Blender For Dummies

Blender For Dummies

by Jason van Gumster
Blender For Dummies

Blender For Dummies

by Jason van Gumster

Paperback(4th ed.)

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Make your 3D world a reality

Some of the dramatic visual effects you've seen in top-grossing movies and heralded television series got their start in Blender. This book helps you get your own start in creating three-dimensional characters, scenes, and animations in the popular free and open-source tool.

Author Jason van Gumster shares his insight as an independent animator and digital artist to help Blender newcomers turn their ideas into three-dimensional drawings. From exporting and sharing scenes to becoming a part of the Blender community, this accessible book covers it all!

  • Create 3D characters—no experience required
  • Build scenes with texture and real lighting features
  • Animate your creations and share them with the world
  • Avoid common rookie mistakes

This book is the ideal starting place for newcomers to the world of 3D modeling and animation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119616962
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/11/2020
Series: For Dummies Books
Edition description: 4th ed.
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 367,210
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Jason van Gumster, author of all previous editions of Blender For Dummies, has used Blender in animation, video, and digital design for over 20 years. A Blender Foundation Certified Trainer, he has taught numerous students and serves as lead moderator on, the largest Blender community website.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: Wrapping Your Brain Around Blender 7

Chapter 1: Discovering Blender 9

Getting to Know Blender 10

Discovering Blender’s origins and the strength of the Blender community 11

Making open movies and games 12

Getting to Know the Interface 15

Working with an interface that stays out of your way 17

Resizing areas 19

Maximizing an area 20

The menu that is a pie 22

Chapter 2: Understanding How Blender Thinks 25

Looking at Editor Types 25

General editors 26

Animation editors 28

Scripting editors 29

Data editors 29

Understanding the Properties editor 30

Navigating in Three Dimensions 32

Orbiting, panning, and zooming the 3D Viewport 32

Changing views 35

Selecting objects 40

Taking advantage of the 3D cursor 40

Extra Features in the 3D Viewport 44

Quad View 44

Regions 45

Collaborating (with others and yourself) with annotations 48

Don’t know how to do something? Hooray for fully Integrated search! 49

Customizing Blender to Fit You 50

Using preset workspaces 51

Blender workflows 55

Setting user preferences 57

Using custom event maps 58

Speeding up your workflow with Quick Favorites 61

Chapter 3: Getting Your Hands Dirty Working in Blender 63

Grabbing, Scaling, and Rotating 64

Differentiating Between Coordinate Systems 64

Transforming an Object by Using Object Gizmos 67

Activating object gizmos 68

Using object gizmos 69

Saving Time by Using Hotkeys 72

Transforming with hotkeys 73

Hotkeys and coordinate systems 73

Numerical input 76

The Sidebar 76

Chapter 4: Working in Edit Mode and Object Mode 77

Making Changes by Using Edit Mode 77

Switching between Object mode and Edit mode 78

Selecting vertices, edges, and faces 79

Working with linked vertices 84

Still Blender’s No 1 modeling tool: Extrude 85

Adding to a Scene 90

Adding objects 90

Meet Suzanne, the Blender monke 92

Joining and separating objects 93

Creating duplicates and links 95

Discovering parents, children, and collections 101

Saving, opening, and appending 108

Part 2: Creating Detailed 3D Scenes 111

Chapter 5: Creating Anything You Can Imagine with Meshes 113

Pushing Vertices 114

Getting familiar with Edit mode tools 116

Adding geometry by insetting 117

Cutting edges with the Knife 122

Rounding your corners by beveling 126

Spiraling new geometry into existence with the Spin tool 130

Working with Loops and Rings 131

Understanding edge loops and face loops 132

Selecting edge rings 134

Creating new loops 135

Simplifying Your Life as a Modeler with Modifiers 137

Understanding modifier types 140

Doing half the work (and still looking good!) with the Mirror modifier 147

Smoothing things out with the Subdivision Surface modifier 149

Using the power of Arrays 153

Chapter 6: Sculpting in Virtual Space 157

Adding Background Images in the 3D Viewport 158

Mastering the types of image objects 159

Changing image object properties 160

Adjusting your image objects 162

Setting Up Your Sculpting Workspace 163

Sculpting a Mesh Object 166

Understanding sculpt tool types 166

Tweaking brush properties 173

Refining control of your tools 174

Creating custom brushes 176

Using Blender’s texture system to tweak brushes 176

Sculpting with the Multiresolution modifier 177

Freeform Sculpting with Dynamic Topology (Dyntopo) 180

Understanding the Basics of Retopology 184

Chapter 7: Using Blender’s Non-Mesh Primitives 189

Using Curves and Surfaces 190

Understanding the different types of curves 192

Working with curves 193

Understanding the strengths and limitations of Blender’s Surfaces 212

Using Metaball Objects 213

Meta-wha? 214

What metaball objects are useful for 217

Adding Text 217

Adding and editing text 218

Controlling text appearance 219

Deforming text with a curve 227

Converting to curves and meshes 228

Chapter 8: Changing That Boring Gray Default Material 229

Understanding Materials and Render Engines 230

Quick ’n’ Dirty Coloring 233

Setting diffuse colors 233

Assigning multiple materials to different parts of a mesh 235

Using vertex colors 240

Setting Up Node Materials 247

Adjusting your workspace to work with materials 248

Working with nodes 249

Understanding shaders 250

Playing with Materials in Blender 251

Demystifying the Principled BSDF 252

Combining shaders with the Mix Shader node 258

Playing with the Shader to RGB node 263

Chapter 9: Giving Models Texture 267

Adding Textures 267

Using Procedural Textures 268

Understanding Texture Mapping 272

Making simple adjustments with the Texture Mapping panel 272

Using texture coordinates 273

Understanding Object coordinates and the UV Project modifier 278

Unwrapping a Mesh 281

Marking seams on a mesh 282

Adding a test grid 283

Generating and editing UV coordinates 284

Painting Textures Directly on a Mesh 287

Preparing to paint 288

Working in Texture Paint mode 290

Using textures on your Draw tool 292

Saving Painted Textures and Exporting UV Layouts 295

Chapter 10: Lighting and Environment 297

Lighting a Scene 297

Understanding a basic three-point lighting setup 298

Knowing when to use which type of light 301

Lighting for Speedy Renders 317

Working with three-point lighting in Blender 318

Using Look Dev to set up lighting 318

Setting Up the World 320

Changing the sky to something other than dull gray 320

Understanding ambient occlusion 325

Working with Light Probes in Eevee 328

Baking from your light probes 330

Understanding the limitations of light probes 332

Part 3: Get Animated! 333

Chapter 11: Animating Objects 335

Working with Animation Curves 336

Customizing your screen layout for Animation 338

Inserting keys 340

Working with keying sets 345

Working in the Graph Editor 351

Editing motion curves 352

Using Constraints Effectively 356

The all-powerful Empty! 357

Adjusting the influence of a constraint 360

Using vertex groups in constraints 361

Copying the movement of another object 361

Putting limits on an object 363

Tracking the motion of another object 365

Chapter 12: Rigging: The Art of Building an Animatable Puppet 367

Creating Shape Keys 368

Creating new shapes 368

Mixing shapes 370

Knowing where shape keys are helpful 372

Adding Hooks 373

Creating new hooks 373

Knowing where hooks are helpful 375

Using Armatures: Skeletons in the Mesh 375

Editing armatures 376

Putting skin on your skeleton 390

Bringing It All Together to Rig a Character 396

Building Stickman’s centerline 396

Adding Stickman’s appendages 397

Taking advantage of parenting and constraints 400

Comparing inverse kinematics and forward kinematics 403

Making the rig more user friendly 407

Chapter 13: Animating Object Deformations 411

Working with the Dope Sheet 411

Selecting keys in the Dope Sheet 412

Working with markers 415

Recognizing different kinds of keyframe indicators 416

Animating with Armatures 418

Principles of animation worth remembering 420

Making sense of quaternions (or, “Why are there four rotation curves?!”) 423

Copying mirrored poses 424

Doing Nonlinear Animation 425

Working with actions 426

Mixing actions to create complex animation 429

Taking advantage of looped animation 430

Chapter 14: Letting Blender Do the Work for You 433

Using Particles in Blender 435

Knowing what particle systems are good for 436

Using force fields and collisions 440

Using particles for hair and fur 442

Giving Objects Some Jiggle and Bounce 446

Dropping Objects in a Scene with Rigid Body Dynamics 449

Simulating Cloth 450

Splashing Fluids in Your Scene 452

Smoking without Hurting Your Lungs: Smoke Simulation in Blender 457

Creating a smoke simulation 457

Rendering smoke 458

Chapter 15: Making 2D and 2.5D Animation with Grease Pencil 461

Getting Started with the 2D Animation Workspace 462

Working with Grease Pencil tools 464

Drawing with Grease Pencil 465

Sculpting Grease Pencil objects 470

Editing Grease Pencil objects 472

Understanding Grease Pencil Materials 473

Mastering Grease Pencil Layers 478

Automating Your Drawings with Grease Pencil Modifiers 482

Animating with Grease Pencil 488

Using a hand-drawn animation workflow with Grease Pencil objects 488

Rigging Grease Pencil objects for animation 492

Integrating Grease Pencil with a 3D Scene 495

Part 4: Sharing Your Work with the World 497

Chapter 16: Exporting and Rendering Scenes 499

Exporting to External Formats 499

Rendering a Scene 502

Creating a still image 502

Creating a sequence of still images for editing or compositing 509

Chapter 17: Editing Video and Animation 513

Comparing Editing to Compositing 514

Working with the Video Sequencer 514

Adding and editing strips 518

Adding effects and transitions 525

Rendering from the Video Sequencer 527

Chapter 18: Compositing Images and Video 531

Understanding Nodes 531

Getting Started with the Compositor 534

Rendering in Passes and Layers 535

Discovering Passes Available in Eevee and Cycles 536

Understanding Cycles-only Light Passes 540

Meet Cryptomatte 542

Working with Nodes 544

Configuring the backdrop 545

Identifying Parts of a Node 547

Navigating the Compositor 548

Adding nodes to your compositing network 549

Grouping nodes together 550

Discovering the Nodes Available to You 550

Rendering from the Compositor 552

Chapter 19: Mixing Video and 3D with Motion Tracking 553

Making Your Life Easier by Starting with Good Video 554

Knowing your camera 554

Keeping your lighting consistent 556

Having images in good focus 557

Understanding the scene 558

Getting Familiar with the Motion Tracking Workspace 559

Tracking Movement in Blender 561

Adding markers and tracking 563

Solving camera motion from tracker data 569

Setting up your scene for integrating with your video footage 573

Where to Go from Here 575

Part 5: the Part of Tens 577

Chapter 20: Ten Tips for Working More Effectively in Blender 579

Use Tooltips and Integrated Search 579

Take Advantage of the Quick Favorites Menu 580

Look at Models from Different Views 580

Don’t Forget about Add-ons 582

Lock a Camera to an Animated Character 582

Name Everything 583

Do Low-Resolution Test Renders 583

Use Annotations to Plan 586

Ask for Help 586

Have Fun, but Take Breaks 587

Chapter 21: Ten Excellent Community Resources 589

Blender org 589

Blender ID 590

Blender manual 590

Developer blog 590

Bug reporting and developer discussions 590

builder blender org 591

Blender Cloud 592

BlenderArtists org 592

BlenderNation 592

BlenderBasics com 593

Blender Stackexchange com 593

CGCookie com 593

Blend Swap (blendswap com) 593

Blender community 594

Blender Today 594

Right-Click Select 594

Blender NPR 595

Social Media 595

Blender chat 596

Index 597

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