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About this Manual

This manual is a mediawiki implementation that is written by a world-wide collaboration of volunteer authors. It is updated daily, and this is the English version. Other language versions are translated, generally, from this English source for the convenience of our world-wide audience. It is constantly out of date, thanks to the tireless work of some fifty or more volunteer developers, working from around the world on this code base. However, it is the constructive goal to provide you with the best possible professional documentation on this incredible package.

To assist you in the best and most efficient way possible, this manual is organized according to the creative process generally followed by 3D artists, with appropriate stops along the way to let you know how to navigate your way in this strange territory with a new and deceptively complex software package. If you read the manual linearly, you will follow the path most artists use in both learning Blender and developing fully animated productions:

  1. Getting to know Blender (Introduction, Starting, Interaction in 3D, Data System).
  2. Models (Modeling, Modifiers and Deformation).
  3. Lighting.
  4. Shading (Materials, Textures, World and Ambient Effects).
  5. Animation (Rigging, Constraints, Animation, Effects and Physical Simulation).
  6. Rendering (Rendering, Compositing with nodes, Editing Sequences).
  7. Beyond Blender (Extending Blender).
  8. Interactive 3D and Gaming (Game Engine).
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Audience

This manual is written for a very broad audience, to answer the question “I want to do something, how do I do it using Blender?” all the way to “What is the latest change in the way to sculpt a mesh?”

This manual is a worldwide collaborative effort using time donated to the cause. While there may be some lag between key features being implemented and their documentation, we do strive to keep it as up-to-date as possible. We try to keep it narrowly focused on what you, the end user, need to know, and not digress too far off topic, as in discussing the meaning of life.

There are other Blender wiki books that delve deeper into other topics and present Blender from different viewpoints, such as the Tutorials, the Reference Manual, the software itself, and its scripting language. So, if a question is not answered for you in this User Manual, please search the other Blender wiki books.

Learning CG and Blender

The Blender knowledge space.

Getting to know Blender and learning Computer Graphics (CG) are two different topics. On the one hand, learning what a computer model is, and then learning how to develop one in Blender are two different things to learn. Learning good lighting techniques, and then learning about the different kinds of lamps in Blender are two different topics. The first, or conceptual understanding, is learned by taking secondary and college courses in art and media, by reading books available from the library or bookstore on art and computer graphics, and by trial and error (i.e. practical experience!). Even though a book or article may use a different package (like 3DSMax or Maya) as its tool, it may still be valuable because it conveys the concept.

Once you have the conceptual knowledge, you can easily learn Blender (or any other CG package). Learning both at the same time is difficult, since you are dealing with two issues. The reason for mentioning this is to make you aware of this dilemma, and how this manual attempts to address both topics in one wiki book. The conceptual knowledge is usually addressed in a short paragraph or two at the beginning of a page or chapter, that explains the topic and provides a workflow, or process, for accomplishing the task. The rest of the manual section addresses the specific capabilities and features of Blender. The user manual cannot give you the full conceptual knowledge – that comes from reading books, magazines, tutorials and sometimes a life-time of effort. You can use Blender to produce a full-length feature film, but reading this manual and using Blender won’t, in itself, make you another Steven Spielberg!

At a very high level, using Blender can be thought of as knowing how to accomplish imagery within three dimensions or phases of activity:

  1. Integration – Rendering computer graphics, working with real-world video, or mixing the two (CGI and VFX).
  2. Animation – Posing and making things change shape, either manually or using simulation.
  3. Duration – Producing a still image, a short video, a minute-long commercial, a ten minute indie short, or a full-length feature film.

Skills, like navigating in 3D space, modeling, lighting, shading, compositing, and so forth are needed to be productive in any given area within the space. Proficiency in a skill makes you productive. Tools within Blender have applicability within the space as well. For example, the video sequence editor (VSE) has very little to do with the skill of animation, but is deeply applicable along the Duration and Integration scales. From a skills-learning integration perspective, it is interesting to note that the animation curve, called an Ipo curve, is used in the VSE to animate effects strips.

Most people’s interest lies at any given time at the corners/intersections depicted in (The Blender knowledge space), which are destinations, if you will. For example, there are many talented artists who produce Static-Still-CG images. Tony Mullen’s book, Introducing Character Animation With Blender, pertains to using CG models deformed by armatures and shapes to produce short animations. Using Blender fluids in a TV production or commercial is at the “Shape/Sim-CG Integration-Commercial” intersection. Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny or Sintel are found at the “Armature-Computer Graphics-Short” space. Therefore, depending on what you want to do, various tools and topics within Blender will be of more or less interest to you.

A fourth dimension is Game Design, which incorporates all of this knowledge with gaming wrapped around it as well. A game not only has a one-minute cinematic in it, but it also has actual game play, story line, programming, etc. – which may explain why it is so hard to make a game ! You have to understand all this stuff before you can actually construct a game. Therefore, this Manual does not really address using the Game Engine (there is a Game Engine chapter, though), that is a whole ’nother wiki book.



Introduction
What is Blender?
Introduction
Blender’s History
License
Blender’s Community
About this Manual
What's changed with Blender 2.4
Installing Blender
Introduction
Python
Installing on Windows
Installing on GNU/Linux
Installing on Mac
Installing on other Operating Systems
Configuring Blender
Directory Layout
Starting
The Interface
Introduction
Keyboard and Mouse
Window System
Arranging frames
Headers
Console window
Window Types
Screens (Workspace Layouts)
Scenes
Configuration
Modes
Contexts
Menus
Panels
Buttons and Controls
Internationalization
Your First Animation
1/2: A static Gingerbread Man
2/2: Animating the Gingerbread Man
The Vital Functions
Quick render
Undo and Redo
Default scene
Screenshots
Help!
Setting Preferences
Configuring Preferences
Interface
Editing
Themes
File
System
Interaction in 3D
Introduction
Introduction
Navigation
Introduction
3D View
3D View Options
3D View Usage
Camera View
Layers
Local or Global View
Sketch in 3D Space
Introduction to Grease Pencil
Drawing sketches
Layers and Animation
Converting sketches to geometry
Transformations
Introduction
Basics
- Grab/Move
- Rotate
- Scale
- Gestures
Advanced
- Mirror
- To Sphere
- Shear
- Warp
- Push/Pull
Transform Control
Introduction
Precision of Transformations
Numeric Transformations
Transform Properties
Reset Object Transforms
Manipulators
Transform Orientations
Axis Locking
Pivot Point
- Active object
- Individual Centers
- 3D Cursor
- Median Point
- Bounding Box Center
Snapping
Snap to Mesh
Proportional Edit
Data System and Files
Blender's Data System
Blender's Library and Data System
Blender's Datablocks
Scenes
Working with Scenes
The Outliner Window
Appending and Linking
File operations
Introduction
Opening blender files
Saving blender files
Modeling
Introduction
Introduction
Objects
Objects
Selecting Objects
Editing Objects
Groups and Parenting
Tracking
Duplication
- DupliVerts
- DupliFaces
- DupliGroup
- DupliFrames
Mesh Objects
Meshes
- Mesh Structures
- Mesh Primitives
Selecting
- Selectable Elements
- Selection Basics
- Advanced Selecting
- Selecting Edges
- Selecting Faces
Editing
Basic Editing
- Translation, Rotation, Scale
- Adding Elements
- Deleting Elements
- Creating Faces and Edges
- Mirror editing
Vertex Editing
Edge Editing
Face Editing
Deforming Tools
- Mirror
- Shrink/Fatten Along Normals
- Smooth
- Noise
Duplicating Tools
- Duplicate
- Extrude
- Extrude Dup
- Spin
- Spin Dup
- Screw
Subdividing Tools
- Subdivide
- Subdivide fractal
- Subdivide smooth
- Loop Subdivide
- Knife Subdivide
- Bevel
Miscellaneous Tools
Retopo Tool
Sculpt Mode
Multi Resolution Mesh
Vertex Groups
Weight Paint
Mesh Smoothing
Curve Objects
Curves
Selecting
Editing
Advanced Editing
Surface Objects
Surfaces
Selecting
Editing
Text Objects
Texts
Editing
Meta Objects
Metas
Editing
Empty Objects
Empties
Group Objects
Groups
Scripts
Modeling Scripts
Modifiers and Deformation
Introduction
Introduction
Modifiers Stack
Modify
UVProject
Generate
Array
Bevel
Booleans
Build
Decimate
EdgeSplit
Mask
Mirror
Subsurf
Deform
Armature
Cast
Curve
Displace
Hooks
Lattice
MeshDeform
Shrinkwrap
SimpleDeform
Smooth
Wave
Simulate
Cloth
Collision
Explode
Fluid
Particle Instance
Particle System
Soft Body
Lighting
Introduction
Introduction
Lights
Introduction
Light Properties
Light Attenuation
Light Textures
What Light Affects
Lights In Other Contexts
Shadows
Introduction
Shadow Properties
Raytraced Shadow Properties
Volumetric Lights
Introduction
Lamps
Introduction
Lamp Light
- Raytraced Shadows
Spot Light
- Raytraced Shadows
- Buffered Shadows
- Halos
Area Light
- Raytraced Shadows
Hemi Light
Sun Light
- Raytraced Shadows
- Sky & Atmosphere
Lighting Rigs
Radiosity
Introduction
Rendering
Baking
Scene Light
Ambient Light
Ambient Occlusion
Exposure
Exposure
Materials
Introduction
Introduction to Shading
Materials Introduction
Usage
Assigning a material
Material Preview
Material Options
Multiple Materials
Properties
Diffuse Shaders
Specular Shaders
Ambient Light Effect
Color Ramps
Raytraced Reflections
Raytraced Transparency
Subsurface Scattering (SSS)
Strands
Node Materials
Material Nodes
Nodes Editor
Node Controls
Nodes usage
Nodes Groups
Material Node Types
- Input Nodes
- Output
- Color
- Vector
- Convertor
- Dynamic
Vertex Paint
Using Vertex Paint
Halos
Halos
Textures
Introduction
Introduction
UV/Image Editor
Common Options
Texture Stack
Texture Types
Texture Types
Procedural Textures
Image Textures
Video Textures
Texture Nodes
- Nodes Editor
- Node Controls
- Nodes usage
- Nodes Groups
-- Textures Input Nodes
-- Textures Output Nodes
-- Textures Color Nodes
-- Textures Patterns Nodes
-- Textures Textures Nodes
-- Textures Convertor Nodes
-- Textures Distort Nodes
Texture Plugins
Texture Painting
Painting the Texture
- Projection Paint
Mapping
Mapping
Environment Maps
UV Unwrapping Explained
- Unwrapping a Mesh
- Managing the UV Layout
- Editing the UV Layout
- Applying an Image
Influence
Influence
- Material
-- Bump and Normal
-- Displacement
- Particles
- World
World and Ambient Effects
World
Introduction
World Background
Ambient Effects
Mist
Stars
Rigging
Introduction
Introduction to Rigging
Armatures
Armature Objects
Panels overview
Bones
Visualization
Structure
Selecting
Editing
- Bones
- Properties
- Sketching
- Templating
Skinning
Introduction
Linking Objects to Bones
Skinning to Objects’ Shapes
Retargeting
Posing
Introduction
Visualization
Editing Poses
Pose Library
Using Constraints
Inverse Kinematics
Constraints
Introduction
Introduction
Constraints Common Interface
Constraints’ Stack
Transform Constraints
Copy Location
Copy Rotation
Copy Scale
Limit Distance
Limit Location
Limit Rotation
Limit Scale
Transformation
Tracking Constraints
Clamp To
IK Solver
Locked Track
Stretch To
Track To
Relationship Constraints
Action
Child Of
Floor
Follow Path
Null
Rigid Body Joint
Script
Shrinkwrap
Animation
Introduction
Introduction
The Timeline
Markers
3D Views
Animation Editors
Animation Editors
Ipo Editor
Ipo Curves and Keyframes
Ipo Datablocks
Ipo Types
Ipo Editor Interface
Editing
- Ipo Curves
- Keyframes
Ipo Drivers
Action Editor
Editing Action Channels
NLA Editor
Editing NLA Strips
Strip Modifiers
Animation Techniques
Introduction
Animating Objects
- Using Constraints
- Moving Objects on a Path
Animating Shapes
- Shape Keys
- Editing Shape Keys
- Animating Shape Keys
- Shape Keys Examples
Indirect Shape Animation
Animating Armatures
- Stride
Animating Lamps
Animating Cameras
Animating Materials
Animating Textures
Animating World
Physical Simulation
Introduction
Introduction
Dynamics
Force Fields
Collisions
Particles
Particles
Types
Physics
- Newtonian
- Keyed
- Boids
Visualization
Controlling Emission, Interaction and Time
Cache & Bake
Hair
Children
Vertex Groups
Particle Mode
Soft Body
Introduction
Exterior Forces
Interior Forces
Collisions
Simple Examples
Combination with Armatures
Combination with Hair Particles
Reference
Cloth
Introduction
Fluids
Fluid
Using the Game Engine
Using the Game Engine
Rendering
Introduction
Introduction
Camera
The Camera
Perspective (Vanishing points)
Depth Of Field
Render
Displaying Renders
Basic Options
Antialiasing (Oversampling)
Rendering Animations
Panoramic
Render Baking
Using the Command Line
Output
Output
Video Output
Effects and Post Processing
Introduction
Render Layers
Render Passes
Edges & Toon
Stamp
Color Management & Exposure
Depth Of Field
Motion Blur
Render Performance
Rendering Performance
Distributed Rendering
External Render Engines
Introduction
YafRay
Compositing with nodes
Composite Nodes
Introduction
Nodes Editor
Node Controls
Nodes usage
Nodes Groups
Composite Node types
Composite Node types
Input Nodes
Output Nodes
Color Nodes
Vector Nodes
Filter Nodes
Convertor Nodes
Matte Nodes
Distortion Nodes
Editing Sequences
Introduction
Introduction
The sequencer
Usage
Sequencer Modes
Sequence Screen Layout
Effects
Built-in Effects
Plugin Effects
Audio
Audio Sequences
Extending Blender
Introduction
Introduction
Python Scripting
Python Scripting in Blender
Setting up Python
The Text Editor
A working example
References
Python Scripts
Script Catalog
Bundled Scripts
Plugins
Blender's Plugins System
Texture plugins specifications
Sequence plugins specifications
Game Engine
Introduction
Introduction
The Logic Editor
Usage
Game Properties
Sensors
Introduction
Sensor Types
Controllers
Introduction
Expressions
Actuators
Introduction
Action
Camera
CD
Constraint
Edit Object
Ipo
2D Filters
Game
Message
Motion
Parent
Property
Random
Scene
Shape Action
Sound
State
Visibility
Cameras
Cameras
Dome Camera
Physics
Physics Engine
Material Physics
Object Types
- Static
- No Collision
- Dynamic
- Rigid Body
- Soft Body
- Occluder
- Sensor
Python API
Bullet physics
VideoTexture
Various resources
List of Features
External resources
Game Engine Basics (BSoD Tutorial)
FAQ