Completely new to Blender, some questions

Hello Blender Artists community, I am completely new to Blender and to 3D software in general and I hope I have come to the right place for basic help. Depending on how much free time I will have in the future to devote to practicing with Blender and on how much you will be able to bear with me, I look forward to becoming a relatively active member on this forum. My hope is that one day I will be able to help others here and improve my skills by doing so.

Now, I can barely wait to get these first few questions answered since they are all about the interface of Blender and it is arguably quite important to know your way around it very well. Blender’s interface, particularly how it behaves, is obviously very different from what I’m used to (which would be the standard Mac OS X interface).

  • Pulldown menus always disappear when mousing out of them. My question: is there a way to make them close only by clicking? And if that’s possible, is there a way to make it show a different pulldown menu if I put my cursor onto a new pulldown menu button while not having clicked anywhere yet? (E.g. I would click on “Add” in the Info bar in the top-left of Blender, then move the cursor over “Render” and it would show that pulldown menu without me having to make another click.) That would make it behave like the Mac OS X menus which I do find easier to use.
  • Adding a primitive like a UV Sphere opens a set of options in the Tool Shelf where I can set the number of longitudinal segments for the sphere and such. My problem is that I have so far been unsuccessful in finding a way to get this set of options back once I switch to a different tool. Aside from adding another UV Sphere, deleting it and selecting the original one again, how do I get it back?
  • Is there a way to rotate the view without affecting the roll of the view? I find it a little disorienting when the view tips to the side when I want to view an object from a different angle around the vertical axis. I can’t even think of a good use for rolling the view except if I was modeling something complex that for some reason I couldn’t bring upright without messing up the distance to a snapping point or something. Not to say I am experienced though…
  • The 3D cursor! Please give me an example of how to use it. I am clueless about it but it must be an essential part of working in Blender; my whole(!) left mouse button is dedicated to it!

Alright, I have many more questions but I think these are my most pressing ones.

Thanks in advance if you answer (one of) my questions!


1.) I do not think so, it actually speeds up your workflow
3.) I believe that in user preferances you can change rotations from trackball to turntable.
4.) The 3d cursor is placed with a left mouse button click and will be the place a new object is placed or define rotation points and such things.

2.) If I understand your question, what you can do is go to object tools and change things from there. I am using 2.57b by the way.

I just watched a great video tutorial by Oliver on Blender 2.5 - Basic Interface which includes discussion of the 3D cursor. Find it here.
Oliver has loads of other basic and advanced tutorials too, and all in HD so you can actually see the interface and read the text.

Kudos to Oliver!


1 & 2 - No. 3 was answered by CtlAltDelete. 4 - Just press Shift-S and experiment. I find I always use this to place the cursor, never place it by clicking (not intentionally, often unintentionally, but then correct with Shift-S, Cursor to Center).

Thank you. The turntable setting is just what I need and I am getting used to the pulldown menus now. I am still trying to figure out the utility of the 3D cursor. How exactly do I use it for snapping rotations of objects or translating?

I find it odd that there isn’t a proper way to get the options back for primitive meshes after switching to another tool. Forgive me for asking this silly question, but where in the UI is “object tools”? I’ve been looking around and can’t find it or maybe CtrlAltDelete did misunderstand me and it’s not there. What I am talking about is this:

(the site seems to be having issues with displaying attachments)

I appreciate the link to the tutorial video. I suppose I am not allowed to ask further questions until I’ve completed watching it. :slight_smile:

Have a nice day!


Hi again!

I watched various tutorials and I am getting better with Blender. I have some important questions for you now…

  • Is it intended behavior that Blender creates duplicate geometry when I activate certain tools (e.g. Extrude) and press Esc/MouseR to cancel the operation? It kinda bothers me that I always have to perform an additional undo action when I cancel one of these tool operations.
  • How do you use the Rotate tool? I am extremely inept with it, it just never rotates the object in the direction I want it to rotate, so please explain it to me. Thus far I have been rotating everything with the transform gizmo. Which leads me to my next question…
  • Is there a keyboard shortcut for switching to or cycling through the different transform gizmo modes? And I assume there is no “all-in-one” option to have the Translate/Rotate/Scale handles in one gizmo like this:

  • Is there a way Blender can be configured to override system-wide shortcuts that are assigned to the function keys or mouse buttons? This question does not have much to do about 3D, but it would save me a lot of hassle if I didn’t have to manually disable those things for Blender every day so I really hope there is an option somewhere I haven’t seen.

In a word, yes. It can be disorienting and annoying the first time out, but in my opinion, it’s actually quite nice in other situations where you want to perform an operation other than Grab on the geometry that you just extruded.

By default, when you rotate using the R hotkey, rotation happens relative to the view you’re looking from in the 3D View. If you want to rotate about a specific axis, there are also hotkeys for that. For instance, if you want to rotate your selection about the local X axis, press R and then press X… you should note a red line along the selection’s X-axis and your rotation is constrained to that. The same works if you want to rotate about Y or Z. Also, rotation doesn’t work like in other programs, where you might drag the mouse in a straight line horizontally or vertically. You actually move the mouse in a circular movement in the direction that you want to rotate.

A keyboard shortcut for cycling through? Not by default. In 2.4x, there you could get a menu with Ctrl+Spacebar; that functionality now enables/disables the manipulator. To answer your second question, that’s pretty easy. You should know by now that left-clicking any of the transform options in the 3D View’s header will switch manipulator modes. Now… if you Shift+left-click those buttons, you can get any combination of transform manipulators.

This is an operating system issue. If the OS doesn’t give the ability to do overrides, Blender can’t either. Your only other alternative is to remap some of Blender’s hotkeys. Personally, I disable the OS stuff since most of the time it gets in my way anyway.

Thank you very, very much! Now it is beginning to dawn on me, the transformation tools in Blender are superb!

Too bad it can’t override the system shortcuts. I know it’s possible to override them but since Blender is multi-platform I guess I can understand why that might be too much to expect.



I have been playing around with Blender again recently and here are three new questions for you:

  • I have noticed that whenever I launch Blender all of my preferences and layout settings are back to their defaults. Why is it not saving that stuff or what do I have to do to stop it from always forgetting that for e.g. I want “Continuous Grab” enabled?
    Edit: I figured this out myself. It’s the “Make this the default .blend file” menu item, so it seems like preferences are stored in actual .blend files. That’s odd…

  • Being able to zoom in and out in the node editor is nice, but whenever I do it the render previews become a little pixelated and I could neither find a way to reload them at the new resolution or a way to zoom back to “100%”. I imagine there must be some trick/shortcut that I’m unaware of?

  • What is the difference between deleting “Faces” and deleting “Only Faces” in the delete menu that pops up when you press “x”? (I know it’s not called a “menu”, I forgot the correct Blender term for it.)

Please answer these questions, because I’m starting to feel ready for my first little experiment in which I will try to actually render something other than the default cube!

  1. Looks like you got this one covered :slight_smile:

  2. Are you zooming in on the background overlay or the preview images in the nodes themselves? To my knowledge, those are fixed in size. I could be wrong, though.

  3. The Only Faces option deletes the face, but it should leave the vertices and edges that original made that face.