending on the distance of the zoom the snapping will be in increments of centimeters or millimeters. This will be displayed on the top left of the 3D View. We want to go up 1 meter or in this instance to the green line.

GreenLine

That completes the exercise

Summary: Use the Snap during transform option whenever you need to accurately place or move objects within your scene. There are multiple options available to choose from in the menu.

 

Exercise 7

Adding Objects

1 Press and hold the middle mouse button and Rotate the view back around out of orthographic

2 Select the front Vertex shown in the picture with the LMB

FrontVertex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Press Shift + S (Snap Menu)

4 Select Cursor to Selected

5 Press Tab and Select Object Mode

6 Press Shift + A (Add Menu)

7 Select Cylinder

Notice how the cylinder has been added to the scene with its origin at the 3D cursor.

Cylinder

Notice on the Tool Shelf the initial settings for the cylinder that include the vertices count, Radius, depth and Cap Fill Type. We will leave these unchanged but for future reference once you move, rotate etc these settings will no longer be available and any changes will have to be done manually in Edit Mode.

8 Press R (Rotate)

9 Press Y (Restrict the operation to the Y Axis)

10 Type 90 (Rotates the object along the Y Axis by 90 degrees)

11 Press S (To scale)

12 Type .8 and Press Enter (Scales it down by 20 percent)

13 Press G (Translate)

14 Press Z (Restrict to the Z Axis)

15 Type -1 and Press Enter (Move the cylinder down the Z Axis by 1 unit)

16 Press S (Scale)

17 Press X (Restrict to the X Axis)

18 Type .3 (Reduces the cylinder by 70 percent in the X Axis)

19 Press Enter (Confirms the operation)

Wheel

That completes the exercise

Summary: This is an example of both snapping features in Blender, the first using the incremental snap feature to accurately adjust edge positions and allow units of measure to determine their movement. The second one involved placing the 3D cursor at a specific point then adding an object into the scene at that exact point. This second method is also used to change the origin point of an object quickly and accurately.

The Properties Editor

Properties-Render

The Properties Editor has a row of icons displayed on its header and used to change properties for the active object and active scene. The first is the Render tab and allows control over the render output properties. The options include the render button that will render the current frame and the animation button that will render all frames in the current frame range. Other options include setting the image size, the image quality, or when setting up an image sequence, the frame rate. In order to render the scene must have an active camera.

Properties-RenderLayers

 

Render Layers allow you render certain layers of your scene separately. The advantage to this is in compositing where you can adjust individual elements differently. This also allows you to re-render individual layers rather than having to waste time rendering everything in the scene.

Properties-Scene

The Scene tab contains properties relating to the active scene including units, physics and colour management. Also switch between cameras within the scene.

Properties-World

The World tab provides properties for the environment lighting, ambient occlusion, mist and sky colour. Depending on the render engine used, the options for the world settings will change. Here you can add HDR images for effective lighting.

Properties-Object

The Object tab displays data for the selected or active object including transformation, display and duplication setting.

Properties-Constraints

The constraints tab provides the ability to control an object’s behaviour with tracking, transformation and other aspects of the relationships with other objects within the scene.

Properties-Modifiers

The Object Modifiers tab provides time saving operations to complicated tasks such as subdividing the surface of an object, adding a mirror modifier to duplicate in real time the modifications to the mesh on the opposite side. They also include simulate modifiers

Properties-Data

The Object Data tab contains information specific to the current object such as vertex groups, shape keys and UV Maps etc.

Properties-Material

The Material tab allows you to set up material for an object or part of an object. Depending on the render engine chosen the results will vary. With the cycles render engine enabled the nodes tabs provides a graphical node setup.

Properties-Textures

The Textures tab provides the mapping options to apply a texture to a material. The texture can be added to display specularity, reflections, or a pattern with apparent 3-dimensional depth.

Properties-Particles

The Particles tab controls any Particles systems deployed in the scene. There are two main types of particle systems you can choose from, Emitter and Hair, each with their own unique properties. Particles systems can be used to simulate hair, fur, grass or birds and fish. Particles systems are emitted from the selected mesh object up to a maximum of 100,000 and each mesh may contain many particle systems. Particle systems can be influenced by force fields etc and require large amounts of computer memory.

Properties-Physics

The physics tab has controls for simulating real world phenomena in Blender. With an object selected you can choose from a range of options each with their own unique properties.

 

Exercise 8 Modifiers

With the Cylinder selected, Press Z and select Solid

1 Press Tab and Select Edit Mode

2 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh select mode) and Select Face

3 Press A (To De-select everything)

4 Select the front face and Press I (Insert)

5 Type .2 and Press Enter (Inserts a new ring of faces)

ACar

6 Press the Backslash key or the ~ line (Isolates the object)

7 Press Ctrl + R (Insert Loop cuts)

8 Hover the cursor over the outer faces of the cylinder and begin by placing the edge along the Y axis

9 Roll the MMB forward once until a second edge is displayed

10 Press the Left mouse button once and

11 Press the Right mouse button to snap them at insertion point

12 Press S then X (Scale along the X axis)

13 Drag the edge loops out towards the edge by dragging the cursor

14 Press the LMB to confirm position

EdgeLoopsAtEdge

15 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh Select Mode)

16 Select Face

17 Select the Centre Face

18 Press E (Extrude)

19 Press X then -.15

20 Press Enter (Extrudes the Face along the X axis in the negative direction)

21 Go to the Modifiers tab on the properties editor (You may have to drag this editor out to find the modifier tab)

22 Select Add modifier

23 Select Subdivision Surface (A Subdivision modifier is added)

24 On the modifier properties enable “Adjust modifier cage to modifier result”

SubdivisionAddedSub

25 Press Ctrl + R (Insert Edge Loop)

26 Hover the mouse around the internal edge

27 Press the Left mouse button to place it

28 Push the cursor inwards until the edge loop goes as far as it can

29 Press the Left mouse button to lock it into place

30 Press the Backslash key to exit local view

AnInternalEdgeLoop

That completes the exercise

Summary: The subdivision modifier is now added to this object and displayed in the modifier section. The subdivision modifier provides a smoothing effect to the faces of the mesh. Multiple modifiers can be added to an object and “stacked” one underneath the other. The order of this stack will influence the modifier and the affect it has on the object. The modifiers can be rearranged by using the up and down arrows on the header. To apply a modifier the object must be in Object mode. Applying modifiers causes a permanent change to the object, in the case of the subdivision surface modifier it increases the number of faces and can affect the response of the computer’s memory if the scene has lots of these modifiers.

 

Exercise 9 Material

We are going to use the cycles render engine to render material in the following exercise. Please go to the Info Editor and change the engine type to Cycles.

1 With the Cylinder selected go to the properties editor and Select the Material tab

2 Select New

3 Double click “Material” and rename to Tyre

4 Select the + sign to the right of the material slot

TpreMaterial

5 Select new

6 Double click this new material and rename it “Hub”

7 Left Click into the Colour swatch and drag down the slider on the right hand side until it becomes a dark colour

8 Select the Hub material

9 Change the surface type to Glossy

10 Change the roughness value to .5

Now back in the 3D View

11 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

12 Press Ctrl + tab (Mesh select mode)

13 Select Face

14 Select the inner face of the cylinder

15 Press Ctrl and “+”Twice (Increases the face selection)

InnerHub

16 Select the material “Hub”

17 Select Assign

18 Save you work

We will need to change lighting and world settings later but to ensure that the material applied back in the 3D view –

19 Press Z and Select Rendered (Shows a Rendered Preview)

Rendered

That completes the exercise

 

Exercise 10 World Settings and Lamp

Go to the World tab on the properties editor:

1 Select Use Nodes

2 Go to the colour setting and Select the small tab to the right side of the colour swatch

ColourSwatch

3 Select Sky Texture from the list of textures

4 Set the strength value to 4 (Increases the brightness)

5 Go to the Outliner Editor and Select the Lamp

6 Now go to the Properties Editor Header and select the object data tab

7 With the point lamp setting selected set the size to 3

8 Select the Use Nodes button

9 Set the strength to 1000

Lamp

That completes the exercise

 

Exercise 11 Rotating the Wheels

1 In the 3D view with the wheel selected Press N

We now need to Apply our rotation and scale transforms to ‘0’s and ‘1’s respectively.

2 Press Ctrl + A (Apply menu)

3 Select Rotation & Scale (They return to ‘0’s and ‘1’s)

Right click on the X Rotation and Select Add Drivers – Manually create later (single) Note: This will result in a message on the info editor. Click RELOAD TRUSTED, Revert. Then repeat the last step again.

5 Lock both the Y and Z Axis by clicking the lock icons to the right hand side of the rotation box

ACar_002

6 Change the Timeline Editor to the Graph Editor and expand the Graph Editor Area

7 On the Graph Editor header change F-Curve to Drivers mode

8 Select the X Euler Rotation

9 In the graph area press N (Properties Shelf)

10 Scroll down to the bottom of the properties shelf and change X Location to Y Location

11 In the Expr box change the value to Var*-1

12 In the OB/Bon box Select Cube

Var

13 Back in the 3D View with the wheel selected Press and hold shift and select the main body (Cube)

14 Press Ctrl + P (Set Parent Menu)

15 Select Object (Keep Transforms)

Next we want to mirror the Wheel to the four corners of the car

16 Select the main body (Cube)

17 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

18 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh Select Mode)

19 Select Edge

20 Press the MMB and rotate the car until you can see the underneath

21 Select the middle edge on the bottom

BottomOfCar

22 Press Shift + S (Snap Menu)

23 Select Cursor to Selected

24 Press the period key or full stop

25 Select 3D Cursor

25 Press Tab Select Object Mode

27 Select the Wheel

28 Press Shift + D (Duplicate)

29 Right Click to place it at its origin

30 Press Ctrl + M (Mirror)

31 Press Y (To Mirror along the Y axis)

32 Press Enter (Confirms the operation)

With the new wheel still selected

33 Press Ctrl + A (Apply Menu)

34 Select Scale

35 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

36 Press A to select all the vertices

37 Press T for the Tool Shelf (Unless otherwise open)

38 Select the shading/UV’s tab on the tool shelf

39 Select Recalculate (Flips the direction of the meshes faces)

40 Press tab Select Object Mode

41 Press and hold Shift and select the second wheel

42 Press Shift + D (Duplicate)

43 Right Click to place them at their origin

44 Press Ctrl + M (Mirror)

45 Press X (Mirror along the X axis)

46 Press Enter (To confirm the operation)

47 In the Outliner Editor expand the cube hierarchy by clicking the plus sign beside Cube. You will notice four cylinders listed, these are the four wheels and can be renamed if you wish. Click the white arrow beside each of the cylinders. This restricts accidental movement or changes in the viewport. If there are more than 4 cylinders listed you can delete the extra ones in the 3D view. Note Ctrl + Z to undo an unexpected operation.

OutLiner

That completes the exercise

Summary: The four wheels can now be controlled by the movement of the main car body (Cube). You can now change the bottom editor back from the graph editor to the timeline Editor for use in later exercises.

 

Exercise 12 Adding Material to the car

In this exercise we will add material to the cars main body

1 First Select the car body

On the properties editor Select the material tab

2 Select New and Double Click and rename to Car body

3 Select Use Nodes

4 Click into Diffuse and Select Glossy BSDF

5 Click into the colour swatch and select a colour

6 Change the roughness to .8

CarBody

7 Back in the 3D view bring the car into view, rotate and zoom if necessary. When you have the car in a good viewing position Press Ctrl + Alt + Zero

8 Press N (Properties Shelf)

9 Put a Check mark in lock camera to view and position the car so you have a good view of the front and near side

10 You can uncheck Lock camera to view

11 Press Z Select Rendered

RenderedView

This gives a preview of the scene and the materials

12 Press Z and Select Solid

13 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

14 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh Select Mode)

15 Select Face

16 Select the windshield

17 Press I (Insert)

18 Type .1

19 Press Enter

20 Now on the Material tab Press the plus sign to add a new material slot

21 Double click it and rename it to Windshield

22 Change the surface type to Glass BSDF

23 Select the Assign Button (This assigns the windshield material to the selected face)

24 Press Z and Select Rendered

25 Repeat this process for all the windows in the car

26 You can Press zero to exit camera view to select the windows at the opposite side of the car and press Zero anytime to return to the camera view

The Process: Select the face Press I (Insert) Type .1 Press Enter (Confirms operation)

Windshield

That completes the exercise

 

Exercise 13

Adding a ground plane

We begin this exercise in Object mode and out of camera view. First we need to position the car on the grid floor

1 With the car selected Turn on snapping on the 3D view header and choose increment from the menu

2 Press 3 (Right View)

3 Press 5 if necessary for right orthographic view

4 Select the manipulator by the Z directional arrow and drag it up (Zoom in if necessary and the car should snap incrementally up until it reaches the green line)

5 Turn snapping off (Shift + Tab)

Axis

6 Press Shift + S (Snap Menu) Select Cursor to Centre

7 Press Shift + A (Add Menu)

8 Select Mesh Plane

9 Press and hold the MMB to rotate the plane to a better viewing angle

10 Press S (Scale)

11 Type 10 (Scales the plane up by a factor of 10)

12 Press Tab Select Edit Mode

13 Press 7 (Top View)

14 Press Ctrl + R (Insert edge loop)

15 Bring your cursor to the Y axis and Roll the MMB to add a second edge loop

Plane

16 Left click once when the direction is correct

17 Right click to snap them to centre

18 Press S (Scale)

19 Press X (Scales them along the X axis)

20 Drag the cursor and bring them out to the edge

21 Left click to confirm the operation

22 Press Ctrl + R (Add two more edge loops)

23 Position over the Y axis and Roll the MMB once to add a second loop cut

24 Left click once when the direction is correct

25 Right click to snap them to centre

26 Press S (Scale)

27 Press X (Scales them along the X axis)

28 Drag the cursor and move them inwards

29 Left click to confirm the operation

Inwards

30 Press Ctrl + Tab (Mesh Select Mode)

31 Select Face

32 Go to the Properties Editor and Select the Materials Tab

33 Select New

34 Double Click on the material name and rename it Road

35 Click into the colour swatch and drag the cursor on the right down to darken the colour

RoadMaterial

36 Select the two outer faces, one on the left and the other on the right (Select the first, press and hold shift to select the second)

37 On the material tab click the plus sign to add a new material slot

38 Select New

39 Double click the new material and rename it to Grass

40 Change the colour to a dark green

41 Select Assign (This assigned the material to the selected parts of the plane)

Green

42 Select the centre face

43 Click the plus sign to add a new material slot

44 Select New

45 Double click this new material and rename it White Line

46 Select Assign

WhiteLine

That completes the exercise

 

Exercise 14 Key frames

The next exercise looks at adding animation to the scene. Here we will have the car travel along the road with the camera capturing the action. With the Road selected:

1 Press the period key and select Median point

2 Press Tab Select Object Mode

3 Press S (Scale)

4 Press Y (Scale the plane in the Y axis)

5 Type 10 (Scales the plane along the Y axis by a factor of 10)

6 Enter (Confirms the operation)

7 Select the car and drag it back along the Y axis to the beginning of the road

Start

8 Next select the camera

9 Press N (Properties Shelf)

10 In the transform panel in the rotation settings Enter a value of

X = 90

11 Next, hover the cursor in the top right hand corner of the 3D view until the cursor changes to a narrow cross icon, then Press and hold the LMB and drag this new window out into the centre of the screen. In the Left hand window over the cursor and Press Zero (Camera View) and in the Right hand window with the camera selected drag the camera nearer the car with the manipulator and frame it up

DoubleCamera

Next we will add key frames for both the camera and the car. The timeline will need to be the Editor at the bottom of the screen

Frame

Start frame =1, End Frame =250 and Current Frame =1

These are the three frame settings we change as we progress through this exercise. Notice the start frame is set to 1 the end is set to 250, which will be the length of the animation. 250 is the number of frames @ 24 frames per second will produce an animation of just over 10 seconds.

With the start frame set at 1

12 Select the car and Press I (Inserts a Key Frame represented by a small yellow line on the TimeLine)

13 Select Location (Inserts a key frame for the car at the current location)

14 Type 250 into the current frame box and press enter

15 Drag the manipulator Gizmo along the Y axis with the Y (Green) directional arrow until you reach the end of the road

EndOfTheRoad

16 Press I and Select Location (Inserts a key frame for the cars location at the current frame of 250)

17 Type 1 into the current frame box and press enter

Notice how the car now goes back to its saved position on the first key frame

18 Next Select the camera

Now let’s add a marker to the first frame and bind the camera to this marker

With the current frame at 1 and with the cursor on the timeline

19 Press M (Adds Marker to the timeline)

Next we want to bind the camera to the marker

With the camera still selected and with the cursor in the timeline

20 Press Ctrl + B (Binds the Camera to the marker)

To confirm this action has been successful press T for the Tool Shelf. On the bottom should be a new panel with a simple text reading Bind Camera to Markers. You may have to scroll the MMB to bring the text into view.

Now back in the 3D View and the camera set up with the car in view

Car

21 Press I (Inserts a Key Frame)

22 Select LocRot (Inserts a key frame for the cameras current location and rotation)

23 Type 48 into the current key frame box

Notice the car has moved forward

For the next camera position use the manipulator and rotate the camera to keep the car in shot

24 Press R (Rotate)

25 Press Z (Restricts the rotation to the Z Axis)

26 Drag the cursor to rotate the camera and get the car in shot and Press the LMB to confirm the operation

27 Press I (Insert menu)

28 Select LocRot (Inserts a Key frame for the cameras current location and rotation)

Now let’s add a second camera to the scene and jump from one camera to the other as the car travels along the road

29 Press Shift + S (Snap Menu)

30 Select Cursor to centre

31 Press Shift + A (Add Menu)

32 Select Camera from the list

33 Press N (Properties Shelf)

34 In the Transform panel in the rotation options Enter X: 90 Y:0 Z:0

CameraRotation

Next we want to add a tracking constraint to the camera and have it track the car as it approaches and passes by.

35 Go to the Properties Editor and Select the Constraints tab

36 Select Add Object Constraint

37 Select Damped Track

38 Select the Target (The icon of the box)

39 Select Cube (This is the car object)

40 Select the “To” Axis and select the one that points the camera in the direction of the car

In my scene it is the –Z axis

41 Next drag the camera forward along the X Axis to the front of the road and drag it up slightly in the Z direction so it is above the road

Track

CameraFront

42 Now let’s add a marker for this camera on the Timeline Editor

43 Set the current frame to 48

With the new camera selected and the cursor on the timeline

44 Press M (Adds a marker to the timeline at the current frame)

45 Press Ctrl + B (Binds the selected camera to that marker)

46 Now set the current frame to 1

47 Press play on the Timeline controls and the cameras should switch from one to the other at the markers as the animation is played out through the cameras

That completes the exercise

Conclusions: This is a very simple exercise on the timeline and animation within Blender. You can delete key frames if you are unhappy with the result by placing the green Timeline marker on the yellow key frame and Pressing Alt + I and Selecting Delete Key frame.

 

Exercise 15 Render the Animation

1 Go to the Render Tab on the Properties Editor

2 In the Dimensions Panel increase the resolution to 100% if you want the image to be full size.

3 Select a destination folder in the Output Panel (This is where the rendered PNG’s will be saved)

4 Also in the Output Panel ensure that the file format is PNG

5 Open the Sampling Panel and change the render samples to something greater than 10. (This creates a trade off .The higher the value the better quality of the rendered image, but the longer each image will take to render. The preview value is the quality you see when you Press Z and select rendered)

If you are test rendering leave these value low as the render time will increase. Once the scene is how you want it increase the values for the best quality you desire.

Render

6 With those basic settings in place you can Click the animation button. It is a good idea to save your work prior to rendering just in case of a crash.

Blender will then begin to render each frame into the folder you selected. When this rendering process is complete I like to start a New Project to keep the editing separate from the final scene, that way the changes made won’t affect the final scene if I need to return to change something.

7 Go to File and Select New Reload Start-up File

8 Go to the Info Editor and the scene layout tab

9 Click in the menu and select Video Editing Screen Layout

VideoEditing

10 Save the .Blend file

This is Blenders very powerful and easy to use video editor. This screen arrangement provides you with everything you need to add back in the images, add sound, view the results and export to a wide selection of available formats.

11 Select Add on the video Sequence Editor

12 Select Image

VideoSeq

13 Navigate to the folder where you saved the rendered images and Press A to select all the Images

14 Press the add images button on the top right hand side of the page

15 Back in the video editor you can Press play to view the image strip in sequence

16 Next we need to open a properties Editor attention

17 Next we need to change the Graph Editor on the top left hand side to a Properties Editor.

PropertiesOpen

18 Select the Render Tab

19 Go to the Dimension panel and select HDTV 720p from the render presets menu

20 Increase the resolution to 100%

21 Select an output folder

Next go to the output section

22 Change PNG to Xvid

Next go to the Encoding Panel

23 Change the format to Xvid

24 Select MP3 from the Audio Codex Menu

MP3

25 Scroll back to the top and Select Animation

That completes the exercise

Well Done! By completing the foregoing exercises you now have the tools to create images limited only by your imagination. Remember to re-do the exercises until you are completely familiar with the commands.

Have fun devising your creations.

Also available as a Udemy Course:

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