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Blender

# Blender

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12/01/2010

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MESH MODELLING.CONCEPT

The principal Object of a 3D scene is usually aMe sh. In this chapter we will first enumerate the basic mesh objects, orp rimitive s, then follow with a long series of sections describing in detail the action which can be taken on Mesh Objects.

Basic Objects

To create a basic Object pressSPA C E and select "Add>>Mesh", or, access the 'add'-
menu by pressingSHIF T- A or simply holdL MB on 3D Window, for more than half
a second. Select the basic object you'd like to create from the menu. We describe
every basic object orp rimitive you can create within Blender below. Figure 1 also
shows the variety of basic objects that can be created.

6
CH.
MESH MODELING
CONCEPT, BASIC EDITING, TOOLS,
SUBDIVISION SURFACES, META OBJECTS
Basic Objects.
1
Circle
(with faces)
Grid
Plane
Cylinder
UVsphere
Cone
Tube
Icosphere
Monkey
Cube
Plane

A standard plane contains four vertices, four edges, and one face. It is like a piece of paper lying on a table; it is not a real three-dimensional object because it is flat and has no thickness. Objects that can be created with planes include floors, tabletops, or mirrors.

Cube

A standard cube contains eight vertices, 12 edges, and six faces, and is a real three- dimensional object. Objects that can be created out of cubes include dice, boxes, or crates.

Circle

A standard circle is comprised ofn vertices. The number of vertices can be specified in the popup window which appears when the circle is created. The more vertices the circle contains, the smoother its contour will be. Examples of circle objects are disks, plates, or any kind of flat and round object.

UVSphere

A standard UVsphere is made out ofn segments andm rings. The level of detail
can be specified in the popup window which appears when the UVsphere is created.
Increasing the number of segments and rings makes the surface of the UVsphere
smoother. Segments are like Earth meridians, going pole to pole, rings are like Earth
parallels. Example objects that can be created out of UVspheres are balls, beads or
pearls for a necklace.

If you specify a six segment, six ring UVsphere you'll get something which, in top
view, is a hexagon (six segments), with five rings plus two points at the poles. Thus,
one ring fewer than expected, or two more, if you count the poles as rings of radius 0.

Icosphere

An Icosphere is made up of triangles. The number of subdivisions can be specified
in the window that pops up when the Icosphere is created; increasing the number of
subdivisions makes the surface of the Icosphere smoother. At level 1 the Icosphere
is an icosahedron, a solid with 20 equilateral triangular faces. Any increasing level
of subdivision splits each triangular face into four triangles, resulting in a more
spherical appearance. Icosphere's are normally used to achieve a more isotropical
and economical layout of vertices than a UVsphere.

Cylinder

A standard cylinder is made out ofn vertices. The number of vertices in the circular cross-section can be specified in the popup window that appears when the object is created; the higher the number of vertices, the smoother the circular cross-section becomes. Objects that can be created out of cylinders include handles or rods.

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Tube

A standard tube is made out ofn vertices. The number of vertices in the hollow
circular cross-section can be specified in the popup window that appears when the
object is created; the higher the number of vertices, the smoother the hollow circular
cross-section becomes. Objects that can be created out of tubes include pipes or
drinking glasses. (The basic difference between a cylinder and a tube is that the
former has closed ends.)

Cone

A standard cone is made out ofn vertices. The number of vertices in the circular
base can be specified in the popup window that appears when the object is created;
the higher the number of vertices, the smoother the circular base becomes. Objects
that can be created out of cones include spikes or pointed hats.

Grid

A standard grid is made out ofn bym vertices. The resolution of the x-axis and y-axis
can be specified in the popup window which appears when the object is created;
the higher the resolution, the more vertices are created. Example objects that can be
created out of grids include landscapes (with the proportional editing tool) and other
organic surfaces.

Monkey

This is a gift from old NaN to the community and is seen as a programmer's joke or "Easter Egg". It creates a monkey's head once you press the Oooh Oooh Oooh button. The Monkey's name isSuzanne and is Blender's mascotte.

EditMode

When working with geometric objects in Blender, you can work in two modes:
ObjectMode and EditMode. Basically, as seen in the previous section, operations
in ObjectMode affect whole objects, and operations in EditMode affect only the
geometry of an object, but not its global properties such as the location or rotation.

In Blender you switch between these two modes with theTA B key. EditMode only
works on one object at a time: the active object. An object outside EditMode is drawn
in purple in the 3D Windows (in wireframe mode) when selected; it is black other-
wise. The active object is drawn black in EditMode, but each vertex is highlighted
in purple (fig. 2). Selected vertices are drawn in yellow (fig. 3) and, if appropriate
buttons in the Editing (F9) Context Mesh Tools 1 Panel are pressed (Draw Faces
and Draw Edges) also selected edges and faces are highlighted.

Structures: Vertices, Edges and Faces
In basic meshes, everything is built from three basic structures:Ve rtice s,Edge s and
Faces. (We're not talking about Curves, NURBS, and so forth here.) But there is no
need to be disappointed: This simplicity still provides us with a wealth of possibili-
ties that will be the foundation for all our models.
Vertices

A vertex is primarily a single point or position in 3D space. It is usually invisible
in rendering and in ObjectMode. (Don't mistake the center point of an object for a
vertex. It looks similar, but its bigger and you can't select it.)

To create a new vertex, change to EditMode, hold doC T R L, and click with the
LMB. Of course, as a computer screen is two-dimensional, Blender can't determine

all three vertex coordinates from one mouse click, so the new vertex is placed at the depth of the 3D cursor 'into' the screen. Any vertices selected previously are automatically connected to the new one with an edge.

Edges

An edge always connects two vertices with a straight line. The edges are the 'wires'
you see when you look at a mesh in wireframe view. They are usually invisible on the
rendered image. They are used to construct faces. Create an edge by selecting two
vertices and pressingF K E Y.

Faces

A Face is the most high level structure in a mesh. Faces are used to build the actual
surface of the object. They are what you see when you render the mesh. A Face is
defined as the area between either three or four vertices, with an Edge on every side.
Triangles always work well, because they are always flat and easy to calculate.

Cube with selected
vertices in yellow.
3
Two pyramids, one in EditMode (left)
and one in ObjectMode (right).
2
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Take care when using four-sided faces, because internally they are simply divided into two triangles each. Four-sided faces only work well if the Face is pretty much flat (all points lie within one imaginary plane) and convex (the angle at no corner is greater than or equal to 180 degrees). This is the case with the faces of a cube, for example. (That's why you can't see any diagonals in its wireframe model, because they would divide each square face into two triangles. While you could build a cube with triangular faces, it would just look more confusing in EditMode.)

An area between three or four vertices, outlined by Edges, doesn't have to be a face.
If this area does not contain a face, it will simply be transparent or non-existent in
the rendered image. To create a face, select three or four suitable vertices and press

FKEY.
Basic Editing

Most simple operations from ObjectMode (like selecting, moving, rotating, and scaling)
work identically on vertices as they do on objects. Thus, you can learn how to handle
basic EditMode operations very quickly. The only notable difference is a new scaling opti-
on,A LT- S which scales the selected vertices along the direction of the normals (shrinks-
fattens). The truncated pyramid in figure 4, for example, was created with the following
steps:

Add a cube to an empty scene. Enter EditMode.
Make sure all vertices are deselected (purple). Use border select (BKEY) to
select the upper four vertices.
Check that the scaling center is set to anything but the 3D cursor (see fig. 1 in Chap-
ter 5), then switch to scale mode (SKEY), reduce the size, and confirm withL MB.
Exit EditMode by pressingTA B.

One Extra feature for Edit Mode is the Mirroring tool. If you have some vertices
selected and you pressMK E Y you will be presented with a Menu containing nine
options. You can select from these to mirror the selected vertice with respect to any
of the X,Y or Z axis of the Global, Local, or Viewing reference.

One additional feature of EditMode is the CircleSelect mode. It is invoked by pres-
singBK E Y twice instead of only once, as you would for BorderSelect. A light grey
circle is drawn around the cursor and anyL MB click selects all vertices within.NUM +
andNUM - or theM W, if any, enlarge or shrink the circle.

1.
2.
3.
4.

All operations in Edit Mode are ultimately performed on the vertices; the connected edges and faces automatically adapt, as they depend on the vertices' positions. To select an edge, you must select the two endpoints or either place the mouse on the edge and pressC T R L - A LT- R MB. To select a face, each corner must be selected.

Edit Mode operations are many, and most are summarized in the Editing Context
Buttons window, accessed via the (
) button of header or viaF 9 (fig 5). Note the
group of buttons in the Mesh Tools 1 Panel.
\u2022NSize - Determines the length, in Blender Units, of the normals to the faces,
if they are drawn.
\u2022Draw Normals - Toggle Normals drawing. If this is ON, face normals are drawn
as cyan segments.
\u2022Draw Faces - If this is ON, faces are drawn as semi-transparent blue, or as
semi-transparent purple if they are selected. If this is OFF, faces are invisible.
\u2022Draw Edges - Edges are always drawn black, but if this button is ON, selected
edges are drawn in yellow. Edges joining a selected node and an un-selected one
\u2022All Edges - Only those edges strictly necessary to show the object shape are
shown in Object mode. You can force Blender to draw all edges with this button.
Of course all these colors are customizable in the Theme editor.
Chopped-off pyramid.
4
Edit Context.
5
MESH MODELLING.BASIC EDITING

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