Absolute noob asking absolute noob questions, and even worse I use a Mac

First of all, this is my first post! Hopefully it’s not as screwed up as I think it might be… big apologies if I posted in the wrong forum, or spot or whatever!

Thanks in advance for any feedback, it’s much appreciated! The software looks really cool and I decided that it’s what I want to use conjunction with my 3d printer. But, alas… there is a bit of a learning curve. All good, I am in…

So I use a Mac, and I am sort of slowly but surely getting the hang of the software, like really really primitive stuff - I have an autocrat and Solidworks background and have worked extensively with drawing a 2d shape for the purpose of cutting it out on a plasma table or water jet or whatever, or bending metal on a brake.

I thought it would be a good idea to start with learning how to trace an object out with a bezier curve, and then extrude it from there, but holy cow does it take a long time, and once basically done the shape I am utterly baffled as to how to get the lines to “join” at the end of it, I mean most cad programs you just click on the next segment and bang, they join… here it seems you have to hit ctrl J (didn’t work on my shape) or option C (also didn’t really work) or hit ‘F’ in edit mode, ( I get some unexpected results…) After checking out a bunch of youtube videos, I am thinking that maybe a direct question might be the way. OR is it a best practice to instead do bezier type drawings in another software, then import it in (I can get a dxf in, but have no clue what to do with it once it’s in…lol)

So here’s what I am doing;

  1. Open Blender
  2. Import jpg that I want to trace
  3. Once imported, I hit 5 and 7 on my num pad (emulated) to get to that “looking down” view…
  4. Shift A to add a bezier, A to unselect it, A to all select it G to move the first one in place
  5. Once in place, B to select an end, then G to move that other end to where I want it…
  6. B to select an endpoint, and E to add another curve item, R to rotate and S to stretch…
    7)I discovered that hitting V and selecting “free” makes it so that I can get some sharper edges
  7. I discovered that having caps lock on (on my Mac) and holding down the ctrl button allows me to very quickly add points. It’s a bit ummm, gross, and will require some editing afterwards to make it “smooth” but it is a lot quicker
  8. Once I get to the last segment, I am thinking that I make it go as close to my starting point line as possible without touching, and then B to select these tow points and THEN F to close the shape?

All comments are welcome, thanks so much for taking the time to read this and reply! More dumb questions to come…

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Hi Scott,
welcome to the Blender Community :slight_smile:

We have a saying in Germany: There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers. :wink:

I thought a video would be more helpful than explaining it here. Despite my english surname I am no native speaker, and I haven’t edited the video, so please excuse my English. If you have further questions it is best to ask them in the comments on YT, I am not here very often. You can also mail me, address is in the YT channel info.



you may want to start by looking at some basic modelling tutorials, to see how 3D in blender (or 3DS, C4D, Maya) differs from CAD modelling.
You may have a hard time to do some models as precise and functionnal as you do in solidworks. Even if you can get to the same result it’s quite different.
It’s better to not to try to adapt what you’ve learn in solidworks to blender and start with a fresh new empty mind.

Have fun !

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Awesome! Thanks so much! Honestly, I didn’t really even consider using a circle and then subdividing it like that, but wow - very effective! What a super idea, and so well presented! Nice! I just spent the last 45 minutes messing around with the concept and I am super happy to have a “skill” now with this software! hahaha Now I gotta go master it! Thanks again!

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Sozap, yeah I am definitely realizing that this is a different animal than most, or any (haha) CAD type software but really I am hoping to use it for conceptualization. Good advice, my mind is now empty, starting from scratch - this is new! Thanks for the kind words!

You are really welcome, I’m sure with time you’ll find blender quite amazing and great for conceptualization. There are tons of way to create shapes , animate and render them , it could be a great addition to your toolset .

Well, I have two blend renders to show for my efforts - one is just my name in 3d text with a plane behind it so that the shadow would cast, and the other is my Dragon outline! hahaha Primitive I know, but it’s a starting point! Thanks so much for your help guys!

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Hey that’s a good start !
You can have a look at this tutorial series : https://www.blenderguru.com/tutorials/2018/1/17/creating-an-anvil-full-series
Maybe it’s a bit hard to begin with, but anyway it covers a lot of things. You can try it as long as you can and go back later if you feel stuck !

Nice! Really a great start and not that primitive at all. And you are very welcome.
Maybe also have a look at the channel Tutor4U. The tuts are mostly for blender 2.79, so with the older interface, but the tasks and concepts are still the same and IMHO he has a great way of teaching.


Thanks guys! OK, I am all over them… I will post a new thing with more noob questions soon hahaha

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Ok, so I was messing with some text, thought I’d get adventurous and mess with a different font (Morpheus, Abbadon) for fun Vampire type gothic fonts. And extruding them is easy enough, but once you offset it even slightly (.001) one of the corners goes somewhat berserk, and I was curious why…

Sooo I turned the text into a mesh (fill was set to “none”) and it looks like the font itself has a bunch of bezier curves/lines that are not “joined” Now how the heck does one go about fixing this? Do you have to go and join all of the lines BEFORE you extrude it? Is it a best practice to make text a mesh right off the bat and then extrude after it’s all cleaned up? just curious… Thanks in advance, guys!

OK, not that anyone really cares but I thought I’d share my progress on the “new” problem.

Some things I learned;

  1. Beziers are a lot easier to deal with in Inkscape (Illustrator I suppose would be even better)

  2. Even if I have to completely retrace a line of text out, it’s just more efficient to do it in Inkscape, and then export to Blender. Especially if it’s a weirdo font with a bunch of overlapping geometry in its letters.

  3. I figured out that being able to change the origin after importing an svg in is critical to my sanity… Also getting a “4 view” was handy too…

  4. I learned that I can set the extrusion offset/face to none, duplicate my object and then I can visually create something that looks like something right out of swift 3d…

BUT… these are two different objects, How would one go about joining them? When I tried to join them as is, it seems that one of the objects disappears/adopts the object properties of the “main” one… I am thinking that perhaps they need to be converted to Meshes and THEN joined, but would they maintain their color and extrusion/offset properties?

A screenshot of my work… (Try not to laugh too hard, lol like I said - noob alert! hahaha)

Ok, lol not that anyone cares but I just did a Blender “metal text” tutorial, used the node editor a bit, and what do you know? It turned out pretty good! I mean, not perfect but for a complete noob I think I learned a thing or two… Quirky software, but I am loving it…

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Hi Scott,
I had postponed my tutorials due to all the changes the UI and menus were going through in the last 3 weeks. They froze the UI for developement last friday, so I now continue with my tutorials. I don’t know if you are still interested, but I just uploaded a video of how to manually remesh text. If you want to follow along in 2.79: the Looptools and f2 are there, but you have to call the command “Space” and “Bridge” (both from the Looptools) in their Toolpanel, because the Quick favorite menus aren’t available in 2.79.
maybe think about changing to 2.80 Beta. I can’t speak for Mac, but on Windows it is really stable now. maybe give it a try.

Cheers, Chrissy

I see what you mean. this font really reacts crazy when you use the offset. I have no clue why this is happening.
I have tried this with the Morpheus font. As long as the extrude is active, it looks like the curve is broken/split in pieces. But when you set extrude, offset etc to 0, so you only see the curve path, it isn’t broken, it is connected. It looks broken because with the extrusion you don’t see the actual path (the lines of the curves between the points), but only the vertices and their handles. In the n-panel you have the option “curve display”. If you uncheck the handles all that is left with the extrusion are the vertices (in edit mode).
The paths are okay in general, but I really don’t know why some of the vertices of the text are going crazy, when you use the offset value.

You converted the text (which is already a curve object) into a curve. Is there any reason to use it as a curve? Did you want to further shape it as a curve?
I always convert text into real meshes, not to curves. I don’t use the font geometry options (extrude, offset, bevel), I work with the flat textobject, convert it to a mesh, than I remesh it so I have a clean mesh.
Next step: Solidify modifier (that gives me the extrusion), bevel modifier (that alone is worth changing to 2.8, not easy to get good results in 2.79, in 2.8 we have a new bevel) and than, if needed, the Subsurface modifier.

Cheers, Chrissy

Wow! lol Thanks so much! Oh man, do I have a lot to learn… going through it now!

Oh. My. God.

I tried to make a robot guy out of um extruding squares, scale, move and rotate mostly. Umm I cheated and only really did half of it and hit it with a “mirror” modifier. I am truly amazed at how much I learned by doing this horrendous piece of crap, and also at how truly horrendous it is and also at how proud I am that I actually made a “thing” on my own by just kind of muddling around…

Chris - I am checking out more of your tutorials, and then I am going to do the anvil model one. hehehe If I can learn one new thing a week I might be okay…

So far so good - I am learning all kinds of new things and am successfully making it through youtube - Big thanks to everyone on there, and Chris - your tutorials are amazing!

here is a DUMB noob question. Like, really dumb… hahaha

How the heck do you select a “face loop” on a Mac with just a magic mouse? I got an Edge loop to work, but this is painful… hahaha I even tried to use all of the selection tools, y’know and just do it manually but man… total fail… Heck, I would even take a “point and click” method through a dropdown as opposed to having to circle/border select… lol Totally grateful for any input!

Should work the same as edge select mode. You just have to be in face select mode and you need to select the edge between 2 faces to select the face loop.

Cool! Got it! Thanks for the help. One day I will be good enough to venture outside of my own thread! hahaha!

I have been progressing pretty slowly, but I am getting the hang of things. lol Behold ver 2.0 of my crappy Minecraft looking robot guy. Just simple box extrude, scale and rotate… Jeez what a deep software… And now, just after last light I learned about planes and using those (heh I made a happy face…)