Blender Quickstart competition

This is a competition to create a quickstart guide for Blender to get someone quickly oriented and then point them to further resources, I’ve created a sample which you can base it on or create your own from scratch. Maximum size should be a half page, but preferably shorter. The ‘prize’ is that I’ll try and make sure it gets included with the release (no promises though :slight_smile: ).

The 5 second tour is RightMouse selects instead of LeftMouse (yeah it is odd); SpaceKey gives you a massive menu of options to select from; Tabkey changes between object mode (move objects) and edit mode (change the object); the hand on the buttons bar turns the ‘manipulator’ on and off, and the three buttons beside it change which type of transform (Grab - move, Scale, or Rotate) is displayed. Number Pad controls views (numbers) and zooming (+/-). IKey in object mode ‘inserts’ a keyframe, and arrow keys control which frame you are in. Alt-A starts an animation looping (ESC to end). Blender is a very deep program so it is highly recommended you read the manual and try a few tutorials to familiarize yourself with it, instead of just jumping in and trying to do something (which generally will lead to frustration quick).

I recommend either the Noob to Pro guide at

Or the blender manual at


Hi LetterRip! How’s this?

Achieve Blender Readiness!


here is an alternate version without closing commentary and recommendations.

I elected to skip the animation keys because it is very unlikely someone first downloading and using Blender (or even 3D) would be jumping into that area of Blender just yet.

Doing that gave me some extra space to explore some other concepts I felt could be more help to a new user.

There’s also some text I added in the end to suggest to new users where they might want to post their works in the forum.

Let me know what you think and of course feel free to use and adapt it however you wish :wink:


[Edit: Document updated several times. Please click the modified link above for the latest version.]

Although I pointed it out earlier in my previous post, I continued to make adjustments to the proposed document after reviewing it over the course of the evening. Hopefully this introduces the basic mechanics of Blender in one page.

The link has just been adjusted one final time to point to the very latest file.

The other thing I wanted to emphasize in this document, towards the end, was the community aspect of Blender, including the developers and our wonderful community here at Elysiun (BlenderArtists) :slight_smile:


And of course we’ll need a version for one-button mac users and probably for two-button users on other systems since many/most beginners won’t just happen to already own a three-button mouse and might give up before they buy one.

I’ll try to give some thought to the Mac alternatives if no one more experienced does it.

RobertT - looks really good - probably should have CTRL-QKEY as the quit and mention QKEY as an optional (trying to convice Ton that QKEY should go away as quit but no luck thus far :slight_smile: ).

AndyD - good point about the one button and two button mice.


AndyD: Excellent point about the mouse buttons! I was going by LetterRip’s text and should have remembered to add that in. I have now updated the document in my first post with Mac user information. I have based the update on Mac mouse click information posted at the Blender website.

LetterRip: Thanks! I have changed the quit section too :slight_smile: I think it would be helpful to make that CTRL Q, since I’ve accidentally lost a couple of Blends that way since the W key is so close to the Q key. To fit the Mac mouse click information and still leave some white space, I did away with the “Remember to add at least one lamp before rendering” line. If a new user is in the default setup, they should already have a lamp there anyway. The link in my first post has been updated to point to a new document.


I noticed this morning’s edits created much more space on the NUMPAD line, so I just added a brief statement regarding orthogonal view toggling.

A new file link has been placed in top post.


If you do not mean it to be printed, but rather just included, just make the page bigger. Then you can include all the little things that clog the general section.

Also, for the icons and whatnot, add in little screencaps next to their names.

Robertt, I like the page you’ve created. I have a couple of thots:

first, a typo (I think) in the “Tab Key” item, where you have the word “objects” twice. Intended?

is there an “S” key description (scale)?

while I agree wholeheartedly with the promo blurb at the bottom (“Blender is an amazingly…”), I wouldn’t have this on a “quick start” guide. Also, the “do yourself a favor” comment is quite condescending to newbies (tho quite a common, and unnecessary, attitude here at elYsiun…) and should be reworded to be more professional.

As to overall layout… you seem to be a very visually-oriented person (from looking at your artwork.) Perhaps do a layout that is a radical break from the typical flat, bland office document…? something which includes elements of the actual interface - this would be so great/creative coming from you! Think dynamic, visually appealing, 3D-fluid… Something along the lines of what you’d expect from Burt.S. - I love the way he combines text and graphics in some of his work…

Just thinking “out loud”…

(BTW, I, too hate the whole Q next to W thing… done the quit thing and lost work myself in the past… bummer.)

My long term goal is to have quickstart guides similar to what comes with ZBrush, or the quick reference guides that come with sketchup

and also the ‘quick study’ guides that you can purchase for college courses,

have a look at this page for various resources I’ve found on training tools from other programs.


SamAdam: Good suggestions, thanks. Personally, I think it would be very helpful to new users if they could simply print something out and have a nice, legible, and friendly text to guide them through Blender’s core functions and keystrokes.

mzungu: Thanks for the great feedback! Yes, I caught and fixed that typo :wink: I updated the document link in the top post. S Key has been added. The text at the bottom has been revised. I tried to follow LetterRip’s suggested text in the first post very closely, but I see now this project might be leaning more towards a keystroke summary than a one page guide based on some of the newer examples I’ve seen. I own Zbrush and wasn’t blown away by the documentation :slight_smile: Layout is definitely debateable. The example of Burt. S’ design is visually interesting, and maybe too much so. I think such a style can, if not attempted carefully, interfere with the immediacy of reception and comprehension of a document. Eyes can go everywhere in such images, with little other definite focus or order. As an accessibility advocate (not only as a web designer but as a library person, among other capacities), I know any layout and technical decisions have to be carefully considered, or the intent of a document can become unclear and render it uninformative or technologically inaccessible (e.g. incapable of being parsed by screen/document readers used by many blind users). Examples in the one page document I made based on LetterRip’s initial template tries to inform the user about things in a certain order, so departing from that deliberately simple and linear presentation in favor more of a dynamic spectacle could be problematic, also from an internationalization point of view, where such a document might have to be translated into many languages, as might be the case with documentation accompanying a program like Blender. Lots to consider :slight_smile: I also added an alternate version without the closing recommendations in the top post. While I was able to fit more keystroke information in the document (e.g. Materials window), I’m not sure I favor it at this point over the other updated version.

LetterRip: Ah, I see :smiley: As I was saying to SamAdam, I think it would be nice if someone had something like the one page you mentioned and could print it out for quick reference. I just updated the top document link again to make some corrections/additions as mzungu suggested. I think this is as complete and user friendly a one page Blender guide can get without getting too wordy and bogged down in keystrokes and procedures. Right now the current PDF introduction file is just over 60k, so it wouldn’t add many bytes to a Blender download file. Anything more ornate and formatted could result in much larger downloads. A printable keystroke reference page could be helpful too. As far as getting someone up and running with Blender quickly, right out of the box, so to speak, it might be more helpful for someone to have something that they can read in steps for some initial guidance. Zbrush has built in interactive documentation that lets the program walk you through tutorials. That’s superior to their print manual IMHO. It would be great if Blender had comparable tutorial functionality, and perhaps that will be more possible as the Python API is further developed. I remember this is something Landis had encouraged a while back, and the need for user guidance is still there :slight_smile:


You make some good points. I don’t like the “keystroke summary” bent either - seems a little too “geeky” and is definitely harder to read. That’s kinda why I was recommending a more visual direction. At the risk of sounding insensitive (which I’m definitely trying not to be here) I don’t know that accessibility (particularly for the blind) should factor too highly in this kind of document. (warning: generalization alert!) Blender is primarily a visual tool. While its definitely a good thing to be open and sensitive to special needs users, perhaps not so much in this instance… anyway, you get the idea of what I’m saying, I hope…

Back to the keystroke summary thing: Blender is certainly inclined in that direction, but I think the interface has come a long way to catch up with this, as well as the mouse buttons, and these elements can best be described with images, IMO. Even the keyboard could be pictured, tho that may not be the direction to take… Its just that newcomers to blender, who were born-n-raised in the GUI world, will be looking to the interface first as their primary method of getting the software to work for them. These days the keyboard is almost an afterthot. Coming from the AutoCAD world (where the command line was king well into the late 90s) I appreciate the keyboard’s value as an input mechanism, but most newcomers today do not. Also, lingual translations can be made of anyting with text in it, and that’s what I’d definitely say, is to keep this in PDF with text elements - certainly not fully bitmap…

I don’t want to dwell too much on this thot, as its really your decision to take this where you think’s best… I’m just saying that you’re one of the more visually creative artists on elYsiun these days, and I’d love to see you leverage that talent to shoot something like this in a whole new & amazing direction…

Yeah, I love this functionality too. I recently downloaded a trial of Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 6.0 which has this ability. Very nice and easy to learn from! Would be a true boon to blender!

Zbrush has built in interactive documentation that lets the program walk you through tutorials.

zbrush style scripted tutorials will have to wait till the event refactor, so hopefully for 2.50 (or whatever our next major release is…).


mzungu: Thanks for the follow up. These are all important ideas to discuss, especially as they may have implications on other Blender documentation and may give others out there ideas as to how they might want to develop their own documentation or tutorials. I am working on a completely different alternate design based on my topmost document, one that might be considered more visually stimulating and logically formatted in terms of breaking down the functionality of Blender into groups of activities. It’s in a landscape orientation versus the portait presentations of my existing document proposals. If all goes well I’ll post that version very soon :wink:

LetterRip: Thanks for the information. While 2.50 might seem far off, it will certainly be worth the wait after more foundational [re]coding issues are addressed :slight_smile:


Here is my totally revised design (shrunk/compressed just for quick web previewing):

I was able to fit a LOT more in here. I created this from scratch in Photoshop and preserved layers for future editablity.

This version of the project ran several hours longer than expected, partly due to some memory swapping problems with PS, and mostly because of the newfound space. About 20 layers of stuff here!

The local version of this instant reference card on my system was deseigned quite larger for print resolution purposes. The “optimized” PDF is about 1.5MB. A high quality printable JPEG could be produced at half of that size. I haven’t explored all compression possibilities.

I did some local test prints of the full resolution guide, and it is quite legible and cheerful to look at in color :slight_smile:

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

*** EDIT ***

In saving the image as a 256 color GIF I was able to post a clearer/higher res image above (just over 200k).


Robert, that is very styling as well as helpful. When you get all your formats worked out, I’d definitely like a copy of that. It would be very useful for my daughter. :smiley:

Thanks :smiley:

I just updated the image in my last post on the previous page by the way to a higher res one yet by saving it as a GIF.

Check it out!



Please scroll down page for link to latest PDF version.]

PDF version now available

After further optimizations, I created a PDF version of my proposed Blender Instant Reference Guide that is just over 400k.

It’s compressed but huge and zoomable, and it looks fine upon resizing for printing (8.5"x11"), at least at this end :slight_smile:


Very nice, Robertt! Very appealing and exciting design - and loaded with tons of useful information! (is there a way to get the hyperlinks back?)

LetterRip: what about including a little animated flash quick-start-tute? Small filesize and animated to illustrate the info like whats on Robertt’s page… I know this wouldn’t be printable 'n all, but there could be potential there for passing along a lot of info in a small package. (BTW, I’m not a flash artist myself - just an ideas guy - but if I had software to author something like that, I’d certainly give it a whirl! Maybe there’s someone here who could?)


LetterRip: what about including a little animated flash quick-start-tute? Small filesize and animated to illustrate the info like whats on Robertt’s page… I know this wouldn’t be printable 'n all, but there could be potential there for passing along a lot of info in a small package.

Ton is fairly adamnant about the download size of blender being as small as possible, so anything evey slightly heavy will probably have to be a seperate download.

However one user has already done some flash animations of the new features and did an excellent job.

(BTW, I’m not a flash artist myself - just an ideas guy - but if I had software to author something like that, I’d certainly give it a whirl! Maybe there’s someone here who could?)

You are in luck :slight_smile: Download wink

and have at it. Is easy as can be to use, and does a really excellent job of optimization. Here are some demo files made by another Blender head that demonstrate some of the new features. (was posted to bf-committers so i assume it is safe to post publically.)

Anything too big to include in the blender bundle can be mentioned as a seperate download. We might have a torrent set up of the video tutorials.

Robertt - Superb,

I’ll bring up your guide at the meeting and mention it on the docboard list,