Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

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by Michelangelo Manrique | March 2011 | Open Source Web Graphics & Video

Blender is an open source software for artists that also covers education, research and development, universities, and more.

The previous article by Michelangelo Manrique, introduced us to the editing operators in Blender.

In this article we will continue to learn more about the editing operators that will help us with our model creation. We will also take a look at the editing operators shortcut in Blender.

 

Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook

Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook

Over 80 great recipes to create life-like Blender objects

        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Blender, see here.)

Well, ready to go with a simple mouth structure, right? Then select the two lower vertex as in picture below. We'll extrude them in Z axis and then again in Y axis to finish scaling. First, just select the two lower vertices. (See illustration 12)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 12: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture. Use the known select commands to select the two lower vertices.

For manipulating the 3D View and checking your model at any perspective you want, use MMB (Middle Mouse Button). This will show you your model at any perspective allowing you to move around it. Also, you can probably notice that in the latest picture I have disabled the Transform Manipulator (those green, red and blue arrows). In the modeling stage they are not primordial to use if you get used to commands, but they will help you in other areas such as animation. Transform Manipulator function is to help in the Location, Rotation and Scale procedure while manipulating data (objects, meshes, vertex, edges, etc). You can disable/enable Transform Manipulator from the buttons close the Orientations (Global by default). Other way to do that is with Ctrl + Space bar Key. (See illustration 13)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 13: Transform Manipulator Buttons
You can manage the transformation mode with different manipulators. From left to side buttons are: Enable/Disable manipulators view, Translate manipulator mode, Rotate manipulator mode, and Scale manipulator mode.

Extrude now the selected bit of mesh in the Z Axis. Then go to E Key and Z Axis after that to just extrude in the right axis. Make it small because this will be the start point to extrude the lower side of the mouth and the jaw. When you do that, extrude again two times in the Y Axis in negative normals, in other words pointing to the direction we started modeling. So, E Key and Y Axis (negative normals) and repeat it again. Make those extrudes to coincide with upper edges. After that, just scale a little bit with S Key. (See illustration 14)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 14: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture.

After some steps, we have something similar (more or less) to our model nose and mouth and you have learned all basics commands for successful and creative modeling. Just all you need to know at this point to develop interesting characters in your projects.

Let's go to complete the jaw now. Select vertices as they are in the illustration below (See illustration 15). Go to Right View by pressing 3 Key in Numpad and extrude them to Z Axis, so press E Key to extrude and Z to tell Blender the right direction to extrude (doing so is useful to extrude in straight line according with axis, but is not required always, that just depends on the model). After that you should rotate the selected elements, so press R Key to rotate and you should have something similar to the illustration 18. (See illustration 18)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 15: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture. Select these four vertices to extrude the mouth and the jaw.

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 16: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture. Previous selection after the rotation action.

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        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Blender, see here.)

To close the mesh at this point, just extrude the selection in the X axis. So then, press E Key and X Key after that to extrude in the right axis. Because we have selected the Clipping option in the Mirror Modifier, vertex won't cross this axis. But mesh is not really closed at this point. After we extrude the selection into the X axis, we have some duplicated vertex just at the middle point. The left and the right side ones are overlapping each other. There is an interesting operator in Blender to avoid crappy results due to vertex overlapping or vertex in the wrong position. Still in Edit Mode, select all with A Key, probably two times until you have all your mesh selected. Press W Key and Specials Menu will appear again. This is the same menu we used in the Subdivision operator. (See illustration 6)

We now need the Remove Doubles operator. Click on it and you should have a message similar to illustration 19 giving you the number of the duplicated vertices that were removed. This message appears in the Info Editor that is usually on the top (by default). This operator is really useful to keep your design clean, avoiding strange issues in the final result. (See illustration 17)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 17: Remove Doubles operator message
After applying the Remove Doubles operator, a message appears in the Info Editor, usually on the top. This message gives the number of duplicated vertices that were removed.

Select now the two vertices as in illustration 20 to make the mouth and jaw a little bit more smooth to receive the Subdivision Surface. Press G Key to move them into the Y axis, so G Key and Y Key after that to move vertex in the Y axis.(See illustration 18)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 18: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture.

Continue selecting the next two vertices to Z Axis to complete the first draft of the modeling stage. Select vertex as in illustration 21 and press G Key and Z Key after that to move them in the right axis. (See illustration 19)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 19: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture.

We now have a first preview of our model. Select all with A Key and click on Ctrl + N Key to Clean Normals. It is interesting to make normals consistent. All we saw is basically what a newbie needs for a successful project. There are a couple of operators to complete your introduction to the Modeling. They are the Smooth and Subdivision Surface Modifier.

Smooth Tool is an operator that is applied to make your model look lower flat. This operator is vital for good smoothing results and really necessary if you are going to apply the Subdivision Surface. So, first step is to go to Object Mode -remember we did all our work in Edit Mode- and to switch modes just press Tab Key or remember the Mode Menu in illustration 3.

Once you are in object mode, go to Object operators panel, if collapsed, just open it with T Key -remember the mouse cursor must be over the 3D View Editor-. Click on the Smooth option and your mesh will look a little bit lower flat. Go now to the Modifiers panel in the Property Editor, add Modifier and select Subdivision Surface. You should now see that your model is really smooth, but what it makes it really professional is the Subdivisions options. By default you have a 1 value in the View option. This option is the value the subdivision surface is working on while working in editing, and a 2 value in the Render option that is used only in the render pipeline. That means increasing render value doesn't affect your workflow modeling but makes your model render really smooth. Higher values could lag the system requirements, so take care about it. For modeling purposes, higher view values are not necessary, sometimes we do it even without Subdivision Surface visible. (See illustration 20)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 20: Modeling Stage
After all past actions you should have something similar to this picture. Result after the Smooth and Subdivision Surface operators.

Once we get it looking similar to our target, modeler usually continues working in the mesh trying to make it suit the rigging purposes as much as possible. Good rigging requires a perfect mesh. Because of this a modeler will have to review the mesh many times to re-topologize it and make it according to the concept art.

I will do some work in the mesh to make our model look better. To do that I will use operators and commands you already know and those we discussed previously. With some quick steps we could modify small details without the need to lose lots of time production modeling it into details at the beginning. (See illustration 21)

Introduction to the Editing Operators in Blender: A Sequel

Illustration 21: Modeling Stage
Results after some quick work in the mesh.
Re-adapting is done at the end of the modeling stage, when a previous draft of the mesh is complete.
A successful rig requires a well designed mesh.

A well designed mesh is the basis piece of a successful project. Modeling is one of the previous stages and all should be fine here to keep the good work in other departments. A mesh that is not well designed could produce issues really hard to fix in a production.

Some of the known issues in bad character design:

  • Incompatibility with rigging stage.
  • Odd behavior while animating.
  • Strange results in shading/texturing.
  • Non professional look and bad user feeling.

The following table lists the editing operators shortcut in Blender:

Introduction to the Editing operators in Blender Resume

Selecting and manipulating Mesh/Objects

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Select All

A Key

A Key

Border Select

B Key

*B Key

Circle Select

C Key

*C Key

View Manipulation

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Positioning Cursor

LMB (Left Mouse Button)

LMB (Left Mouse Button)

3D View manipulation

MMB (Middle Mouse Button)

MMB (Middle Mouse Button)

Front View

1 Key (Numpad)

1 Key (Numpad)

Right View

3 Key (Numpad)

3 Key (Numpad)

Top View

7 Key (Numpad)

7 Key (Numpad)

Back View

Ctrl + 1 Key (Numpad)

Ctrl +1 Key (Numpad)

Left View

Ctrl + 3 Key (Numpad)

Ctrl + 3 Key (Numpad)

Bottom View

Ctrl + 7 Key (Numpad)

Ctrl + 7 Key (Numpad)

View Persp/Ortho

5 Key (Numpad)

5 Key (Numpad)

Mesh/Object operators

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Extrude

E Key

 

Delete **

X Key

X Key

Loop Cut

Ctrl + R Key

 

Subdivide

W Key >Subdivide

 

Remove Doubles

W Key > Remove Doubles

 

Make Normals Consistent

Ctrl + N Key

 

Merge

Alt + M Key

 

Snap

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Selection to Cursor

Ctrl + S Key > Selection to Cursor

Ctrl + S Key > Selection to Cursor

Cursor to Selected

Ctrl + S Key > Cursor to Selected

Ctrl + S Key > Cursor to Selected

Select Mode

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Vertex Select Mode

Ctrl + Tab + 1 Key

 

Edge Select Mode

Ctrl + Tab + 2 Key

 

Face Select Mode

Ctrl + Tab + 3 Key

 

Object Manipulation

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Translate

G Key

G Key

Scale

S Key

S Key

Rotate

R Key

R Key

Menus

 

Edit Mode

Object Mode

Add Object

 

Shift + A Key

Add Mesh

Shift + A Key

 

Specials Menu

W Key

W Key

Geometry Origin

Shift + Ctrl + Alt + C Key

Shift + Ctrl + Alt + C Key

 

Summary

In this article we learnt about the editing operators that help us in creating models in Blender.


Further resources on this subject:


Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook Over 80 great recipes to create life-like Blender objects
Published: January 2011
eBook Price: £16.99
Book Price: £27.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Michelangelo Manrique has been always interested in Fine Arts. That made him begin his university studies in the History of Art. He has also worked as a painter and art curator. He likes technology and is involved in coding projects and discovering and learning new programming languages every day.

Michelangelo was introduced to Blender in 2004, and the 3D suite caught his attention with its possibilities and workflow. Michelangelo is currently a member of the bf-docboard-es, helping in the official wiki translation to the Latin-Spanish community. He is also a Blender Foundation Certified Trainer (one of two in Spain). Nowadays, he is working in his own studio (www.platformmichelangelo.com) developing animation productions, software and offering different courses for Blender learning.

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