Monday, 29 June 2015

My Blender Preferences

Every time I come back to Blender I forget how I had it setup the last time I used it.

Obviously settings are to each persons' taste but I have never quite got on with all the Blender defaults.  I assume when using a new programme that the authors know better than me what are the best settings for their application. Eventually I give up and use my own choice.


The default rotation type of Turntable is fine but it pivots round a hard to understand global point. It almost feels arbitrary to me.

I prefer it to pivot round the centre of the selected items. It's still not ideal every time but at least I can understand what it is doing.


This is just my preference. By default Blender zooms to the centre of the current view. Sometimes that is OK but I find it quicker to zoom to where my mouse is pointing.


I like to work with actual sizes and I like those to be metric.

Ideally millimeters (mm) but although Blender allows entering numbers as mm, it displays the results in centimeters (cm).

I use the scale option to get the result to be mm. One unit size equals 1mm.

I am sure that most readers will assume that my preference for metric is because I have grown up in England. This is not entirely the case. I am old enough that I can work in both imperial and metric and I do still measure in inches when working on less precise jobs, like fences for the fields. When I'm 3D modelling, I typically need some accuracy and millimeters is just so much easier at all scales.

I can't complain because I still prefer working in degrees and not radians but clearly Blender's interface is designed for the units  most commonly used in Europe and not for people like me and most of the building trade in the UK that work in the scientific standard size of millimeters.  I am happy there is a choice and centimeters are much better for my needs than inches.


The information I display while working changes. It is handy to hide bits so they do not get in the way.

The things I find useful are the lengths of selected edges to get accurate sized objects and the normals to show the outside face of a surface.

I also turn on back face culling to help with keeping track of the outside and inside of objects.

As I find other preferences, I'll update this page.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Blender Quick Reference

I have used Blender a lot for 3D models for games but my use has long periods away doing coding or other projects.

That means whenever I return to 3D modelling I have to remember how to use Blender again. Typically Blender has progressed a version or two as it is very actively being developed. It always takes me a while to get back up to speed.

I hunted round for quick start guides and keyboard shortcuts but none quite had what I needed.

What I wanted was the common features used to make most models to get me up to speed as quickly as possible. I don't need every feature because I can look up the rarely used ones as needed. Therefore, in my usual way, I have created a desktop quick reference guide that has the features I need to remember each time.

This will continue to be a work in progress. I will add more reminders as and when I know what I need to use.


I've made a couple of versions available for download:

PDF to print or view
Source PowerPoint to edit to make your own changes

3D Printing

If you are interested in 3D printing see my other blog.


Last Updated - 3 March 2016

Cross post on my other blog

Blender Set Origin Script

I have not done much work on my game recently but to do so I need to get round to creating the levels and I'm back to using Blender again.

When I started to tidy up one of my models I came across an odd feature in Blender. You can only set the origin on the active object.

My main reason for setting an origin is to get all of the origins of all of the objects in a scene at the zero point. I find it easier to import in to other programmes and line them up if they all have the same centre.

Using the built in button, it is frustrating having to select one object at a time to set all the origins. I decided to create a script to do this for me.

Not as easy as I expected because even in code the set origin only works on the active object.

I just typed the lines in to the console to run it. After the last line press return one extra time to run it.

for item in bpy.context.scene.objects: 
 if item.type == 'MESH': = True = item 
  bpy.ops.object.origin_set(type='ORIGIN_CURSOR') = False

The above worked in version 2.74 of Blender. It goes through ALL objects in the scene which is what I wanted.

for item in bpy.context.selected_objects:
 if item.type == 'MESH': = item 

In theory the above should work for the currently selected objects but I have not tested that script.

I came across another oversight when trying to copy that code to save it. To get the Windows Ctrl-C (copy) and Ctrl-V (paste) to work in the console window you first have to click on the console menu item at least once. After that Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V work as expected.